I’ve recently read so many incorrect histories and details about Calderglen House, that I thought I would write a brief history, correcting things (as I see it).
Calderbank – Lyndsay / Munro / Struthers era
To explore the history of Calderglen House, we must understand the original name, Calderbank. The origins of Calderbank House can be traced back to 1795 to an owner Mr.William Lyndsay, a writer originally from Glasgow. It is unknown how he gave the name Calderbank to the property. Contrary to other history articles, I don’t believe there was a former house at Calderglen. The house that still stands there today, Calderglen House, was simply previously called Calderbank, and is shown in the same location, and configuration now as it was in early 19th Century maps. Late Georgian, the property has a three storey ashlar facade, built in stone with classical appearance. It has a deep Doric porte cochere with coupled columns. Symmetrical flank bays of 2 storeys with pedimented ground floor windows, 3-light curved bows to side elevations with an Italianate tower at rear.
The property is not to be confused with another property named Calderbank (near Airdrie), residence of the Clark Family in Old Monkland. Nor should it be confused as having anything to do with a small village called Calderbank. Complicating things further, the name Calderglen, in respect of this house, has nothing to do with Calderwood Estate near East Kilbride.
In the book a “Memoir of Professor John Wilson”, by Christopher North, a recollection between 1797 – 1803 of Calderbank House is given by the professor. He wrote, “Calderbank, Mr.Lyndsay’s residence commanded a fine view of Bothwell woods and Castle.” Mrs Lindsay was the sister of Mr Jardine, the owner of the large 70 acre estate across the banks of the river at Hallside. The Lindsay’s only daughter Margaret, a beautiful girl, was co-author along with Mr Wilson in the 1845 book, “The Trials of Margaret Lindsay”. Mr Wilson also recorded in his memoirs how even after 60 years he could remember back to those happy times visiting this beautiful area.
On 5th February 1801 in the Caledonian Mercury newspaper, Mr Lindsay put the 45 acres of Calderbank (or Calderbanks as it was shown on maps of the era) up for sale. The advert describes the beautiful surrounds near the Priory and also confirms that the house and offices were relatively new. The advert describes, “the grounds are enclosed and subdivided by thriving hedges and the banks upon the water of Calder which runs nearly half round the property were some years ago planted and are now highly ornamented with the young plantations and some older trees which are still in a very thriving condition. The seller is confirmed as William Lindsay (Lyndsay).
Just a few months later on Monday 12th October 1801, certificates were provided to the Sheriff of Lanarkshire permitting game to be hunted on the lands of various estates. Included in there was a George Munro, Esq of Calderbank, Blantyre. It would appear Mr George Munro had bought Calderbank in 1801, taking it over from William Lindsay.
By 1816, a gentleman by the name of Struthers owned Calderbank House, which according to the Topographical Dictionary of Scotland of 1813, was then a fine mansion sitting on the banks of the river. At this time the estate stretched from the present main entrance at Blantyreferme Road Northwards to Newton Road to where was to become Fin Me Oot.
Calderbank – The Huttons Era
Contrary to some reports, the house did not pass to the Huttons in 1841. “Duncan’s Itinerary of Scotland 1823“, confirms by that time in 1823, Calderbank had passed in ownership to the Hutton family. Doctor James Hutton resided there with his wife Ann Eliza Yuille and their daughter Amelia. James was the great grandson of John Hutton who was chief physician to King William II and all his hospitals, in all his dominions. Anne Yuille was a daughter of the Yuille family of Darleith who were the famous sherifs of Inverary. Sadly, James died young at 57 years old on 2nd October 1837. The 1841 census records that Hutton’s widow Ann, and her sister were the sole residents of Calderbank house. (a very big house for just two people!)
On Friday 16th July 1847, Robert Findlay, gardener to Mrs Hutton won first prize in local growing competitions for cultivating the finest pink roses.
In 1848, Ann Hutton sold off part of Calderbank Estate to the Caledonian Railway Company to allow them to construct the Blantyre – Hamilton line as a branch form the main Glasgow – London line. The Newton – Hamilton line was opened on 17th September 1849 and ran directly past the estate offices.
On 23rd August 1858, Anne, the 4th daughter of Ann Hutton got married to Samuel Miller in Glasgow.
This 1859 map shows Calderbank Estate, with the large house situated where it is today and the extensive offices to the North. That same year, Calderbank is described as, “A superior dwelling having Offices, Ornamental grounds & Garden adjoining. Occupied by the Proprietress, Mrs Hutton.” Ann Hutton died on 26th September 1864, aged 80. She and her husband James are buried in the Old Kirkyard in High Blantyre where a weathered coat of arms can still be made out. The coat of arms represents a union between the Hutton and Yuille families and was registered in 1812 on their marriage.
On Monday 16th January 1865 Calderbank Estate was put up for sale. It is described as having six bedrooms and the sale included all land, a stable for 12 horses and a double coachhouse. The asking price was £3,500. In February a month later another advert appeared in more detail also stating it had 2 vineries, green house and entry could be taken immediately. It was also announced that 60 or 70 acres or arable land would be made available shortly. The house could be viewed for sale by James Morton who lived at the Mansion Lodge house. The house could be bought either furnished or unfurnished.
Its clear the new buyer didn’t want the furniture there, for on Wednesday 17th May 1865, at 11am, the furniture and possessions of the late Mrs Hutton were auctioned off at the house itself. These included a grand piano, couches, carpets, sideboards, crystal, lobby clock, four poster beds and other sundry articles.
Calderbank – The Potter Era
In “Slater’s Royal National Commercial Directory“, Alexander Potter Esq is shown as the next owner of Calderbank, buying it from the estate of the deceased Ann Hutton. He is confirmed as being owner of Calderbank in a Glasgow Herald article from 1st September 1865 where he attended a local rifle competition.
Alexander’s ownership of Calderbank was very short lived. Just three years after moving there, it was also the place of his death on 30th June 1868 (Source: Greenock Advertiser 2nd July 1868)
On Saturday 29th August 1868, the Hamilton Advertiser confirmed a Miss Roebuck of Calderbank attended a rifle volunteers meeting. With no recorded sale advertised for Calderbank, it is probable Miss Rosebuck inherited the estate from Alexander Potter. This grand estate may have been quite an undertaking for Miss Roebuck. Whilst I have not been able to find out more about her, the estate was put up for letting out (not sale) on 19th January 1872. The advert lists the house as having hot and cold running water, as well as gas. (supplied by a governer building in the estate grounds on the riverbank)
It is also here at this point in time, that I find the trail runs cold regarding anything to do with the name Calderbank in Blantyre. References post 1872 to this name relate to either collieries, mining or properties elsewhere.
Calderglen – The Cochrane Era
The first mention I can find of the next owner, is on Monday 12th June 1876. J.R Cochrane of Calderglen, Blantyre was selling some horses, importantly from Calderglen, NOT Calderbank.
I would conclude that between 1872 and 1876, John Richard Cochrane, a 40 something year old power loom cloth manufacturer bought the property and moved his entire and growing family from Hamilton, although previous to there, had lived at Kirkintilloch. His registered premises were the Albwyn Mills, 47/71 Waddle Street Glasgow, but during the next decade, he established several other local business interests, amongst them, the Birdsfield Brick Works at High Blantyre which he owned and were worked until near his death at 94 years old.
Mr Cochrane took over the grand Calderbank Estate and it is here that we first see mention of the name Calderglen. It would appear, to disassociate his business from the associated Calderbank company, whom by then were a mining and colliery giant in their own right, he renamed the property Calderglen, a name that still exists today. Perhaps also to distinguish a difference between his property and the nearby Calderbank in Old Monkland Parish, which would otherwise have caused some confusion. I have no doubt about the fact that this decision was his and likely made at the time of his purchase.
On Wednesday 28th May 1879, dairymaid Janet Anderson was mown down on the railway line outside Calderglen whilst walking along the train lanes. A shock to the family, lessons were not learned to their absolute misfortune.
Tragedy was to strike the family shortly after when son Richard Pelham Maitland Cochrane was similarly mown down on the railway outside the property on 14th July 1883. Pelham, an army officer aged 23 had used the trains that passed through his fathers property to travel to Glasgow University. He had an understanding with drivers that they would slow down as they passed by his home, enabling him to mount of dismount. That day, he was returning home with a friend and got off at Newton Station, which was nearer than Blantyre. He then walked the line to his home. They observed a ballast train coming towards them. Pelham’s friend stepped to the right of the track, but Pelham stepped to his left on to the downline and into the path of the Hamilton Express, which cut him to pieces. His badly mutilated body was carried in a tarpaulin sheet, a short distance to nary Calderglen Stables, where his remains were dressed by Dr. Cooper of Blantyre before being taken home. The coffin was placed at the bottom of the grand entrance staircase.
The family, grief-stricken built a small stone memorial chapel on the grounds, adorned in fine mosaics and stained glass windows. Other members of the Cochrane family were also laid to rest there. The windows were taken later to Burleigh Church Glasgow Road and the two life sized mosaics of angels are gifted to Hamilton Town Hall, where they remain today. The chapel was demolished entirely in the late 1980’s for safety reasons, by the council. However, the grave markers are still there. The gravestone strangely says 1884, despite the newspaper reports of the time being 1883.
J.R Cochrane, a member of the Liberal party, became Justice of the Peace for Blantyre in 1881. His wife Mary Anne Howden, produced six daughters and two sons, all of whom would want for nothing. They lived in exceptional finery, a grand lifestyle that saw 7 “live in” servants attending to their needs in 1891, which rose to 10 servants by 1901.
The surviving children were James, Adelaide, Victoria, Louisa, Laura, Charlotte and Muriel. I now have the ancestry of the Cochrane family mapped out in detail if anybody ever wants a copy.
The Cochrane’s maintained the estate well, many of the girls marrying into military or clergy families, moving away to England. Cochrane added a porters lodge and a dairy to the house, expanding it considerably at the North side.
They liked to entertain and as well as tennis courts being added, they held garden parties, including parties for political means, such as their Liberal Unionists garden party of September 1899.
Now, there are several rumours that Calderbank house was demolished due to damage from the nearby
railway. Now, I can be controversial. I don’t believe that at all. The original house remained intact from its initial construction in 1795, sited sufficiently away from the railway line, where it stands today. Indeed, I don’t believe the vibration from locomotives caused much damage at all to Calderbank or Calderglen. The offices were the closest buildings to the railway and were completely rebuilt by Cochrane. Hence, they disappear from their original 1859 map location, to this newer location by 1898. Where? Well, would you believe, even CLOSER to the railway itself. If damage from railway was suspected, no owner of rightful mind, would construct huge stables and offices closer to the cause. I believe the original offices at over 100 years old, were simply just in a state of disrepair and not functional for what Cochrane required them for. Cochrane renovated the estate , enlarging the house in 1912.
In August 1916, Cochrane sold off much of the wood from the local trees in timber sales. Laura, their daughter was heavily involved in fundraising for local events and charities. Charlotte, another daughter was president of Blantyre Child Welfare Centre.
J.R Cochrane died in 1921, leaving much of the estate to his two unmarried daughters. By the 1950’s, the Cochrane era was over.
Calderglen – Other Owners
The Waddell family were the next owners. During the second world war, the government confiscated a large section of the estate North of the railway line to construct an anti aircraft battery, as a defence for Glasgow. Royal Artillery personnel were billeted in the basement of Calderglen House whilst a large army camp called the “Whins” was constructed to accommodate them and the guns. The Whins camp was also used as a barracks for Polish troops. The government held on to the estate after the war and now publicly owned, was transformed into Redlees Park at the turn of the Millennium.
The next owner was 2 generations of the Suckle family. Notably, Dr Norman Suckle, who started off as a young GP at the Jopes practice in High Blantyre. He had no requirement for offices, stables and workshops as a doctor and I’m sure this would have been difficult to maintain. They were let out during WW2 years for use as kennels and the subject of a scandal in 1945, when it was alleged that certain dogs were drugged to affect their racing capability. By 1952 the Greyhound Racing Association had bought the stables and continued using them for their Greyhounds at Shawfield Stadium. Wembley Stadium Ltd later purchased the kennels.
Calderglen was considered important enough by Historic Scotland to be listed as a Category B building on 5th June 1979. On 3rd September 1986 Suckle sought permission from Hamilton District Council to add a fire escape and fire corridor to the listed building.
Dr Norman Suckle sold Calderglen to Mr and Mrs Welsh around 1984 who extensively renovated the building to turn it into a nursing home for 46. Around 1990 when the Community Care Act came into being when the Social Work Departments took over responsibikry for cate of the elderly and nursing homes from the health boards the business started to decline and in approximately 1995 it was sold to Dr Ahmed for use as a 28 bed Care home, providing 24 hour nursing care and now renamed, “New Calderglen”. The listed building retains many of its original features such as ornate ceilings, magnificent staircase with stained glass windows and impressive wood panelling and fireplaces.
Around 2001 and 2002, a large housing estate was constructed in the grounds of Calderglen Estate, at the entrance, covering much of the history of the stables, kennels, outbuildings, greenhouses and offices although the house and gardens remained.
From my recent visit in December 2014, I was impressed by the homely environment with spacious bedrooms. An open door policy exists with a wide range of services available for the residents. However, it was the care and attention by the dedicated staff members that impressed me particularly. Their passion for their jobs was evident in the short time I was kindly given to discuss Calderglen. It is clear there is an extremely high standard of care being given to residents.