Possible Roosevelt Visit to Crossbasket

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt

There is an unproven rumour that “during the 1960’s, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, former American First Lady and wife of US President Franklin D Roosevelt visited Scotland and stayed as a guest at Crossbasket Castle.” Seeking to find if this was true, I searched for the record.

She certainly had visited Scotland before. Once in 1905 whilst on honeymoon and also in 1942 during the war, but no record of coming to Lanarkshire. Pathe news reported the 1942 event when she was photographed alongside Sir Harry Lauder, popular entertainer. She had previously been in London inspecting damage from the Blitz.

According to her biography (which makes no mention of Crossbasket), she did have a special interest in Polio, due to it being the condition of her late husband. In the Post WW2 years, she acted as an ambassador for America, visiting many countries around the world, including India, Japan, the Soviet Union and the UK. She listened to people and her favourite phrase was asking the charities, “Tell me, what do you want, what do you need?”

She died on 7th November 1962, aged 78 which rules out her ever visiting the James Little Training College or the Roosevelt Memorial (Polio) Fund. I was unable to find concrete evidence of a Crossbasket visit, but it is known that James Little, the former owner of Crossbasket in the 1930’s visited America and is thought to have befriended this influential family.

I have to say though, given her interest in polio, and the subsequent decision that would later see the name Roosevelt attached to Crossbasket, I am entirely open to the possibility that she may have visited Crossbasket (Not in the 1960’s, but perhaps in the 1950’s whilst it was under the ownership of “The Trustees of Agnes Little”.) After all, the Little family was known to the Roosevelts, from James Little’s earlier visit to America.

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