Crossbasket – The Findlay era


39-1924-crossbasket-houseTo give you an idea of how Crossbasket looked in 1924, at the time of Thomas Dunlop Findlay owning it, here’s a photo taken from the riverbank, looking back up towards the Castle. A gardener poses for the camera bottom right.

1924 – In 1924 Mrs. Helen Maitland Findlay, Thomas mother, who was living with them at Crossbasket, died. In her will, she left Thomas £65,981 (a sum which by 2015 worth would be around £3,500,000)

They say couples often pass away close to each other. This was the case and 1924 would have been a tragic year for Thomas. His father, Robert frail from grief of his own wife’s passing, died that same year. In his will, he left £209,416 (a sum equivalent in 2015 to £11,000,000. This of course is in addition to the £3,500,000 he inherited earlier that year!! Hugely wealthy, but of course he had lost both his parents and was still only 29 years old.

On 24th May 1924, Thomas let the Blantyre Scouts have their sports day in the grounds of Crossbasket.

1925 – Thomas and Eveyln Findlay had a second son at Crossbasket, James Stuart Findlay.

1927 – in August, Mrs. Findlay placed an advert in the newspapers asking “Can Lady recommend experienced children’s nurse; boys two and four years; nursery-maid kept.”

1928 – Tragedy again struck the family when Thomas’s wife, Evelyn Findlay sadly died very young, when little Robert was only 5 years old and James, only 2. It is noted she was younger than Thomas. He decided to sell Crossbasket when opportunity presented itself at his family home at Boturich Castle.

1929 – An advert appears in the Scotsman newspaper with Thomas Dunlop Findlay deciding to sell Crossbasket. in the edition of 11th July 1929, it says, Crossbasket is to be put on the market by Mr. T. D. Findlay, (the agents were Walker, Fraser, and Steel), but as early as the 2nd and 9th of February that year the house was previously up for sale by the writers W. E. & A. J. Annan. This is unexplained and whilst it may suggest another owner, the entry is believed to be either a reporting error, an unrelated property or a reference to interested buyers. My suspicion is that the Annan writers selling was a reference, if you recall to another property called Crossbasket in Gallowgate, Glasgow. A&J Annan were at Sandyford Place, Glasgow in 1879 and previous to that William Annan, writer had been at St Vincent Place. In any case, the latter Summer newspaper report confirms the owner of Crossbasket estate, Blantyre still being Mr. Findlay.

The advert reads confirms Crossbasket now had a permanent water supply, electric lights and garages capable of housing motor cars. It read in full:

“The Mansion House, which has been recently reconstructed is equipped with Modern Fittings, is commodious and well arranged, and contains Porch, 9 Principal Bedrooms, 4 Dressingrooms, 2 Nurseries, 4 Bathrooms, Servants’ Halls, and Other Accommodation, and complete Domestic Offices. There is ample Garage Accommodation, and 4 Cottages and 1 Bothy. Public Water Supply. The Drainage is in good condition, and the house is fitted throughout with a private Electric Light Installation and Central Heating. The Estate is intersected by the River Calder, and the Grounds, which extend to about 35 acres are picturesque, and well laid out with Trees, Shrubs, &c. There are two Tennis Courts (1 Hard), also Flower, Fruit, and Vegetable Gardens. The amenity of the Estate is protected by restrictions over part of the ground on the south side of the road. A Very Moderate Price will be accepted”

Regarding the last part of the advert, that piece of land is still there, overgrown with trees, between the old road to Stoneymeadow and the Expressway. It was recorded in 1929 that the assessed rental valuation for Crossbasket was £300 per annum. At this time there were very large trees within the grounds of Crossbasket.

An extract from “The History of Crossbasket Castle” by Paul Veverka (c)

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