Listing Crossbasket

Extract from “History of Crossbasket” by Paul Veverka….

43 Ruins of Waterfall in GardensPerhaps prompted by the sale to an organization with foreign connections or worried about fund mismanagement or just simply concern that Crossbasket would be neglected, on 15th March 1963, Crossbasket Castle was listed as a Category A listed building.

Whilst the intention was to preserve this historic building, is sadly also meant tight restrictions on what could be renovated and altered, which resulted in no significant progress or renovation taking place. The Listed status was written into the title deeds and may ironically have prompted the beginning of a decline in maintenance of Crossbasket.

The money being used from the Rooseelt fund would have been given out very carefully. This would be directed primarily to the welfare and wellbeing of those it was supporting. As such, it is unlikely that any sum of significance would have been given for the upkeep of the estate grounds. The 1960’s saw things start to become overgrown, unkept to a certain extent and would have started to rely upon volunteer work for all maintenance aspects unless something critically needed had to be done in the Castle.

1965 – The 19th February 1965 saw the true end of the Little Era at Crossbasket. With no direct surviving siblings, parents of heirs in children, spinsters Jane Little and Elizabeth Little sold their share (the aforementioned rooms within Crossbasket Castle), together with the remaining 1540 square yards of the grounds, over to Roosevelt Memorial (Polio) Fund, at the time still registered to 113 St Vincent Street, Glasgow.

The sisters continued to live at Crossbasket in their old age and their legacy had been protected in accordance with their wishes. They lived not only in the property on the upper floor, but also for a time outside the property in a detached house on the estate. The rental rights to the external, satellite properties were included in the transaction. Roosevelt Memorial (Polio) Fund now owned all of Crossbasket estate. The estate lodges and the Castle were once again tied together as part of Crossbasket, but that didn’t even last until the end of that day!

The same day, as soon as the RMPF controlled all of Crossbasket, they concluded a further transaction immediately selling the lease rights of the three satellite properties (including the gatehouse) to private owners. It would appear that Roosevelt did not want to maintain the three properties, preferring to continue only the sole ownership of the Castle and grounds and had discussed and decided upon this, prior to the day of the sale. Their paperwork had been signed in advance on 4th February 1965, selling to Lady Iona Mary Huddlestone French, of The Beeches, Montgmoerie Terrace, Skelmorlie, Ayrshire. She set new rents at once for the cottages and is known to have sold them on privately at a later date.

Early that same year in 1965, a victim of its own success, ‘Roosevelt Memorial (Polio) Fund Trustees” now realised that the mass rollout of polio vaccinations to schoolchildren in the UK, meant that there was a reduction in work to be done. Cases of polio in the UK were massively reduced and there were far fewer cases of disability due to that disease. Today, there have been no domestically acquired cases of the disease in the UK since 1982.

Under their guidance, the Trustees needed a new focus, a new charity. It was decided upon in Spring 1965 that they would set up under a different banner, a new direction, in honour of James Little.

Pictured by myself in 2015 is a ruined waterfeature in the grounds of Crossbasket.

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