I just don’t know what to say next! With thanks to an extremely thoughtful family, descended from the Cochrane family of Calderglen House, and their very generous gift, I’m now the proud owner of an extremely important collection of Blantyre memorabilia, the history of Calderglen!
The current nursing home near Blantyreferme Road was once occupied by the Cochrane family in the late 1800’s. From around 1870 or so until the 1930’s this very wealthy and prominent family lived on that estate and were well known in Blantyre. The collection given to me will keep me busy for many months, unravelling everything, documenting and recording and of course sharing here with you all.
Three rather large parcels arrived yesterday from Alice Fookes in London. Her grandmother was Miss Kathleen Hickman whose mother was Louisa Cochrane, the daughter of JR Cochrane who owned Calderglen. Alice was attending to a house clearance and after things of sentiment and value were retained, she found she had SO many items relating to Calderglen and kindly posted them to me to keep.
For the small postage price, as you can see I obtained quite a haul! It will literally take me weeks to go through all the photos, letters, artefacts and documents, all of which relate to Calderglen during the period 1875 – 1938. Like a “kid in a candy shop”, I’ve ever so quickly flicked through some of the items and already have found some highlights in this collection:
- The Cochrane family’s quality photograph albums from the 1870’s, 1880’s and 1890’s containing several hundred photos! People and places.
- Interior photographs of Calderglen rooms during Victorian times.
- Exterior photos of the Gardens, hot house, tennis courts and terraces.
- Photos of the nearby offices, lodge house and stables.
- Photos of the servants, good hard working Blantyre folks.
- Photos of Cochrane’s Chapel (yes, you heard that right), both inside and out in good detail. I think they are the only photos known to exist of this former chapel.
- I now have the actual key for the former chapel (now just a foundation ruin at the back of Priory Bridge Housing Estate)
- Photo frames that adorned the ladies bedroom furniture.
- Ancestry mapped out of the Cochrane family back to 1568 and time of reformation.
- Order of service for Pelham’s funeral.
- The ladies hymn and prayer books.
- A few pages of the ladies diaries, complete with pressed flowers.
- Cochrane family’s Scotland Photo album (in it is a picture of opening of Blantyre War Memorial showing hundreds of people). Other good photos of Scotland in the 1890s – 1920’s.
- Cochrane family’s Abroad Photo album showing visits to Germany, Venice and Paris.
- Dozens of interesting letters and documents.