Calderglen: An incredible Collection

2018 Calderglen collectionI 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 Collection

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.
The quality of some of the bound albums is incredible, embroidered, embossed or guilded, a few with lockable mechanisms or original boxes.  Everything i’ve seen is SO far removed from the traditional mining life of Blantyre in that era. This was a seriously wealthy family living a very privileged life in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras.
I’ll try to scan and enhance everything as best as I can, making it in due course available online but thats going to take time. I’d guess there are about 400 photos or so, many of which are Blantyre. My Blantyre memorabilia has therefore grown considerably , something I am sincerely appreciative of to Alice and her family. I will take very good care of this collection. I’m sure you’ll agree….it was very kind of their family to do this.
I’m off now to build a brand new dedicated “Calderglen” section on Blantyre Project website and it’s safe to say, I’ll be writing a LOT about Calderglen in the coming months.
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,

Gillian Cunningham How lucky are you !!

Blantyre Project VERY! I have enough brand new photos to write about and post for the rest of the year!, Some great old photos of Blantyre and indeed throughout the rest of Scotland on their holidays in the 1890’s – 1920s.

Steven Lightbody Wow, look forward to seeing the photos. We used to go through the woods to what was the ruins of the hothouse or stables, not too sure which. But photos of the chapel in its original form will be amazing, after many hours of climbing and exploring of it!

Blantyre Project they especially are incredibly detailed. Many people remember the ruined chapel in the 1950s-1980s before the council demolished it, but nobody will remember what it actually looked like complete and standing. I need time to write about that to do the photos any justice.

Norma Lawrence Marr Wow . . . just Wow!!

Hugh Lennon Tonner Remember going in the little chapel and the greenhouses looking for birds eggs many moon ago.

Jim McDougall Truly amazing to have such brilliant photos of the family and of Blantyre in those times ?History at its best

Elizabeth Grieve Wow what a generous gift Paul! History and genealogy all in one, fantastic!!

Anne Mosley What an amazing gift !

Ann Higgins Crossar Thats fab – you will need to build a Blantyre museum soon to house all the amazing memorabilia you’ve got! lol!

Blantyre Project working on that. 😉 Perhaps not building one, but certainly somewhere for history to be housed permanently.

Ann Higgins Crossar oh that would be amazing.

William Stewart That’s an amazing what a gem of a woman.

Jennifer Swantek Wow cool! Have fun.

Margaret Slaven Mc Sorley Oh my God amazing !!!

Jean Boyd Amazing

Christine Wallace This is just fantastic!

Eleanor Connor Fab! …lookin’ forward to this! 💚💛

Betty McLean Wonderful history so happy it has been given to Paul for the Blantyre project.

Suzanne Kerr That’s amazing

Margaret McCluskey Wow! How kind

Jean Gill Your very lucky

Bill Hunter Having carried out an investigation into Pelham and the Chapel It would be great to see the Funeral service and photos of the Chapel. I could have saved myself a lot of searching if I could have located the family at the time. Thanks Paul.

Blantyre Project Hi Bill – Using the map i marked up on the recent dig in 2015, I hope to write up everything about Calderglen in even more detail than i have before. It will surely include the story of Pelham and the Chapel. I forgot you had a keen interest in that subject.

JJ France Brilliant Paul!!!! I live in Calderglen and often wondered what the ruin is with the high wall about halfway between Priory and Calderglen House. Never seem to find reference of it on web! Is this Lodge House / Stables?

Blantyre Project Hi. There are many ruins around the area. There was a lodge house (where the entrance to the new estate is now), also hot houses, glass houses, stables towards the end of the current cul de sac, substantial office buildings, all of which may still have some sort of foundation ruin.

Maisie Whittaker Amazing !

Anne Brennan What an incredibly generous gesture, fantastic!

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