Over the last few years I’ve tried to research what I thought was a myth about a visit by President Roosevelt to Crossbasket, High Blantyre. I’ve never been able to find evidence of that and even looked at his wife visiting Scotland after his death. But nothing in the papers or records showing the famous President ever visited the property at High Blantyre.
However, I recently had a breakthrough when I moved to to looking at Roosevelts extended family and was surprised to see there was a Franklin Roosevelt Jnr who was an ambassador for a time. Focusing on this, I found the story and pleased to confirm Roosevelts son DID visit Crossbasket.
Franklin D Roosevelt Jnr (the son of the President) visited Crossbasket House on 25th October 1967. Crossbasket at the time was then the James Little Training College for physically handicapped people. Franklin enjoyed a tour around the facility which was administrated by the Roosevelt Memorial Polio Fund.
The college at the time could take up to 34 people and train them for work positions in industry and commerce. Crossbasket had been given to the Polio Fund by the late Agnes Little and opened in 1964. By the time Roosevelt visited three years later, it had already trained 65 students.
He later that day went on to enjoy a VIP dinner at the Central Hotel in Glasgow. Danny Kaye was the entertainment and the proceeds of the evening went directly to the Polio Fund. It is said that there were many well known celebrities at this dinner, including Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, the American actor once married to Joan Crawford.
Franklin Roosevelt Jnr is pictured with his famous mother alongside FDRIII.