Calderwood Castle, 1905

A previously unseen photo, a first online of the former Calderwood Castle. Taken by photographer David Ritchie, the Castle is photographed from the River Calder, the trees in this photo on either side located on either side of the river. The photo dates from 1905 or so, around a time just after the Co-Operative Society acquired the building. I’ve been looking at that acquisition a little more…..

The purchase of this fine old Castle was a bold venture on the part of the Scottish Wholesale Co-Operative Society back in 1904. At a purchase price then of £36,000, (around £4.5m in todays money), the estate came with 1,140 acres, including the Glen of the Calder River, a quarry AND the village of Maxwelton!

The cry at the time for many people was “for simpler times and back to the land!” and the Glasgow Society intended to convert a lot of the land into fruit farms. On the land at the time were eight small farms, confined to corn and cattle raising. Plans were at once put into place to grow strawberries, raspberries and other fruits and of course the hope for many new jobs. The Society of course hoped to sell the fruit it grew and a mix of both light and heavy work was drawn up for workers.

Calderwood Castle at the time was certainly a charming mansion. It had a magnificent entrance hall, spacious dining and drawing rooms, library, morning room, boudoir, smoking and billiard rooms.

For nearly 500 years the Castle had been home to the Maxwell family and in the 1840’s, the grand entrance and front portion was rebuilt. It had a lovely picturesque site on the bank of the River Calder, a swift running trout stream and the view down the Calder Glen would have been superb!

The steep river banks were thickly grown with ash, beech, oak and elm trees. The Society put some thought into this acquisition by knowing the land was excellent for fruit growing. Sheltered, with good soil and near the railway stations with direct communication to Glasgow or Edinburgh. The farms on the land were compact, whitewashed stone walls with dark slate roofs. The previous owners had already established some fruit trees in the extensive gardens and the gardener had won prizes for his efforts.

To get the fruit to the markets, a motor car ran between Calderwood and High Blantyre. Although a public road, it was almost like an Avenue owing to the careful planting of a double row of trees.

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  1. Michael Glangevlin McGovern

    In the song “Bonnie Annie Laurie” it says “Maxwelton’s Braes Are Bonnie”. This article mentions the village of Maxwelton. Is this the same place as in the song?

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