Caldwell House

Caldwell House was a country home built in 1771 and designed by famous Scottish architect, Robert Adam. In 1927 it was converted into a hospital for the treatment of children with mental illnesses and was used for this purpose until 1985 when it closed. After this it was bought by a private owner who intended on turning the house and other buildings on the estate into a nursing home – this never really got off the ground and the main house then burned down in suspicious circumstances in 1995.

Architect: Robert Adam 1771-1773
Thomas Bonnar – Pompeiian decoration in hall c. 1840

The building is now on the Buildings at Risk Register.

Robert Adam three storey castellated mansion with decorative corner turrets. The house was built for Baron Mure and is one of the last of the Adam castellated houses. Now in a ruinous state under serious threat of collapse.

Built for William Mure of Caldwell, former MP for Renfrewshire, Baron of the Exchequer and factor for the Earl of Bute’s Scottish estates. In the early 20th century Caldwell House ceased to be a family home and in 1927 Govan District Health Board converted the building into a hospital. As a result, many severe alterations took place, such as the removal of the great stair and the addition of the large laundry building and fire escape stairs. The continued use of the building as a care home in the 20th century has resulted in the gradual erosion of the original interior. In 1995 a serious fire caused the greater part of the roof to collapse and further interior fabric was lost.

The house sits in what must originally have been a designed landscape. There are specimen trees and areas of obvious planting. Historical maps illustrate avenues and areas of parkland and there remain overgrown paths with rustic stone bridges weaving through heavily wooded areas.

In terms of its design, Caldwell is austere and perhaps even bleak. One of the Adams’ later works in their early castle style and the first to be built in Ayrshire, the pepper-pot bartizans are the only surviving examples of their kind on an Adam building.

Mure clearly desired an imposing `fortified’ house that would mirror his status as a powerful figure in Ayrshire, and this resulted in a compromise.

Caldwell House “Duris non Frangor” from omphalos on Vimeo.

After visiting Cladwell House ruin, I made the above film. Perhaps the family motto of the Mures – “Duris Non Frangor”, which means, “not to be broken by adversity” would be an appropriate one to bear in mind when you watch this film.

3 thoughts on “Caldwell House

  1. A friend and I are planning to visit Caldwell house and was wondering if it allow to visit or need to ask permission and would anyone stop us if we visited Caldwell house?

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