Lathallan House

Who would be your 'pioneer and genius'? And who 'sparkles and shines' for you?

Lathallan House was a once opulent home, originally constructed in 1826 in the Tudor style, with touches of Scottish Baronial. Sadly, it has been neglected for a number of years, culminating in a recent fire. However, the building itself is still impressive, despite the sad state in which it currently sits.

At Lathallan, Henry Salvesen built, in his workshop, Scotland’s first car. It was steam powered. A lifelong friend of Salvesen called him “the pioneer and genius”. But nobody today seems to recall this.

Lathallan roundabout on the M9 sits in front of Lathallan’s ruin. It is a busy roundabout circled by motor vehicles 24 hours.

This film was made the day David Bowie died.

The film also pays homage to writers dead and alive: like Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson along with Penelope Fitzgerald. Like T.S Eliot I have adopted some of their words and rearranged them as a Little Spartan. This film is also an appreciation of Sandy McCall Smith and his wonderful philosophy of life.

The pioneer and genius:

To play the film please click here or on the above image.



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8 Replies to “Lathallan House”

  1. Interesting piece of research on this building. Difficult to read much new on the property, however I did find some material and pictures in your blog I hadn’t come across before, so thanks of that.

    1. I am one of the Shanks family who lived in this house from the early 1940’s. We attended Polmont Primary School when Polmont was a small village. I joined the Air Force in 1960 and did four years and loved every minute. I was posted to Aden where I met my husband. Went to Kenya from Aden twice on holiday, £10 for two weeks, can you believe it. There are four family members still alive. A brother, and two sisters and myself. I went to Graeme High school in 1950’s for four years. I now live in England and have lived abroad. Lived in South Africa for two and a half years when my son was three years old but only stayed as we returned to Polmont and my son went to school in Polmont and I worked in The Royal Bank of Scotland then moved back to England. My twin and I were in the brownies and the guides in Polmont. Mr Talmon was the minister and married us.

      1. Dear Pat,
        It is so lovely to learn of your memories of Lathallan and Polmont. How kind of you to get in touch.

        I will send you an e-mail

        aye peter

  2. My family grew up in this house and the recent “owner” doesn’t own this house, it was left in trust to his grandmother ‘Betty’ by Al Shanks, my mum’s grandad. The land is owned by his family but Tony known as Antony Stewart believes it is his. Had planning permission since 2009 but conveniently nothing has happened, probably cause he can’t prove it is his.

  3. Hi Michael, Are you Helena’s son and is your grandad Reggie. Do you live in Liverpool. Just curious, I am Pat, Reggie’s sister. Like your comment about Lathallan House. Makes you wonder what our Solicitor
    was thinking about.

  4. Hi Hole Ousia,

    Regarding Lathallan House. My dad bought it for £5,500 in 1946 and it had absolutely no furniture at all in the house. Even if I was only four I remember when mum and five of her children moved in, it being really scary and we all slept in the large dining room on mattresses with the two doors locked. My mum and dad had eleven children but three died in infancy. My brother was killed on 19th August 1951 with my dad’s lorry driver coming up the back drive. My brother who was called Sonny Boy, jumped off the drivers side to run round to my dad in the drivers seat, slipped and died under the back wheels. We were on the open lorry at the time and aged nine year, Sonny was showin off to girls on the lorry who were up on holiday staying in the cottage attached to the big house.

    Dad let a lot of the rooms out, so we had other children to play with. My three eldest children when young could build garden sheds, garages etc which went to Lanark market. There were two or three cottages, a cottage in the wood and a lodge at the front drive where dad’s lorry driver lived with their three children if I remember right.

    The walled garden had every fruit you could think of. Grapes, black and green, tomatoes, peaches in greenhouses and all sorts of fruit in the garden, pears, apples, strawberries. Mum wanted dad to keep the gardeners and make it their income and we would get all the fruit etc we wanted but dad refused to do so. Green houses had to be kept warm and there were two furnaces on the outside of the wall which my two brother-in-laws kept stoked up when they came off night shift.

    The place was absolutely immaculate when dad bought it.

    We did have happy times there and never wanted for anything but we were never given everything we wanted. In those days some of our friends at school were so poor. I remember going into someone’s house and they had all the floorboards up to keep the house heated, so realised how lucky we were.

    We were kept busy, weeding, sweeping leaves up and all sorts of jobs. Dad enjoyed horse racing and the greyhounds – it was his life. He died in 1993 and mum died aged 76 years when she lived with us in Reading, Berkshire in 31st May, 1983. Had the pleasure of mum staying with us. Each year she returned to Lathallan with my son Paul, as I worked full- time. with my son.

    She is sadly missed by all the family and their off spring. She was a brilliant mum and grandmother to all our children.

    1. These are most lovely memories Pat. Thank you for sharing. Although overgrown, the walled garden is still beautiful. I love its irregular shape with curved walls.

      aye Peter
      Bridge of Allan

  5. Made a few mistake here: I did mean to say my three eldest sisters when they were in their teens and twenties learnt to build garages and wooden shed. They were better than the joiners that dad hired. Also when we moved to Reading, Berkshire my mum came with us as my son was school age and as I was working full time in Hallmark cards as a PA mum was there for Paul (my son) going to school and home again. Every Summer mum and my son went up to Lathallan House to stay and we would travel up to pick mum and my son Paul up to bring them back to Reading where we bought a house when we came back from South Africa.

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