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Caldwell House

Country House (18th Century), Hospital (20th Century)

Site Name Caldwell House

Classification Country House (18th Century), Hospital (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Caldwell House Estate; Caldwell House Hospital

Canmore ID 43051

Site Number NS45SW 12

NGR NS 41496 54175

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council East Renfrewshire
  • Parish Beith (Renfrew)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Renfrew
  • Former County Ayrshire

Architecture Notes

NS45SW 12.00 41496 54157

NS45SW 12.01 41711 54507 Ram's Head Cottage (Gardener's Cottage)

NS45SW 12.02 41740 54485 Ram's Head Cottage, Walled Garden

NS45SW 12.03 41624 54370 Water Pump

NS45SW 12.04 41107 53670 Keeper's House


Owner: Once Ayr County Council, now unknown

Architect: Robert Adam 1771-1773

Thomas Bonnar - Pompeiian decoration in hall c. 1840

The building is now unroofed (RCAHMSAP 2008), after a fire in 1995 resulted in the collapse of much of the roof.. The building is now on the Buildings at Risk Register.

Information from RCAHMS (DE), November 2008

Robert and James Adam, five bay, 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. Additonal C20 structures attached when the house was a hospital.

Photographed on behalf of the Threatened Buildings Survey


Site Management (23 April 1992)

Castellated 3-storey and basement, symmetrical mansion house of rectangular plan. 5-bay entrance front with later wide, projecting porch; 7-bay garden elevation, 3-bay side elevations. Later single storey wing and further laundry addition to NW. Machicolated and crenellated parapet to with distinctive pepper-pot angle bartizans. Harled with ashlar dressings; ashlar porch; all windows with label moulds; band course between ground and 1st floor. Little original glazing survives (originally 24-pane timber sash and case windows, attic 12-pane). Grey slate piend and valley roof, partially collapsed; ashlar stacks.

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. The entrance front overlooks an area of open parkland with small clusters of trees in the picturesque manner. 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. The design is the third in a series produced for Baron Mure, the previous two being neo-classical in design. Mure clearly desired an imposing 'fortified' house that would mirror his status as a powerful figure in Ayrshire, and this resulted in a compromise. Some articulation and movement on the principal elevation is provided by the shallow relieving arches for which small cast-iron balconetes were intended. There is little relief on the garden front, however, which rises a full four storeys of repetitive fenestration. This elevation is monumental and the harled finish accentuates the massive quality. The crenellated parapet and small pointy bartizans are further reminders that this is a castellated structure. The later porch is large and bulky in contrast to the restrained, fairly subtle facade. Davis suggests the porch was added circa 1840 when Thomas Bonnar created his Pompeiian interiors in the hall (of which nothing survives). The typical plan consists of bedchambers for the Mures on the ground floor together with a library, circular breakfast room, drawing room and dining room. (ref: Historic Scotland)


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