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Glasgow, 61-63 Netherlee Road, Holmwood House

House (19th Century), Nunnery (20th Century), School (20th Century)

Site Name Glasgow, 61-63 Netherlee Road, Holmwood House

Classification House (19th Century), Nunnery (20th Century), School (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Convent Of Our Lady Of The Mission; Netherlee Convent School; Our Lady Of The Missions Primary School

Canmore ID 43816

Site Number NS55NE 24

NGR NS 58505 59695

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Glasgow, City Of
  • Parish Cathcart (City Of Glasgow)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District City Of Glasgow
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Recording Your Heritage Online

] Holmwood House, 61-63, 1857, Alexander Thomson

Unique large asymmetrical and picturesque ashlar villa, Thomson's best, for James Couper of Millholm Paper Mills, which were on the river far below. Individual Greek Revival style, deep shallow-pitched slate roofs, magnificent tall lantern, incised and sculptured detail. Almost circular parlour bay window, glass isolated from the stone structure. Extensive major interior work, including the dining room frieze of 21 painted panels illustrating Homer's Iliad. Even the dining room sideboard was top-lit! While occupied as a convent between 1958 and 1994, the altar was here. Restoration 1990s, Page & Park. Regeneration of Scotland Commendation, 1999. Ongoing rediscovery and restoration of decorative paintings by Historic Scotland. National Trust for Scotland, open to the public, guide book.

Taken from "Greater Glasgow: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Sam Small, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NS55NE 24 58505 59695

(NS 5851 5969) "Holmwood" (now Convent School), Netherlee Road, house and outbuilding, built 1857-9. Two storeyed main house, slate roofs, low eaves, circular cupola; notable interiors.

HBD No. 2.

NS 585 597 Holmwood House, recently acquired by the National Trust for Scotland, was designed by Alexander 'Greek' Thompson for James Couper and built in 1857-8. As part of the process of restoring the building to its original design, consideration is being given to the restoration of the kitchen garden, which underlies later garden features. A design for the garden was produced by Thompson and various garden features are discernible on the 1895 OS map.

The present kitchen garden, with an oval pond in the centre, is thought to have been laid out in the 1920s, and involved substantially raising the ground surface over much of the former garden. An initial programme of trial trenching, carried out in July 1997, demonstrated that the remains of features associated with the original kitchen garden were preserved beneath this substantial overburden. The walls of a greenhouse, a red blase path and water pipes from the 1850s garden were found sealed beneath the overburden. It was demonstrated that the original ground surface of the 1850s garden sloped down from the rear of the property at the SW to the frontal facade at the NE.

Full excavation of the garden is to be carried out early in 1998.

Sponsor: National Trust for Scotland

T Neighbour and B Glendinning 1997

NS 585 597 The full excavation of the garden of Holmwood House followed an evaluation (Neighbour and Glendinning 1997) which identified earlier garden features preserved below a substantial depth of overburden. Five phases of garden development were distinguished, three of which were confirmed by consultation of OS maps.

The earliest phase was probably created soon after the construction of the house. The excavation produced a ground plan consisting of a path running around the perimeter of the garden surrounding a large planting area in the centre with narrow planting beds along the NW and NE walls of the garden. Cartographic evidence and Thompson's plan of the house, published in 1868, suggest that a piggery, byre and greenhouse were located just outside the garden and were accessed by an entrance in its western corner. Evidence for the SE wall of the greenhouse was recovered by excavation. A vinery, located in the N, was proven by excavation to be contemporary with the earliest phase of the garden.

Evidence for a major change in the garden layout was discovered by excavation and confirmed by consultation on the 1895 OS map. A wide path linking a break in the NE wall with the NW wall was discovered. This would have made access to the kitchen garden and outbuildings considerably easier.

Cold frames were subsequently added to the SE wall of the vinery, recorded on the 1913 OS map and confirmed by excavation. Two ephemeral ash paths were discovered by excavation, running parallel with the cold frames.

These three phases of development were sealed beneath levelling deposits for a 1920s garden, which was dominated by a central pond, which had later been backfilled.

A detailed report has been lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsor: National Trust for Scotland

B Glendinning and T Neighbour 1998

Architecture Notes

NS55NE 24 58505 59695

ARCHITECT: Alexander (Greek) Thomson, 1857.

Built for James Couper, owner of the Millholm paper mill. Orientated towards Cathcart Castle (demolished 1980). Polychromatic interior decoration designed by Thomson, executed by Campbell Tait Bowie. Dining room has frieze enlarged from illustrations of the Iliad by John Flaxman. Drawing room originally had canvas panels illustrating Idylls of the King (Tennyson), painted by Hugh Cameron. Sculpture on hall chimney piece by George Mossman. Kitchen wing extended and gardener's cottage and main gates erected c.1865 on additional land. Villa altered in 1920s by then-owner James Gray. Purchased by the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions. School buildings erected at rear. Gardener's cottage demolished 1970s. Acquired by National Trust for Scotland 1994. Restored by Page and Park Architects 1997-8, removing school buildings, reversing alterations of the 1920s, and rebuilding connecting wall.

G Stamp, 1999

Restored villa winner of a commendation in the Regeneration of Scotland Awards 1998.

Prospect, 1998


Construction (1857)

Construction (1865)

Gardener's cottage and gates built.

Partial Demolition (1970 - 1972)

Gardener's cottage demolished.


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