Craighead House

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, ScotlandGlasgow Road North

Craighead House

Craighead House on the outskirts of Blantyre, photographed in 1870 by Thomas Annan.

Craighead House on the outskirts of Blantyre, photographed in 1870 by Thomas Annan.

The house was situated on the Blantyre side of the River Clyde, just before Bothwell Bridge. (behind Ireland Alloys)

The seat of George Alston, Esq., is situated within the parish of Blantyre and county of Lanark. The house is placed on the left bank of the river Clyde, and in a position commanding the most beautiful views of the surrounding scenery, that of the historic bridge of Bothwell being particularly fine.

The house and estate were sold at the beginning of the 19th century to James Smith, son to a West Indies merchant in Glasgow, James Smith of Craigend (d 1786). After James Jnr’s death c 1815, his nephew sold Craighead to another Glasgow merchant, Thomas McCall, who made considerable additions to the house.

Another Glasgow merchant, George Alston of Muirburn, acquired the property in the 1860s.

Craighead House on the outskirts of Blantyre, photographed in 1870 by Thomas Annan.

Following on from that, it went to organization “Jesuit Fathers” of the Roman Catholic Church and was used as a religious retreat and a school of learning for young men entering into the Catholic priesthood. The mansion lay empty in the late 1990s until it was destroyed completely by fire on 18th February 2002. Contractors subsequently demolished the remains to make it safe.


Did you know? Sir Walter Scott was a regular visitor at this house. It is claimed he wrote parts of his work “Old Mortality” within that house and that his references to Fairyknowe, was actually referring to Craighead House.

Whilst transcribing the 1851 Census, I found the following record for Craighead House, the house was owned by two Spinsters, Mary and Jessie Brown, who had eight servants. (Living like millionaires and not knowing the fortune in Black Gold that lay beneath their land)

Mary Brown, 70, Jessie Brown, 59 – Landed Proprietors.

Servants: Charles Brotherton Butler, 43, Janet Syme Dairy Maid, 33, Marion Watson Cook, 36, Jessie Grewer House Maid, 25, Marion Lindsay Laundress, 28, Margaret Anderson Ladies Maid, 25, all of them unmarried. James Dalgleish Master Gardener and employer of one man, 39, was married with one son and lived in the Gardeners House.

Thomas Dunsmuir Hartman remembers, “There was also a fairly sizeable brickworks off the Whistleberry Road. I remember this place with its great furnaces lighting up the area when the furnace doors were open, its as if you could feel the heat, and you were at least 100 yds from the entrance to the works. I do believe it went under the unique name of, THE BLANTYRE BRICKWORKS.” .”Catchy eh!


If you have any Photos… Send them to Bill

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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