Auchinraith House

Blantyre's Ain Website

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Blantyre Houses
Auchinraith House

Auchinraith HouseAuchinraith near Blantyre, photographed in 1870 by Thomas Annan. The mansion was designed by architect David Hamilton and built in 1809 to replace an older one, known as Whistleberry, on the other side of Park Burn, at the bottom right of the photograph.

The Coulters, a well-known Glasgow family, had lived at Auchinraith during the 18th century. John Coulter was a West Indies merchant and Lord Provost of Glasgow in 1736. Lowrie Coulter was famously caricatured by Kay in 1793 and described by J F S Gordon as the (self-proclaimed) “wisest man in Glasgow.”


Auchinraith HouseAuchinraith was acquired in 1831 by Robert Douglas Alston, an insurance broker and an officer in the “Glasgow Volunteer Sharpshooters” at the time of the “Radical Rising” of 1820. It was subsequently acquired by Alexander Glasgow, a retired merchant; by another Glaswegian, Robert Ker and (in 1877) by George Lamb.


Auchinraith is a good illustration of the rise in the price of property in the West of Scotland. Mr. Glasgow bought and sold it for about £12,000; when Mr. Ker disposed of it, the price he received was £45,000.

‘Auchinraith House’ is depicted on the OS 2nd Edition map (Lanarkshire, sheet XI 15, 1936). It has since been demolished.

Information from RCAHMS (KD), November 2001.

The information on Archibald Russell from research by Debrett is as follows:

Archibald Russell “Old King Coal” the son of Archibald Russell and Jean nee Wright, was born 1830/1 at Govan. He resided at Wishaw House and Auchinraith House, Blantyre and died 11 April 1904 aged 74 at Auchinraith House and is buried at the Acropolis, Glasgow. (I think they mean Necropolis).

The first Archibald married Jean Wright from Canada, later Isabella Watson and was a Coal Master and brickmaker living at Stanley House, Bridge of Allan, Logie. He appeared to live at a house that became known as Shawfield Park. His son carried on the coal mining business and is the one mentioned at the
beginning. I believe Archibald 2 was also a farmer at Flemington Farm, Cambuslang. He married Mary Jackson and among their children was my Great Grandfather Patrick Brown Russell who lived at Wishaw House. I know the Place was owned by the Duke of Something so he must have rented it.

Archibald Russell Co owned several coalmines in the Lanarkshire district and was also described as a Shipowner.

Archibald Russell Ltd, Mines included Dechmont, Cambuslang, Tannochside, Spittal and Whistleberry, Stirling and many more…

A 4 masted barque was also named after him.

Archibald RussellThe  ARCHIBALD RUSSELL

By 1900 the tall ship was nearing the end of its life as more and more shipyards turned to the exclusive production of steamships. Sailing ships were still in use for cargo work but tended to be used for the transport of bulk cargo where the time taken was of relatively little concern but the cost of transport paramount. One of the last, and one of the finest, of these vessels was the ARCHIBALD RUSSELL, a four-masted steel barque built in 1905 by Scotts’ Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., Greenock.

The cost of the vessel was £20,750 and her dimensions were: 291’3×42’9×24’0 with a tonnage of 2354 grt. The ship was launched on 23 January 1905 at Scotts’ Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., Greenock, as Yard No. 391 for John Hardie & Son, Glasgow. On 28 February 1905 the vessel left Greenock under tow for Port Talbot. Her master was Captain Charles Lowe of Fife.

The ARCHIBALD RUSSELL carried cargos of coal, wheat, nitrate, timber and oil until 1922 when the ship was laid up at Cardiff prior to being sold to Gustav Erikson of Mariehamm in December 1922 for £5,500. The ship continued to carry mixed cargos until 1939 when on her arrival at Hull it was discovered that the ship could not sail to South America as the crew could not reach England because the Germans had occupied Norway. In June 1941 the vessel was detained by the British Government and taken over by the Ministry of Food and used as a store ship at Goole. In 1948 the vessel was returned to the owner but by this time the ship had become uneconomic and in 1949 the ARCHIBALD RUSSELL was broken up at Gateshead.

The photographs come from the McLean Museum’s extensive collection of Clyde shipping photographs.

Original information supplied by Alastair Russell.


The Auchinraith Domestic Centre



In the 1930’s the house was acquired by the Ministry of Labour and Education Authority. The Auchinraith Domestic Centre, as it was called, was a centre of training of young women in domestic service offering them a life skill and possible employment opportunities.



Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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