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- Date Added
- Local Authority
- South Lanarkshire
- Planning Authority
- South Lanarkshire
- NS 72439 55896
- 272439, 655896
Multiphase museum site incorporating former house by James Smith (1696) and later former stable block by William Burn (1837-42) with alterations; glazed SE entrance and N range additions linking the two to form irregular-plan enclosed courtyard complex (1993-2000).
FORMER CRAWFORD HOUSE: 1696. L-plan with principal (S) 2-storey, 6-bay symmetrical elevation with projecting central pediment, steep-pitched piended roof and heavy stacks with paired recessed 3-storey, 3-bay wings to sides with tall wallhead stacks. Rendered with exposed margined quoins and window margins.
Stone sundials to upper eaves corners. Circa 1784, plain section to W side returning to form long range housing Assembly Room and former fives court to rear. INTERIOR: (seen 2013). Some good interior decorative finishes survive to interiors of former house, (upper floors not seen). Assembly Room with fine decorative detailing including curved balcony on 2 slender Ionic columns with plaster frieze to bowed balcony front, decorative cornice frieze with combed ceiling, delicate ceiling roses and timber and tiled fireplace. Round arched windows with panelled timber shutters. 6-panel doors with decorative carving. Curved boarded timber ceiling to former fives court to rear.
FORMER RIDING SCHOOL BLOCK: 1837-42. Tall, 6-bay, rectangular-plan, piended-roofed, red sandstone former riding school to E side of courtyard. High blind segmental arched elevations with semi-circular windows over running horizontal cill course. INTERIOR: (seen 2013). Plasterboard cladding to a high dado height with original exposed stonework above and flat boarded out ceiling in sections. Late 20th century stairs, mezzanine and exhibit spaces to interior.
12-pane glazing pattern in timber sash and case windows to house, multipane to arched windows of former riding school and assembly room. Slate roofs with tall, shouldered corniced stacks to house.
Statement of Special Interest
The Low Parks Museum incorporates two fine early examples of buildings within the grouping: the late 17th century former manor house which is thought to be the earliest surviving building in Hamilton and the earlier 19th century former Hamilton Palace Riding School, both of which are fine examples of buildings for their date and both by prominent architects from their respective centuries.
The central house was originally the Crawford House built in 1696 as the residence of David Crawford, Secretary to Duchess Anne (1632-1716) it was a substantial house sited near the foot of the 'Hietoun' close to the precincts of Hamilton Palace. It was built to the designs of the architect, James Smith (c.1645-1731) who was then working for the duchess on 'The Great Design' for the palace.
The house was bought by the 8th Duke of Hamilton (1756-99) in 1784, at which point the assembly room with a musicians' gallery range and fives court beyond was added at the rear NW corner. Crawford House became 'The Hamilton Arms' and the 'Old Head Inn', a busy social centre and coaching inn on the London-Glasgow route patronised by a succession of distinguished visitors, including Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth. As the town developed the area was bypassed becoming more quiet and in 1835 the building became the office for the Duke's chamberlain, continuing to serve as the Hamilton Palace Estates Office until 1964 when it was bought by the Burgh Museum. Opened as Hamilton Burgh Museum in 1967.
The former Riding School to the E was designed in 1842 by the renowned Edinburgh architect William Burn (1789-1870), for the 10th Duke of Hamilton (1767-1852); known as the Duke's Riding School it was built to replace the stables court within the Hamilton Palace complex. The 6-bayed exterior with high windows may reflect the original interior layout of the top-lit horse stalls within, possibly disposed in series on each side of a central aisle. The statistical account of 1834-45 notes that the stables are under construction.
The Riding School became the Cameronian (Scottish Rifle) Regimental Museum in 1983 named in honour of the minister Richard Cameron who was killed in 1680. It provided a reminder of the strong Covenanting traditions of the Hamilton area and of the Presbyterian sympathies of the ducal family during the critical period of conflict in the latter half of the 17th century. Aware of these sympathies, after the Battle of Bothwell Brig in June 1679 many of the defeated Covenanters sought refuge in the grounds of the palace from the pursuit of the victorious Government army under the Duke of Monmouth. He complied with Duchess Anne's request not to enter her parks 'lest he disturb the game'.
The two museums were merged and in 1993 a major refurbishment programme was executed to link the two buildings to form the Low Parks Museum. These works included the construction of a large glazed rounded entrance section linking the two buildings to the SE corner of the site and a new red sandstone barrel-roofed range to the N (Portland Gallery) completing the site and forming an enclosed courtyard. Internally all buildings are now linked in a full circle.
Formerly listed separately as Hamilton Burgh Museum and the Cameronian Regimental Museum, the latter's category was upgraded to A in 1995. Listings merged in 2013.
1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1856-9) www.scran.ac.uk (accessed 2013). Statistical Account of Scotland 1834-45 ,Vol 6 (p272). www.scran.ac.uk (accessed May 2013)
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Printed: 19/01/2019 20:39