Bios News Article


The estate of Northwoodside is situated on the left bank of the Kelvin, near the point where the bridge recently completed spans that picturesque stream, at the new district named Great Western Park. As far back as 1693 this estate belonged to Robert Campbell, merchant in Glasgow, and twice Dean of Guild, viz., in 1679 and 1687. He was the second son of Colin Campbell, the first of Blythswood, and purchased Northwoodside in fulfilment of certain stipulations in the contract of marriage with his second wife, who was the eldest daughter of the first James Dunlop of Garnkirk. Mr. Campbell died in 1694, and was succeeded in this estate by his only child of the above marriage, Janet Campbell, who became the wife of Thomas Haliburton, Advocate, of Dryburgh Abbey and New Mains in Berwickshire. (1) By their marriage settlement in 1701 Northwoodside was conveyed to Mr. Haliburton in consideration of the provisions made by him to the lady over his own estates in the south.

Subsequently Northwoodside was acquired by Archibald Stirling of Keir, and still later by James Lapsley, a retired West India merchant, resident in the then fashionable Stockwell. (2)

Mr. Stirling feued portions of the estate to various parties, whom it would be tedious to particularize. (3) His feus were given off between the years 1765 and 1778. Mr. Lapsley followed his example, and in this way Northwoodside estate was split into sections, and has continued so to some extent ever since. One of these early feuars, a merchant in Glasgow, built the house of Northwoodside, a plain family mansion something in the manse style, on a small wooded terrace overlooking the Kelvin.

About the year 1790 most of these early Northwoodside feus became centred by purchase in the person of William Gillespie, calico printer in Anderston and cotton spinner at Mid Woodside. He was among the very first to establish these branches of business in this district. His print-works stood in the angle of what are now William Street and North Street. The cotton mill was situated at the junction of the Pinkston Burn with the Kelvin, on the west side of the recently formed Park Road, about opposite the English Episcopal Chapel of St. Silas. A mill of later date occupies at the present day nearly the site of Mr. Gillespie's old one.

The print-works in Anderston were popularly known as "Gillespie's Field," and elderly citizens will no doubt well remember "Gillespie's Ponds" connected with the works, long famous for skating. (4)

Mr. Gillespie's house is still standing, almost unknown, on the west side of what is now North Street, just below William Street. In the olden time North Street was popularly called "the Long Road," and was skirted on both sides by rows of lime trees. The house was named Wellfield. It was embosomed in silver birches, and had a fine garden, and one of the earliest vineries set up in these parts. Several of the adjacent modern streets run through what was Mr. Gillespie's property, and William Street and Richard Street are named after himself and his son. He was also owner of the fine estate of Bishopton, now part of Lord Blantyre's domain; the picturesque old mansion stands on a knoll just at the west mouth of the tunnel on the Greenock line, and has some very fine trees about it, notably a magnificent sycamore.

His three sons, James, (5) Richard, and Colin, were, like their father, well known merchants and proprietors. The last was an eminent American merchant, and in 1802 his father conveyed to him the portions of Northwoodside estate already referred to. Mr Colin Gillespie added considerably to these by acquiring adjacent lots and greatly improved and ornamented the whole. The quaint old family house of Thomas Haliburton's time was rather inconveniently situated in connection with the rest of the grounds. The parish road to Garrioch, dividing the property in two, passed close at the back of the house, which faced south. Mr. Colin Gillespie enlarged and improved the interesting old edifice, formed fine gardens, surrounded by walls on the north or opposite side of the Garrioch road, and connected these with the back part of the house by a handsome ornamental iron bridge. The photograph represents the house thus altered. In other respects Mr. Gillespie laid out the grounds with much taste, the whole forming, during many years, one of the most charming country retreats around Glasgow. It was approached by roughish round-about parish roads, which tended to secure privacy to this romantic place, and which may at the same time have explained Mr. Gillespie's having winter quarters in Garthland Street.

After being the property of Mr. Colin Gillespie about twenty years, the house and grounds were sold to Mr. John Thomson, cashier of the Royal Bank, Glasgow. (6) This was in 1822. He resided there till he was appointed manager of that bank in Edinburgh. In 1828 he parted with the property to Mr. Henry Paul, accountant in Glasgow. He was brother of Mr. Robert Paul, secretary, afterwards manager, of the Commercial Bank, Edinburgh, and he came from the latter city to practise in Glasgow about 1820. Latterly, Mr. Henry Paul relinquished the profession of accountant, and became the first manager of the City of Glasgow Bank in 1839.

In 1845 Mr. Paul sold the Northwoodside House and grounds to Mr. John Bain of Morriston, near Cambuslang. Lastly, this well known gentleman conveyed the property to the City of Glasgow Bank.

The bank has laid off these beautiful grounds for the erection of a new suburb. With this view the mansion house was removed in 1869, after having existed about a century, and a handsome stone bridge was constructed by the bank over the Kelvin, connecting Northwoodside with their property on the right bank of the river, and affording to the new suburb direct access from the Great Western Road. The north abutment of this new bridge occupies nearly the site of old Northwoodside House.


It is unfortunate that neither "Northpark" nor "Woodside" were included in the first edition of this book. Now their portraits can no longer be taken, for they are both numbered "with the things that were." They were interesting old places, both possessed by an old race of Hamiltons, merchants of the highest standing, commercially and socially, and active public spirited citizens, and no history of the "Old Glasgow Gentry" is at all complete without some notice of them.

Northpark, when acquired by Provost Hamilton, about the beginning of the present century, was a beautiful retired spot. It stood immediately behind what is now Buckingham Terrace, facing towards the north and commanding fine views of the Campsie Hills and the beautiful woods of Kelvinside. At some distance below it ran the clear silvery Kelvin. Before the Great Western Road was made, the approach from Glasgow was by the Dumbarton Road to Partick, and thence by the Byres Road, or from the other side of the Kelvin by a private bridge at the old Northwoodside Corn Mills.

Woodside was also situated on the Kelvin immediately below the Northwoodside House and, when purchased in 1817 by Mr. Archibald Hamilton was a quiet country residence, far from the noise and turmoil of Glasgow. The house was three storied, castellated at the top, and with wings at the sides. It stood end on to the river.

Before Mr. Hamilton bought it, Woodside was the summer quarters of Alexander Munro, an American merchant, whose town house was in "Munro's Close," Stockwell, and it was here that his son, afterwards Sir Thomas Munro, Governor of Madras, and one of the most distinguished Indian officers and administrators, was born.

When a boy, Thomas Munro was in the same class in the Grammar School with John Moore, afterwards Sir John, who was born in Donald's Land, in the Trongate; the former was known among his companions, from his courage and pugilistic skill, by the sobriquet of "Millie Munro."

Woodside was a great favourite of the future hero. His biographer relates, that when he returned from India in 1808 after an absence of twenty-seven years, high in military rank, for a short respite from duty, among the first things he did on reaching Glasgow, was to re-visit the scenes of his youth in the Stockwell, all the "jinking closes" in which remained fresh in his memory. He also went out to Woodside, where he lingered a whole day among the beautiful old trees of the place, and other well remembered points of youthful attraction; bathed once more in Jackson's old mill dams, and climbed an aged gnarled geen tree of great size, which he recognized as one among whose branches he used to con over his books when an early student. What a change, even then, he must have observed in Glasgow itself, from the time he left the counting house of Somervell & Gordon, and sailed for India as a cadet in 1779, when the Merchants' House, and centre of business, were in the Bridgegate, and the Stockwell was the furthest west street in the city, except Virginia and Miller Streets, then only partially built!

The proprietor of Woodside immediately before Mr. Hamilton was Mr. Benjamin Barton, Commissary Clerk of Glasgow, and, when it was sold in 1839, the late Mr. Rowan of Linthouse was the purchaser. (7)

The Glasgow Hamiltons are descended from David Hamilton of Elrick, second son of James Hamilton of Westport. The Westport Hamiltons are a branch of the Hamiltons of Silvertonhill, who are very early cadets of the head of the house of Hamilton.

I. - DAVID HAMILTON of Elrick, married Marian Home, by whom he had - 1) James, of whom presently; 2) John, who his brother; 3) Janet.

II. - JAMES HAMILTON of Elrick, retoured heir to David his father in 1630, died without issue, and was succeeded by his brother.

II. - JOHN HAMILTON of Elrick, who had a son,

III. - THE REVEREND JOHN HAMILTON, admitted minister of Carmichael in 1650. On Episcopacy being established in Scotland he declined to conform, and was supplanted by a curate appointed by the Archbishop of Glasgow. By 1672 he had rather modified his views, and being indulged by the Privy Council he returned to the parish.

He was an excellent but rather self-willed divine. By his wife, a daughter of Ferguson of Caitloch in Galloway, he had a son,

IV. - THE REVEREND JOHN HAMILTON, D.D., minister of the College Church, Glasgow, who married Margaret, daughter of William Ballantine of Castlehill, Ayrshire. He was born about 1670, and died about 1735 : he had issue - 1) John (the Reverend), of whom presently; 2) Agnes (Mrs. Wardrop); 3) Grizel, died unmarried.

V. - THE REVEREND JOHN HAMILTON, D.D., born about 1713, died 1780, minister of the High Church of Glasgow; he married Mary, daughter of John Bogle of Hamilton Farm (see Daldowie). Like his reverend father and his own descendants, he was a public spirited man, and took much interest in the education of the rising generation. He was Moderator of the General Assembly in 1766. He had - (I.) John of Northpark, of whom presently. (II.) George, merchant in Glasgow, married first Agnes, daughter of Archibald Bogle, a younger son of Robert Bogle of Shettleston: she died without issue. Married secondly in 1792, Margaret, daughter of George Bogle, merchant in Glasgow, another younger son of Robert Bogle of Shettleston, and had a son, John George Hamilton, merchant in Glasgow, who married, first, Christina, daughter of Henry Monteith of Carstairs, Lord Provost of Glasgow, and had issue, Christian Monteith Hamilton, Lieutenant-Colonel 92nd Regiment, who married Corrinna, daughter of Viscount Gort, and has two sons, Ian, 92nd Regiment, and Veriker. Mr. John George Hamilton married secondly in 1827, Helen, daughter of John Hamilton of Northpark, and had issue; George married Anne, daughter of General Shaw, and has issue; John, married Gertrude Ainsworth, and has issue - the Rev. Henry Monteith, minister of Hamilton, married Margaret Ker, daughter of Robert Ker of Dougalston, and Archibald, married his cousin, Janet Colina, daughter of William Hamilton of Northpark; Helen Bogle married Colin R. Dunlop of Quarter; Margaret Elizabeth, married Douglas Alston, and has issue: Janet Camilla, unmarried. (III.) Patrick, died unmarried. (IV.) William, died unmarried. (I.) Janet, died young. (II.) Margaret, died young. (III.) Mary, died young.

VI. - JOHN HAMILTON of Northpark, born 1754, died 1829, was a merchant in Glasgow, and was thrice Lord Provost. He married Helen, daughter of Archibald Bogle, a younger son of Robert Bogle of Shettleston. He was a most valuable citizen of Glasgow, and merited, and obtained the respect and affection of its inhabitants. When the new entrance to the city from the east was formed, it was called after him "Great Hamilton" Street. He had issue: (I.) John, who died in Jamaica; (II.) Archibald, of whom presently; (III.) George William, merchant in Jamaica, died in 1858; (IV.) Robert, merchant in Jamaica, died in London in 1840; (V.) William of Northpark, Lord Provost in 1826, a captain in the Glasgow Sharpshooters, and in all respects a thoroughly good man, and citizen. He married in 1826 Mary Orton Lucas. He died in 1866 and she followed in 1875. They had issue. 1) John William, born 1827, married Constance Dennistoun, daughter of John Dennistoun, formerly M.P. for Glasgow, and had issue two daughters. He died in 1866; 2) Mary Anne, married to John Patrick Alston of Muirburn (see Craighead) and has issue; 3) Helen Cathcart, married George Smith, who died in China in 1859; 4) Eliza Lucas, married in 1868 her cousin, George William Hamilton (see below); 5) Janet Colina, married her cousin Archibald Hamilton, son of John George Hamilton; 6) Mary Louisa, married John Hayes, R.N., son of Admiral Hayes; (VI.) Cathcart, died young; (VII.) Hugh, died young; (VIII.) Andrew, died young; (I.) Janet, died young; (II.) Janet Miller, married Colin Campbell of John Campbell, Sen. & Co., and afterwards of Colgrain, and had issue, ten sons and five daughters; (III.) Mary, married 1829 the Rev. D. Welsh, D.D., and had issue; (IV) Helen, married her cousin John George Hamilton (see above).

VII. - ARCHIBALD HAMILTON of Woodside, born 1784, died 1860, married in 1812 Margaret Bogle, eldest daughter of William Bogle, Postmaster of Glasgow, the head of the old Glasgow family of Bogle of Shettleston (see Daldowie, Shettleston Branch), and had - 1) John, died at Calcutta, 1848. By his wife, Eliza Bruce, who died in 1856, he had one daughter, Matilda Agnes: she married M. J. Scobie, 42nd Regiment; 2) William, died unmarried in Australia in 1863; 3) George William, of whom presently; 4) Matilda, died unmarried in 1860; 5) Helen Bogle, married Colin D. Donald, and had issue; she died in 1877; 6) Mary Margaret, married George Middleton, merchant, Glasgow, who died in 1863, leaving two sons both in the army, William George, and John Archibald, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Graham Somervell of Sorn. Archibald Hamilton of Woodside died in 1860, aged 76 years.

VIII. - GEORGE WILLIAM HAMILTON, who is the male representative of the old Hamiltons of Westport (8) and head of the Glasgow Hamiltons, and representative of the Bogles of Shettleston, married in 1868 his cousin, Eliza Lucas Hamilton, daughter of William Hamilton of Northpark, and has issue, two daughters, Maud Mary, and Amy Helen.

(1) This lady was also heiress of her father in the lands of Hillhead, Byres of Partick, Keppoch, and other properties. Her curators were, her mother, and her uncles, James Dunlop, junr. of Garnkirk; William Dunlop, merchant, Glasgow; and Archibald Roberton of Bedlay.

By a double descent from the Blythswood Campbells a stream of good old Glasgow blood flowed in the veins of Sir Walter Scott. Walter Scott (Beardie), his great-grandfather, married a daughter of Robert Campbell of Silvercraigs, son of another Robert of Silvercraigs, who, with his brother Colin of Blythswood, were sons of Colin Campbell of Elie, Provost in 1636. Beardie and his wife had a son, Robert Scott, who married Barbara Haliburton, daughter of Janet Campbell and Thomas Haliburton. One of their sons was Walter Scott, W.S., who was the father of Sir Walter. Silvercraigs' daughter and Janet Campbell were thus both great-grandmothers of the author of "Waverley."

(2) Northwoodside is advertised in the Glasgow Mercury of 12th Feb. 1777 as "pleasantly situated upon the River Kelvin, within two miles of the Town of Glasgow."

(3) One of these early feuars was David Jackson, a miller. The Northwoodside flour-mills were long famous, while the mill-dams were favourite resorts of juvenile swimmers. The Kelvin, then a limpid trouting stream, free from the impurities which have now so much altered its character, flowed past the miller's old-fashioned abode between prettily-wooded banks, the green shadows from which on the water were often enlivened by groups of snow-white ducks from the miller's well-stocked poultry yard.

(4) The precise locality of these favourite old skating ponds is worth preserving. There were two, one on each side of the "Long Road," a little way north from the point where North Street joins West St. Vincent Street. These ponds were fed by the overflow from the Great Canal, which was conducted to them by a long conduit, partly open and partly tunnelled. This conduit left the canal near Sawmillfield, ran through the west end of Cowcaddens and along the line of what is now St. George's Road, and by a tunnel under Woodlands Road entered Southwoodside, then belonging to the Gillespies. It ran in a deep trench through "Gillespie's Planting" (which grew behind modern Woodside Crescent) into a deep pond, formerly an old quarry, and full of fish. This was where the Grand Hotel now stands, and beside it, about where the Oswald statue used to stand, was the house of Mr. Gillespie's gardener. By another tunnel a little west of modern Charing Cross, the water was carried under "Saughiehall Road," and finally made its way to the ponds along Provost Mills' property of Sandyford.

The writer of this has a vivid recollection of the skating amusement on "Gillespie's Ponds" on the Saturdays with Mr. James Gillespie's sons, William and Robert, who kindly invited groups of their school companions out to Anderston on this weekly holiday to matches on the ice. When the too short winter day ended, the juvenile skaters made a rush back to town along "Anderston Walk" through the pitchy darkness, there having been then very few houses between Anderston Village and Jamaica Street, where the first glimmer of the street oil-lamps, projecting from the houses, became visible. The "Walk" had a foot-path laid in some places with coarse gravel and "danders," and was partially skirted by old skranky hedges abundant in "slaps." To venture homewards in the dark by "Saughiehall Road" was out of the question. It was far more dreary than Anderston Walk - in fact a mere country road uncausewayed, and requiring daylight to avoid the deep cart-ruts and sloughs in many places at the hedges. What a change on all this now!

(5) Mr. James Gillespie was a manufacturer in Anderston, and lived at Finnieston House, a quaint old edifice now occupied as contractors' offices for the Stobcross Docks. Mr. Richard Gillespie had "Gillespie's Field" and "Gillespie's Ponds," and lived at Wellfield, and afterwards at Southwoodside, where now stand Woodside Crescent, Terrace, and Place, Newton Place, Lynedoch Crescent, &c. He was the father of William Honeyman Gillespie, proprietor of Torbanehill, famous for the "Torbanehill Mineral." Mr. William Gillespie's eldest daughter, Ann Gillespie, married the Rev. John Mitchell, D.D., long minister of the Secession Church in Cheapside, Anderston (now in Wellington Street), and was the mother of a numerous family, of whom Dr. James Mitchell, late Dean of Faculty, and other sons, are still among us. Another daughter, Mary, was wife of the late John Schank More, Advocate, Professor of Scotch Law in the University of Edinburgh.

(6) Mr. Thomson came to take charge of the Royal Bank's branch in Glasgow in 1816, in room of Mr. John More, who had succeeded to David Dale. The office was then in the south-east corner of St. Andrew Square: two large slabs in the pavement mark to this day where two sentry-boxes stood guard over the Bank. Mr. Thomson had previously been for ten years agent for the Bank of Scotland at Aberdeen. In 1827 he was appointed to Edinburgh, and finally his connection with the Royal Bank terminated on 24th January 1845. He died 7th March 1850.

(7) Woodside was part of a considerable estate which belonged to John Campbell, third son of Colin Campbell, first of Blythswood, and brother of Robert Campbell of Northwoodside. What is now the high ground of the West End Park formed part of it, before what afterwards made up a portion of the estate of Kelvingrove was feued off it. It extended eastward to Garnet Hill, and the district about Woodlands Road was included in it to the north. The Woodside district is still the best part of Glasgow, and Park Terrace, Park Gardens, and the other magnificent Terraces, Crescents, Quadrants, Gardens, &c., on Woodside Hill are as fine specimens of town houses as the United Kingdom can produce. Woodside Terrace and Crescent keep alive in modern times the memory of this picturesque old estate. Like Northwoodside it was gradually feued off, and by the beginning of the present century the Woodside of the Munroes and the Hamiltons was all that was left of it.

John Campbell of Woodside early in last century was the husband of Mary Douglas, the heiress of Mains. His eldest son Colin (through his marriage to his cousin Mary, daughter and heiress of Colin second of Blythswood) was the father of James Campbell of Woodside and Blythswood, and his second son James became Douglas of Mains - the Blythswood family seemed to have a difficulty in producing heirs for their fine estate, and twice the Douglases, nothing loath, have left their old place of Mains, and, taking the name of their relatives, have kept alive the famous old Glasgow family of Campbell of Blythswood. The rather complicated history of the Mains and Blythswood families is treated of under "Mains" in another part of this book.

(8) The Hamiltons of Westport in the male line terminated with James sixth of Westport. His daughter Anna married in 1674 Walter Sandilands. The Sandilands-Hamiltons in their turn came to a close in the male line in two generations in 1762 : and again the line of Westport was carried on through a female, Grizel Sandilands-Hamilton, the heiress of her brothers. She married John Ferrier of Kirkland, and they are the ancestors of the present Ferrier Hamiltons.

George William Hamilton is the direct male representative of David Hamilton, second son of James Hamilton of Westport (living circa 1578), and thus, heirs male in the Westport family having failed, the male representative of Westport, one of the oldest branches of the House of Hamilton.

Source: "The Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry" published in 1870 by James MacLehose & Sons