NS3978 : Strathleven House

taken 13 years ago, near to Renton, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain

This is 1 of 2 images, with title Strathleven House in this square
Strathleven House
Strathleven House
The same building is shown in NS3978 : Strathleven House and NS3978 : Vale of Leven, Strathleven House.

When touring the building on an earlier occasion, I was able to pick up some very detailed material about its history, including architectural plans. Only a very small part of this material is summarized below.

Although the detailed reasons would be too lengthy to recount here, it is generally thought that the hand of the architect James Smith can be seen in the design of the building, which was originally called Levenside House. The date above the pediment is 1708, but it seems originally to have read 1700, perhaps indicating two phases of construction (possibly of the main body and then the wings).

It was built for William Cochrane of Kilmaronock(*), a grandson of the first Earl of Dundonald (who was also called William Cochrane). Two coats of arms can be seen on the front of the building, in honour of William and his wife: NS3978 : Strathleven House: heraldic details / NS3978 : Strathleven House: heraldic details.

When William died in 1717, the house was acquired by Archibald Campbell of Stonefield; it later passed to his son, John Campbell, who died in 1801. John Campbell of Stonefield became a Lord of Session, and was judicially styled Lord Stonefield, the title by which he is better known.

In the 1830s, the house was bought by James Ewing (NS6065 : Memorial to James Ewing of Strathleven); he was responsible for greatly enlarging the estate, and he changed its name, and that of the house, to Strathleven. The Strathleven Estates came to be very extensive (see NS4482 : Merkins Farm). The house eventually passed to his nephew, Alexander Crum Ewing, and remained in that family until it was compulsorily purchased by the Board of Trade in 1947; it later become a part of Strathleven Industrial Estate.

For more on the Ewings of Strathleven, see NS4076 : Memorial to the Ewings of Strathleven.

At the time when this photo was submitted, the building was being leased by the Strathleven Regeneration Company, and was being used as a business centre.

(*) On Kilmaronock, see NS4383 : Caldarvan Station and NS4587 : Kilmaronock Church.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the house looked much the same as it does at present, except that it had a doric-columned porch, topped with urns (the porch, though without the urns, survived into the second half of the twentieth century), and the driveway (in the same place as at present) was bordered by more urns on plinths, and by statues.

The outbuildings (see NS3978 : Remains of stables and coach house) included "byres, a dairy, couch-house, stable, and cottages. ... Flower beds in front of the neat cottages have borders made, of all things, of coral possibly a link with James Ewing and the West Indies" [the quotations in this paragraph are from the County Reporter (local newspaper) issue of 5.1.77]. The coral is long gone, as are the cottages, but the coral (which I saw when it was present) was not branched, but, as better befits a border, consisted of large, rounded, rock-like masses of star coral.

The nearby doocot is shown in NS3978 : Doocot near Strathleven House. It used to incorporate a Roman distance slab, but that stone was presented to a Glasgow museum in 1942.

See LinkExternal link for the former site of one of the walled gardens that was associated with Strathleven House; there used to be another walled garden among the outbuildings.
Strathleven House

The area in which the house stands was once known as Kirkmichael. Here, Levenside House, as it was originally known, was built c.1700 for William Cochrane of Kilmaronock; it is Palladian in style, and is probably the work of James Smith. The name of the house and estate was later changed again, from Levenside to Strathleven. The Strathleven Estate came to be very extensive; one portion, containing the house, was compulsorily purchased in 1947 by the Board of Trade, and, shortly thereafter, was developed into the Vale of Leven Industrial Estate (see LinkExternal link for this). The remaining, more outlying, parts of the Strathleven Estate were sold off in lots in 1950.

Vale of Leven Industrial Estate

Of the very extensive lands that came to be associated with Strathleven House LinkExternal link a portion was compulsorily purchased by the Board of Trade in 1947, and was developed by Scottish Industrial Estates Ltd in 1948 to form the Vale of Leven Industrial Estate. At the estate's inception, Westclox Ltd and Burroughs Adding Machines had factories here, but they are now gone. Polaroid, a later arrival, lasted until 2017. The estate is used by a number of smaller businesses, and there are some vehicle depots.

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Grid Square
NS3978, 191 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Monday, 4 August, 2008   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 25 November, 2008
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts 
Period (from Tags)
18th Century 
Place (from Tags)
Vale of Leven Industrial Estate 
Country house   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3963 7811 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:58.1475N 4:34.2680W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3970 7808
View Direction
West-northwest (about 292 degrees)
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