BALLEWAN

Painting of Ballewan House, often known as The Ha’, by Connie Simmers

BALZEOUN

Ballewan is an estate in the Blane Valley that was carved out of the earldom of Lennox. For two centuries it belonged largely to the Craig family, culminating in Milliken Craig (1765-1820), a buccaneering character who made and lost fortunes in both the East India Company and estates worked by African slaves in what is now Guyana. Since 1835 Ballewan has been in the hands of the Graham family, including Professor Thomas Graham (1805-1869), the scientist credited with developing the techniques of medical dialysis. The current owners are largely responsible for Strathblane’s community library, opened in 2023 and named in memory of this illustrious ancestor.

Ballewan (or “Balzeoun alias Balewins Buchanan et Lenox”) starts to appear in official documents around 1500, when it was partitioned and the area of Cult (now Cuilt) was divided between the Stirlings of Craigbarnet and the Edmonstones of Duntreath.  A Court of Session Decree of 1570 defines the boundaries of Ballewan, which extended east as far as St Kessog’s Well (now in the garden of 60 Glasgow Road) and south to the “the watter of Blane”.

In 1628 part of Ballewan was sold to Gilbert Craig, whose family were tenants there. By 1664 his son, John Craig, had purchased more land. The Craigs now owned both East and West (“Easter and Wester”) Ballewan, though Middle Ballewan remained (and still remains) in the Duntreath Estate. Ballewan House, often referred to as The Ha’, was probably built by the Craigs in the late 17th century. There is a stone above a lintel bearing the date 1684. The estate passed in direct line to a John Craig who died in or before 1789, when Ballewan passed to his cousin Milliken Craig, who had been born in Linlithgow in 1765.

MILLIKEN CRAIG

We know quite a lot about Milliken Craig and his wildly fluctuating fortunes, thanks largely to the research carried out by his great great granddaughter Susan Miller. We even have a picture of him: a miniature found inside a gold locket that came down through the family. It shows a white-haired pale-faced figure in an elegant blue braided uniform.

Commander Milliken Craig of Ballewan

He joined the East India Company (EIC) at the age of 16 and rose from the rank of Junior Seaman to Captain in 12 years. He inherited Ballewan from his cousin when still in his mid-20s but is unlikely to have visited the estate very often. Instead, he installed a farm manager and initially his sisters Lillias and Marian lived in The Ha’. In 1790 a local man from Strathblane called Walter Weir set up the parish’s first block printing factory there. He moved the business to an old tape-making factory in Netherton. Weir’s enterprise was the business that later became the Blanefield Printworks, employing up to 500 men, women and children.

East Indiamen at Sea by Charles Brooking (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich)

Meanwhile Milliken Craig served a total of five voyages as captain of the EIC ship Queen, venturing to Madras, Bengal, China, St Helena and Sumatra but appears to have lost much of his fortune after falling foul of the EIC and losing his command. He suffered another reverse when, after his reinstatement, that ship was burned out in 1800. He undertook another six voyages as Captain of the Elphinstone, becoming Commander of the fleet with a commission to attack French ships during the Napoleonic Wars. “Cruising for prizes was considered an honourable calling,” writes Susan Miller. He must have done well out of it because he was able to commission his own vessel, the 1200-ton Princess Charlotte of Wales, captained by his brother John. The EIC approved of the private trade allowed on these so-called “country ships” as it enabled them to smuggle opium into China, returning with cargoes of tea. These voyages were extremely lucrative for the ships’ owners, who could easily make £20,000 in a round trip from private cargo and affluent passengers. (See Commander Milliken Craig of the Honourable East India Company by Susan Miller, Scottish Local History magazine, Issue 88, Spring 2014)

If Milliken Craig made a lot of money, he also knew how to spend it. At his London home, 27 Gloucester Place near Regent’s Park, he accumulated inter alia more than 6,000 bottles of wine, 1200 books and a collection of Chinese paintings and ornaments.

What happened next suggests that Milliken Craig was something of a risk taker. In 1815 Berbice in Guyana was ceded to the British by the Dutch. Craig decided to sink his savings into purchasing two sugar plantations there, presumably in the hope of making an even larger fortune. According to Susan Miller he may have mortgaged Ballewan in order to make this investment. By 1819 he was in Berbice and registered 117 slaves in that year on the Balcraig Estate on the west coast. (Former British Colonial Dependencies Slave Registers, 1813-1834)

All the adults had been victims of the transatlantic slave trade. The eldest was 61. There were also 46 children born into slavery of whom the youngest was one month old. The children had all been born in Berbice. All are recorded along with their employment and distinguishing marks that could identify them, should they attempt to escape.

Former British Colonial Dependencies Slave Registers, 1819 (Ancestry.co.uk)
Former British Colonial Dependencies Slave Registers, 1819 p2 (Ancestry.co.uk)

In the same year Craig made an extraordinary will. In it he describes himself as “Milliken Craig of Ballewin (sic) in Stirlingshire Parish of Strathblane, North Britain, Gloster Place New Road, London” and plantations in Berbice in the colonies of Demerara and Essequebo. Amongst other things it provides for the “neat proceeds” to be divided into thirds. The first third to go to his heirs; the second third to be invested for his heirs until the value reaches £50,000 and then spent on an estate, preferably in Scotland; the third, a similar arrangement but with the trigger of £200,000.

Extract from Milliken Craig’s will (England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills) (Ancestry.co.uk)

He also rails against his wife, Janet Munro (m. 1796), describing his marriage as “the greatest misfortune and curse which ever befell me”. And in a burst of spleen he accuses her and her brothers of having taken “good care of her marriage settlement to have it over my Lands of Ballewan and quite tricked and screwed me out of any fortune with her by fair promises”. Instead he settles a large bequest on any children born to his mistress, Marion Emelia Kibblewhite, who was pregnant when he last left London. His beneficiaries also include his brother John, who would inherit Ballewan, and sisters Lillias and Marian. He had no legitimate children.

As Milliken Craig’s biography observes in the records of the Centre for the Study of Legacies of British Slavery, the huge sums quoted in his will “presumably reflected his own experience of the profitability of the estates [in Guyana].”

In fact, they turned out to be pure fantasy. In 1820 Milliken Craig died suddenly at the age of 54 in Demerara, probably as a result of a yellow fever outbreak. Meanwhile, the transatlantic slave trade had already been abolished in the British Empire in 1807 and the buying and selling of human beings would be banned throughout the empire in 1834. Already the easy money that slavery once brought to their owners was disappearing. As Craig’s heirs soon discovered, he owed rather than owned a vast fortune.

Three newspaper advertisements tell the story of what happened next. On 14 April 1821 the London newspaper New Times invited the public to bid for the “remarkably fine Wines of the late Captain Milliken Craig”, including 1100 bottles of Port and 3660 bottles of East India Madeira.

14 April 1821, New Times (London) (findmypast.co.uk)

Twelve days later the Morning Herald was announcing the sale of his “valuable Library and miscellaneous Effects”.

26 April 1821 Morning Herald (London) (findmypast.co.uk)

And on 12 November 1823, another London paper, the Star, announced the auction by the “Colony of Demerary and Essequebo” of the “Insolvent Estate and Effects of MILLIKEN CRAIG, late of this colony”. It goes on to say: “The Sugar Works and Steam Engine are on a large scale, and equal to take off 1,000 hogsheads within the year with facility”, adding “the buildings [are] in the most complete order and the Negroes healthy”.

12 November 1823 Star (London) (findmypast.co.uk)

If there was an expectation that these sales would pay his debts and leave money for his heirs, it was a mistaken one. Ballewan passed to Milliken’s brother John, whose name appears on the 1831 Valuation Roll.

1831 Valuation Roll for Lands Adjacent to Strathblane Village

He died in 1832 and Ballewan was then intended to pass to his sister Lillias. But the Craigs were bankrupt and in 1835 the estate was made the subject of a judicial sale by virtue of a Court of Session warrant. The advertisement published in the Scotsman tells us that Wester and Easter Ballewan contained just over 800 acres Scots (1016 imperial) of which around 100 acres were arable and the rest pasture.

The Scotsman 18 April 1835

 The upset price was £10,779 18s 6d and three farthings. Notes from a member of the family suggest that James Graham paid £12,500. His younger brother William was already the tenant farmer of West and East Ballewan. (According to a family memoir, William Graham kept his wife, whom he judged to be insane, locked in one room at Easter Ballewan for 12 years. (See Family Notes by John Malise Graham.)

THE GRAHAMS

James Graham was descended from the Grahams of Menteith, who farmed at Cromlix in the parish of Dunblane. James was born in 1776 and his brother John in 1778. Their father wanted both boys to become church ministers. (Their uncle was the minister of Killearn.) John succumbed to his father’s request and duly succeeded his uncle at Killearn. James refused. Guthrie Smith tells us: “His father however was firm and mounting his son behind him on his horse rode across the country towards Killearn manse, being satisfied that his reverend brother would find means ‘to gar him to be a minister’.” Matters came to a head on Kippen muir where James refused to go further and his father beat him, then left him “lying among the heather in a very forlorn state”.

James responded by picking himself up and making his way to Glasgow where he apprenticed himself to a weaver. He then became a manufacturer of calico goods and made a fortune. When he bought Ballewan in 1835, the agent for the sale asked him to name his security, to which he supposedly replied: “My security’s in my pouch. I’ll pay ye the siller [silver]”.

James died in 1842. Though he had refused to become a minister himself, James was keen that his eldest son Thomas should be a man of the cloth. Thomas did not refuse outright but after taking his first degree at Glasgow, cleverly insisted that the theology was better at Edinburgh for his second degree. Once out of his father’s sight, Thomas pursued his first love, namely chemistry. When two years later his father found Thomas’s Edinburgh lodging full of chemistry experiments, he broke the apparatus and cut off his son without a penny. It is said that Thomas’s sister Margaret sneaked food to him under cover of darkness. His old professor from Glasgow sent him pupils for tutoring to help him get by.

Thomas Graham and his sister Margaret Graham

The rift with his father did not last. By 1830 Thomas Graham was a professor at the Andersonian University (later Strathclyde) where he taught David Livingstone among others. Despite his boyish looks and rather stiff delivery of lectures, his love for his subject made him popular and respected. He was soon reconciled with his father. During the seven years Thomas Graham filled the chair at the Andersonian he published valuable discoveries and was rewarded with the Keith Prize and election to the Royal Societies of both Edinburgh and London. In 1838 he was made Professor of Chemistry at the newly-founded University of London, where he numbered pioneering surgeon Joseph Lister among his students.

When his father died in 1842, Prof Graham inherited Ballewan. According to Guthrie Smith: “Although his busy life in London seldom allowed him to visit Strathblane, he took much interest in his place and it pleased him to show it to his friends, and in his company the Old Ha’ has seen many distinguished strangers, among others the famous German chemists, Liebig and Hofmann.” Members of the family are not so sure. The notes made by John Malise Graham (Angus Graham’s father) suggest: “Although he never lived there [Ballewan], he paid regular visits there, probably staying on those occasions with his uncle Dr John at the Manse of Killearn or with his sister Mrs [Mary] Reid at Dunmullin.” Mary had married James Reid, secretary of the Union Bank of Scotland, who built Dunmullin, a large house on the opposite bank of the Spittal Burn from the Ha’ on eight acres feued to them by Thomas Graham. Incidentally, Liebig and Hofmann made major contributions to the development of agricultural and biological chemistry. Liebig invented Marmite!

Mary Reid (Thomas Graham’s sister) and her husband, Glasgow banker James Reid, who built Dunmullin on land feued to them by Thomas Graham.
Dunmullin was later acquired by the Duntreath Estate and is now a private house.

It appears that Thomas Graham’s uncle, William Graham, who farmed at Ballewan, lived in the Ha’ in the 1840s, at least until he retired in 1846. A property advertisement in the Stirling Observer describes the estate at the time. It explains: “Upon the Easter Farm there are the Farm Steading and an excellent Thrashing Mill, driven by Water Power; and upon the Wester Farm, besides the Offices, there is the Old Mansion House, which last is sublet by the present tenant, who possesses[rents] both farms.” [The stream that drove the threshing mill has since been diverted. The ad also enthusiastically anticipates the imminent arrival of the railway. Comparing this with the 1835 sales materials, it suggests that William has increased the proportion of land under crops.

In 1848 the boundary between Ballewan and Duntreath was marked with a series of stones bearing the initials B and D and running from Slackdhu on the Campsie Ridge to Earl’s Seat, with a dogleg via Graham’s Cairn. More than 20 years ago, a volunteer found the stone on Slackdhu almost submerged and set it on a secure base where it still stands.

The Slackdhu Boundary Stone marking the boundary between the Ballewan and Duntreath Estates (Photograph courtesy of Bob Sharp)

In the meantime Thomas Graham’s star remained in the ascendant. In 1841 he was the founding President of the Chemical Society and became an unofficial adviser on chemistry to the government, as well as publishing a succession of research papers. In 1855 he was awarded a doctorate in Civil Law by the University of Oxford. And in 1862 Thomas would be awarded the coveted Copley Medal by the Royal Society for his work on Liquid Diffusion. His work on dialysis, using a parchment tube, though considered at the time a lesser achievement, proved the most revolutionary. Subsequent work led to the development of modern dialysers to which at least a million kidney patients in the world today owe their lives. (For further reading see Scotland’s Science, Stories of Pioneering Science, Engineering and Medicine 1550-1900 by John Mellis)

Dialysing Cell using a parchment tube

In 1854 he had been chosen to succeed astronomer Sir John Herschel as Master of the Mint, a post he held until his death. In a letter written on 8 January 1856 to his sister Margaret, he wrote: “It is a little curious to find myself taken into council by the Government on financial questions and to be talking over affairs of state with the Chancellor of the Exchequer over a parlour fire in Downing Street.” He continued occupying his house at 4 Gordon Square in Bloomsbury from where he would drive to the Mint in his brougham. [Light carriage drawn by a single horse.]

In 1860 he supervised the issuing of bronze coinage in place of copper, a shift that would save £290,000 in eight years. By this time Thomas Graham had taken his younger brother John into the Mint to take charge of the new coinage. It was John who occupied the Master’s House at the Mint.

Thomas Graham’s brother John, who joined him at the Mint and occupied the Master’s House there. Like Thomas, John was a close friend of David Livingstone.

On his last visit to Ballewan in 1869 Thomas returned to Dunmullin tired after a walk over the hill. A fever set in but he insisted on returning to Gordon Square and died there of pneumonia. He was 63 and had never married. He is buried at Glasgow Cathedral. His brother John had died a few months earlier, aged only 57. This meant that John’s son, 22-year-old John Cameron Graham, was the new laird of Ballewan.

John Cameron Graham and his mother Cooper Mary Hannah Woodcroft

JC, as he is known in the family, had a bizarre upbringing. He was born in Manchester in 1847 where his father was a partner in the calico-printing business of Thomas Hoyle and Sons. His parents separated early and John and his two sisters had no settled home. He attended various schools and later lived at the Mint with his father, where David Livingstone was a visitor. JC spent his student days travelling on the old London Underground from Mark Lane to Gower St and University College. Having graduated in 1868 he sailed for the Black Sea and the Caucasus where he was employed by Siemens to lay the first overland Indo-European cable. From there he sent vividly descriptive letters to his mother and sisters, returning home in November 1869 via Crimea, Odessa, Constantinople, Vienna, Berlin and Hamburg, after hearing the news of his Uncle Thomas’s death.

1869 Etching of Thomas Graham from his obituary in the first edition of the journal Nature

An interesting map, published in 1868 to show the lands bordering the Ballagan estate, gives a good idea of what John Cameron Graham inherited. It shows Wester and Easter Ballewan, owned by “Thomas Graham Esquire” and between them Mid Ballewan, belonging to “Sir Archd Edmonstone Bart”, as well as the lines of the Blane Valley Railway, the Glasgow Balfron road and the line of the Loch Katrine water track, which had helped the Grahams solve the problem of moving stock and gear between the two halves of their estate.

1868 Map showing ownership of the lands of Ballewan

Also from this time onward there are many excellent photographs of Ballewan and the lives of the Grahams and their staff. JCG had a house in London and in 1879 abandoned engineering for the bar but he spent more time at Ballewan than previous generations and employed staff who became friends.

The Ha’, 1870

The man in this early photograph of the Ha’ is Jimmy McLaren. Here is what JCG’s son (also John) wrote about the McLarens: “Before I pass on I ought to mention two of his old and valued friends, with whom we grew up. Firstly Agnes McLaren, daughter of James McLaren, forester on Ballewan 1850-1885. James had been born at Gartmore and occupied with his family the cottage at the east end of the Ha’, then a separate dwelling. When my father visited Ballewan in the days before his marriage, Agnes would wait on him and bring his meals in, prepared next door by her mother. From the age of 13 or 14 she remained with us till her death in 1933 when she was 74.” The second person was Peter Clark, of whom more later.

In 1886 JCG married Annie Pixley, the daughter of a London bullion dealer.

Annie Pixley & John Cameron Graham and their wedding registration, 1886

Ballewan as depicted by artist Frank Alsop in John Guthrie Smith’s History of the Parish of Strathblane, published in 1886

The marriage called for some changes at the Ha’ if Mrs Graham was to spend much of her time there. Though sometimes described as a mansion, in reality it is an overgrown farmhouse with an ancient core and many additions and alterations over the generations. A back corridor was constructed and a new kitchen created. The McLarens were rehoused and the end cottage made into part of the house. The old drawing room with 1702 over the fireplace, was given a makeover and a lodge house was built at the end of the driveway.

Old Room Ballewan 1889, with 1702 over the fireplace
New Room Ballewan 1890 with Stewart Pixley and his daughter Annie Graham

By now there was also a family to think of. Their first child Margaret was born in 1887. Usually known as Peggy, she was also affectionately called “the Pearl of Strathblane” by her family. She appears in many photographs.

In this picture taken in 1887 a nurse called Emma attends to baby Peggy in a cradle. The other people featured are John Cameron Graham, his wife Annie and Annie’s father, the London bullion dealer, Stewart Pixley.

“The Pearl of Strathblane”

In 1890 a second daughter, Helen, was born. Cue more pictures.

Bottom, Blanefield Easter 1894 ; top, Peggy & Helen 1896 with Peter Clark

The man driving the carriage is Peter Clark, another long-serving member of the Graham household. In his family notes JC Graham’s son wrote: “His family had been at Buchanan for some generations and Peter’s father married a girl from the Corrie, Gartmore. Peter was born at the Corrie while his father was shepherd there. Peter himself began life as a shepherd and came to Cantywherrie [the crowstepped cottage on the Pipe Line Track above Ballewan] in 1892 from Ballewan Farm to be forester. He died in 1916 aged 66 but his brother Dugald, his nephew Wilson and his niece’s husband Bob McBlain remained at Ballewan successively until 1964.”

Bob McBlain in army dress uniform and Ballewan Lodge where he lived with his wife until 1964

If the locals had to wait until 1913 for the opening of Strathblane’s public tennis courts, families like the Grahams and printworks owners the Coubroughs had their own private courts from the 1880s. By 1887 when this amazing photograph was taken of a ladies’ tennis tournament at Dunmullin, the original owner (JCG’s banker uncle James Reid) had died and it was being rented to a self-made timber broker called James Ebenezer Dunn, who had several daughters to keep entertained. Annie Graham is also featured in photographs taken in 1886 at Blanefield House, home of the Coubroughs.

Ladies Tennis Tournament, Dunmullin 1888
Blanefield Tennis Party 1886, Annie Graham left
Blanefield Tennis Party 1886, Annie Graham back row centre

In the 1890s the building of the Second Aqueduct bringing water from Loch Katrine to Glasgow created much activity and excitement at Ballewan. The work included the building of a temporary railway to bring in materials and the construction of a second aqueduct above the Ha’.

Construction of the Aqueduct at Wester Ballewan, 1893
Temporary railway at Cantywherrie 1893

At this period farming still provided around 100 jobs in the Blane Valley and it is easy to forget that while the upland areas have always been pasture, mainly for sheep, the fields bordering the road were predominantly arable at this time. There’s clearly a crop being grown in this 1895 photograph of Easter Ballewan farm. And Ballewan was one of several local farms that kept a dairy herd and sold milk locally, in bottles emblazoned with the slogan “Just as the cow gives it”. The Arneils were later succeeded by the Findlays, who ran the last local milk delivery in the valley.

Easter Ballewan Farm 1895
Two and One Pint milk bottles from Ballewan Farm: “As the cow gives it”

There were more babies to occupy the pram at the Ha’: a girl, Jean, born in 1897, who sadly lived less than a year, a son, John Malise Graham born in 1899, who would inherit Ballewan, and another daughter, Nancy in 1901.

Nurse Emma and baby Jean 1897, who died just before her first birthday
John Malise Graham Sep 1900 in his pram. Born in 1899, he would inherit Ballewan in 1929.
John Malise Graham in his Eton uniform. He hated the school, being more inclined to academic subjects than sport and the military.

In 1908 John Cameron Graham was made a County Court Judge and worked initially on the Bradford Circuit, always returning to Ballewan in the summer. During the First World War the sort of social round to which families like the Grahams were accustomed was necessarily restricted and there was a focus on fundraising to support the war effort and keeping people’s spirits up.

A tea party at Blanefield House in 1917. One lady is wearing her Red Cross uniform. The Free Church minister Rev Theodor Johnson soon afterwards left the parish for war service. The girl in the middle is the Graham’s youngest child, Nancy. Her mother Annie is on the right of the back row.
July 1917. Lizzie Boyes and her brothers Frank and Robert are dressed up for Red Cross Week. Their father was the farmer at Easter Ballewan.

Like Willie Edmonstone, heir to the Duntreath Estate next door, John Malise Graham went straight from Eton into the army. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery and fought in Italy. Unlike Willie Edmonstone, killed on the Somme, John emerged unscathed and took a medical degree at Cambridge. The Grahams donated the land on which Strathblane War Memorial was erected. At its opening on 25 August 1921, a famously wet day, the Comrades of the Great War headed the procession followed by the Duke of Montrose, Sir Archibald Edmonstone and Judge Graham.

Strathblane War Memorial. Picture by Martin Shields
Stirling Observer, April 1921

In 1927 John Malise Graham went to work as a registrar at the London Hospital where he met his wife-to-be Swiss-born Yvonne du Bois (from the eponymous watchmaking family). His father, Judge John Cameron Graham, died at Ballewan in 1929 and there is a photograph of John sitting in the doorway there around this time.

John Malise Graham, around the time he inherited Ballewan
A series of interiors taken in 1928 show a house that had shed much of its Victorian frumpiness.

In 1933 Dr Graham  went into general practice in Seaford, Sussex, and married Yvonne. There would be four children: Veronica (1934), Angus (1937), Catherine (1939) and Christina (1948).

Angus Graham, aged 4, 1941.

From the 1930s the Ha’, or simply Ballewan as it is more often known these days, was let to tenants for long periods, while John Malise Graham pursued his medical career. After the Second World War the Grahams took to coming to Ballewan in the summer and staying in the stable block. Angus Graham lived for these holidays: “In Sussex there wasn’t much to do in the summer holidays apart from going to the beach. We started coming here around 1947 when I was ten. It was every boy’s dream. There were burns to dam, blocks and tackles and all sorts of tools to mess about with. I was out and up the hill from dawn to dusk. Ballewan was let to a family called the Tindals in 1950. They had a son called Alastair who was about my age. He was big and jolly and a keen naturalist. He knew every bird. I got a licence for a .22 when I was 13. In my memory we ate nothing but rabbits. We used to send them home by post in bloody parcels to feed the cats. The Post Office wouldn’t stand for it now!”

Peter Viljoen, the first South African Consul-General in Scotland, rented Ballewan with his wife and daughters from 1971 to 1976. By now Angus Graham was married to Catherine (nee Sword) had two children and was working in the UK and US as a chartered accountant. His company wanted him to move to San Francisco but he had always loved Ballewan and he thought: “What’s the point having this place in the family and not living in it?” So Angus went job hunting in Scotland and the family moved up in time for Christmas 1977. “The South Africans had never lit the fires and when we tried the whole place filled with smoke. Not ideal on Christmas Eve.” But they survived and after a major refurbishment, including rewiring and a new roof, Ballewan made a great family home. Angus Graham enjoyed a successful career at Inver House Distillers, the Airdrie-based spirits group, after leading the buy-out from its American parent company. His father, Dr Graham, died in 1989.

In 2012 Angus’s son Simon and family took over Ballewan while Angus and Catherine built themselves an open plan eco-friendly villa on a corner of the estate.

Keen to do something for the local community, Angus Graham became the lead donor in a drive to build a replacement for Strathblane’s decrepit library. His sole stipulation was that it be named after his ancestor. More than 200 people contributed along with a number of charitable trusts and the impressive Thomas Graham Community Library opened its doors in 2023. Angus died on 2 November 2023.

Opening of the Thomas Graham Community Library, April 2023. Angus Graham and children from Strathblane Primary School

Thanks to photographer Chris Bell for copying and enhancing photographs from the Graham family albums

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Blane Valley from the Cuilt Brae Until the mid-20th century farming was very much an integral part of the life of the parish of Strathblane. The school log contains frequent references to children skipping school to help with the harvest. The Blanefield printworks...

Children’s Home Hospital (1903-1994)

“Often a child made a dramatic recovery on the back of good food, fresh air & loving care” - Margaret McIntyre, who worked at Strathblane Children’s Home Hospital for two periods between 1958 and its closure in 1994.  Penelope Ker  The rapid...

Ballagan

Ballagan House by Frederick Alsop, 1884, from The Parish of Strathblane by John Guthrie Smith, 1886 Strathblane Valley has a long history and Ballagan has been part of it since early times. When a cairn on the estate was opened, a cist containing ashes and a piece of...