Glenlee House

Glenlee House was a rural mansion that was situated at Udston in Burnbank. It stood between two parallel burns, one was at the border with Blantyre and the other ran through Udston.

The house was a fine example of Victorian stature and was not only a large luxurious house but it also showed people how rich the owners really were.

Glenlee House.
Glenlee House.

The mansion was built in the mid 1800s and was first owned by Alexander Miller. It was a 2 storey building with 30 rooms and was accessed from Thorntree Avenue, which accommodated a turning point for horse drawn carriages. After going through Thorntree Avenue you passed through two stone pillars at Russell Street – which still stand to this day.

The turning point for the horse & carriages at Thorntree Avenue.
The turning point for the horse & carriages at Thorntree Avenue.
The Russell Street entrance of Glenlee House.
The Russell Street entrance of Glenlee House.

You then travelled along a curved avenue of trees and over a bridge at the burn that runs through Udston and as you came to this bridge, Glenlee House was straight ahead.

The Bridge that Crosses the burn leading to Glenlee HGouse
The bridge that crosses the burn leading to Glenlee House
The former site of Glenlee House.
The former site of Glenlee House.

The imposing frontage of the 2 storey building with its further two storey glass tower, was set in the centre of an oval lawn.  Ivy dressed the large bay windows, a weeping willow tree grew near the entrance door and there was further shrubs and lovely trimmed bushes that lead down the second driveway that took you to the gate keepers lodge.

After 1861 the house was owned by Lewis Potter, an owner of a shipping company, a director of the City of Glasgow Bank and who was famous, not for his businesses, but for his imprisonment for defrauding the bank in 1879.  Lewis Potter had been director at the bank since 1858, he and his colleague Robert Stronach, were both found guilty of fraud and each sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

The Udston Road entrance to Glenlee House.
The Udston Road entrance to Glenlee House.

In the year 1878 when Lewis Potter was Jailed, J Clelland, Chairman of the Cunard Steamship Company bought the mansion and owned it for over 20 years. The last recorded tenants in the house were the Burns family, who were connected with the Burns-Laird shipping line, a ships bell hung outside the house during the time that they lived here.

The house was taken over in 1914 just before the first world war by Hamilton Town Council for use as a hostel for Belgian Refugees.

In the 1920s Glenlee House was used as a tuberculosis hospital.

1892 Map of Glenlee House & today's satellite image of the same area.
1892 Map of Glenlee House & today’s satellite image of the same area.
Old ruin of unknown building at Glenlee House.
Old ruin of unknown building at Glenlee House.
Old ruin of Unknown building at Glenlee House.
Old ruin of Unknown building at Glenlee House.
Old sandstone block left over from the demolition of Glenlee House, The block lying in the boundary burn between Blantyre & Burnbank.
Old sandstone block left over from the demolition of Glenlee House, The block lying in the boundary burn between Blantyre & Burnbank.

By the mid 1960s the house fell in to decline and was unfit for purpose, so it was taken into private ownership, by Joe Gans, father of Walter McGowan (World Flyweight and British Bantamweight Champion) and was used as a gymnasium  where Walter trained for his fights.

In 1971 the last known owner was Jan Stepek who was also the owner of the legendary TV rental shops, he only used the house for storage.

Glenlee House (South Front) 1965.
Glenlee House (South Front) 1965.

Sadly Glenlee House was demolished in the mid 1970s, partly due to subsidence from the underground coal mines but also because it was run down so badly. Glenlee House was another one of Hamiltons country mansions that had been lost as a result of the underground workings, and today, if it was still standing it would be a credit to Burnbank.

Glenlee House (South Front) Beams holding up the south front wall due to Subsidence from the underground coal mines.
Glenlee House (South Front) Beams holding up the south front wall due to Subsidence from the underground coal mines.
The Gatekeepers Lodge that was situated at the corner between Russell Street & Burnbank Road.
The Gatekeepers Lodge that was situated at the corner between Russell Street & Burnbank Road.
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2 thoughts on “Glenlee House”

  1. In 1967 my wife and I were preparing to leave Hamilton and emigrate to theUnited States. As the process was taking 9 months my wife Janette ( previously Janette Graham ) took a job driving the cooperative grocery bus. One of her stops was to deliver Grocery’s to Joe Gans and Walter McGowen at his gym in Glenlee House it brings back fond memories.

    Terry & Janette Bouette

    Liked by 1 person

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