The architect of Baron Mure's new house at Caldwell was Robert Adam, whom he had doubtless met through their mutual friendship with Lord Bute. Moreover, Baron Mure had two nephews who were also patrons of Robert Adam: William Rouet at Bel Retiro in 1770, and Hutchinson Mure at Great Saxham House in 1775-79. Adam made three designs for Caldwell, starting in 1771 with two alternative schemes for a neo-classical house. This was followed with the executed scheme in 1773, which was a reworked version of the larger of Adam's two neo-classical schemes, albeit comprising a late example of Adam's early castle style (Ugbrooke Castle, Devon, and Whitehaven Castle, Cumbria, are other examples of this style). Through this work Adam became friends with Baron Mure, and relied heavily on his legal and business expertise during preparations for the Adelphi lottery.
Caldwell was constructed in 1773-74, but it is not known if Adam provided interior decorative designs for the house. The estate was sold by Baron Mure’s son, Colonel William Mure, shortly after his death in 1776. Alterations were made in the nineteenth century, including the addition of a large entrance porch on the north front in c1840. It remained a family home until 1927, when the house was converted into a mental health hospital for children. At this time various extensions were made, and the surviving eighteenth- and nineteenth-century interiors were lost. The hospital closed in 1983, and was purchased by a developer with a view to turning it into a residential care home for older people. This was never realised, and the house suffered a serious fire in 1995. It is now a ruinous shell, and was added to the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland in 2003. Since 2010, however, there have been plans to renovate the building, and convert it into flats.
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume I, p. 69, Volume II, Index pp. 5, 81; A. Rowan, Deigns for castles and country villas by Robert & James Adam, 1985, p. 94; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, pp. 156, 162-64, Volume II, p 123; W. Adams, 'Classical Paisley', The Georgian, Summer 2003, p. 7; 'Mure, William (1718-76), of Caldwell, Renfrew', History of Parliament online; 'Caldwell House, Gleniffer Road', British listed buildings online
Frances Sands, 2013
Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.
Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).
Contents of Caldwell House, Beith, East Renfrewshire: executed and unexecuted designs for rebuilding the house for Baron William Mure, 1771-73 (18)
- Preliminary design and designs for a modest neo-classical house (1st scheme), 1771, unexecuted (3)
- Preliminary designs and designs for a neo-classical house (2nd scheme), 1771, unexecuted (7)
- Designs and finished drawings for a castle-style house (3rd scheme), 1773, executed with minor alterations (8)