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The Keepers Story

The Keepers House at Hamilton Mausoleum, Palace Grounds. The House, keepers and importance of this building. The Palace grounds today have very little to show of its historic splendour of Hamilton Palace and gardens. But what it does have left today, the magnificent Mausoleum and the forgotten Keepers House. The Architect for the Keepers House and Mausoleum was David Bryce RSA 1803 – 1876 Scotland’s most prominent Victorian architects. The house was constructed and engineered to be part of the mausoleum. Constructed at the same time as the mausoleum itself, and using the same fine stone mined not quarried from Crowhill Quarry between Springburn and Bishopbriggs sent by railway to Motherwell, then carted to the Palace Grounds. The Dukes own master masons would have been involved in its construction. This building has many fine features of the mason’s work including the impressive chimney stack which was engineered to take the smoke from the heating system that the Mausoleum had, that kept the Hamilton family warm when visiting their Ancestors. They calculated the height of the chimney to get the correct draw of smoke from the furnace or otherwise it would smoke fill the Mausoleum, hence its predominant height feature. The Mausoleum was finally completed in 1858 so 1858 is a possible date for when the house was ready to be occupied by the Keeper. The first Keeper Arthur Nisbet born abt 1800 in Hamilton died 1879. Arthur in early employment was a weaver to trade, then to become “The Keeper” and move from Larkhall to Hamilton Palace grounds and gardens, into what could be described as “the finest working man’s house in the Clyde Valley”. Arthur Nisbet was paid two shillings a day and worked six days each week looking after the Mausoleum. Arthur’s occupation is also recorded as Park Warden on his grandson’s death certificate in 1863 so his responsibilities must have extended beyond the Mausoleum itself. When Arthur died in 1879, his son William Currie Nisbet took up the post of Keeper of the Mausoleum. William won many prizes for his great pride and interest in his garden. hoto William Currie Nisbet and wife Mary Haddow at front of Keepers House possible date 1900…Last Keeper… Henry Swinburne Thomson, he took up post in 1970 till 1977. Initially the job title was Mausoleum Curator although over time the role developed and Henry was given responsibility for providing guided tours for visitors. The Thomson family did not move into Keepers House but lived in a bungalow in the Palace Grounds just up from the Golf Club Car Park. Last occupancy of the Keepers house abt 1968.Today now that the vegetation has died back, it is an ideal time to start to clear out the litter and vegetation, find the old pathways and open up this site to generate more interest.