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Ralston

Ralston facing East

Ralston facing East

View a gallery of images from one of the Cayzer family's home estates: Ralston, Renfrewshire.

Sir Charles Cayzer bought Ralston House in1890 and then proceeded, with the help of the architectural firm, J. & J. Hutchinson, to transform it from a country house into what the periodical press described as a "palatial" residence.   Amongst other things he installed electric lighting and a well-stocked library as well as creating a winter garden and an aviary.   More than one hundred craftsmen carried out the work and on its completion Sir Charles gave them a sumptuous supper at a hotel in Glasgow.

Gartmore

Exterior of Gartmore House

By the later 1890s Ralston was being threatened by the creeping suburbs of Glasgow so, reluctantly, Sir Charles searched for a new family home.  His choice fell upon Gartmore, near Aberfoyle in Perthshire, which he bought from the colourful, but by now penniless,  Robert Bontine Cunnighame Graham to whose family it had belonged for centuries.   Accustomed to the comforts of modern living, Sir Charles found it necessary to make radical changes to the attractive late 17th century house:  in fact he gutted it, employing as his architect, David Barclay, a pupil of Charles Rennie-Macintosh.   In addition, he made considerable improvements to both the farms and village houses which formed part of the estate, as well as renovating Gartmore church.   "The village, formerly so neglected, now looks like a thriving hamlet..." wrote a former resident.    These words reflected the gratitude of many.   Gartmore was to become Sir Charles's favourite home.

Kinpurnie Castle

Exterior of Kinpurnie Castle

By 1902, when he began to have more leisure and his taste for building was developing into one of his greatest passions, Sir Charles decided to build a house which would fully express his ideas in domestic architecture.   For that purpose he acquired a tract of land nestling below the Sidlaw Hllls near Newtyle in Angus.   Named Kinpurnie Castle, the house was built in the Scots baronial style being designed by Patrick Thoms, a pupil of the well-known Sir Robert Lorimer.   As had been the case at Gartmore, Sir Charles became a great benefactor to the village of Newtyle, building houses there and presenting the villagers with a piece of land for conversion into a public park.

Family Album

Photographs of Charles and Agnes Cayzer and their children from their early years in Bombay up until the outbreak of the Great War.