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Home | Museums | Low Parks Museum

Buildings

Buildings

Low Parks Museum is housed in two buildings formerly associated with the Dukes of Hamilton.

Both buildings are Grade A listed, meaning they are regarded to be of national significance.

The first of these buildings was built in 1696 as Portland, the private residence of David Crawford, lawyer and secretary to the 3rd Duke and Duchess of Hamilton.

Later, in 1784, the building was purchased by the 8th Duke of Hamilton, and became a coaching inn, known as the Hamilton Arms. The building was now enlarged, with the addition of a very fine Assembly Room, which survives today complete with its original plasterwork and musicians' gallery. This room was the setting for all the fashionable dances and social events in the town.

The Hamilton Arms Inn was the last stagecoach stop before Glasgow on the journey north. With the growth of tourism in Britain in the late 1700s, the inn became an important stop for visiting Hamilton Palace and the Falls of Clyde, and famous travellers, such as Dr Johnson and James Boswell, and Dorothy and William Wordsworth are all known to have stayed at the inn.

The building functioned as an inn until 1835, when the Duke of Hamilton converted it into his estates office. It served this function until 1963, when it was then purchased by the Town Council and opened as the first Burgh Museum in 1967.

The second Grade A listed building which forms the museum complex is the Palace Riding School, built by Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton, in 1837.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the Riding School was equipped with a gymnasium and regulation boxing ring and became The Douglas and Clydesdale Amateur Boxing Club. The club was founded by the Duke of Hamilton's son, the Marquis of Douglas and Clydesdale, who had himself earned a reputation as a skilled boxer while at Oxford University, and was nicknamed the 'Boxing Marquis'.

In 1983, the building was acquired by the Regimental Trustees of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) as a regimental museum.

These two important historical buildings - Portland and the Riding School - now house a museum complex, which has been 5 star-rated by Visit Scotland, the national tourist authority.