Rich history of Low Parks and Hamilton Palace uncovered

Published: Friday 1 July 2022

This image shows SLLC employee Peter Kerr with the Tales of the Palace and Low Parks booklet outside Low Parks Museum

Did you know there were once plans for Hamilton to have its own airport?

Or for the town to play a part in hosting an Olympic Games?

Many people might not even know the reason why the Palace Grounds is named as such – it used to be home to a magnificent 140-room palace, significantly rebuilt by Duke Alexander, the 10th Duke of Hamilton, in the 19th century, with the original palace first built in 1549.

These stories and many more are brought together in a fascinating 28-page booklet now available from Low Parks Museum in Hamilton.

Tales of the Palace and Low Parks has been a “labour of love” for self-confessed history enthusiast Peter Kerr, a Site Assistant with South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture.

One of Peter’s many regular tasks at the Museum is to give guided tours of Hamilton Mausoleum. During these tours, he enjoys chatting to visitors about local history and has amassed a wealth of information from newspaper articles, town council minutes and Hamilton estate records.

When his colleague Christine Slowey noticed the files and notes he had, she suggested it would be a great idea to pull them all together in the one document.

Peter said: “Doing the tours means I always need to be sure about the facts surrounding not just the Mausoleum, but also the surrounding areas.

“Having always had an interest in history, it was really a labour of love to delve more deeply into exactly what used to be in this area.  

“As well as being available to the public, it also means newer members of staff can also familiarise themselves with the history of the area and hopefully answer any questions visitors might ask.

“And if we don’t know the answer, well, that’s always an excuse to go away and do more research.”

This image shows SLLC employees Christine Slowey and Peter Kerr looking at files which assisted in the publication of the Tales of The Palace and Low Parks booklet


The first lockdown because of the pandemic meant Low Parks Museum was closed to visitors with many staff working from home or assigned to different roles.

Peter said: “This allowed me to really focus on pulling all the information together and getting the booklet finished.

“The history of the Dukes of Hamilton down through the years is fascinating in itself, and of course the museum touches on much of that, and I believe the booklet is a handy companion for any visitor.”

Commercial Officer Christine, who along with Museums Collection Officer Sharon Paton helped edit the book, said: “Front of house staff have developed a great local knowledge over the years of working in the museum and not surprisingly have a passionate interest in local stories.

“It seemed such a good idea to compile all of the various snippets of information and research, since they get so many interested visitors asking questions about the Mausoleum and Hamilton Palace. There are lots of quirky wee stories which people find interesting, as the booklets’ popularity has shown. It was hard to choose the stories, since there are so many.

“There’s plenty more in the pipeline for a follow up booklet later in the year.”

Tales of the Palace and Low Parks, priced just £3, is available from reception at Low Parks Museum and the gift shop at Chatelherault Country Park. Tours of the Mausoleum can also be booked by email or by calling 01698 452382.