Kilnside House
Gallowhill House

Gallowhill House- click for larger version

Photograph by Thomas Annan

Gallowhill House, a large mansion designed in 1867 by the Glasgow architects, James Salmon & Son, was the home of Peter Kerr of Clark & Company, a firm of Paisley threadmakers. It was situated near what is now Priory Avenue close to the high flats.The architectural photographer, Harry Bedford Lemere, was commissioned to photograph the interior in 1890, his Gallowhill work can be seen here.

Before Kerr merged with Clark, his company was known as Underwood Mill of Underwood Road. In 1799 Underwood mill bought the first James Watt steam engine in Scotland. From this point onwards, water power became less important, as steam-powered cotton mills could be built on any street corner .

Peter Kerr's daughter Elizabeth Anne married Sir Hugh Houston Smiley of Drumalis, Northern Ireland. He was created 1st Baronet Smiley, of Drumalis, Larne, co. Antrim and Gallowhill, Paisley, Renfrewshire on 13 October 1903. The house then became associated with the Smiley name.

Their grandson Sir Hugh Houston Smiley married the glamorous Nancy Beaton, sister of the renowned photographer Cecil Beaton who photographed the high society of his day including Winston Churchill's official portrait , the Queen's coronation and most of the major Hollywood stars including Marilyn Monroe . The BBC made a documentary about him.

wedding - click for larger versionfamous shooting star photo of Nancy Beaton - click for larger versionNancy Beaton (standing) - click for larger version

Gallowhill was offered to the War Office by Lady Smiley to be used as a hospital for wounded soldiers She also donated items to the British Museum and funded the
Hugh Smiley day nursery in Paisley which is still open today. She died in 1999. The house was referred to as an auxiliary hospital in 1919.

A NEW DAY NURSERY FOR PAISLEY. At a recent meeting of the Committee of the Paisley Day Nursery, Lady Smiley expressed her desire to have the privilege of building and equipping a new day nursery free of charge in memory of her late husband, Sir Hugh H. Smiley, who was the originator of the nursery and took a great interest in the welfare of the children. She hoped the committee could at the same time see their way to raising an endowment fund.

Gallowhill House-  from RCAHMS

from Millar A H (1889) The castles and mansions of Renfrewshire and Buteshire

The modern mansion of Gallowhill stands in a commanding position, a short distance to the north-east of Paisley, and not far from the line of railway betwixt Glasgow id Paisley. The estate of Gallowhill has long been divided into two portions, described respectively as Over and Nether Gallowhill ; and both of these were included in the tem-poral lordship conferred upon Lord Claud Hamilton in 1587, when he was created Baron Paisley. At his death in 1621, his grandson, James, second Earl of Abercorn, succeeded him, and was retoured in all his possessions, including the lands of Over and Nether Gallowhile. The estate afterwards passed into the possession of the Dundonald family ; and n the death of John, second Earl of Dundonald, in 169o, his son William, third Earl, as retoured as heir of Gallowhill.

The place remained in the hands of the Cochranes F Dundonald until the time of Thomas, sixth Earl of Dundonald, who conferred Gallowhill upon his daughter, Lady Catherine Cochrane, as a marriage - portion. her husband, Captain William Wood, was descended from the Fifeshire families r Wood of Largo, Lundie of that Ilk, and Balfour of Burleigh. His uncle, Robert Wood, was Under-Secretary of State for Scotland; and his father, William Wood, as factor for the Duke of Hamilton. Captain Wood's eldest brother, John, was long Governor of the Isle of Man. Lady Catherine Cochrane died in I776, leaving an only daughter, Anne, who was married to Captain Samuel Rous Dottin, of the Dragoon ,uards.
Towards the close of last century the estate was divided into its original por[)ns of Over and Nether Gallowhill, and these passed into the hands of several distinct proprietors. One of the divisions was acquired by Mr. Thomas Clayton, from England, id another became the property of James Kibble of Whiteford, who was proprietor in 318. Since that time Gallowhill has had several proprietors.

The late Mr. Peter Kerr, of Messrs. Clark & Coy., Paisley, whose widow is the -present proprietrix, purchased the estate from the representatives of Mr. William Sim, . 1864, and in 1867 built the mansion now standing. It is built in the French Baronial style, from designs by Messrs. James Salmon & Son, F.R.I!B.A., Glasgow, and it is one of the finest mansion houses in the district.