Kilnside House

Glencoats- click for larger version

The house was completed in 1890 in Ferguslie Park on the other side of the railway line from Ferguslie House, again close to the family business, Ferguslie Mills. It is said to have been built on the site of the old Ferguslie Castle. The architect Hippolyte J Blanc's design was exhibited in 1887, the stables were built to his design in 1888 as was the lodge in 1891. There were at least two extensions to the house including one phase in 1908. It was gifted to the Royal Alexandra Infirmary as an auxilliary hospital in 1934, closed in 1972 and demolished in 1980.

This 1930 photo shows the mills, the pond in Ferguslie gardens, Ferguslie House and Glencoats (top).

glencoats aerial click for larger version

Son of the late Mr. Thomas Coats, of Ferguslie and Maxwelltown, and Margaret, daughter of Mr. Thomas Glen, Thornhill, Renfrewshire, Sir Thomas Glen-Coats was born at Ferguslie House, Paisley in 184, and was educated at Queenwood College, Hampshire. He was a director of the great thread-making firm of J. & P. Coats, Ltd. He also had a long and honourable service as an officer of volunteers, being an Honorary Colonel and formerly Commandant of the 2nd V.B. Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

He assumed the additional surname of Glen in 1894, and received the honour of a baronetcy in the same year. A Liberal in politics, he was a member of various Liberal clubs and organisations in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and London. He was elected M.P. for West Renfrewshire in 1906 and on the death of Lord Blythswood was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire in August, 1908. He had two sons and one daughter. Lady Glen Coats was a very well respected political campaigner in her own right.

Thomas Glen Coats

His son Thomas Glen-Coats was an illustrious designer who worked for A Mylne & Co as a naval architect and produced some wonderful race winning yachts. His most famous victory was winning Gold for Great Britain in the 1908 Olympics. Contested in his home waters of the Clyde, sailing onboard ‘Hera’, Glen-Coats pushed the Alfred Mylne designed yacht ‘Mouchette’ into Silver medal position. On his father's death in 1922 he became a baronet. The baronetcy became extinct on his death as he had no children.

BBC - The Yacht Hera: Paisley's Olympic Champion 1908

The Coats name became famous worldwide. This is one of the stranger episodes.

Coats Land, a one-hundred-and-fifty mile stretch of the coast of the Antarctic continent discovered by the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition of 1902-1904, was named after the Paisley thread-manufacturing family, to which the main financial backers of the Expedition belonged.

Major Andrew Coats and his younger brother James Coats junior between them provided over 30,000 of the 36,405 raised to finance the Expedition, while another brother, Sir Thomas Glen Coats, contributed generously to the costs of publishing some of the scientific results.

In The Hospital World of December 1933, it was reported that

The mansion house and part of the pleasure grounds of Ferguslie Park, Paisley, have been presented to the Royal Alexandra Infirmary, Paisley, as a memorial to the late Sir Thomas and Lady Glen-Coats and Major A. Harold Glen-Coats, together with a sum of money to form an endowment fund which will make a substantial contribution towards the cost of maintenance and running expenses. The donors are Sir Thomas Glen-Coats, Mrs.E. H. T. Parsons, and Harold Glen-Coats.

Glencoats 1979 - click for larger version

One bizarre postcript to the gift of the hospital to the people of Paisley was the legend of the ghost of Lady Glen Coats. It was said that she could be heard playing the piano in the upper part of the building, when not standing over sleeping patients. The story was reported in the Paisley Daily Express so it must be true !

Glencoats 1904 - click for larger version