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History of Ross Hall

The earliest records indicate Ross Hall Estate was developed by the Rosse family of Hawkhead who originally owned the land and have a long association with the area dating back as far as the 13th century.

 William Rosse, son of the Laird of Hawkhead and Rosshall, upon his father’s death is known to have settled his father’s estate at Rosshall in 1683.

In the early 18th century the estate was owned by Glasgow Merchant Peter Murdoch, who is attributed with laying out the grounds, of the first house to occupy the site known as Rosshill, (Site of the boiler house etc). He also planted trees and created several walks forming the basis of the current landscape.

 During the 1870’s the estate was purchased by James Cowan who built the distinctive three-storey red sandstone house to replace the first house. Rosshill was utilised as a boiler house to the new mansion and also had a palm house.  Built in a Scots 17th century revivalist style the interior reflected the then contemporary style of Chinoiserie, oriental influences on European interiors and garden designs. The mansionhouse was designed to house and display James Cowan’s collection of silver, jewellery, porcelain, books and paintings. In 1982 the house was purchased for the use as a private hospital and the construction of a new 100-bed extension and car park began. Rosshall BMI Hospital was opened in November 1983 and continues to provide private health care. 
   
James Cowan developed the grounds, bringing in the nationally acclaimed company of Pulham & Son to construct a substantial rock garden.  

After the death of James Cowan in 1907, the estate was purchased by Fredrick Lobnitz, the owner of a shipbuilding company based in Renfrew who lived at Rosshall between 1908 and 1947. He continued to develop the grounds and took a particular interest in the rock garden, where he introduced many specimen plants imported from overseas. Through this process, the horticultural content of the gardens was improved and by 1920 Rosshall boasted an outstanding fernery within the grotto and an extensive range of specimen trees and shrubs of generally an Asian/Oriental character. Many of these remain today, but much of the ornamental planting within the rock garden has perished.
 

Sitting at the end of the impressive lawn is the lily pond which has been created through a process of cut and fill in order to provide depressions and channels for the water features. The pond has two islands, the larger had stepping stones on to it but these have since disappeared. At the eastern end of the pond is a boathouse which was designed for punts which the family would have used. The boathouse has an internal ledge from which access could be gained to/from the punts. 

 


In 1948 the Corporation of Glasgow purchased the estate at a value of £17,000 and leased the mansion house and gardens to the Glasgow and West of Scotland Commercial College

 

  In 1966, the grounds to the mansion house and adjoining parkland were officially opened as a public park.

 In 1981, the mansion house and land adjoining Crookston Road was sold by GCC to Glasgow Independent Hospital Trust.

In 1994, the stables complex was sold for development.

 In 2001 The Rock Garden structures were listed Category B and as such it represents the only garden of its type to receive listed status in Scotland. 

 The rock garden of Rosshall represents the finest example of Pulham and Sons work in Scotland








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