Craigend Castle to the north of Milngavie, photographed in 1870 by Thomas Annan.
The lands of Craigend were part of the Barony of Mugdock in medieval times, but the estate was sold in the mid-17th century to the Smith family. John Smith (1724-1812) was born at Craigend and became a West Indies merchant and the founder, in 1751, of the famous firm of booksellers, John Smith & Son. Smith built a plain house on the estate. After his death his son, James, incorporated that house in a much more ornate mansion, depicted in the photograph. It was designed by Alexander Ramsay (reputedly with some assistance from James Smith of Jordanhill) in what is described as Regency Gothic style.
William Wilson and his son, the proprietors of a miniature zoo in Oswald Street, opened a new zoo at Craigend in 1949 with various exotic creatures including an elephant, lions, monkeys and crocodiles. It failed to attract significant numbers of visitors and closed in 1954. The grounds became part of Mugdock Country Park and the house has become a ruin.
Reference: Sp Coll Dougan Add. 73
Glasgow University Library, Special Collections
booksellers, castles, country houses, country parks, Craigend Castle, John Smith & Son, mansions, Mugdock Country Park, Regency Gothic, stationers (retail), West Indies merchants, zoos