Blythswood House was situated on the right bank of the river Cart, near its junction with the Clyde. It was built in 1821 by Archibald Campbell of Blythswood, then M.P. for the Glasgow District of Burghs, which comprehended Glasgow Rutherglen Renfrew and Dumbarton.
The house contained a well known laboratory which was used from 1892 to 1905 to experiment into many areas at the borders of physics, including the use of cathode rays, X-rays, spectroscopy and radioactivity.
The name of the estate on which the house stands is Ranfield. It was purchased in 1654 by Provost Colin Campbell (1) of Glasgow from Mr. John Hay, parson of Renfrew. There was an ancient mansion on Ranfield, (2) which continued to be the residence of the Campbells of Blythswood till 1821, when the present edifice was built near the site of the old one. Mr. Archibald Campbell then changed the name of the mansion to "Blythswood House," in commemoration of the valuable estate of that name on which such a large portion of the west part of Glasgow now stands.
It was the same Provost Colin Campbell before alluded to who purchased the lands of Blythswood. This he did about 1670 (sixteen years after acquiring Ranfield), from the creditors of Sir George Elphinstone. They extended to upwards of 470 acres, stretching westward from what are now called Mitchell and West Nile Streets, along the north side of Argyle Street and Dumbarton Road. One of the streets on the Blythswood lands, Renfield Street, is named after the other old estate already mentioned.
The town residence of the Campbells was on the south side of Bridgegate, and continued so down till about 1760. This Bridgegate house was sold in 1803, and in after years became famous as the scene of the labours of a once well known cuisinière.
Blythswood House remained the seat of the Lords Blythswood until its demolition in 1935. Five years later the family title became extinct.
The Campbells of Blythswood in the direct line, having thus again failed, the Douglases of Mains for the second time furnished a successor to Blythswood, in the person of Archibald Douglas of Mains. He took the name of Campbell, and, under the entail, gave up the estate of Mains to his brother Colin. On his death in 1868 Archibald Campbell Campbell, his eldest son, succeeded (see Mains).
(2) Hamilton of Wishaw, in the beginning of last century, describes the ancient mansion of Ranfield as "one of the most singularly pleasant places in all this neighbourhood. The house, though good, is not repute suitable to the fynes of the dwelling. It hath large gardens, well planted both with fruit trees and barren timber, and other conveniences of good office houses, warehouses, herrinhouses."
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Last modified: Tuesday, 01 December 2015