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Kilmardinny House

A large A-listed Classical mansion on Kilmardinny Avenue in Bearsden (East Dunbartonshire), Kilmardinny House is now in use as a community space and offices. Overlooking Kilmardinny Loch, it comprises a two-storey house in broached ashlar, set in mature landscaped gardens which now include a 100-vehicle car park to the west. The house developed under the influence of several proprietors in the 19th century. In turn, they were the Glasgow merchant John Leitch who made extensive alterations to an older building. It was bought by another merchant William Brown by 1833, who sold it to William Whyte in 1844, who was also a merchant. Around 1853, the house passed to Robert Dalglish (1808-80) a wealthy businessman who served as Liberal MP for Glasgow (1857-74). Dalglish made extensive alterations, and commissioned the opulent interior.

A pillared portico provides access to a small vestibule and from there into particularly fine central hall featuring a wide Imperial staircase with wrought-iron balusters. The interior is by James Smith (1808-63) and features heavily classical plasterwork, painted ceilings, fine cornices and red marble Corinthian pilasters. The most remarkable feature is the balconied oval opening in the ceiling which allows light to penetrate to the lower hall from the unique enormous glass cupola above the upper hall. The double drawing room to the W, featuring a coffered ceiling, has been converted into an intimate theatre which seats 140. This features a small stage, sophisticated sound and lighting system, and two dressing rooms to the rear.

First listed in 1971 for its architectural significance, this was upgraded to the highest category in 1989.

Kilmardinny House was accepted from Lady MacDonald by the Burgh of Bearsden for the practice of education and the arts. It was managed as an arts centre by a voluntary guild of local people and Councillors from 1973 to 1997. It is now owned and operated by East Dunbartonshire Council. The first floor accommodates the Council's Cultural Services Headquarters and offices for the Arts & Events Team.


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