Glorious Gardens: Carfin and Crossford Park
Clyde Valley connections with Portugal
- Sue Hewer, Scotland’s Gardens and Designed Landscape Heritage volunteer
Estates are often seen as a world on their own. In fact, they were often the biggest employer in the area. One look at the Ordnance Survey map of Carfin at the end of the 19th century shows just how much seasonal work must have been provided by the estate, as below. There are orchards almost wherever you look on the map and orchards provide seasonal employment opportunities.
It is said of Carfin, that the end of the 19th century was its golden age. It was fortunate enough to have been purchased by James Noble Graham in 1880. Graham had money to invest in the estate.
Unlike many owners, the money came not from mineral extraction on the estate or profits from merchant activity in Glasgow. It came from Portugal where Graham was heavily involved in the port trade. By developing the estate the family employed a growing number of people from Crossford and the surrounding area. As a result, the economy of the local area was buoyant.
Notable amongst Graham's additions to the estate is the ornamental suspension bridge, an extension to the house and the Riverside Walk which is bordered by what are now mature specimen trees including oak, Scots pine, Corsican pine, lime, Norway spruce, laurel and rhododendron. The North Park Folly is also considered to have been the work of Graham.
Sadly the golden age of Carfin was not long lasting. On the death of Mr and Mrs Graham in 1928 the estate was sold off and never regained its former status within the community.
Take a virtual walk through of Carfin and Crossford Park on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map, 1896, comparing what remains of the site today on the video below. Read more by clicking the Glorious Gardens: Carfin and Crossford Park report on Canmore link under 'Find out more'.
This research was carried out as part of the Glorious Gardens volunteer project, which is managed by Scotland's Garden & Landscape Heritage and delivered by Northlight Heritage, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership and from Historic Environment Scotland. To find out more about the project, explore the other museum items below.