THE lands of Belvidere extend to twenty-five acres, and are situated about two miles eastward from Glasgow, on the line of "London Road" leading from Bridgeton to Clyde Iron Works. They are bounded on the east by the lands of Westthorn, on the west by those of Springbank, and the Clyde skirts them on the south. A right of salmon fishing was attached to the property.

Belvidere is not the old name. The lands are composed of several lots, which anciently formed parts of Wester Dalbeth and of Westthorn. One of the largest of these lots was called "The Little Newlands," and the whole became consolidated in the person of John M'Call, merchant in Glasgow, about the year 1760.

This gentleman was the son of Mr. Samuel M'Call, one of the old Virginia Dons and a magistrate in 1723. (1) The father built the handsome edifice which stood at the south-east corner of Queen and Argyle Streets, facing the latter, and which, having been constructed with dark coloured stones from the Black Quarry, had a sombre appearance, and obtained the popular appellation of "M'Call's Black House." To the last generation it was a well known street-edifice, and a drawing of it appears in the curious volume by the late Robert Stuart, entitled "Views and Notices of Glasgow in Former Times."

Mr. John M'Call succeeded to this fine old town residence. He was a leading merchant, and one of the six original partners of the aristocratic Thistle Bank, which commenced in 1761 under the social firm of Sir "Walter Maxwell of Pollok, James Ritchie & Company."

When Mr. M'Call purchased the portions of ground in the eastern district before referred to, he built the mansion represented in the photograph, and gave the whole property the classical name, Belvidere. On 12th November 1764 lie espoused Helen Cross, daughter of Robert Cross, and had several sons and daughters. One of the latter became the wife, in 1786, of Alexander Bonar, banker, Edinburgh; another, in 1789, was married to Robert M'Nair of Jeanfield, in the immediate vicinity of Belvidere. Mr. M'Call died at Belvidere on 8th October, 1790; and his testamentary trustees sold that property, in April following, to Mr. M'Nair, his son-in-law. (2)

Mr. Robert M'Nair, who thus became proprietor of Belvidere, was grandson of Robert M'Nair of "The Easter Sugar House," Gallowgate, a well known citizen in the middle of last century. At the time of his death in 1779. he was the largest owner of house property in Glasgow. The lands and mansion of Jeanfield (3) also belonged to him, and to these his grandson now referred to succeeded in 1787. But a few years after his acquisition of Belvidere he sold Jeanfield to John Mennons, publisher of the Glasgow Advertiser, who in his turn sold the lands in 1798 to John Finlayson, merchant in Glasgow, son of the minister of Carstairs, and brother-in-law of Mr. M'Nair.

Mr. M'Nair of Belvidere was an extensive sugar refiner in Glasgow. He had been a partner with his father (also named Robert) in the concern of Robert M'Nair & Son of the Gallowgate Sugar Works. But after the death in 1787 of Belvidere's father (Robert No. 2), Belvidere assumed his younger brother James as a partner, and the firm became Robert and James M'Nair. They acquired from Provost Wyllie's heirs a piece of open ground at the south-west corner of Ingram and Queen Streets, opposite what is now the Royal Exchange, and built thereon a new sugar house, to which they transferred their sugar refining business from the Gallowgate. This was in the end of last century. (4)

This new sugar house stood as a very prominent object many years. It was a huge clumsy-looking edifice of four storeys, fronting both Ingram and Queen Streets, the entrance being from the latter. There were rows of small square windows, and the whole building was very dingy from its smoke. Exactly opposite to it, in the then dull and dreary Ingram Street (formerly "the Back Cow Lone"), stood "the Highland Kirk," a very primitive looking structure, in the grim anti-burgher style of architecture, with steep-pitched roof, and a sombre wooden railing fixed on the top of a very unpretending low dyke. How changed everything now is in that locality! The site of the dreary sugar house is occupied by the great tenement built by the late Messrs. Carsewell, who did so much in their day to embellish the city. It was sold a few years ago for 30,000, and now forms part of the huge warehouse of Arthur & Co.

Mr. M'Nair continued to reside at Belvidere till about 1813, when he removed to Leith, on his appointment as collector of customs there, and Belvidere was sold in that year to Mr. Mungo Nutter Campbell.

Mr. Campbell was a well known citizen. He was the son of Mr. Alexander Campbell of Dallingburn, Renfrewshire, Comptroller of Customs, Port-Glasgow. To this estate of Dallingburn the son succeeded. He was a partner of the old firm of Messrs. John Campbell senr. & Co., West India merchants, Buchanan Street, and became Lord Provost of Glasgow in 1824.

About seven years after Mr. Campbell's acquisition of Belvidere, he sold it to Mr. David Wardrop, son of James Wardrop of Torbanehill, now so celebrated for its minerals. (5) Mr. David Wardrop wrought extensively the coal in Belvidere. He was also partner of the firm of Wardrop & Harvie, power loom cloth manufacturers in Glasgow.

Belvidere subsequently passed from Mr. Wardrop to Mr. William Holdsworth; from him, in 1851, to the late Mr. Robert Miller, ironmaster; then to Mr. John S. Miller of the Springfield dye-works in the vicinity; finally, in 1870, for 17,000, to the Board of Health of Glasgow, as a site for an hospital for fever and other infectious diseases.


The M'Calls have been settled in Glasgow since the end of the seventeenth century. The first of them who came to the city was Samuel, a younger son of a Galloway family. He was a successful merchant, and in 1723 was a Magistrate of Glasgow. In 1736 he was elected Dean of Guild, an office, however, which he did not accept, and he died in 1759.

I. - Samuel M'Call,

Bailie of Glasgow in 1723, married, 1st, Isabel Blackburn (see Househill), and had a family who settled in America and are now a flourishing race there. He married, 2nd, Margaret Adam, and had (1.) JOHN, of whom afterwards. (2.) WILLIAM, who died without issue in 1763. (3.) JAMES of Braehead, a merchant in Glasgow. He married in 1761 Sarah Reid, sister of Robert Reid of Adamton, Ayrshire, and had (1.) Samuel, who married Elizabeth Poole, and had James, late Colonel of the 7th Hussars, and others. (2.) Elizabeth, died young. (3.) Elizabeth, married David Russell. They had a son and a daughter: James, the son, married Mary Stirling, and was the father of General Sir David Russell, K.C.B., Admiral John Russell, R.N., Graham Russell, now Graham Somervell of Sorn, Marion (Mrs. William Houston of Johnstone), &c., &c.; the daughter, Sarah, married James Crawford, and was the mother of David Russell Crawford, James Crawford, Joseph Crawford, Jane Tucker Crawford (Mrs. Ewing of Strathleven), and others. (4.) Thomas of Craighead, who married Martha Denroche, and had seventeen children, of whom Sarah married the late Dr. A. D. Anderson of Glasgow, and had issue: Eliza, married Archibald Smith, and had issue; Thomas, of John M'Call & Co., who died lately, married Anne Nisbet Lockhart, and had issue; John, merchant in Glasgow, who died unmarried in 1864; Barbara, married William Leycester, and had issue; Helen, married Colin Robert Dunlop, and had issue; William, late Colonel of the 79th regiment, died 1876. (5.) Margaret, died young. (6.) Sarah, died unmarried. (7.) Marion, died young. (8.) Helen, married Henry Wallis of Maryborough, county Cork, and had James, who is now settled in Canada, Sarah, who married William Smith of Guthrie Carbeth, and Margaret, married George Dennistoun, and was the mother of James Wallis Dennistoun, now of Dennistoun, and others. (9.) John of Ibroxhill, who married Isabella Smith, and died without issue. (10.) James of Daldowie (his twin brother), see Daldowie. (11.) Mary, married Fulton M'Kerrell, and had Sarah (Mrs. P. C. Hirschfield) and Mary (Mrs. Donald Smith). (12.) Margaret, died unmarried. (4.) GEORGE, a Virginia merchant in Glasgow, of the firms of George M'Call & Co. and M'Call & Smellie. He had a fine house on the west side of Queen Street with a large garden behind. His wife was Mary Smellie, a sister of his partner, Archibald Smellie of Easterhill, whom he married in 1765. He had sixteen children: (1.) Christian; (2.) Margaret; (3.) Samuel of Linnburn, died 1855, aged eighty-eight; (4.) Mary, married John Taylor of Kirktonhill; (5.) Archibald; (6.) George, married Ann Wilson, and had issue; (7.) John, died 1808; (8.) Christian, died 1861; (9.) Richard; (10.) William; (11.) Margaret; (12.) James, died 1853, married Janet Ker, and had George, who married Grace Milne, and died leaving issue, James, of James M'Call & Sons, wine merchants, Glasgow, who married his cousin, Eliza Mona M'Call, and has issue; and Ann; (13.) Catherine, married John Brown of Langside, and had issue; (14.) Henry Ritchie; (15.) Margaret; (16.) Archibald, married Elizabeth Dow and had issue, Colonel George M'Call. (5.) ARCHIBALD, married Catherine Flood and settled in America. (6.) MARION, married John Anderson and had seven children: (1.) William; (2.) John; (3.) Marion, married the Rev. Mr. Hunter and had issue; (4.) Elizabeth; (5.) Helen; (6.) Sarah; (7.) Robert. (7.) HELEN married Andrew Thomson of Faskin, a partner of her brother George, and founder of the Banking House of A. G. & A. Thomson. They had ten children: (1.) George, married, 1st, Elizabeth Allan, 2nd, Miss Graham; (2.) Margaret married, 1st, Mr. Johnstone, 2nd, the well known Dr. Cleghorn; (3.) Helen, died 1853; (4.) John, married H. Middlemore; (5.) James, married Miss Archer; (6.) Andrew, married Miss Henderson; (7.) Rebecca, married James Hunter; (8.) Samuel; (9.) William; (10.) Samuel, married Miss Heywood. (8.) MARGARET, died 1760, aged thirty years.


John M'Call was born 1715. He was, as already stated, eldest son of Samuel M'Call. He married Helen Cross, and had issue, ten children, viz.: (1.) SARAH, married Alexander Bonar, banker, Edinburgh, and had issue, seven daughters, of whom Margaret married Andrew Tawse, W.S., and three sons John, Alexander, and Alexander; (2.) MARGARET married James Spreull, of Linthouse, and had five daughters - Margaret, Helen, Hannah, Janet, Sarah, and five sons - John, James, married Margaret Lamb Finlayson, and died without issue, Samuel, Samuel, William; (3.) HELEN married Robert M'Nair, of Jeanfield, and had three sons and six daughters; (4.) SAMUEL, of whom afterwards; (5.) JOHN; (6.) MARION, married John Mackintosh and had Helen, Ebenezer, and Marion; (7.) GRACE, married John Caw, and had Helen, John, Jane, Samuel, Grace, Annie; (8.) ROBERT; (9.) WILLIAM, married Agnes Liston, and had six sons and three daughters; (10.) ELIZABETH.


Married Margaret Wallace, and had issue: (1.) JOHN, of whom afterwards; (2.) WILLIAM; (3.) MERCY; (4.) SAMUEL.

IV. - JOHN M'CALL, merchant in Glasgow,

Married Eliza Mona Grice, and had issue: (1.) ISABELLA; (2.) SAMUEL, of whom afterwards; (3.) ELEANOR JANE; (4.) ELIZA MONA, who married her cousin James M'Call, of James M'Call & Sons, Glasgow, and has issue; (5.) REVEREND JOHN HENRY GRICE, married, 1877, Emily Augusta Munsey.


Great-great-grandson of Samuel, the first of the Glasgow M'Calls, is a partner of James M'Call & Sons, West George Street, Glasgow. He is the head of the family, and is still (1878) unmarried.


The Houldsworths are one of our few Southron families (the Dixons and Higginbothams are others) who have made their way to the front through the crowd of native competitors. They have been successively cotton spinners, machinery makers, iron founders, and latterly large iron masters in Lanarkshire and in Ayrshire. And they have thriven in all their trades. They have also made fortunate purchases of land. Their villa of Cranstonhill is now covered with streets, and Coltness has turned out to be full of valuable mineral.

Henry Houldsworth of Cranstonhill, and latterly of Coltness, the father of William Houldsworth of Belvidere, was a native of Nottinghamshire, for the northern division of which county Thomas Houldsworth, his elder brother, was afterwards member. He came here towards the close of last century when our cotton spinning trade was in its infancy. He was originally connected with the old Woodside cotton mill of the Gillespies, which stood on the site of the existing factory above Hillhead bridge. He was long Provost of the old burgh of Anderston, in which Cranstonhill lay. He died at Coltness in 1853, aged 80 years.

By his wife, Miss Richardson, he had [with three daughters, (1.) Anne, married to James Murray of Manchester; (2.) Jane, married to the Rev. John Grierson, minister of Dunblane, died 1875; (3.) Mary, married to James Hunter of Newmains, died 1868] three sons.

(1.) HENRY HOULDSWORTH, second of Coltness, a partner in the extensive cotton spinning business in Manchester founded by his uncle, Thomas Houldsworth of Farnsfield M.P. He lived a great part of his life there, and was highly respected. He died in 1867, leaving with other children James, now of Coltness, Thomas of Farnsfield (died 1876), and William Henry of Manchester and of Coodham, Ayrshire, married Elizabeth, daughter of the late Walter Crum of Thornliebank.

(2.) WILLIAM HOULDSWORTH of Belvidere, who was born in Manchester in 1798, died in 1853, and who by his wife, Mary Trueman, left with other children (1.) William, married Sara, daughter of Alexander Abercrombie, merchant, Glasgow; Joseph Henry; and Sophia, wife of Professor George H. B. Macleod.

(3.) JOHN HOULDSWORTH of Cranstonhill, born there in 1807, died at Glasgow in 1859. He was an able man of business, and well known and liked in society. By his wife, Eliza Muir, daughter of John Muir, calico printer, Glasgow, he left with other children (1.) Henry, of Carrick House, Ayr, and John Muir. Like his father before him, John Houldsworth of Cranstonhill was long Provost of the burgh of Anderston, which, like Cranstonhill itself, has now been swallowed up by Glasgow.

Mrs. Murray is now sole survivor of the family of Henry Houldsworth first of Coltness. His sister was the wife of William Hussey of Newhall, Greenhead, a well known cotton spinner of his day. Their family is represented here by a grandson, Robert Davidson, writer.

(1) His first house was in the Gallowgate, on the north side, just where the Molendinar crosses it.

(2) See note on the M'Calls of Glasgow at the end of this notice.

(3) Jeanfield House was perhaps one of the most grotesque looking country residences around Glasgow. The approach to it was from the old Edinburgh road, at Parkhead. The lands originally formed part of the estate of Tollcross, and were purchased by Mr. M'Nair senr. in 1764. He built the house from a plan of his own, and named the property "Jeanfield," after his wife. It was demolished in 1847, and the lands now form the Eastern Necropolis.

(4) Mr. James M'Nair built the fine villa of Calder Park, about four miles eastward from Glasgow, on the old mail road, near the Broomhouse toll, where the turnpike diverges to Holytown and Hamilton. See "Calder Park."

(5) A brother of Mr. David Wardrop, named James, an eminent medical man, was Surgeon to George IV., who offered him a baronetcy. He was born at Torbanehill, 14th August 1782, and died in London, 13th February 1869.

NOTES: Updated for 1st March, 2010.

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