Low Parks Museum

Low Parks Museum, Hamilton
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Low Parks Museum, Hamilton

Situated on Muir Street, the Low Parks Museum is a sizeable local history museum which is located in the oldest surviving building in Hamilton. Originally opened as the Burgh Museum in 1967, it was refurbished and re-opened in 2000. The museum includes displays and memorabilia telling the story of the town of Hamilton and South Lanarkshire, together with the fascinating history of the Duke of Hamilton's estates and in particular the demise of Hamilton Palace.

The Category 'A' listed building in which the museum is located was built in 1696 as a private house for David Crawford, Secretary to Anne, the Duchess of Hamilton (1632 - 1716). The architect was James Smith (c.1645 - 1731), who had been commissioned by the Duchess to build her fine palace nearby. Unfortunately, after Crawford's death, the property fell into disrepair due to family debt. It was bought in 1784 by Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, the 8th Duke of Hamilton (1756-99), to solve the Crawford's financial problems. Altered the following year, with the addition of a games room and a fine Assembly Room, for dances and social occasions, the house opened as a coaching inn, The Hamilton Arms, just in time for the first Hamilton Races. As an important stop on the route to Glasgow, it was patronised by tourists such as Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-84) and James Boswell (1740-95), and William (1770 - 1850) and Dorothy Wordsworth (1771 - 1855). Modernisation of the street layout in the centre of Hamilton took traffic away from the inn and it was converted into the Duke of Hamilton's Estate Office in 1835. Hamilton Town Council bought the building in 1964.

Today, the Low Parks Museum is operated by the South Lanarkshire Council.

The museum complex also incorporates the Regimental Museum of the Cameronians, which is located in the Duke of Hamilton's former riding school at the rear. The museum provides tours of the Hamilton Mausoleum.

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