The Hawick Paper

Linden Park

Linden Park house was built for Walter Laing of Dicksons & Laings Mills, and used to be sited just off the Denholm road (past Trow Mill). An ancient burial cairn was dug out when laying the foundations. Building work began in 1885 to a design by John Guthrie. The house was named after the linden or lime trees which grew there.

Additions were made by local architect J.P. Alison in 1896. It was around this time that a small lake was dug on the grounds, complete with islands. The house was also one of the first locally to be lit by electricity. It was later home to Walter Laing’s son, manufacturer John Turnbull Laing. A stone bearing a verse from Sir Walter Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel, carved for the house in 1885, was moved behind Hawick Museum in 1978.

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Photo: Jess Muir

In the early 1910s then owner Harry Smith burned the building to claim insurance money and was convicted of arson. Walking the quarter mile to the stables down by the Trow Burn, his fatal error was setting fire to them too. Although the fires were successfully extinguished, the main house was destroyed. The stables were still in use until the 1970s and locals have reported seeing scorch marks on the timbers.

Below the site of Linden Park, and upstream of the stables, there was a very elaborate Chinese Garden with little pagodas and oriental style bridges crossing the pond and burn. This fell out of use by the 1960s. Behind here is a small ‘castle’ which was built as a folly in the style of a ruined keep. Originally located deep in the woods, it is now at the edge of the lawn of a new house that was built in the 1980s.

Linden Park’s charred remains were removed in the 1950s and a bungalow (Linden House) was built in it’s place for Alec McGivern, who owned the Tower Hotel. Greenskares was built in 1961 and a house called Inverstruan was built a year later. Both of these houses had their water supply originally served from an old bathtub located up the driveway near Linden House. This supply filled the bathtub and gravity fed the two new houses at the other end of the driveway. Later, all the houses received their water off the mains from Alemoor Resevoir. A house named ‘The Archery’ was built on a strip of cleared land that was used as an archery range when the mansion was still in use. Between 1960 and the late 1970s, three more bungalows were built in the grounds.

Today, the only structures that are in any way original to the estate are the lodge and the stables, although both of these have been added to and renovated through the years.