Holmwood House

Holmwood, now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, is a unique villa designed by Glasgow’s second most famous architect, Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson. It was built in 1857-8 for James Couper, a local businessman. Thomson’s original room decoration, based on themes from the classical world, is being uncovered and we’ve followed the progress of this continuing conservation work over the years.

Here, a piece of original wall paper has been uncovered in the dining room, and the barometer sits atop the fire-place in the hall:

A selection from the classical frieze:

Beautiful floor tiling:

Ceilings and dome:

When we first visited, it was empty, and although still not fully furnished, it now looks more like a home.

There are also attractive riverside grounds to explore and a small kitchen garden, planted with a range of Victorian herbs, fruit and vegetables. Unfortunately, while we were in the house the heavens opened so we didn’t spend long outside.

All the more time to spend taking tea in the small café!


  1. Always been a big fan of Thomson and William Leiper who both designed many fantastic Scottish buildings yet it’s usually Mackintosh who gets all the plaudits internationally. When I visited Hill House in Helensburgh a couple of years ago I liked the buildings situated around it more as it didn’t have a warm feel viewed from the outside. Very cold and modernistic looking compared to other properties in the town which felt very welcoming and cosy by comparison, many designed by William Leiper. (Templeton’s Carpet Factory is his as well)
    Lovely interiors and I like Thomson’s pastel designs.


    • There is an exhibition on Leiper in town at the moment which I haven’t had a chance to get to yet. The architect of Maryhill Burgh Halls also had the misfortune of designing a house next to Hill House – forever overshadowed!


  2. It is such a shame how many beautiful gems were destroyed to make way for a parking lot. I’m glad this is preserved and lovingly restored. It looks so beautiful to visit especially when you can see it in its stages.


  3. Hi Annabel – all the more reason for another visit – what a delightful place. Thanks for sharing with us … cheers HIlary