Redesdale, 10/10a Shore Road – C Listed 


1. Redesdale from NE. Source: ND.  2. 1910 ordinance survey. 3. Redesdale (north) including front door. Source: ND.4. Redsdale from SE including 10a. Source: ND.

Earl of Eglinton and Winton 1860 Grant in favour of Hugh Kennedy
Hugh Kennedy 1860 – c. 1862/3 Land purchased and house built.
Thomas Lamb & James Rankin c. 1862/3 – c. 1866
Mr James & Mrs Elizabeth Johnstonc. 1866 – c. 1938
John Pearson c.1938. – Unknown
Unknown Unknown – c1960s
Mr & Mrs Alec Black c. 1960s
Mr & Mrs D Harkin c. 1969 – 1979
Mr & Mrs B Stewart 1979 – Present House split vertically south/north

About the property

Redesdale is a detached villa occupying a prime shore front location at the north end of lower Skelmorlie. The house is bounded by the sea (on the west) and the A78/Shore Road (on the east) and sits between the South Church car park (to the north) and Woodsley Villa (to the south). [1]

The house is currently split vertically in two:

  1. 10a Shore Road – the 1.5-storey south end of the house/previous servants’ quarters
  2. 10 Shore Road – the 2-storey north end of the house [2]

The land for Redesdale was purchased from the Earl of Eglinton and Winton in 1860 by Hugh Kennedy, a wright (joiner/carpenter)and builder from Partick in Glasgow. [0][2]

According to Historic Scotland, Redesdale is an exceptionally well-detailed Italianate house, strongly influenced by the domestic work of Alexander (Greek) Thomson. Whilst the architect is unknown, Historic Scotland believe it’s unlikely that this house was designed by a builder (in this case Hugh Kennedy) and suggest instead that the design may well have been taken from an Alexander Thomson pattern book, available at the time. [2]

Redesdale is described as 2 storeys to the north and a single storey and attic service wing to the south. The building is roughly rectangular in shape with deep bracketed eaves, bracketed decorative M gables to the east and west, arched decorative window-heads, a semi-circular bay window to the west and an open gabled porch.[2]

The main part of the house retains its original timber windows. The chimney pots are cream clay and have decorative Greek-key bands, some with red-clay toppers. [2]

Internally, both the plaster cornicing, which is decorative in the principal rooms and plain elsewhere, together with the interior panelled doors, still survive, although all the original fireplaces have been removed. The staircase has barley-twist balusters and tapered octagonal newel post with paterae (ornamental elliptical bas-relief discs). [0][2]

Redesdale  including the former service wing, boundary wall and gate piers are ‘C’ listed. [2]

Owners of Redesdale

Hugh Kennedy (1860 – c1862/3)

Authors Note: Using the limited information available, i.e. Hugh Kennedy, wright, and builder, living in Partick in 1860, we believe we’ve correctly identified the Hugh Kennedy who purchased Redesdale’s land from the Earl of Eglinton and Winton. However, there is always a chance that there was someone else in Partick matching the criteria above, that we missed. Any additional information to support/refute our analysis would be very welcome.

We believe our Hugh Kennedy was born in Dunbartonshire in 1825 to William Kennedy a forester and Mary (Hunter) Kennedy. [3]

At the time of the first census in 1841, we find Mrs Mary Kennedy, aged 50 at Netherton in New/East Kilpatrick together with  William (junior) aged 15, an agricultural labourer and , Hugh also 15, an apprentice joiner. There is no mention of William (senior). [4]

By 1851, Hugh Kennedy was 26 and had become a “wright/master carpenter” and was living in Dumbarton Road in Govan with his sister Elizabeth Anderson, her husband, 3 sons & niece. [4]

In 1853, Hugh (28) married Agnes Hunter (21), daughter of Moses Hunter, timber merchant, and Margaret (Arneil) Hunter. [3]

Prior to her wedding,  Agnes lived at 1 Hamilton Crescent with her father Moses (58), her stepmother Jane(34), her older sister Jane (20), her stepsisters Matilda (4) and Mary (3) and her two-month-old stepbrother George. The family had two live-in servants. [4]

The year after the wedding Hugh became a fully qualified wright as did his brother-in-law Robert Hunter. Both became members of the Incorporation of Wrights (Glasgow). It’s interesting to note that Agnes’s father and grandfather were also qualified wrights, leaving us to wonder whether Agnes met her future husband through her brother or her father. [5]

Glasgow Wrights

According to Historic Scotland Hugh Kennedy purchased the land in Skelmorlie in 1860 and gave his occupation at the time as “wright and builder”. [1]

So, what was Hugh doing in the intervening six years to justify him adding ‘builder’ to his occupation. The 1861 census perhaps provides part of the answer. Hugh (35) and Agnes (29) were living at 2 Hamilton Crescent in Govan – next door to where we’d found Agnes’s family ten years earlier. They had three children: Margaret (6), Mary (5) and William (1) and there was also one live-in servant. But what was different was Hugh’s occupation. This had changed from qualified wright to “builder employing 55 men and 20 boys”. [4]

Following the significant expansion in Hugh’s business, tragedy struck the family . On the 20th of February 1862, Agnes gave birth prematurely to triplets; Agnes Hunter Kennedy at 4:30am, Moses Hunter Kennedy at 4:35am and Hugh Kennedy at 4:40am.  Moses only survived 5 minutes, dying at 4:40 am. Hugh lasted ten and a half hours, dying at 2:30 pm and Agnes held on for 5 days dying on the 26th of February. [3]

Hugh and Agnes did go onto have at least two more children Moses Kennedy in 1863 and John Kennedy in 1866. [4]

We believe Hugh sold Redesdale around 1862/1863 but don’t know whether the house was complete or requiring final touches inside. Author’s note: The sasine deeds are required to confirm the year of sale (see below).  

By 1871, Hugh had given up the building company and changed jobs. His occupation was then a railway contractor which he continued as until he retired. Agnes passed away in 1884 aged 52 and Hugh in 1895, aged 70. [3][4]


Thomas Lamb and James Rankin (c. 1862/3 – c. 1866)

Author’s Note: The 1865 valuation roll has only a few houses named along the Shore Road including Craigmore and Beach House. The 1865 valuation roll had the correct number of houses less one, to match each of the villas between Craigmore and Beach House.  This means that the house listed next door to Beach House was either Redesdale or Woodsley . Our belief is that it’s the former, as there is usually a condition built into the Earl of Eglinton and Winton land contracts, that the property must be complete within two years of buying the land, in Redesdale’s case by 1862. The Sasine deeds are required to confirm this.  [6]

If the house was Redesdale as we believe, then the next owners of Redesdale were Thomas Lamb (Wright) of 55 Cathedral Street, Glasgow, and James Rankin (Wright), No. 7 Alston Street, Glasgow. We ask ourselves whether Thomas and James as carpenters/joiners, bought the property from Hugh to complete the fit-out, ready for sale [6]

If the house was Woodsley, then ownership of Redesdale would have jumped straight from Hugh Kennedy to James Johnston below. [7][8]

James and Elizabeth Johnston c1866 -c1939  

James Dalziel Johnston was born in Barony parish, Glasgow in January 1843, to Andrew Johnston, West India Merchant (1788–1864)  and Ellen (Russell) Johnston (1807-1889).  James had at least two brothers: Robert two years older and George two years younger.  [7][8]

At the time of the 1851 census, the family were living at 151 Bath Street, Glasgow. Andrew (63) was head of the household and gave his occupation as merchant and a dealer in dry goods.  Ellen, his wife/mother of the children, was 44. Robert, James, and George were 10, 8 and 6 years old, respectively. Ellen’s younger sister, Rachel Russell (42) was living with the family. In addition, there were four live-in servants: a cook, a table maid and two housemaids. [7][8]

We’ve been unable to locate the family at the time of the 1861 census but in 1865 James Johnston (22), a gentleman still living at 151 Bath Street, married Elizabeth Simpson Whyte (26) at her home, the 10 roomed (more than one window) 33 Elmbank Crescent, Glasgow. [7][8]

Turning to Elizabeth’s background.

Elizabeth Simpson Whyte was born in 1839, a fourth child of William Whyte (1798-1861), merchant living at Elmbank Crescent and Elizabeth (Simpson) Whyte (1803–1856). [7]

At the time of the 1851 census, when her future husband was living in Bath Street, Elizabeth’s family were living just a short distance away at 17 Elmbank crescent.  William Whyte was then 53 and a Cotton Yarn Merchant, Elizabeth (mother) was 48. Margaret the eldest was 14, James was 13, Elizabeth 11 and William 10. The family had two live-in servants. [8]

Elizabeth’s mother died at home aged 54 in 1856. [7]

In 1861, we find the family have moved from 17 Elmbank Crescent to 33 Elmbank Crescent. Elizabeth’s father was by then 68 and retired. Margaret, James, Elizabeth, and William were 24, 23, 21 and 20 years old, respectively. No occupations were listed for the children. Living with them were two domestic servants. [8]

Later that same year, Elizabeth’s father died in Helensburgh.[7]

This meant that Elizabeth had lost both of her parents before her wedding detailed above. It’s likely that her brother James gave her away as he was listed as a witness, the wedding venue was his home, and as eldest son was standard practice. [7]

We believe it was around the time of their wedding that James Johnston, Elizabeth’s new husband,  would have purchased Redesdale. [6][7]

After just three years of marriage, James tragically died in 1868 from tuberculosis at just 25 years of age, leaving Elizabeth a widow at 29. The records suggest that James had been ill for approximately two years, so Redesdale may well have been purchased for its cleaner air compared to Glasgow. When James died, he was staying at their Glasgow address, 16 Park Terrace Glasgow, but his usual address was listed as Redesdale Skelmorlie. [6][7]

At the time of the 1871 census, Elizabeth was visiting her siblings at 33 Elmbank Crescent.  James (32) the eldest son and a stockbroker was head of the household. Living at the same address were his siblings Margaret (33) and William (29).  There were two live-in domestic servants. [8]

Following her husband’s death, we assume that Redesdale and Park Terrace passed to Elizabeth and that she split her time between both. The 1875 valuation roll reads “Mrs Elizabeth S Johnston, 16 Park Terrace, Glasgow & Skelmorlie.” [6]

We’ve been unable to locate any of the siblings in the 1881 census and at the time of the 1891 census it is only Margaret and two live-in servants at home at 33 Elmbank Crescent. [8]

A year later James, the eldest brother died at home in Glasgow, aged 55. It would be around this time that the family home at Elmbank Crescent was sold and Margaret moved into Elizabeth’s 22 roomed home (with one or more windows) in Skelmorlie. [7][9]

Both sisters were at Redesdale at the time of the 1901 census, when Elizabeth was 61 and Margaret was 64 and the 1911 census when Elizabeth was 71 and Margaret 74. On both occasions, there were two live in servants: a cook and a table/house maid. [7][9]

In 1918, Margaret died aged 83 at home in Redesdale with her sister at her side. [7]

Elizabeth’s younger brother William, lived to the grand age of 94 years and died at home in Rothsay (Daisybank, Glebelands) in 1934. Like his elder brother he’d been a stockbroker in his earlier life. He’d also been married twice: firstly, to Rachel Linton and later to Carole Young. [7]

Author’s note: It’s lovely to think of the siblings being just a short ferry apart and William having to pass his sister’s house every time he came to the mainland.[7]  

Elizabeth continued to live at Redesdale for the rest of her life as can be seen from the 1921 census and the valuation rolls from 1920, 1925, 1930 and 1935. She died aged 98 years at home in 1938. [7]

Mrs Elizabeth Johnston Obituary

Owners since c.1938

We don’t know how long it took to settle Mrs Johnston’s affairs, but we learn from the 1940 valuation roll that John Pearson, Motor Engineer, The Garage House, Wemyss Bay was the next owner of Redesdale, and used an agent R. B. Wilson & Co, 68 Bath Street, Glasgow. From the valuation roll, we believe that John didn’t live in the house himself, rather he rented it out to J Reid Kerr. [6]

Again, we don’t know how long John Pearson owned Redesdale, but in the early 1960s we are told that an Alec Black and his wife lived in Redesdale. The couple came from Hong Kong where Alec was in shipping, and brought a Chinese servant, called Wing with them. Apparently, Wing went on to open a Chinese restaurant in Edinburgh, but this hasn’t been verified. [11]

In the late 1960s or early 70s Dan and Mattie Harkin bought Redesdale from the Blacks. Dan came from a big family in Greenock/Gourock, and his brother Charles was the Charlie in ‘Charlie Harkin and his Kit Kat Band’, a well-known local band who played all over the west coast. Dan was apparently head geologist in the United Nations and their main residence was in England. We are told that the Harkins only owned Redesdale for about 10 years, before selling it to Mr Brian and Mrs Dorothy Stewart in 1979.  [11]

In the early 1980’s, the Stewarts split the property north/south. The northerly section became 10 Shore Road where the Stewarts live to this day, and the southerly section became 10a Shore Road where Dorothy Stewart’s sister and her husband live. Both properties have the same unparalleled view over the Clyde. [11]

Sources and References:

[0] Wikipedia – various definitions (wright, paterae,  etc).

[1 ] 1910 Ordinance Survey map – Skelmorlie  

[2]  Historic Scotland listing for Redesdale, including former service wing, boundary wall and gate pillars.

[3] Birth, marriage and death certificates of Hugh Kennedy and family.

[4] Various census records 1841 (East Kilpatrick), 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1881 (Govan),  

[5] –Incorporation of wrights in Glasgow.

[6] Valuation rolls 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1920, 1925, 1930, 1935 and 1940  (Skelmorlie)   

[7] Birth, marriage and death certificated for Elizabeth Simpson Whyte and James Dalziel Johnston.

[8] 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891 censuses (Barony, Glasgow)

[9] 1901, 1911, and 1921 censuses (Skelmorlie).

[10] Elizabeth Simpson’s obituary – Scotsman newspaper Tuesday 12th April 1938 – Page 9

[11] Mr Brian & Mrs Dorothy Stewart


Location Map:

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