History of the Gardens
Designed in 1840 by architect John Baird (primus) Viewpark house was built by William Robertson, a wealthy building contractor from Glasgow. The gardens at that time included a large greenhouse and separate vinery. During the excavation of the garden area, remains of the Roman road - Watling Street -were found along with two large burial urns dating to the Druidic period.
Mr Robertson died aged 63 in 1850. Two years later the house was then sold to Robert Addie, and Mr Addie would develop the gardens further. By the time of his death in 1870 Robert Addie and sons' collieries owned the nearby Rosehall and Viewpark pits. The Addie family vacated Viewpark house in 1904. Five years later the house would be used by the Social Committee of the Church of Scotland as a rescue home for women under a 10-year lease. Following this, in 1915 the house was offered for use as temporary accommodation for Belgian refugees.
After the war part of the estate was acquired by Lanarkshire County Council for house. The mansion house itself passed through many hands and by 1940 had been subdivided into flats for working class families before eventually being demolished in the early 50's.
During the 1950s, what is now known as Viewpark Gardens was operated as a market garden by the Baird family. The family would often give boxes of fruit and vegetables to local children free of charge. The three brick-based glasshouses standing today are the ones used by the Bairds. The large metal framed glasshouse was added at a later date by the council.
After the Bairds left the premises, the gardens were landscaped and developed for the public enjoyment. The glasshouses were re-designed to hold collections of tropical and subtropical plants, succulents and cacti. The rest of the grounds were landscaped to form a variety of themed gardens, including the Japanese garden with its miniature village. The main garden and its collections garden (located just outside the walled garden) boast a wide range of plants and trees, including two specimens of the endangered Monkey Puzzle tree. The gardens are also home to a heritage variety pear which, until recently, was unknown to exist in Scotland.
Photo credit Zaria Sleith
Viewpark Gardens in the Community
As mentioned above, for much of the Gardens' early history the land and greenhouses were used as a market garden.
Since then the Gardens have been landscaped and developed into a unique treasure - the botanic gardens we have grown up with, loving the sanctuary they provide.
As well as simply being enjoyed by the public, with its stunning plants and water features the gardens have been a popular location for wedding photography.
Until ten years ago the local council, in its varying forms, hosted a large garden festival on the site. This was attended not only by the residents from the surrounding villages, but also attracted vistors from all over Scotland and even some from England. The festival provided entertainment for children, craft stalls and school competitions. The event also hosted experts from BBC Scotland's Beechgrove Garden as well as Clyde 1 radio station. Lasting for 1 week the festival was always well attended.
Additionally the Gardens have been used by many different local community groups across all age groups from the Laburnum nursery through to Highgate nursing home.