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greasy1
Does anyone have any memories of Craigend castle zoo?.I've just learned that a distant relative used to own it and would love to fi nd out more about it.
Luceo
Some info on Craigend Castle:

QUOTE
CRAIGEND CASTLE ZOO
The Wilsons staged a couple of animal collecting expeditions to Africa and needed to expand. From 15th April 1949 to September 1954 they ran an outdoor zoo at Craigend Castle, Mugdockbank, near Milngavie in the countryside north west of the city, but this proved difficult to get to by public transport. The collection included monkeys, crocodiles, an Indian elephant called "Big Charlie", lions and leopards, and many birds. The Chinese Pere David deer occasionally recorded in the wild near Loch Lomond stem from an escape from Craigend.

QUOTE
Located north of Glasgow in Mugdock Country Park, the original Craigend Castle (owned by the Inglis family) was incorporated into a mansion in 1812. The property was later owned by the Buchanan family. The area was turned into Craigend Castle Zoo in the 1950s but that project failed. Mugdock Castle is located nearby.

I hope this is useful.

Regards,

Luceo
derek booth
I was born in Milngavie in 1943 and visited the Zoo when it opened. My brother became friendly with Andrew Wilson the son of the owner and took me there many times to play when the zoo closed. Many of the animals were still there as was Charlie and Ibrahim who, as I recollect, was quite bad tempered. I played in the big house and flew toy planes from the towers. The grounds were a particular delight and we had a secret pathway which ran through the rhododendron bushes towards the speedway track which was then in use. After the Zoo had closed Mr Wilson tried to sell the land for use as a cemetery but the earth was too shallow over granite. The Army used the ground as a tank testing range for a while but their tanks got stuck in mud.

Mr Wilson was quite a character and shooting rabbits from the dining room was not beyond him.

My memories range from when Charlie marched up Mugdockbank Road on his arrival to him leaving for a Holiday camp in England-a huge improvement from the idea of turning him into dog food!

I have many memories also of the castle at Mugdock and of the ghost who was reputed to walk the covered overhead passageway.

I visited the country park a few years ago and was saddened at the demise of both buildings although the stable block was as remembered.
Heather Baird
I remember it well, spent all the summer holidays staying in the castle with my father, Willy Baird, who had the riding stables. Enjoyed spending time with Andrew & Fiona Wilson, grandchildren of Andrew Wilson, who stayed in the castle with their dad Willy Wilson.
William Douglas
Stirling Council has placed Craigend Castle on the market (November 2012), together with 8240 sq metres of 'open space'.
jean Ander
In 1952 an 11 year old boy from Clydebank called Henry McMurtrie lost both his arms when attacked by leopards whilst visiting the zoo with his father and young cousin. The matter of safety at the zoo was raised in parliament by the East Dunbartonshire MP Mr Cyril Bence on the 15th July 1952.
deejay
QUOTE (jean Ander @ 7th Aug 2013, 08:11pm) *
In 1952 an 11 year old boy from Clydebank called Henry McMurtrie lost both his arms when attacked by leopards whilst visiting the zoo with his father and young cousin. The matter of safety at the zoo was raised in parliament by the East Dunbartonshire MP Mr Cyril Bence on the 15th July 1952.


Hi Jean.
Just came across your post re Craigend zoo, I met Henry years later at his brother Ian,s stag night ,he was a very nice guy , very capable despite his obvious "difficulty". A lot of people think I was making that story up, I started to wonder myself !!
DavidT
This is my most recent picture of Craigend (2008!).
Click to view attachment
The cafe at Mugdock Visitor Centre (old stables) has some excellent old pictures of the zoo.
Margot Wilson
Andrew Wilson was my great uncle. He married my Grandmother's sister. Andrew was a great character with a huge sense of humour. He also had a pet shop in Glasgow. There are many tales of his exploits. He lived in Bearsden and kept a kangaroo in the garden.

Let me know if you want to hear more.
DavidT
Hi Margot, I'd love to hear more. Where was the pet shop? What did the neighbours think of the kangaroo? There's a well known lover of kangeroos right here on these boards. thumbup.gif
Your great uncle sounds like a real character. Local history brings a lot of people to discussion boards so your knowledge will be of great interest to more than a few. Thanks, David
*Anon*
QUOTE (Margot Wilson @ 7th Jan 2014, 07:45pm) *
Andrew Wilson was my great uncle. He married my Grandmother's sister. Andrew was a great character with a huge sense of humour. He also had a pet shop in Glasgow. There are many tales of his exploits. He lived in Bearsden and kept a kangaroo in the garden.

Let me know if you want to hear more.

Hey! I would like to hear more about the stories you know. Craigend Castle fascinates me, although I was not born during the time of its zoo years id love to know more about it's history and while it ran as a zoo and the legacy of your uncle! Thankyou
joyce williamson
Hi did you ever find out about your relative, I am also trying to find out about mine his name was jimmy wallace and his wife's name was tilly. He kept his beautiful horses on the property that were used in an old television show. My e mail address is jwilliamson20@cogeco.ca
Cecilia Murray
I remember visiting the zoo with my mum.

I remember the chimp being given a cigarette to smoke which he enjoyed immensely.
Cecilia Murray
PS.

On that visit I also remember seeing the George Bennie Railplane. A great idea that was never developed.
Alison dunlop
Hi Recently walked around Mugdock Castle, and Craigend Castle. Really saddened, to observe its in such a state of disrepair. CRAIGEND CASTLE.

I wished there was something within the community or funding or any financial support that could be provided to. Help save what is left or rebuild part or all of it. As it would attract visitors to area.

It once was a beautiful building, with beautiful interiors and interesting past with the zoo and Charlie the elephant.

Surely someone would want to maintain what is left or put to good use.
There is the West Highland Way close by, surely could be used to facilitate something, like a bunk house or museum or even a wildlife sanctuary/ nature reserve. Any suggestions?

I think a family member of mine use to take care of the grounds, whilst it was the zoo. And resided there. Sandy Marshall, back in the 1970's as a child. As then it was not a country park. Or in obviously such disrepair. I and my friends played there.
Iain Hunter
Can't really add much to what has been recorded here, but I do remember visiting the zoo with my parents - I think more than once, and on the way there, having the remains of the monorail pointed out to me. Often wondered why the monorail idea never took off, but I was inspired to follow this up after treading that a California company is building something similar in Tel Aviv! What goes around comes around.
William kennedy
QUOTE (deejay @ 13th Nov 2013, 07:32pm) *
Hi Jean.
Just came across your post re Craigend zoo, I met Henry years later at his brother Ian,s stag night ,he was a very nice guy , very capable despite his obvious "difficulty". A lot of people think I was making that story up, I started to wonder myself !!

Robyn
Hi All,

I was also looking for information regarding the zoo and specifically the elephant. I have heard a rumour that my grandfather may have bought the elephant and walked it from Mugdock to the docks along with the elephant's keeper. Does anyone know anything about this? Was it reported in the local press, as I would like to obtain copies of the news stories if so?

Many thanks
*Karen*
QUOTE (Alison dunlop @ 15th Sep 2015, 10:14pm) *
Hi Recently walked around Mugdock Castle, and Craigend Castle. Really saddened, to observe its in such a state of disrepair. CRAIGEND CASTLE.

I wished there was something within the community or funding or any financial support that could be provided to. Help save what is left or rebuild part or all of it. As it would attract visitors to area.

It once was a beautiful building, with beautiful interiors and interesting past with the zoo and Charlie the elephant.

Surely someone would want to maintain what is left or put to good use.
There is the West Highland Way close by, surely could be used to facilitate something, like a bunk house or museum or even a wildlife sanctuary/ nature reserve. Any suggestions?

I think a family member of mine use to take care of the grounds, whilst it was the zoo. And resided there. Sandy Marshall, back in the 1970's as a child. As then it was not a country park. Or in obviously such disrepair. I and my friends played there.


Hi everyone!

Wow, I am please to see a discussion about Criagend castle. My name is Karen, I am from Tasmania, Australia and my ancestors lived there (built the place). My great, great, great grandfather was James Smith of Craigent. I believe great great great great grandfather John had a house there and then James had the castle built. We have our family history books here at home and they talk about Craigend. I know my great, great aunt Agnes really wished the family could have bought the place back, she was the Countess of Buchan at the time, so not sure why she didn't buy it. I have just watched a video of it, the state that it is in now, and it is really sad. Does anyone know if anything can be done in order to restore it? any sort of financial funding, or fundraising? I have a poem that my great, great grandfather Charles wrote to his sister Agnes the Countess and it was when he had to leave Craigend (gamblers in the family lost it) and it is very moving, from the poem you can feel how much the place meant to my family. I can try scan and attach here if anyone is interested. Love to hear any thoughts or see any pictures if anyone has any! I have one or two in my Grandmothers trunk, I can also attach here if requested. Thanks! Kind Regards, Karen.
Billy Boil
QUOTE (Iain Hunter @ 26th Oct 2015, 11:10am) *
Can't really add much to what has been recorded here, but I do remember visiting the zoo with my parents - I think more than once, and on the way there, having the remains of the monorail pointed out to me. Often wondered why the monorail idea never took off, but I was inspired to follow this up after treading that a California company is building something similar in Tel Aviv! What goes around comes around.

Mono rails have never reached potential anywhere in the world. Sydney is at present demolishing an extensive white elephant that circled the inner city and was a total unused eyesore. The Japanese built a linear expansion elevated monorail that was workable but didn't. If they are, as you say, contemplating one in Tel Aviv, I can only surmise that it is some kind of scam as said city does not lend itself to constructs of that sort.
*daniel*
I tried to purchase this 3 years ago and restore it with simplified interiors over several years but they haven't agreed even though I was the only party to offer to, Im trying again to purchase it as it has still been left to deteriorate, this is such an impressive detailed building.
*daniel*
Tragic, passed this again recently, have tried for 7 years to convince the council to sell this to me so that I can restore it back to a house, would take years, any ideas for how to encourage council to change their mind and allow this to be saved?
sumac
I can’t believe they won’t sell it to you. Well, I have an idea - as a Listed building (I assume?) they want it to become a dangerous structure so it can be demolished, and the ground sold for a fortune.
This practice is disgraceful.
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