Ferndean, Barrhead

M152 Ferndean, Barrhead

Address: 5, Arthurlie Avenue, Barrhead G78 2BT
Date: 1898–1900
Client: Dr John Alexander Calderwood
Authorship: Authorship category 2 (Mackintosh and Office) (Mackintosh and Office)

Colour photograph of stained glass at stair windows


This two-storey red ashlar sandstone house with semi-cylindrical tower and gable at the principal elevation shows many parallels with the contemporary John Honeyman & Keppie commission for James Raeburn Mann at Redlands, Bridge of Weir, yet is more sophisticated and incorporates the unusual feature of a doctor's surgery.

Colour photograph of S. elevation

The stonework is snecked and stugged except for the smooth dressings. Decoration is minimal: there is a first-floor stringcourse and the arched front door has a Gibbs surround with voussoirs. On the W. elevation, the ground-floor window is also set in a Gibbs surround. Original drawings show a door here, a separate entrance to Dr John Alexander Calderwood's surgery. It is not clear from the stonework below the window whether the surgery entrance was constructed and subsequently carefully infilled. The windows are multi-paned sashes with the exception of the unusually large square window above the front door.

Colour photograph of front door, detail Colour photograph of W. elevation


The front door leads via an internal porch into the large hall. The glazed panels of the internal door have high-quality Glasgow Style stained glass incorporating organic forms. The ground-floor plan echoes that of Redlands: however, the alcove, adjacent to the front door at Redlands, is here relocated to the first floor above the front door. The stairs in the semi-cylindrical tower open directly off the hall, as do a parlour to the W. and dining room to the E. with E.-facing canted bay, and a cloakroom. The doctor's surgery, a servant's bedroom, the kitchen and utility spaces are reached via internal lobbies.

Colour photograph of front door, interior

The large first-floor landing leads directly to the original drawing room with E.-facing canted bay and a modest bedroom at the W., while a further three bedrooms and a bathroom are reached via internal lobbies. The unusually large square window lights a S.-facing sun-room entered by a glazed door. This has Mackintosh-style botanical stained glass motifs, as do the side lights of the drawing room bay window. The six leaded windows in the tower contain high-quality Glasgow Style stained glass with some motifs evoking a dragonfly or thistle. The stained glass in the lights of the internal front door can also be associated with Mackintosh. The symmetrical S-curves in the top-light, for instance, are echoed in contemporary work, such as the upper panels of the organ case at Craigie Hall.

Colour photograph of newel post at first-floor landing and stained glass in tower windowsColour photograph of stained glass doorway at first-floor sun-porch

As at Redlands, the interior woodwork shows a diversity of styles, suggesting the involvement of several designers, including Mackintosh. The flat balusters, pierced with curvilinear shapes, are identical to those at Redlands although in a different sequence. Simple wood and stone fireplaces with original tiles in two of the bedrooms contrast with the typical late-Victorian fireplace with composite columns in the first-floor drawing room. The forms of the large sandstone fireplaces in the hall and original dining room parallel those in the comparable interiors at Redlands. The stone fireplace in the surgery is also repeated there.

Colour photograph of newel postColour photograph of baluster 5

During refurbishment work in 2010, the owners discovered an inscription on a wall in the ground-floor cloakroom written by one of the painting contractors during the construction of the house.

Colour photograph of wall inscription discovered in ground-floor bathroom


Externally, the house remains relatively unaltered apart from a lean-to extension to the service range. Alterations on the ground floor are currently (2010) being made to the layout of the kitchen, service range and former servants' bedroom. On the first floor, the small bedroom adjacent to the original bathroom has been converted into a shower room. The extensive original grounds of the house have been subdivided. New houses have been built to the E. and S., and the original stable and coach house to the N.E. have undergone unsympathetic conversion to a separate residence. 1

A report on the condition of Ferndean was produced as part of the Mackintosh Buildings Survey, led by the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society and carried out between 2015 and 2016. 2



1: Information supplied by current owners, 25 October 2010.

2: A copy of the report (MBS17) is held by the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, Mackintosh Queen's Cross, 870 Garscube Road, Glasgow G20 7EL. The Mackintosh Buildings Survey was funded by The Monument Trust.