The listed buildings at Birkhill must have seen centuries of turbulent Scottish history. There’s a date of 1692 in the stonework above the tower door of the house, and some parts of the buildings are even earlier dating back to 1590’s.
An old icehouse and barn still remain, while the ruin of a water powered mill lies beside the Coalburn. This Lint mill was last used in the 1930’s as a joiner’s shop.
The main house is an imposing three storey building with an external spiral tower stair. The ground floor appears to have been fortified in the past with evidence of bars on the windows. The ground floor has a locally unique slate flagstone floor, and a number of upper rooms have original timber panelling, door furniture and fireplaces.
Recently an extensive renovation programme has begun on several of the outbuildings including the old stables either side of the archway. Consequently, roofs have currently been removed on these spaces, whilst undergoing repairs. When not undergoing repair, the cobbled courtyard is an attractive sheltered area providing access to most of the outbuildings. Originally hosting horse and coach. They now provide workshops, storage and a ‘library’.
There is some evidence that the house has been used as a coaching inn, and even rumours that it acted as a Covenantors safe house.
The previous owners were the Smith family who held Birkhill estate for 200 years (from 1792) and were prominent in the local community. During World War II children were evacuated to Birkhill from the city.