Woodbank House, Luss Road, Balloch

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Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved. © Copyright and database right 2019.

General Details and Location

Name of Building
Woodbank House
Other Name(s)
Hamilton House Hotel (Former)
Luss Road, Balloch
Divisional Area
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
NS 38188 81758
Location Type
HS Reference No


2-storey over basement, 5-bay, rectangular-plan main block; with large 3-storey, 5-bay later 19th century addition at right angles to S. Stucco over rubble; raised ashlar margins; rusticated quoins; eaves cornice.

The land was settled on James Lindsay and his wife Sarah Brisbane Lindsay in 1670, and a house stood on the site at this time. The property was called Stuckrodger at this time. In 1774 Stuckrodger was acquired by Charles Scott of Dalquhurn, a Glasgow merchant and it appears that the house as it now appears dates from this time. The house name was changed to Woodbank.

In 1885 William Ewing-Gilmour of Croftenga was the occupant of the house and it is likely that the later additions date from his occupancy, the coat of arms on the W wall is the same as that on the Masonic Hall in Alexandria. The house bcame a hotel in the 1930s, and became the Hamilton House Hotel in the 1980s. (Historic Scotland)
Building Dates
Circa 1775; later 19th century additions

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
Field Visits
01/03/1996, 01/03/2003, 01/01/1991, 01/05/1997, 01/01/2006, 25/02/2011, 13/10/2008, 27/3/2012, 13/03/2020
Development History
21 December 1979: Press reports note that the former Woodbank Hotel is to reopen as the Hamilton House Hotel. The entire house has been refurbished in an attempt to return it to its Georgian splendour. The present 18 bedrooms are to be converted into 8 luxury suites, and a new lounge bar will be created upstairs. 1981: The hotel closes. 10 November 1989: The Lennox Herald reports that plans to turn the house into a nursing home have been refused. February 1990: SCT understands the house is now deteriorating, although a caretaker remains on site. There have been reports of interest from potential restorers, although Dumbarton District Council has indicated that the owner has refused to enter into negotiations and is known to be unwilling to sell. November 1992: SCT receives information that the District Council is exploring obtaining a court order to gain access to the property and assess its repair needs. December 1993: Conversations between SCT and the resident caretaker reveal that the owner continues to remain anti-selling. October 1994: SCT understands that an application for a court order has been submitted by the Council. It is requesting access to allow it to assess the level of repairs required to render the building wind and watertight. A planning application has been recently submitted for the conversion of the existing building into commercial and residential use, with the surrounding 22 acres given over to residential use. 18 August 1995: The Lennox Herald reports that Outline Planning Permission has been refused. September 1995: SCT undertstands that limited progress has been made in obtaining the court order. 21 January 1996: The Lennox Herald reports that the house has been severely damaged by fire. March 1996: External inspection reveals that windows to the front of the house have been blocked up and the house has been left roofless. Some gables have collapsed, as has a large area of the rear wall. 5 September 1996: A Dangerous Building Notice is served, and partial demolition subsequently allowed for public safety reasons. 1997: SCT understands that structural engineers are currently compiling a feasibility study on the house. February 1998: SCT receives correspondence from Gavin Walker and Associates, who have been trying to mobilise action over Woodbank. Responses to their approaches to the Council requesting a site meeting to discuss ways forward are reported to have been negative. 21 May 1999: The Clyde Weekly News reports on the building's inclusion in the Buildings at Risk Bulletin. It is reported that the house has suffered a second fire. May 2000: The Clan Heritage Trust has been involved in lengthy discussions with planners and local MSPs regarding the acquisition of the property and its conversion into a Clan Heritage Museum and Headquarters. January 2001: A meeting is held between the Clan Heritage Trust, local planners, Historic Scotland and SCT to discuss the proposals. There is suppport in principle, though a feasibility study is required. April 2002: CHT reports that it is not continuing to pursue the plans. 12 May 2004: The Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter notes the building's inclusion in the Buildings at Risk Bulletin 2004-2005. January 2006: site visit by SCT and LPA.
27 April 1994: The Dumbarton Reporter reports on Dumbarton District Council's bid to conduct a search to find the owner of the property.
October 2008: External inspection reveals that the house is a ruinous shell. A large section of the rear elevation has collapsed and the interior is filled with fire damaged timbers and rubble. Overall the building appears to be in an unstable and unsafe condition.
December 2008: Local planners report that the building has been included in the draft Local Plan as a development opportunity in the hope that investment can be secured for it.
June 2009: Local planners report they have recently re-established contact with a representative of the building owners. The owners would be willing to sell the building, new contact details added to the record.
February 2011: External inspection finds the building remains a largely roofless ruinous shell - only part of the south elevation is still roofed - in much the same condition as on our previous visit.
27 February 2012: External inspection finds no signifcant change from the previous site visit.
19 February 2014: Scotland's Property reports on the history of the property and potential plans for future development.
25 January 2019: The Daily Record reports on the building's ruinous condition.
17 September 2019: An application for the erection and operation of a tourism and leisure led mixed use development (ref: 2018/0133/PPP) was withdrawn.
13 March 2020: External inspection finds the ruined house in much the same condition as seen previously. Deterioration continues at pace. Further roof and masonry loss at south wing. Chimneys appear very unstable. Vegetation and tree growths growing throughout. Grounds strewn with debris and overgrowth. Remains At Risk.
Post Survey Update: Local planners advise Planning Permission in Principle is being sought for a mixed use tourism and leisure development (2022/0157/PPP) on a land parcel that extends to Woodbank House and Stables. The application proposes the conversion of the buildings to form up to 21 self-catering apartments as part of the wider development.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number


Current Availability
Not Available
Appointed Agents
Occupancy Type
Present/Former Uses
Building Uses Information:
Present Use 1: N/A Former Use 1: Hotel/Hostel
Present Use 2: N/A Former Use 2: Residential, BARR original text : Hotel/Hostel to Residential
Name of Owners
Sawyer Properties
Type of Ownership

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
The Clan Heritage Trust, The Gowk, Gartocharn, Nr Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire G83 8ND
Dean and Miers (1990), p109; Walker and Sinclair (1992), p51.
Online Resources
Country Houses, Mansions and Large Villas
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit