THE historic B-listed Rhu mansion which was home to Madeleine Smith — the socialite accused of murder — has been put up for sale.
Invergare, originally named Rowaleyn, was built in 1855 to the design of architect James Smith, Madeleine's father, to be his family's summer home. It is now on the market with Clyde Property Helensburgh at offers over £1.2 million.James Smith designed, amongst other famous buildings, the Victoria Baths in West Nile Street (1837), the Collegiate School, Garnethill (1840), the McClellan Galleries (1855), and Bellahouston Church (1863), all in Glasgow, and Stirling Library (1863).
He was born in Alloa in 1808 and in 1826 he followed his father — who had been awarded a building contract for the Royal Exchange Square by the architect Douglas Hamilton — to Glasgow.
He became close to the Hamilton family and in 1833 he married Douglas Hamilton’s daughter Janet, with whom he had five children . . . and Madeleine, the eldest of this already famous family, was to become infamous.
She had an affair with a Frenchman, Pierre Emile L’Angelier, which mostly took place at the Rhu mansion. But in 1857 L’Angelier was discovered poisoned by arsenic, and Madeleine, then aged 20, was accused of his murder.
The subsequent trial at the High Court in Edinburgh was described as the trial of the century. The case was found not proven, but the scandal brought social disgrace to the Smiths, and they moved from Rhu to Bridge of Allan and then to Edinburgh, where James Smith died in 1863.
- Copyright photo by Donald Fullarton.