An extract from “The History of Crossbasket Castle” by Paul Veverka (c)
1907 – The Berwickshire News, an English newspaper announced the wedding of the only surviving daughter of George Neilson, Ethel Mary Georgina Neilson to Hugh MacPherson Leadbetter. They married in Perthshire deciding to live permanently on Mr Leadbetter’s well appointed farm. The report confirms though that Daisy, her sister marrying previously in 1896 in Blantyre, had died by this time.
1909 – By this time all was not well with Crossbasket owner George Neilson’s marriage. Indeed, during 1909, a divorce took place. They had five children during their marriage.
1) Daisy Violet Neilson, b. 01 Aug 1873, 28 Landsdowne Crescent, Glasgow, Scotland, d. 17 Mar 1899, Lochridge House, Stewarton, Ayrshire, Scotland of Pulmonary Embolism.
2) Walter Kerr Neilson, b. 26 Jan 1875, Landsdown Cescent, Kelvin, Glasgow, d. 25 Aug 1952, Lintalee, Jedburgh, Borders.
3) Thomas Paterson Neilson, b. 19 Nov 1878, Summerlee House, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, d. 1948.
4) Ethel Mary Georgina Neilson, b. 25 Jun 1882, Summerlee House, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, Scotland, d. 1971.
5) George Charles Neilson, b. 13 May 1886, Garvock House, Dunning, Perthshire. d. Bet. 1916 – 1976.
Following the divorce, Neilson retaining his wealth fully, remarried on 1st June 1909 to Jose (Rose) Hill, an English woman aged 49. To celebrate this event, some of the detailing in Crossbasket Castle was changed to incorporate an English Rose.
That same year, at the age of 61, George bought a house in Hydepark and settled down in London, pulled there by further business opportunity. Crossbasket was retained as his second home, which given the size of the property, may give you an idea of his financial standing.
1910 – George had also added to the outbuildings at the back, creating room for engines, mowers and the extensive gardening equipment. It is also around this time, we see the first photos of a replacement sun dial on the grass in front of the Castle.
At this time, the copse of trees to the north of the house over the bridge nearest Greenhall was owned by Bryant and May, the match manufacturers. Also many of the trees around the General’s Bridge were decimated during the Great War, and the place was laid bare. It is also known that Mr. John Gardiner was the gardener at Crossbasket during the 1900s until 1912, before his death in 1916.
The 1910 map is a good record of the layout of the estate buildings. Most notably, the mill buildings look cleared and the footprint of the building appears exactly as does today.