Appeal is launched to identify staff at Burrell's Hutton Castle

A public campaign is under way to identify former members of staff who were employed at Sir William Burrell's former residence, Hutton Castle.

Thursday, 19th July 2018, 12:10 pm
Staff at Hutton Castle, courtesy of Peter Clark.

Sir William purchased Hutton Castle in 1916, but did not move in until 1927, where he lived with his art collection of some 9,000 objects until his death in 1958.

As part of the Burrell Collection’s refurbishment in Glasgow, curator Neil Johnson-Symington is seeking the public’s help to identify former domestic staff employed at the castle from the 1920s-1940s.

With previously unseen photographs from the 1930s donated by Peter Clark, the son of Sir William’s former butler of the same name, members of the public are being asked to come forward with long forgotten family memories and anecdotes of what life was like for the Burrells’ domestic servants.

The Burrells are understood to have employed 10 domestic servants including a butler, a cook and a liveried footman, as well as gardeners, gamekeepers and chauffeurs.

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The task is now under way to identify staff depicted in some 15 photographs donated by Peter Clark.

Information received will be used to create a new gallery within the Burrell Collection which will introduce the Burrell family and offer a glimpse of what life was like at Hutton Castle. Example furniture and decorative art objects will be arranged to evoke the impression of a domestic space in which the objects were displayed and used.

Interpretation will focus on the lives of those who lived at Hutton Castle – primarily the Burrell family and domestic staff – and will offer visitors clues as to how the different rooms and collection items at the castle were used.

The combination of displays along with increased interpretation will create an immersive space which will give visitors the impression of a private domestic setting, enabling them to fully appreciate the objects, just as Sir William, his family and staff did.

Part of the Burrell Collection is also kept in Berwick Museum.

At various times during the Burrells’ lives at Hutton, the following staff are known to have

been employed at the castle: Peter Clark (butler); Peter Freeny (cook); Jim Guthrie

(maintenance, particularly of castle generator); Erich and Maria Hofer (butler and cook);

Lexie Lesenger (domestic service and office worker); James Lornie (head gardener until

around time of his death in 1930); Mr Phillips (chauffeur); John Pringle (estates); Duncan

Rankin (chauffeur); Mary Renwick (domestic servant); Ethel Todd Shiel (secretary); Julia

Turbitt (housemaid) and Jimmy Wallace (gamekeeper).

If you know of a relative or family friend who worked for the Burrell’s in the 1920’s – 1940’s

or have any family anecdotes about Hutton Castle at the time, then please contact Claire

Rocha at