Hamilton Palace
Hamilton Palace was a large country house located north-east of Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland. The former seat of the Dukes of Hamilton, it was built in 1695 and subsequently much enlarged. The house was demolished in 1921 due to ground subsidence despite inadequate evidence for that. It is widely acknowledged as having been one of the grandest houses in Scotland.

The Palace
Built on the site of a 13th century tower house, the south front of Hamilton Palace was erected in 1695 by architect James Smith for William, 3rd Duke of Hamilton and his wife Duchess Anne. A new North Front had been planned by the fifth Duke in the 1730s, and extensive plans were prepared by William Adam. However the Duke's early death and the significant costs involved postponed further major work, although modifications and additions continued during the next century, including the purchase or exchange of land surrounding the palace, enabling extensive landscaping to take place. The North Front itself was finally completed 1842 by architect David Hamilton for Alexander, the tenth Duke using Adam's original plans as a structure. The north front was 265 feet (81 m) long and 60 feet (18 m) high, adorned with a Corinthian portico of monolithic columns 25 feet (7.6 m) high. The Staterooms, which included extensive stucco-work, were by Smith and Adam. These held much fine furniture and by the mid-19th century housed the one of the best private collections of paintings in Scotland, including works by Peter Paul Rubens (see below), Titian, Anthony van Dyck, and other masters. A sumptuous chimneypiece by William Morgan adorned the Dining Room's fireplace.

Hamilton Palace stood at the centre of extensive parklands which, as the main axis, had a great north-south tree-lined avenue over three miles (5 km) in length. The layout was later developed, most notably by William Adam, who introduced Châtelherault hunting lodge into the south avenue in the High Parks where it commanded a broad vista northwards across the Low Parks.

Decline and demolition
The demise of Hamilton Palace was the result of various factors: large and ostentatious houses had fallen from fashion; the cost of upkeep was prohibitive; and nearby coal mines resulted in dangerous subsidence as the coal beneath was removed. The decline began in 1882 when art was sold off to raise funds by William, the 12th Duke. However after Alfred, the 13th Duke lent his home for use as a naval hospital during World War I, the state of the palace was one of severe neglect necessitating vast sums for restoration. It was returned from military use in 1919. At this time the magazine Country Life featured a number of articles on the palace and a quantity of photographs were taken to accompany the series. As such they represent an invaluable record of the house before the massive sale of contents and fittings, and its demolition in 1921. The Rubens, Daniel in the Lions' Den is now in The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

The site today
The site of the Palace is now occupied by the Hamilton Palace Sports Grounds. Most of the Palace grounds were incorporated into Strathclyde Country Park. When the park was being constructed in 1974, vaulted cellars were discovered which may have belonged to the original house. However these were not excavated but instead infilled with rubble. Several metres of wrought iron railing from the palace grounds can be seen outside Hamilton College (Scotland). Some of the fittings, and photographs of the interior, can be viewed in the Low Parks Museum (the old Palace Coachhouse) in Hamilton. The Dining Room from Hamilton Palace was on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in the European period rooms. The sandstone bungalows on the south side of the A74, Carlisle Road, leaving Hamilton in the direction of Ferniegair and Larkhall are reputed to have been built from stone salvaged from the palace. The remains of the tree lined avenue which linked the palace to Chatelherault hunting lodge can still be seen. These give the visitor a good indication, particularly from Chatelherault Country Park, of where the palace stood. An Esporta health club, municipal sports facilities and an Asda superstore now stand on the site of the original palace. Local anecdotal evidence would also suggest that the elaborate and ornately carved staircase balustrades were used as the famous red carpeted staircase in "Gone With the Wind". Hamilton Mausoleum is still there and is open to visitors.