Hamilton Mausoleum was the resting place of the family of the Dukes of Hamilton. Built-in the grounds of the now-demolished Hamilton Palace, it’s high stone used to hold the record for the longest echo within any man-made structure in the world, taking 15 seconds for the sound of a slammed door to fade. In 2014 the record was broken at the Inchindown oil storage tanks in the Scottish Highlands.
In line with his grandiose enlargement of Hamilton Palace, Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton, replaced his family burial vault which stood close to the east quarter of the palace in the aisle of the old and dilapidated collegiate church. Now the solitary remaining testament to the colossal scale and grandeur of the buildings which once stood in Hamilton Low Parks, Hamilton Palace Mausoleum is a Roman-style domed structure of panelled masonry.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the structure was observed to be subsiding, and a 20-foot (6-metre) plumb-line hanging on the front of the mausoleum indicated a lean from true verticality. The monolithic, plinth-based construction prevented structural cracking, however, and, after many anxious years, the building settled back to near vertical (180 degrees).
Inside the mausoleum are displayed the original bronze entrance doors, based on the Florence Baptistery doors of Lorenzo Ghiberti. Another curiosity of the interior architecture is the “Whispering Wa’s” or walls. Two people can stand at either end of one of the curved interior walls, facing away from each other into the niche of the wall, and hold a whispered conversation. The remarkable acoustics of the walls project the sound to the listener at the other side.