In 1859 James White bought the estate then commissioned James Smith to build him a country house in the Scotts Baronial style.
James White was a wealthy industrialist from Rutherglen in Glasgow. His purpose was to build a retreat from the gloomy, polluted streets of the city for him and his family.
At that time the estate comprised 900 acres, but this quickly extended to 2,000 acres. The sighting of the house reflects the interests amongst the Victorian upper classes at the time. The building of Overtoun House took 1,000 men 4 years. It was completed in 1864 and continued to be owned by the White family until 1939.
The east and western sides of the estate were divided by Overtoun Burn, so to connect them, White’s son, John Campbell White (Later Lord Overtoun) built the West Drive, its lodge and the Overtoun Bridge. In 1895, the then Lady Overtoun dedicated Overtoun Bridge.
In 1939, on the eve of the second world war, Dr. Douglas White gave the entire estate to the people of Dumbarton in perpetuity and sold some of the land.
In 2000 Bob and Melissa Hill approached West Dunbartonshire Council to lease Overtoun House as a residential care facility for women in crisis. The proposal was approved in February 2001 with refurbishment, internal construction and alterations beginning in September of that year.
With the help of teams from around the world, reconstruction of the House was completed in 2015 and in 2017 the House opened for its intended purpose.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And that which I can do, by the grace of God, I will do.” (D L Moody)