Hamilton Mausoleum is located in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland. It was the resting place of the family of the Dukes of Hamilton. Built in the grounds of the now-demolished Hamilton Palace, its high stone vault reputedly gives this building the longest lasting echo of any man-made structure in the world.
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 remarkable, Roman-style domed structure of panelled masonry. Standing to an overall height of about 123 feet (37 m), it occupies a site some 650 feet (200 m) north of the site of Hamilton Palace. Construction was begun in 1842 by architect David Hamilton and completed by architects David Bryce and Alexander Richie in 1858, five years after the death of the 10th Duke. The Duke was interred in an Egyptian sarcophagus, on a black marble slab in the main chapel, while 17 of his ancestors were interred in the crypt below. The coffins of the 10th Duke and his ancestors were later removed after subsidence and flooding from the River Clyde affected the mausoleum, and were re-buried in Hamilton's Bent Cemetery.
For many years in the 1960s and 70s the structure was noticed to be subsiding and a 20ft plumb-line hanging on the front of the mausoleum indicated the lean from true. The monolithic, plinth based construction prevented structural cracking however and, after many anxious years, the building settled back to near vertical.
Inside the mausoleum are displayed the original bronze outer doors, featuring impressive bas-relief work. The interior has the longest-lasting echo of any building in the world, a phenomenon dramatically demonstrated to visitors by slamming the entrance doors. Another curiosity of the interior architecture are 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 eerily to the listener at the other side
In the 1970s the glass oculus in the dome was replaced with a perspex version, moved into position by helicopter.