It was the year when the first mobile phone call was made in Britain, the short-lived Sinclair C5 was launched and the miners called off their year-long strike… Meanwhile in Ardentinny, the expansion of Coulport and anticipated employment opportunities featured in the community newsletter as well as the re-painting of the village hall; the bugging of a local home; a 15lb sea trout caught in the River Finart; and the village was close to the epicentre of an earth tremor! Read on..
A fascinating glimpse of Glenfinart House, Ardentinny some 57 years ago with this extract from the “Friendship Holidays Association” 1956 summer brochure. A forerunner to the package holidays of the 60’s, at just £7 per week (roughly £136 at today’s prices) guests could enjoy full board (shared) accommodation beginning with high tea on the Saturday evening to breakfast a week later. Single rooms could be arranged for an extra 1/6 per night (seven and a half pence in “new money”) and it would appear that alcohol or rather “intoxicants” as is stated in the brochure, were frowned upon as none were permitted in the guest rooms or on excursions!
The village and the surrounding area appeared to offer an amazing range of leisure activities including coach trips; walking; steamer excursions; bathing; dancing; table-tennis; boating and croquet! Optional excursions were available for an extra 45/- (£2.25) per week.
The brochure was kindly provided to us by Tony Harrison whose late mother’s uncle was the founder of the Friendship Holiday Association.
Do you have any memories of Glenfinart House or the Friendship Association? If so please let us know or use the comment box below.
Along with my husband, I visited Ardentinny in September 2011 with the purpose of walking down Memory Lane to the late 1950’s when I had spent many of my childhood holidays there.
It was certainly lovely to see the village looking so orderly and prosperous with such an apparently active and friendly community. The natural beauty remains as wonderful as my recall. Having looked at the notice board, we met briefly with Sandra Davidson in order to buy some 2012 calendars. She was one of several people from whom we learned a bit about life in Ardentinny today but the purpose of this e-mail is to ask if anyone shares our recall of earlier times.
My Aunt and Uncle owned and ran the Primrose Tearooms in Ardentinny in the 1950’s. The tearooms are now known as The Heron and the building is a private residence. Leaving our normal London life behind, my Mother, my two sisters and I spent many summer holiday periods in Ardentinny helping Auntie and Uncle with the busy trade – many coaches came from Dunoon stopping at the tearooms to partake of the good Scottish fare! Uncle worked for the Forestry Commission and they lived in one of the FC houses.
I attach (above) a photo of my Aunt and Uncle and of some of the local ladies who worked for them. Can any of your readers recall these times or recognise the people? We three remember the name Jenny Moffat and we think she is sitting back right. My Aunt and Uncle were Agnes and Neil Wareham who hailed from Campbeltown prior to joining the Ardentinny community. Agnes was of Glaswegian origin, my Mother’s older sister, and Neil came from Bute. They had no children. On leaving Ardentinny they had a small grocery store in Glasgow in order to be nearer to siblings but of course all have long since passed on.
We become more nostalgic with passing years! As sisters, our teenage years spanned the 1950’s and therefore our memories now fade. Are any of your readers able to help and share with us any recall of the period or information about these people since that time?
We have such happy memories of The Primrose Tearooms and Ardentinny. We were at that time Rosemary, Margaret and Phyllis and my Mother’s name was Mary. Our surname was ‘Day’.
With kind regards,
As a young girl of 13, Linda Sinclair was on Holiday at Glenfinart House Hotel, Ardentinny in the summer of 1968. This was the week before fire destroyed the historic house on 24th August, of the same year. Linda’s brother Jim and his family were actually in the hotel when the fire alarm was sounded, they were in the second floor room of the Tower.
The following are some of Linda’s recollections.
I do have very vivid memories of Glenfinart House. I can remember exactly the way the house looked in August 1968.
The entrance into the hallway had a great sweeping staircase and deep red carpet. There was a large stained glass window on the curve of the staircase with its coats of arms and a huge chandelier hung in the hallway. To the right, at the bottom of the staircase, was a long corridor, on the right of that was the large dining doom to the front of the house with a view of the loch.
I remember the hallway was hung with very large oil paintings of past residents, and a battle scene with men in tartan (I didn’t like it, as there were dead horses and dead people in it!). Further along was a very large sitting room that was not very inviting, it had a huge ornate fireplace and the furniture was old dark mahogany. Nobody ever sat in this room. There was a bullet hole in one of the windows at the top I remember, and the curtains were heavy and dark. This window also looked out over to Loch Long.
On the left side of the corridor was a smaller room which was the bar, it had patio windows and steps down to the garden at the back, a door in the corner led to upper floor bedrooms.
The kitchens were also on this side of the corridor, across from the dining room. I remember there was a huge oil painting on the corridor wall. It was of Glenfinart House, from the shoreline of the Loch, with the forest behind the house. All purple and green hues. It was amazing and it took up the whole wall, and had an ornate gilt frame. Oh, what happened to these paintings? I reckon they were all destroyed in the fire (so sad).
I remember the hut with the biggest book in the world that was on your left as you came into the driveway. I also remember my room which was to the side of the house. It looked on to the stone bridge that led down to the little bay.
I was told of a ghostly lone piper who played the lament on the top of the tower and about a lady who was one of the inhabitants.
Also I remember the people who had the hotel were not Scots. They were Londoners. I think the lady who owned Shandy the dog was named Cath and there was a waiter named Dave who had a bad limp.
In one of the largest incidents of its kind in Argyll the Brigade were called on Saturday, August 24, 1968, at 0846 to the Glenfinnart Hotel, Ardentinny. Repeat calls had been received from Cove and Kilcreggan and crews arrived to face a serious fire which is well illustrated by the fireground message “A building of 2-3 and 4 floors about 120 feet by 230 feet, first floor, roof and tower well alight. Make pumps 3.”Seven jets were used on this fire and crews were in attendance for over 13 hours.
Courtesy: Dunoon Fire Service Centenary 1889 – 1989.
My niece Lesley was one of the children that was in the second floor room when the fire broke out. She told me that she was sitting on her potty at the time, and my brother picked her up potty and all and took her outside.
I had made great friends with the owners’ boxer dog named Shandy on my stay, and was completely devastated when the dog was killed in the fire. My brother had tried to save the dog, as it was in the room above, and he heard it run up and down the room in distress. He tried to get up the stairs to the room but the heat and smoke was too intense.
My brother told me that the Dunoon Fire Brigade recovered the poor dog’s body and laid it to rest on the grass lawn on the right of the front of the door. I did go back some weeks later and found the grave of Shandy and cried my eyes out. In later years my family, who are in the demolition business from Glasgow, demolished the house. Only the tower remains today.
We are grateful to Linda Sinclair for sharing her memories with us. We would very much welcome any additional anecdotes related to the history of Glenfinart House.
Tears in the Glen is the family history of an Australian family who have traced their roots back to Baron McInturner of Craigcoll/Craighoyle, Glenfinart, Ardentinny.
Dedicated to the history of the Turners of Craigcoll/hoyle, their ancestors and their descendants who migrated to Australia in the 1800s. The video tells the story of the family from its beginnings until the 1850s.
Created by Richard Balsillie, the story recounts how Baron McInturner received his Barony from Robert the Bruce and how members of the Campbell clan killed him one night on his way to Whistlefield for his supposed support of the Lamont clan. Remains of the cairn still exist and it is one of Ardentinny Community Council’s ongoing projects to restore it.
Additional images and footage were provided by ardentinny.org. Richard would welcome viewer comments and any additional historic information. A video on the next part of the story, focussing on the Turners of Eaglehawk, Victoria is expected to be published late in 2011.
We’ve received some fascinating historical information from Janet Gardner Roy, a relative of former Ardentinny postmaster Matthew Gardener. Janet is researching the Gardener family history. As well as running the village store and post office, Matthew Gardener also published local Ardentinny postcards.
Matthew Gardner was born on 4th. October 1809 in Wishaw, Lanarkshire, he married Helen Currie on 19th. April 1835 in Bothwell, Lanarkshire. Matthew died on 24th. January 1878 in Ardentinny and is buried in Kilmun Churchyard (see photograph).
Helen Currie was born about 1814 in Bothwell, the daughter of John Currie and Isabella Carstairs. Helen died on 11 May 1899 in the district of Kilmun and is not mentioned on the gravestone. Matthew & Helen only had 5 children that I am aware of namely: Euphemia born in 1836 in Stoke, Surrey, England, Janet Gardner born 1843 in Lanarkshire, she married James Gardner on 22 Jan 1879 in Dunoon & Kilmun Parish (Not sure if there is a relationship here, maybe cousins).
Matthew Gardner was born Jan 1854 in Lanarkshire – I believe Matthew had a son Thomas (born 1881 in Dunoon) with Christina Turner Wright, born 9 Jan 1866, daughter of Joseph Wright and Janet Turner. Matthew died on 25 Jan 1934 in Ardentinny.
Robert Gardner born 29th. October 1856 in Hutchestown, Glasgow. John Gardner born abt 1838 in Stocke, Surrey, England. John died on 2nd December 1875 in Glenfinart (see Gravestone). Janet Gardner born about 1842 in Stoke, England.
In 1851, The family were living in Leatherhead, Surrey, England. Matthew was a gardener, they had moved to Ayrshire by 1861, again Matthew was a gardener. In 1871, they were residing in Glenfinart, Matthew was still gardening, and in 1881, the family were living in at Rock Cottage, Ardentinny.
It was the son Matthew born in 1854 who became a grocer in 1891 and postmaster in 1901 and presumably he is responsible for publishing the postcards.
With thanks to Janet Gardner Roy.
If anyone has more information on the Gardener’s, please contact us.