Review of the Shandon Hydro on opening



The palatial structure at West Shandon, built by the late Robert Napier, and now the property of the Shandon Hydropathic Company, was yesterday publicly inaugurated, and is now open for the reception of visitors.

The existing building, on which considerable alterations and improvements have just been effected, is a large and handsome Elizabethan pile, commanding the beautiful scenery of the Gareloch. The entrance is in a lofty turreted tower on the east side, and the principal rooms are arranged along the south front, between which and the Gareloch is an ornamental flower garden. A conservatory, 165 feet long, runs out from the west front, and is to be connected with the drawing-room by a glass passage. Behind the great corridor is a large and handsomely finished room built by Mr Napier as a picture gallery, and behind this again are two other rooms used as a billiard-room and museum. The rest of the building, consisting of kitchen and servants’ accommodation etc etc is hardly in keeping in size with what ahs been described, and is badly arranged, having been added to and altered from time to time.

In acquiring the property the directors employed by Messrs Peddie, Kinnear & Peddie, of Edinburgh, to prepare designs for the additions and alterations required to fit the building for a first-class hydropathic establishment. The directors chose a design for the extension of the building on the north side. The accommodation it provides consists of 44 bedrooms on the ground floor and the same number on the upper floor. The rooms are reached form the main building by two covered bridges, that at the lowest wing being chiefly for the use of the servants, and an exit is also provided to the grounds by a door in the north side. The alterations on the main building consist chiefly of erecting a new back stair and some reconstruction of the partitions to adapt the rooms to their new purpose. The picture gallery is to be used as a recreation-room, and the museum and billiard-rooms are thrown into one and extended northward to form a large dining room 42ft by 39ft by 25ft 6 in high. The total number of guests’ rooms will be 132. The large conservatory will be used as a promenade or recreation gallery. Adjoining the main building, and connected with it by a covered passage, will be placed the bath buildings, in which will be a complete set of private and general baths for hydropathic treatment as well as for ordinary use. Sea water will be pumped up to the large swimming bath to each of the private baths it may be required for. The total cost of the additions and alterations has been estimated at about £17,000. We may here add that a new pier is about to be erected at the northern entrance to the establishment by the trustees of the late Sir James Colquhoun, Bart..

On the invitation of the directors of the company, a large party of ladies and gentleman from Edinburgh, Glasgow and townships on the west coast visited the establishment yesterday, and were shown over the building and the grounds. Reaching Helensburgh by rail, the company were conveyed to Shandon by one of the steamers belonging to the North British Railway Company, which was represented on the occasion by Mr John Walker, of Edinburgh, general manager, and Councillor Grierson, of Glasgow, one of the directors. Amongst other gentlemen present were ex-Baillie Morrison, Glasgow, chairman of the board of directors of the Hydropathic Company; Baillie John Ure, Cairndhu; Councillor Mowat, Glasgow; the Rev J L Fogo, Row; General Furlong, Merchiston; Mr C E Irwin, Glasgow; Mr Walter McLellan of Blairvaddich; Mr James Arthur of Barshaw; Major Colquhoun, Bencruach Lodge; Mr John Horsburgh, Edinburgh; Mr William R Lawson, Edinburgh; and Mr Robert Jamieson, Edinburgh. The weather was of that unsettled character which, usually described as on the whole unpleasant, was in the special circumstances of yesterday the occasion of singularly beautiful glimpses of sea and sky and shore-land. The summit of the hills surrounding the Gareloch were covered with snow, while the lower slopes glowed in the rich tints of autumn, and over all heavy storm-clouds heightened the wintry aspect of the scene, on rolling quickly away left the upland bathed in sunshine which seemed to belong to mid-summer. Under such rapid and effective transitions, the Gareloch revealed every hour new forms of beauty.

The visitors having gone through the grounds and inspected the establishment, an adjournment was made to the conservatory, where about 200 ladies and gentlemen sat down to an elegant luncheon, under the presidency of Baillie Morrison. After luncheon the chairman made a few remarks. Speaking on behalf of the directors, he cordially welcomed their friends who had honoured them by attending, and said they were anxious that everything should be done in the future to promote the comfort of their guests. They had resolved, the chairman added, to alter the hour of retiring for the nigh generally adopted in such establishments by extending it to 10.30pm, and they had also agreed that all outdoor and indoor games, such as cards, chess, draughts etc should be permitted and encouraged, with the enforcement of a strict prohibition against gambling. He concluded by thanking Messrs Grierson and Walker, on behalf of the directors, for having placed one of the steamers of the North British Railway Company at the disposal of their guests. Tea and coffee were afterwards served, and then the company returned to the steamer.

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