Christmas at Shandon 1879

Dear blog reader, this is the third part in the series looking at what was the focus in Shandon in a particular week in time. These reports appeared in the first 1880 edition of the Helensburgh News reporting on Christmas night at the Hydro and those people who were staying at the Hydro that Christmas.




On Christmas night there was a large attendance of visitors, and the energetic manager (Mr G R McKenzie) did all in his power to provide for their comfort and amusement. The list of visitors found in another column will show at once the numerous and influential party. The proceedings began in the afternoon with a concert, under the leadership of the Hillhead Musical Association, comprising the following: Mr and Mrs Zavertal, Mr Zavertal senior, Herr Vogt, Miss Munro, Mr John Gardiner, Mr Black and Mrs William Duff. In the evening there was an assembly, which took place in the large hall, tastefully decorated with evergreens and appropriate devices. Altogether a most pleasant day and evening were spent. On the following evening there was a dramatic entertainment, the piece performed being ‘Breach of promise’ in which the following took part: Mr John Mowat junior, Mr F Morrison, Mr W Mollison, Mr T Duff junior, Mr W Duff and Misses Duff.



Mr Robert Milne, Misses and Master Milne, Aberdeen; Mr and Mrs Cassels, two children and maid, Glasgow; Mrs Oliphant, Edinburgh; Mr, Mrs and Misses Galt, and maid, Glasgow; Mr Wm Johnston, Paisley; Mr John Cochrane, Glasgow; Mr and Mrs Cunningham, two children and maid, Glasgow; Mr and Mrs Biggam, Airdrie; Miss Smith, Stirling; Mrs Birrell and party of eight, Glasgow; Misses Cunningham and Ritchie, Glasgow; Mr A W and Miss Clark, Glasgow; Mr and Mrs Black, Glasgow; Messrs Riddoch, Partick; Mr and Mrs James and Mr Fred Morrison, Glasgow; Mr and Mrs Sharp, Helensburgh; Mr and Mrs Eric Anderson, Ceylon; Mr and Mrs Robert Crawford, Glasgow; Mr, Mrs and Misses Morrison, Glasgow; Mr Silva White, Mr Steel, Mr Davis, Mr P McLellan, Mr Mitchell, Glasgow; Mr Urquhart, Edinburgh; Mr and Misses Ritchie, Glasgow; Mr and Mrs Henry, Miss and two Messrs Grierson, Glasgow; Mr and Mrs Thomas Duff, Glasgow; Messrs and Misses Duff, Glasgow; Messrs Black, Schuman, Sorley, McDonald and Walker, Glasgow; Messrs Gardener, Elkhurst and Mollison, Glasgow; Mr and Mrs ZAvertal, Mr Zavertal senior, Miss Munro, and Herr Volt, Glasgow; Messrs Cook, Riddle, Jeffrey, Connell and Hatton, Glasgow; Mr John Milne, Aberdeen; Bailie and Mrs Clark, five children and two nurse, Glasgow; Mrs Harvey, Miss Mories, Miss Nicol and Miss Aikman, Glasgow; Mr and Mrs James Leitch and Miss Stewart, Glasgow; Bailie and Mrs Mowat, Miss and two Messrs Mowat, Glasgow; Reverend A P Arnott and Master Arnott, Edinburgh; four Misses Cross, Glasgow; Messrs Hedderwick, Moffat, Arrol, McLean and McCarlie, Glasgow; Mr Stewart, Stirling; Mr George Drummond, Glasgow; Mr Cree, Glasgow; Mr Russell, Paisley; Mr F F Porter, Glasgow; Mr Duncan Smith, two Messrs Smith, Edinburgh.

Drowning opposite Blairvaddich

Dundee Evening Telegraph 23 September 1884

Sad drowning of two boys near Helensburgh

Shortly after four o’clock yesterday, two lads named Gordon Carnachan, son of Dr Carnachan, and Archibald Campbell, son of Captain Campbell, of the Circassia, each aged about 16, started from Clynder in the lugsail boat Zulu to cross the loch.

When opposite Blairvaddich they were observed by Archibald Donaldson, coachman, Hydropathic, who was returning with his horses from Helensburgh, to proceed to the bow of their boat, which immediately sank bow first, the lads clinging to the mast.

Donaldson at once tied his horses to the rail, and by means of a punt lying on the shore proceeded to the scene of the accident. On his way he was passed by a large dog which had accompanied the boys, swimming to the shore.

On reaching the spot nothing could be found save the caps of the unfortunate lads. As both were particularly intelligent and well known, their sad end has occasioned the utmost gloom on both sides of the loch. Up to nine o’clock boats were engaged trawling for the bodies, but without result.

Hatches, Matches and Dispatches, part 2

Dear blog reader

This is the second part in a series of Shandon hatches, matches and dispatches that have appeared in the newspapers.

I always find such finds very exciting in my own 30 years of family history research and I hope this helps anyone doing similar Shandon-based research.

Please note that for privacy reasons all entries will be 100 years old and over.

(Glossary: inst/instant means of the present month, ult/ultimo means of last month)


St James’s Gazette, 29 July 1884

Sons –  Bell, wife of Mr Henry, of Summerhill, Shandon, NB, at Cornwall Terrace, Regent’s Park, NW, July 27

London Evening Standard, 3 March 1888

Bell – March 1, at 5, Cornwall Terrace, Regent’s Park, NW, the wife of Henry Bell, Summerhill, Shandon, of a daughter


The Examiner, 14 July 1833

[Also in the York Herald, the Inverness Courier and the Perthshire Courier]

At Blairvaddoch, Charles, second son of the late Sir W Forbes, of Pitsligo, Baronet, to Jemima, daughter of the late Colonel Ronaldson MacDinell, of Glengarry and Clanronald

Westmorland Gazette, 9 November 1833

[Also in the Sun, the Scotsman and the Inverness Courier]

Ay Blairvaddoch, Dumbartonshire, Andrew Bonar, Esq, banker in Edinburgh, to Marcelly, daughter of the late Colonel Ronaldson MacDonnell, of Glengary and Clanronald.

Greenock Advertiser, 9 October 1855

On the 4th instant, by the Rev Dr Buchanan, Mr William Wyse Ritchie, Edinburgh, to Mary, eldest daughter of Duncan Turner, Esq, Lagbuie, Shandon

Illustrated London News, 5 November 1870

On the 27th ult., at Lagbuie, Dumbartonshire, by the Rev Dr Robert Buchanan, John M Easton, CE, Nursingpore, India, to Lucy, daughter of Duncan Turner, Esq.  No cards.

Helensburgh News, 25 March 1880

At 20 Park Circus, Glasgow, on the 23rd inst., by the Rev James Smith, Crammond, uncle of the bride, assisted by the Rev Donald MacLeod, DD, William G Wilson, to Ann, youngest daughter of the late Duncan Turner, Lagbuie, Shandon

The Scotsman, 31 December 1908

MacLellan – Guild – At Holy Trinity, Sloane, London, on the 30th current, by the Rev H R [illegible], MA, Wm Turner MacLellan, son of the late [illegible] MacLellan of Blairvaddich, Dumbartonshire, to Mabel, daughter of the late J Wyllie Guild, Glasgow

The Scotsman, 21 June 1917

A wedding was solemnised by the Rev Canon Leighton Crane at Cobham Parish Church, on June 18th, between Captain J Archibald Cowie, HLI, son of the late Archibald Cowie, Esq., of Cardross, and Mrs Cowie, Moffat and Esmee Mary, daughter of Carl Grabowsky, Esq., of Linnburn, Shandon, Dumbartonshire


Paisley Herald and Renfrewshire Advertiser, 17 November 1877

[Also appeared in the Dundee Courier]

At Lagbuie, Shandon, on the 15th inst., Duncan Turner, in his 79th year

The Scotsman, 16 February 1878

Died at 4 Grosvenor Terrace, Glasgow, on the 14th inst., Janet MacLellan, in her 71st year, widow of Duncan Turner, Lagbuie, Shandon

Dundee Courier, 12 April 1882

At Ardchapel, Dumbartonshire, on the 8th inst., Georgina Frances Downie Cullen, wife of William Swan, LLD, Emeritus Professor in the University of St Andrews

Dundee Courier, 21 November 1892

[Also in the Morning Post and in the Northern Whig]

Sanders – At Altnacoile, Shandon, on the 17th inst., Bertha, widow of the late Commander C D Sanders, RN, aged 52

The Scotsman, 8 March 1913

Brown – At Bournemouth, on the 7th inst., A R Brown, Summerhill, Shandon, Gareloch, Hon Consul for Japan at Glasgow (and of A R Brown, McFarlane & Co Ltd)

Hampshire Advertiser, 3 March 1917

Brown – on the 26th ult., at Kayama, Bournemouth, Louisa, widow of A R Brown, late of Summerhill, Shandon

The Scotsman, 29 September 1919

Anderson – at Hampstead, London, on the 25th inst., Robert Hood Anderson, eldest son of the late Sir James Anderson, MP, of Blairvaddich, in his 87th year

Death of Mr William Gunn of Shandon

Paisley Herald and Renfrewshire Advertiser 14 May 1859

In our obituary today many will regret to observe the name of Mr Gunn of Shandon Bank, for a considerable period extensively engaged in business in this city, and who for a number of years has lived in retirement on his property at Shandon Bank, on the Gareloch, near Helensburgh, on the results of his successful industry.

For several years he has been afflicted with an internal complaint, and some three or four weeks ago came to Glasgow to try what the best medical skill could do for him, as his country residence is at considerable distance from that of any practitioner. His disease, however, baffled th best skill and most unwearied care, and on Sabbath last he sunk under the disease.

For many years we have had the pleasure of his acquaintance, and have always found him faithful, warm-hearted, and considerate friend. During his long life he was remarkable for his strict attention to religious duties, and though unable during his last hours to articulate, he was able to give evidence that his end was peace.

Greenock Advertiser 10 May 1859


At Buccleuch Street, Glasgow, on the 8th instant, Mr William Gunn, of Shandon Bank, aged 76.

Shandon Yacht Fire

The Scotsman 26 July 1930

Yesterday, when two engineers were endeavouring to start the engines of a twin-screw cabin cruiser on the Gareloch near the Glasgow Motor Boat Racing Club’s pier at Shandon, one of the engines mis-fired and an explosion occurred, throwing one of the men into the fore-saloon with great violence.

A fire broke out, and the Helensburgh fire brigade extinguished it, but not before considerable damage had been done. The boat, which belonged to Mr R Mitchell, late of Shandon Hydro, was a 60-foot twin-screw cabin cruiser, and the damage is estimated at £1000.

Death of a Shandon boy in 1918

Daily Record 9 May 1918

Shandon boy’s sad death

Robert Hill (13) succumbed in the Victoria Infirmary, Helensburgh, yesterday, to injuries sustained through the accidental discharge of a gun in the hands of a comrade.

The boys had been shooting squirrels on Tuesday night and the gun went off, the charge lodging in the right shoulder of Hill who had been walking 10 yards in front. Hill was the son of Robert Hill, Lagbuie, Shandon, a soldier in France.

Shandon in March 1879

Dear blog reader, this is the second part in the series looking at what was the focus in Shandon in a particular week in time. In the second week of March in 1879 the focus in Shandon was the availability of the Helensburgh News and the alterations made at the Hydropathic Hotel

Helensburgh News 13 March 1879


To our readers – To suit the convenience of the public in this district, it has been arranged that in the future the News will be on sale on the morning of publication at Mr Vallance’s, Quayhead.

Hydropathic Establishment

Since our last notice of this establishment the additions are nearly completed, the extent of which nearly occupy half an acre, and are in conformity with the baronial style of architecture for which Shandon House has so long been famed. In the new building there are 95 bedrooms in two flats, with baths adjoining, fitted up in the very best style, the furnishing and carpeting being of the newest design, supplied by Messrs Wylie & Lochhead and Messrs Cree & Co, Glasgow. On the ground a floor a magnificent dining room, where upwards of 900 can sit down at once, has been fitted up, and a door on the left-hand corner leads into a tasteful and properly ventilated recreation-room. An extensive corridor, leading from the recreation-room into the conservatory, is also being elegantly fitted up. The culinary arrangements are almost complete, the kitchen and range containing all the recent improvements, and in close continuity with the dining-room there is a service-room, where victuals can be served up in the best of order without a moment’s delay.

We do not at all intend this as a proper description either of he internal arrangements of the external improvements, but before the grand opening, which is expected to take place early in May, we hope to be able to state more fully and with greater authenticity the real dimensions and capabilities of what is sure to prove one of the most, if not the most attractive establishments of the kind in Scotland.

In addition to spacious dining and drawing-rooms, ladies’ drawing-room, recreation-room, billiard-rooms, and the suite of bedrooms referred to above, not to speak of the outdoor pleasure to be enjoyed, the establishment may be considered all that could be desired. The baths are elegant, and could not be surpassed in the kingdom, everything possible being done to make them complete. The swimming bath, capable of holding 6000 gallons of salt water, is particularly worthy of notice, and of itself should prove a great acquisition, and, no doubt, when once in operation, will be largely patronised by local ladies and gentlemen, as well as those residing for a time in the establishment. This bath can be heated by steam to any tolerable degree of temperature, and is fitted with trapez for gymnastic exercise. We think the company may consider themselves fortunate in securing such an energetic person as Mr Mackenzie as manager, and we are sure that his courtesy and gentlemanly deportment will secure for him the respect and esteem of all who may find it convenient to locate themselves under his care.

Death at Ardgare

Strathearn Herald, 30th December 1911


Miss Kerr, the last member of a well-known family, died at her residence, Ardgare, Shandon, on Wednesday night, at the age of 85. Her father, an Ayrshire man made a fortune as a tobacco merchant in Virginia and on his return to Scotland purchased the estate of Robertland, near Stewarton, in Ayrshire.

Miss Kerr maintained the best traditions of the family for liberality, her benefactions to Church and philanthropic scales being on a large scale, while she was a generous contributor to all local charities. She will be missed especially by Shandon United Free Church, of which she was a member.

In terms of her late brother’s will the United Free Church of Scotland will benefit to a very large extent, Miss Kerr only having the life-rent of the family estates, which, it is understood, now go to the Church.

Shandon in July 1884

Dear blog reader,

Welcome to part 1 of an occasional series focusing on what happened in Shandon in a particular week in the past.

This week, let’s explore what happened in Shandon in the last week of July 1884.

Helensburgh News 31st July 1884


The Regatta

After a good deal of bantering between the Garelochhead and our local Regatta Committees as to the propriety of the two events being amalgamated into one, and no definite arrangement having been come to, it has now been arranged that the Shandon Regatta will take place on Saturday week, and announcement has been made to that effect, James Bell, Esq., Summerhill, being appointed commodore. The events number in all 13, including sailing and pulling races (confined and open), a race for the Cumberland boys, punt race, etc, and from the number of entries already made, the different events are likely to be keenly contested.


The children attending the Sir Michael Street United Presbyterian Church Sabbath School, Greenock, accompanied by several of their friends and teachers, to the number of about 300, had their usual summer treat on Tuesday, which took the form of a trip to Shandon. There were several slight showers during the day, which damped the ground a little but not the spirits of our youthful friends. On their arrival at Shandon, the young folks were treated to a plentiful supply of bread and milk, after which races and games were engaged in. A sack race, for which four boys entered, was won by William Aitken. Quite a feature of the day’s entertainment was a wild flower bouquet competition, for which there were seven prizes. Between forty and fifty engaged in the contest, and the two ladies who acted as judges had a task of no small difficulty in awarding the prizes. The first prize was gained by Annie McDonald, the second by Sarah Strathers, while Annie Crawford and Johanna McNab were equal for the third prize. The party were much indebted to Mr and Mrs McLachlan, who kindly gave the use of their fields. The young people arrived safe home about seven o’clock, and were apparently much pleased with their day’s outing.

Near Drowning Opposite Shandon Church

Glasgow Herald 2 August 1884

Narrow escape from drowning in the Gareloch

Yesterday at midday Donald McLeod, 72 years of age, residing in Helensburgh, narrowly escaped being drowned in the Gareloch. McLeod, who is an old soldier, left Helensburgh for Garelochhead about half-past ten in a lug-sail boat belonging to Mr Campbell. All went well until opposite Shandon Church, when McLeod attempted to reef the sail, and while doing so the ballast shifted, causing the boat to capsize, and it sank immediately.

Two of the workmen at the Church and Alex McPhail, coachman, put off in a boat to the rescue. McLeod was floating about, when they reached him, but was nearly exhausted. He was taken ashore and carefully tended at Mrs Bell’s, Summerhill, who provided him with dry clothes. McLeod has saved three persons from drowning during his career as a yachtsman.