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Ranfurly Hotel


Ranfurly Hotel

Ranfurly Hotel was opened on 30 June 1882.

It is not generally known that Ranfurly nearly became a Royal Residence. Queen Victoria's medical adviser's recommended three places, Balmoral, Ranfurly and Rothesay, they finally opted for Balmoral.

In 1896 Mr Fritz Rupprecht, a German, purchased the hotel. He then set about enlarging it. The hotel had commanding views of no fewer than seven counties. When visitors started coming from the city for the golf, Mr Rupprecht started to offer cheap weekends.

Ranfurly Hotel

Around 1914 it then became a school for sons of servicemen, and in 1935 was turned into shops and flats. It had then became known as Ranfurly Castle Terrace.

This became a small friendly community in its own right, it was made up of tenanted flats and many varied businesses. At number one was McKenzie's a fishmonger, numbers two and three were John Webster, plumbers, and number four was the telephone exchange with the caretakers flat upstairs.

The last caretakers of the telephone exchange before it was automated and moved to its present address at Lintwkte, were Mr and Mrs Thomson.

Around 1950 Mr and Mrs Thomson arrived from Paisley with their four children. During the day Mr Thomson worked as a manager with British Rail at there offices in Glasgow. From his window he would watch the train going on its journey to Kilmacolm, he would then time it exactly knowing when to leave his flat and arrive on the platform in time to catch it for Glasgow, where he had the priviledge of travelling first class.

Mrs Thomson looked after the telephone exchange. She would start at 8.00pm through to 8.00am the following morning, when the telephonists came on duty. However in these days there were not the number of people with telephones as today, she could go to bed. During the night if there was someone wanting either an incoming or outgoing call she had a special bell at her bedside to summon her to the exchange. On Sunday mornings the exchange was thoroughly cleaned, the family all having a duty to perform. You would find Mr Thomson cloth in one hand, polish in the other. To the passer by you would be overwhelmed by the smell of 'mansion'. The floors and surroundings were polished until you could see your face. None of the family now live in Bridge of Weir, and sadly this part of the building was detroyed by fire in 1995.

Number five was Robert Campbell, Electrician, before moving to there present address. number six were three tenented flats, number seven was Mrs Kerr's sweet shop and tearoom, the sweets she sold were of the highest quality, number eight a hairdressers, number nine The Bank of Scotland, number ten The Library, number eleven was the Clydeside Construction Offices, their yard was at the top of the Kilbarchan Road, and two tenented flats, which were occupied by the same two families, Jean Neith (Gray) and children Sandra and Barry, Hamish and Jean Stewart (Willett) with their children Gillian and Alan, from 1936 until 1987 and respectively. Number twelve was the Post Office and sorting office, where lan Stewart was the last postmaster before moving to its present address.

The building fell into disrepair during the 1970's and 80's due to lack of investment by the owners.

It has now been restored to some of its former glory.

Sandra Liddell

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