Stories of Kilmun

Marchioness of Lorne at Kilmun Pier

Our oral history project, Cowal Connections, continues to be rewarding. We've had lots of interesting tales of life in Dunoon so far, as well as some fun stories about the goings on at the funeral of the last Duke of Argyll to be buried in the mausoeleum, so we've been hoping to find people with memories of everyday life in Kilmun over the past century. Well, today we got lucky! A lovely lady who was born and raised in Kilmun, and who has always kept a home here - even when life took her elsewhere - came to our fourth session in the Visitor Centre tea room.

She's blessed with a truly excellent memory and regaled us with accounts of the thriving and bustling village that Kilmun was back when the post office and telegram station was still in operation. Did you know that residents of Kilmun found it more convenient to hop on a ferry boat to Greenock to do their shopping than to make their way to Dunoon? Or that, although there wasn't a scheduled ferry to Sandbank, there was one always waiting to shuttle you there from Kilmun and back; all you had to do was wave it down, like a taxi!

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Confessions in the tea rooms

 

Today was one of guilty secrets! One of our guests confessed that she'd accidentally gate-crashed a fundraising event at Kilmun Church way back when they were trying to rebuild the old bell tower. By her account, the main reason for the projects failure was the money spent on fancy chinaware to entertain their guests! And that wasn't the only confession: We also heard of one young lady attending a dance with soldiers from the P.O.W. camp at Glenbranter. She was still at school at the time but fibbed, to the gentleman she was dancing with, that she worked in an office in Dunoon. However, her wicked ways were exposed because the soldiers had a habit of catching the scholars bus up the road from Dunoon to Glenbranter, and our young lady used the same bus to get home to Strachur... it wasn't long before she and her dance partner crossed paths again, except this time she was in school uniform!

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Cowal Connections Session 1

 

Tea & cake at historic kilmun

Our first project is underway and off to a great start. We had ten lovely ladies in attendence plus two volunteers from Cowal Elderly Befrienders, and two volunteers of our own, making sure that tea and cakes were always at hand. It being Friday the 13th, we did have one casualty - but don't worry, it was just a tea cup! Mind you, the cakes might have a different take on the casualty count... There was an abundance of cake to go around; scones and lemon-drizzle-poppy-cake donated by a Kilmun resident (thanks Kirsty!), carrot cake and lemon cake donated by Bookpoint, shortbread donated by a Friend of Historic Kilmun, as well as two loaf cakes (apple & toffee, and gingerbread) donated by Yolanda from Chouxmake's Cakes. It's safe to say that we were not short of sugar to fuel the conversations!

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2018 Community Projects

If you’ve had a good look through our website before arriving here, then you’ll know that the restoration of the mausoleum, and the artefacts therein, has been completed. The mausoleum is receiving visitors and the artefacts are proudly displayed in our custom built visitors centre. So what now?

Well, there’s no point lovingly restoring the site if it isn’t also valued by others, eh? There’ll always be people who come to appreciate the history and the stories of Historic Kilmun, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. This site has been a social hub for centuries and we’d like to keep it that way! So we’re branching out into community activities for 2018, and what better way to start than with a cup of tea?


It’s time to create a new layer of history for the site, so our first project will be to gather stories from people who have grown up and lived in the area. For 12 weeks from April 13th, we’ll be gathering people together in our tea rooms, every Friday afternoon, to enjoy some home baked cakes, a cup of tea and a blether. If you have a memory or a good story involving life in and around Kilmun, the church, the mausoleum, or the surrounding areas, then please join us. If you can’t make the Friday afternoon sessions, please get in touch anyway! We’ll be recording these personal histories and sharing them with future visitors. We’re also looking for younger volunteers to get involved in the conversation, help record the stories, and keep the refreshments flowing.

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