New Houses in Colintraive c.1900
The steamers brought opportunities for residential development and large villas began to spring up all along the shores of the Clyde but in Colintraive, it was claimed that
‘In the Kyles of Bute especially, the demand was greater than the supply. The proprietors there, however, though poor, were proud and would suffer no part of their territory to be invaded by city folk, and accordingly they lost a golden opportunity.’(Unknown source)
However, in the late 1890s Southall Estate began to feu land for houses. Building continued and by 1913 over 60 acres had been feued to accommodate the new holiday homes. These included large mansion houses including Caol Ruadh and Dundarroch. The villas known as the “Seven Sisters” at Altgaltraig Point Ardare, Failte, Cladach, Altavoil and Ardachuidh were constructed in woodland by the coast.
The largest villa, Caol Ruadh, was clad in Lancashire brick. It was built for the Clyde shipbuilder William Connel in 1898. He sold it in 1907 to Thomas Hinshelwood an oil refiner, paint manufacturer and dry-salter from the city of Glasgow.
Caol Ruadh Becomes a Residential School
On the outbreak of the Second World War the house was requisitioned for evacuated children. Bought by Glasgow Corporation in 1944 it opened in 1945 as a residential school for Glasgow boys aged 8 to 11 often disabled by TB, asthma, or rickets. Their stay gave them the opportunity to enjoy the open air and to live in this grand mansion by the Kyles for 3 to 6 months
Initially the “poor wee souls” came all alone and though on the first few nights, they might cry themselves to sleep many made strong attachments to the school and still return to recall an impressionable part of their childhood – remembering “See this – it’s a’ oors”.
The role of the school continued to develop over the years employing about twenty-five people, many of them local. Environmental studies became the core of the curriculum, integrated with the children’s school programme, and always with the assistance of their own teacher
With the reorganisation of local government and the demise of Strathclyde Regional Council the school closed.