Pier Cottage | 30 occupants (1905 - 2016)

Stewart Keith born 1947. Interviewer: Dot Chalmers Took Place: Here We Are August 2007 I came to Pier Cottage in 1949, I was about 16/18 months old, the Ardkinglas lorry picked up my Dad and our furniture, and Mr John came for Mum and I in his Rolls Royce. We moved from Whithorn, Wigtonshire, Dad (Sam) had come to be the head forester and Mum (Molly) worked in Ardkinglas house. Pier Cottage was done up for us coming. . As you enter the back door of the house which was on the side of the house facing Mid Lodge, the stair was to the left of the back door, with two big bedrooms upstairs, and small landing at the top of the stairs. Going upstairs, there was a trap door on the wall, on the right side of the stairs, into the attic, (All the junk of the day was in there!!). The bedroom on the left, which was my bedroom, had windows facing Mid Lodge and the other facing the pier. The wall that was the gable end in that room was very damp, Mum always has a fire on in that room, in the winter, the fireplace was brick with a metal base. The bedroom to the right, was the "Guest Bedroom" it was lovely and warm as it was above the sitting room fire, it had windows facing the pier and up the wood. The fireplace had a metal surround with a flap to make the smoke go up the chimney. On the landing at the top of the stairs there were two windows one facing Lorimer Cottage and one facing the outbuildings at the back of the house. The floors upstairs were wooden and the windows were sash. Downstairs as you came in the back door, to the right where was a small walk in larder, and then you went into the kitchen, the kitchen door had to be kept half an inch open to stop the sitting room fire from smoking. The water supply came from the burn, with a tank further up the burn, the cattle were going into the burn and dirtying the water, so Dad spoke to Mr Noble and then we got our water from the Top Byre, piped across the field. The water was often frozen because the pipes were on the surface. On the back wall of the kitchen there was a big copper tank, for heating the water, (Mum used to polish it till you could see yourself in it), it was next to the back window with the Truburn below it to heat it. We had no fridge, Mum put the milk in the burn to keep it cold. Straight through the kitchen was the bathroom, which had a bath, toilet, and wash hand basin. You go into the sitting room from the kitchen, one of the windows faced the burn and the other out the front, there was a very big log fire, made from brick with a metal nest. A door on the left, took you into the front hall, straight across from there was the bottom bedroom, (Mum and Dad's room) its windows faced Mid Lodge and out the front, there was a tiny fireplace in that room, made of brick, we had to cut the logs small, to fit in it. There was a porch on the front door. One day when I came home my Mum had broken the brush handle on a sheep, because they had come into the porch and were shitting in it. At the back of the house there were two buildings, one was the wash house, which was nearest to the house. Inside it there was a big boiler, with a copper lid for doing the washing. I would light the fire at lunch time, to heat the water for Mum coming home from Ardkinglas, so that she could do the washing in the afternoon. There was a deep white sink, and a paraffin stove for making the porridge in the morning as the Truburn was out. The other was the stick and coal shed, which had originally been the byre. Steps up the side of the wash house lead to the garden, we grew lots of vegetables, and had fruit bushes, Mum made lots of jam from the fruit, which she stored in the wash house as there wasn't enough room in the kitchen. There were huge daffodils in the top garden, which had been given to my Dad by Lady Glenkinglas when she was changing the lazybeds at Strone. The grass at the front of the house was covered in crocuses. On the other side of the burn was a Nissan Hut which we used as a garage, Dad had a 1960, A35 van, GSB 202, which he kept in there. At the back of the hut, the hard wood seats from Ardkinglas were stored. I walked to school which was in the Hall, with George and Leon Kobiela, and the Beatons. Miss MacDonald would hit us with the ruler if we misbehaved. I went to Inveraray High school, we were taken by land rover to Drishaig where we met the bus which took us to school. When I left school I went to work in the wood/sawmill with my father. In March 1977 I left Pier Cottage and moved to Lowburn.
Pier Cottage

i. General

Pier Cottage is a handsome very square and compact structure of two storeys and three bays underneath a double pitched slated roof defined by double chimneys at either apex and gableheads. The chimneys are defined by skews and simple squared skewputs. The building is slated, but the slating appears to be relatively recent in date. The external walls are harled and whitewashed in cream. Its principal frontage faces to Loch Fyne to the west. This elevation is handsome and regularly arranged, with pairs of windows, one at each level, on either side of a central porch and above the porch roof there is a further blocked window of smaller size.

The building can possibly be identified on the First Edition OS Map (6 inch) surveyed in 1870. It is now occupied by Elsie and Dom Adams.

The existing entrance and driveway skirts the house on its north side and leads to a gravel yard area behind the house to the east. Bounding the south side of the yard area is a small range of sheds. This has three entrances facing into the yard in its north wall. Each of these entrances contains a plank and batten constructed door, the vertical planks detailed at the tongue and groove joint with a bead. Architraves around have rolls at inner angles and ogee mouldings on the outer.

The sheds on the south side of the court at the back are built of lime bonded rubble construction. This is visible internally with some evidence for brickwork forming up at the entrances. Externally it is harled with cement and whitewashed. The eastern compartment preserves some timber linings bedded within the wall and in the east wall in particular, there is a suggestion that the mortar was smeared up against lining boards within. It is not clear what the significance of this may be. The western compartment appears to have been the early wash house. This has a concrete floor with channels in it for drainage. In the south-west corner in the upper wall, there are the remains of a flue rising up to a small chimney. The impressions of this can be seen lower down and its possible there had been a pot boiler at that point. In the centre of the west wall there is an early window opening. It appears that the northwest corner of this interior was subdivided further, by brick partitions perhaps, the impressions of which can be seen in the plasterwork to the north and west. Perhaps this had been a small privy. This had a separate entrance now partly blocked in the north wall.

The centre of the east wall at ground floor level there is a fixed window. This of two by four panes, horizontally set with a deep fillet-and-ovolo profile. Above this is an entrance to a small loft area. This containing a plank and batten door. A small single loft chamber occupying slightly more than half of the upper level. This has a broad dormer within the roof facing south but does not appear to be of particular antiquity. It contains three window panels divided by wooden mullions. Each panel contains two by four squared panes. The upper part of the central one clearly opened. The outer ones appear to be hinged on the outer jambs. The sides of the dormer are match boarded.
The porch is walled with a door in the centre of the west side. Above it is glazed and defined by vertical timber piers that have chamfers round the corners. The roof above is slated with shaped fishtail slates. Every third coarse being square ended. The roof is double pitched and detailed with a moulded fascia and a wooden finial at the apex. The guttering at either end is detailed with spouts formed out of lead almost in the shape of bird heads. The sills of the windows project out. If these are stone then they seem to have been rendered over. At the wall foot of the cottage there is a projecting footing coarse formed of small boulders. On either side of the porch there are small cobble edged borders.

The north gable wall is without feature other than a single window towards the east end at ground floor level. This arrangement is similar to that of the south gable, again with a single window in the corresponding position. In the centre of the rear wall to the east there is a small projecting stair tower, externally this is now only visible above the roofs of further additional ranges. The inspection of the interior revealed that this stair does not contain the present stair.

Running eastwards from the southern part of the east façade is a double-pitched single-storied range beneath a slated roof. This is detailed with a wooden fascia to the east. On its northern pitch there exists what may be yet a further extension. This has a single pitched roof that joins up to the main roof of the rear range in a cat-slide arrangement. The combined rear range which corresponds to the width of the back of the house is accessed externally from a single entrance further north in the east wall.

At first floor level there has clearly been some arrangement although all of the windows that are still in position appear to be original except the first floor window in the south gable which is of different moulding profile and fresher cut suggesting this is a secondary insertion or replacement. All the other windows have a narrow Victorian gothic glazing bar profile. Each window is sash-and-case and six-over-six in arrangement.

As the entrance through the porch in the W elevation is closed off, the main entrance into the house is now at the back, through the eastern extension. The principal part of this rear extension which is the southern part, now contains a kitchen with kitchen units that appears to be of 1970s or early 1980s date. There is a broad south facing window that is clearly a secondary insertion in the centre of the east wall. There is also a further window to the E, its narrowness suggesting this might be an early window though the fenestration within is modern.

The northern part of the extension contains a short passage from the external door and this leads into the south side to the kitchen. On the north side is a small bathroom with bath and WC, all tiled out and relatively modern internally. The kitchen extension and all parts of the rear are lined out with plasterboard. There is a concrete floor throughout.

At the northern end of the west wall of the kitchen there is a passage that leads through to the principal ground floor part of the main house. The latter is now formed into one single interior space; however it is evident that this had been subdivided formerly. Patchings of the floorboards either visible, or almost visible beneath the carpets, suggest there had been a small entrance vestibule within the porch, with an entrance on either side to north and south. Evidence to the south is readily visible as a patching in the floorboards. There seems to have also been an east-west partition wall. This is slightly offset to the south, running to the south jamb of the entrance into the rear extensions. This again is apparent as a patch on the floor beneath the carpet.

There may have been a second internal parallel crosswall running to the northern jamb of the original entrance into the rear. The usual arrangement of many of these Cairndow buildings is to have a straight flight of stairs rising up within the entrance vestibule directly opposite to the upper level. It is not clear if this had been the original arrangement here, but it is certainly a possibility.

The existing stair arrangement is somewhat unusual. It rises up from within the kitchen range at the back, rises westwards and then turns clockwise to the north, running to a straight flight up to the landing leading to the upper level. All of the woodwork details, skirtings, window surrounds etc, correspond to the early moulding details that survive at first floor level. There are two small windows at the head of the stair, one facing north, one facing east. These with the gothic moulded profile seen elsewhere.

The kitchen outshot / extension at rear seems likely to be early as well, although it is now heavily lined out with plasterboard that obscures earlier features behind. A window towards the bottom of the stair in the south wall is early and original, four over four sash and case like the ones at the head of the stair. These with small panes. There is an understair area which formally had been shelved, one or two still existing. This likely to have been a small larder area. The doorway within is now modern.

The ground floor interior within the main cottage part, whatever its pre-existing arrangement might have been, has now been formed into a single space. This is detailed with two windows symmetrically arranged on the west frontage and one each in the north and south gables. These are offset to the east. With the exception of the south-east window, all of these are detailed with narrow gothic profiles, the one to the south-east has a fillet-and-ovolo profile. The freshness of its paintwork etc suggests this may be a secondary replacement. There is a fireplace opening in the north wall offset to the west. This has simply been opened out and any pre-existing surround has been removed. The odd stone might survive but it is beneath a raised hearth area formed of stone slabs. There is a wood burning stove within the old opening. In the south gable wall offset to the west there is a hearth stone for a second fireplace. This has previously heated the southern room; the hearthstone still visible at floor level. There is no surviving evidence to suggest that these ground floor interiors had ever been corniced. The existing ceiling appears to be plain plaster. There are simple architraves, detailed as elsewhere, around the various window openings. The ground floor is wood-floored throughout in the principal part.

iv. Interior – First floor

The first floor is accessed by the existing stair from the kitchen, which rises to a landing in the centre of the east wall. This now leads to a small vestibule area. Halfway up the straight flight on the east side there is a small hatch into the roof space above the kitchen area. The stairwell is plastered internally and where later paper is peeling off, there is evidence of paintwork underneath. This one or two coats of turquoise, possibly the earlier one is a distemper and original.
On the north side of the landing an entrance leads into a small bathroom and on the west side of the landing further north is another little entrance leading to a bedroom which occupies the north-west part of the upper level. The partitions dividing these two rooms appear to be secondary. Certainly the entrance surrounds within are relatively modern, the architraves with simple rounded angles and hardboard doors within. A further bedroom is accessed in the S.

All of the upper level seems to have undergone some considerable rearrangement. However, the entrance on the south side of the vestibule has an early architrave with a roll within, an ogee without and this leads into the large rooms that occupies much of the south end of the first floor level. There is some suggestion on the ceiling that this room had been smaller and perhaps the existing north wall of the room is a modification. This room has windows to the west and the south. These are detailed with architraves, similar to those at the entrances. There seems likely to have been a fireplace in the centre of the south wall, however, this is wholly obscured and built over.

The bedroom to the northwest has few features other than the window in the west frontage. There had likely been a fireplace in the centre of the north gable wall, however, this is now removed and lined over. At the northeast corner of the bedroom there is a small linen press with doors on the west side. There seems likely to have been a small room in the centre of the west side of the building as there is a small window above the porch visible externally, now blocked.


1997 - 2016
Dominic Adams
Electoral Roll 1997- - 2007 - - Loch Fyne Oyster's farm worker - Masons’ Labourer - 2016
1997 - 1997
Dwayn Adams
1997 - son -child
1997 - 2016
Elsie Adams
Electoral Roll 1997- - wife - Loch Fyne Oyster worker - 2007 - wife - Loch Fyne Oyster worker - 2016
1997 - 1997
Sean Adams
1997 Local Knowledge
1997 - 1997
Shannon Adams
Local Knowledge 1997-
1985 - 1985
Morag Anderson
Electoral Roll 1985 - - Nanny -
1985 - 1993
Penelope White
Electoral Roll 1985 - wife - Estate Secretary -Electoral Roll 1986-1993 - wife - -
1985 - 1993
Peter White
Electoral Roll 1985-1993 - son - child -
1985 - 1996
Robert White
Electoral Roll 1985 -1996 - Antique Dealer
1977 - 1984
Anne Smellie
Electoral Roll 1977-1984 - wife - -
1977 - 1984
William Smellie
Electoral Roll 1977-1984 - - Estate Manager -
1960 - 1962
Mary Dodds
Electoral Roll 1960-1962 - mother-in-law - -
1954 - 1959
Flora Shaw
Electoral Roll 1954-1959 - - Post Office worker -
1954 - 1959
John Thomson
Electoral Roll 1954-1959 - - Cattleman -
1951 - 1953
William Wyllie
Electoral Roll 1951-1953 - lodger - -
1949 - 1973
Mary Keith
Electoral Roll 1949-1951 - wife - - Electoral Roll 1951-1953 - wife - -Electoral Roll 1954-1959 - wife - -Electoral Roll 1960-1962 - wife - -Electoral Roll 1963-1973 - wife - -
1949 - 1974
Samuel Keith
Electoral Roll 1949-1951 - - Forester - Electoral Roll 1951-1953 - - Forester -Electoral Roll 1954-1959 - - Forester -Electoral Roll 1960-1962 - - Forester -Electoral Roll 1963-1973 - - Forester -Electoral Roll 1974 - - Forester -
1949 - 1976
Stewart Keith
1949-1951 - son - child -1951-1953 - son - child -Electoral Roll 1954-1959 - son - child -Electoral Roll 1960-1962 - son - child -Electoral Roll 1963-1973 - son - -Electoral Roll 1974 - son - Forester -Electoral Roll 1975-1976 - - Forester -
1943 - 1948
Victoria Taylor
1943 - 1948 - daughter - child -
1938 - 1948
Andrew Taylor
1938-1948 - son - child -
1938 - 1948
Dacia Taylor
Electoral Roll 1938-1948 - wife - -
1938 - 1948
Eileen Taylor
1938-1948 - daughter - child -
1938 - 1948
Jack Taylor
Electoral Roll 1938-1948 - - Estate Clerk -
1933 - 1948
Margaret Taylor
1933 - 1948 - daughter - child -
1931 - 1831
Mary McGilvary
Electoral Roll 1931 - wife - -
1928 - 1931
Donald A McGilvary
Valuation Roll 1928-1929 - - Electrician/Plumber - Looked after the boats and nets. Stoked the heating furnaces at Ardkinglas - -Electoral Roll 1931 - - Electrician -
1919 - 1919
Elizabeth Payne
Electoral Roll Autumn 1919
1919 - 1919
James Payne
Electoral Roll - - Autumn 1919 - Electrician
1910 - 1911
Peter Lindsay
Electoral Roll 1910-1911 - - Electrician -
1905 - 1906
Neil Graham
Electoral Roll 1905-1906 - - Boatman -



Pier Cottage, Valuation Roll and Electoral Roll

Pier Cottage 1928-1929 Valuation Roll 1905-2009 Electoral Roll

Pier Cottage, Stewart Keith

Discription of Pier Cottage by Stewart Keith. 2007

Pier Cottage

Archaeological Survey by Addyman Archaeology

Pier Cottage

Painting of Pier Cottage, owned by Larry Wesson Great Grandson of Alexander MacFarlane