In Buchanan's 1902 illustrated tourist guide Aberfoyle was described like this:
'...in the season, quite a gay place, with a convenient railway station, well equipped shops, comfortable villa's, ornamental cottages, exhibiting tasteful freaks of architecture, and in addition to the Parish Church an Episcopalian.'
Exactly which of Aberfoyle's buildings were thought of as 'tasteful freaks' I am not quite sure. The 'well equipped shops' most likely included Wm. Lockhart & Sons, purveyors of 'fancy biscuits of superior quality', and owners of a tea room located opposite Aberfoyle railway station, no doubt taking advantage of a considerable footfall of visitors arriving to and leaving Aberfoyle by train. In addition to Lockhart's the village's businesses also included three hotels, two of which were Temperance Hotels, two drapers, two bootmakers, two joiners and cartwrights, a dairy, two grocers one of whom also sold wine and spirits, a blacksmith, a plumber, a coal merchant, a butcher, and last but not least, a 'fancy stationer and fishing tackle dealer'. Not bad for a smallish village. But that is not all - in 1916 Surgeon Dentist, R. Stirling set up shop in the Masonic Hall at the Bailie Nicol Jarvie Hotel every second Thursday where he would offer 'Painless Dentistry' at moderate charges to his patients. His adverts stated reassuringly that 'Painless extractions by modern methods' was his speciality, saving patients from 'suffering that dreadful toothache and enduring sleepless nights because they dread the ordeal of having the teeth out'. Oh R.Stirling, where are you now??
On 13th October 1844 the Reverend Robert Cunningham Graham, minister of Aberfoyle, died at the Manse after a few days' illness. By the end of October the contents of his house were put up for sale by a public auction to be held at the Manse on 11th November 1844. The advert gives us a unique glimpse of what the minister's house contained and what his household might have been like.
His belongings included dining room furniture, drawing room furniture and bedroom furniture; a set of mahogany tables, mahogany chairs, drawing room sofas and chairs; carpets, grates, fenders and fire irons; an eight-day clock, mahogany chests of drawers, dressing glasses (small free-standing mirrors); posted and tent bedsteads, curtains, feather beds and mattresses and bed and table linen. A painting of Aberfoyle by Fleming (I think this is probably the Scottish landscape painter John Fleming 1792-1845) in a gilt frame and several engravings in gilt and rosewood frames were also sold, as were the kitchen furniture and dairy utensils.
For sale were also farming equipment, livestock and other farm stock suggesting that small-scale farming took place at the Manse. These included three corn stacks, one stack of ryegrass, one stack of meadow hay, a quantity of excellent potatoes, a field of turnips, three milk cows in calf, a two-year old quey (a young cow), a stirk (a heifer or a bullock), two pigs, a horse and cart, a plough, a pair of harrows, a stone roller, a pair of fanners (equipment for separating grain from chaff) and a thrashing board.
The following month, all of Rev. Graham's books and those of his late father, Rev. Dr Patrick Graham - about 400 volumes in total - were put up for sale by public auction.
Blog post by Louis Stott which includes information about Rev. Dr Patrick Graham
In 1909 Aberfoyle was recreated as a quaint, picturesque model village at the Imperial International Exhibition held in London that year - complete with Highland sword dancers and Shetland ponies.
Alongside 'native villages' and human zoos, international exhibitions and World's Fairs of the 19th and early 20th century often featured Scottish, Irish and other 'national' villages. They were created as highly idealised pastiches of Highland life, intended to promote idyllic rural life and traditional skills, customs and values, and they were popular with exhibition visitors. The International Imperial Exhibition held at Shepherd's Bush in London in 1909 had a Scottish village, part of which represented the Clachan of Aberfoyle. The village also included replicas of Burns' cottage and John Knox's house, it had a post office and a team clad in Highland dress. Each day they would perform sword dancing and re-enact scenes from Sir Walter Scott's novel 'Rob Roy'.
While the neighbouring Irish village was given the made up name of 'Ballymaclinton', the Scottish village was named after the Clachan of Aberfoyle. The real clachan of Aberfoyle, through Scott's writing, was embedded in public imagination and an obvious analogy for the Exhibition's romanticised hotch-potch village.
Local historian Louis Stott has written a piece about the Scottish village for the Strathard News; read it here http://www.strathardnews.com/issue%2054.pdf
The placename Fielbarachan, preserved until recently in 'Fielbarachan Guest House' in Aberfoyle (now Craigmore B&B), possibly reflects an association with the medieval saint St Berchán. Fielbarachan, or in Gaelic Féill Bhearcháin, means 'the fair of St Berchán' and is thought to relate to an annual fair which took place in mid October in Aberfoyle. The name Fielbarachan applies to a field opposite the guest house, which was used for the local games as late as the 1930's, and it is possible that this too was the site of Aberfoyle's ancient fair - the fair of St Berchán.
This information is derived from research by Dr Peter McNiven into the Gaelic place-names of medieval Menteith and from the 'Commemorations of Saints in Scottish Place-Names' website, details below.
Harry Bedford Lemere was one of the best known architectural photographers of the late 19th and early 20th century. Around 1890/1895 he photographed the newly erected houses in Craiguchty Terrace. The photographs you see below are held in the collection of the RCAHMS (click on the photographs for more details, and to access two additional interior shots). A blog post by the Royal Institute of British Architects confirms that many architects commissioned Bedford Lemere & Co to photograph new premises or works, and I imagine this was the case for Craiguchty Terrace too. Designed by Glasgow-based architect James Miller the six terraced houses had recently been completed, and I am wondering if Miller commissioned Bedford Lemere to document his latest work.
Katinka Dalglish, museum curator, Strathard Community Trust member, Scandi immigrant, beginner blogger.
Me at Blipfoto