North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Netherhall, Largs residence of Lord Kelvin

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Toc H Services Club, Largs

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Three Sisters with Cock-ma-Lane and Castle Hill

Largs

Curling Hall

This was a house built by curling enthusiast Dr John Cairnie in 1812. He was a founder member of the Largs Curling Club which was instituted in December 1813 and became the Noddle Club in 1814.

Dr Cairnie made Scotland's first artificial curling pond at Curling Hall. It was a pavement of finely dressed freestone three inches below ground level and flushed with a little water when frost was approaching. Dr Carine was very proud of his rink and if the wind caused the ice to be rough he would employ two joiners from Largs to plane the ice smooth.

In the early 1880s, Curling Hall was bought by John Clark who had made a fortune in cotton thread manufacturing. He developed the grounds by building stables and conservatories. The rink was removed and replaced with a tennis court made with turf from Irvine.

In 1892, Clark enlarged Curling Hall with enthusiasm. He had electric lights installed, inside and out, so that masons, plumbers, joiners and slaters could work all day and into the late hours of night. What he produced was one of the finest residences on the west coast of Scotland.

In 1920, a syndicate bought Curling Hall and redesigned it as the Curling Hall Hydro. It boasted central heating, electric light throughout and in the kitchen almost all appliances were powered by electricity. The ordinary people of Largs would have to wait another eight years before they were connected to the Ayrshire Electricity Board.

The grounds were 3½ acres with a rose garden, vinery and fruit houses. A glassed-over grotto had running water, a fish pond and rock plants. Two new tennis court were made and the older court covering the rink was now a bowling green. The tennis pavilion had a dark room for photography enthusiasts.

The Hyrdo joined with Marine Hotel next door in 1955 to form the Marine and Curlinghall Hotel. A new ballroom with bedrooms upstairs linked the two buildings. It became the place of choice in Largs to host conferences, weddings and dinner dances.

All this ended in 1983 when the 3 star hotel with 60 bedrooms and 30 staff was unable to compete with cheap foreign holidays. Along with not being on the recognised tourist trails of Scotland and became unprofitable. This was despite the manager's special offers, such as, 'Dash of Romance', nights for £60 with satin sheets, champagne and black lace garters. And 'Majorcan Package' featuring Spanish wine, flamenco music and suntan oil.

The hotel was sold to John Lawrence Builders, Glasgow to be demolished and housing built. Before that, however, the contents were auctioned. The sale lasted three days with 780 lots being bought by 300 buyers from all over the world. The top price was £7,300 for the dining room's oak panelling.

The site remained undeveloped for five years until Lovell Lawrence (as the developers were now known) submitted plans for 15 houses and 59 flats. Construction started and the first phase of 16 flats came up for sale on a first come first served basis. Out of over 400 enquiries the first flat was sold to Elizabeth and Kenneth Goodridge of Largs in May 1989.

Useful websites

Curlinghall Hotel.
Curlinghall Hotel.

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