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Bute, Port Bannatyne, Marine Road, Quay

Quay (19th Century)

Site Name Bute, Port Bannatyne, Marine Road, Quay

Classification Quay (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Port Bannatyne Stone Quay

Canmore ID 124780

Site Number NS06NE 47

NGR NS 07243 67308

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish North Bute
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Buteshire

Archaeology Notes

NS06NE 47 07242 67316

NS 073 673. Port Bannatyne stone quay built 1822 for local trade.

Sponsor: Buteshire Natural History Society

I Maclagan 1995.


Characterisation (25 June 2010)

This site falls within the Port Bannatyne Area of Townscape Character which was defined as part of the Rothesay Urban Survey Project, 2010. The text below relates to the whole area.

Historical Development and Topography

Situated some 4km (2½ miles) north-west of the centre of Rothesay town, the origins of Port Bannatyne are as a fishing village, with a stone quay erected in 1801. Originally named Kamesburgh, until the 1860s when it was ‘acquired’ by the Marquess of Bute, the village takes the form of a linear settlement, with a regular street pattern of two parallel streets running east-west along the shore, and short streets running between them. Some of the original fishermen’s cottages and other buildings still remain, along with the stone quay, opposite Quay Street.

Like the rest of Rothesay, there was a substantial growth period in the 19th century as part of the overall tourist boom on the island and in the town. The development of Swanstonhill House (John Thomas Rochhead, c.1855) in 1879 by John Honeyman into the Kyles of Bute Hydropathic Hotel was a great draw for visitors to this part of the island, and the new quay of 1857, in Port Bannatyne Expansion Area of Townscape Character, became an important additional stopping off point for steamers. Also in 1879, the settlement was linked to the main town of Rothesay by a horse-drawn tram (electrified in 1902), providing visitors to the island another means of travelling around the resort to its extremities.

As a result of this large growth in visitors, a series of large tenements were built on Castle Street in the late 19th century, some on the large scale, being four storeys high at Nos 12-16 Castle Street. Other developments were on a smaller scale – built to give the impression of being single dwellings, but actually flatted, with rear entrances, such as Victoria Place in the east of the area, which has an appearance not unlike the ‘Colonies’ developments of artisan housing built in Edinburgh, Inverurie and elsewhere in Scotland in the latter half of the 19th century as an alternative to the more traditional tenement.

Later development at the turn of the 19th/20th century expanded the area along Bannatyne Mains Road, with a row of semi-detached villas facing up Kames Hill, rather than to the bay. Subsequent development along this upper road took the form of 1920s local authority housing in Kames and Bute Terraces as well as a small block dating from the 1950s on Bannatyne Mains Road itself. Other minor areas of infill can be seen at the mid-20th century block at Nos 20 A-G Marine Road, and the late 20th century bungalows to the western edge of the settlement adjacent to the thriving boatbuilding yard which grew to become an important industry in the area from the early 1900s. The area also now boasts a substantial new marina development (2009) which continues to bring visitors to the town.

Present Character

Port Bannatyne retains much of its original character, particularly evident in the unchanged street layout, and some of the early 19th century terraced houses at Nos 39-43 Marine Road. This group of houses bear similarities to the millworkers’ housing in the Colmshill area of Rothesay: two-storeyed, three-bayed, yellow sandstone rubble-built with traditional sash and case windows (some original glazing still survives) and cream-painted dressings to window and door surrounds.

Within Castle, Duncan and Quay Streets, some of the traditional late 18th/early 19th century fishermen’s cottages and outbuildings survive, though many are empty and falling into disrepair. By contrast the late 18th/early 19th century, whitewashed Saltire Place at Nos 41-3 Castle Street has been sympathetically restored with a former pair of two-storeyed, three-bayed houses being converted into housing association flats, but still retaining the traditional look of the properties. Indeed the refurbishment work by Bute Housing Association (now Fyne Homes) received a Saltire Award in 1987 in recognition of the quality of the restoration.

Most of the buildings in the area are stone-built, though there is some painting and/or harling of stonework. There have been few alterations to most of the buildings, and there are good examples of cherry-cocked stonework where masonry joints are filled with smaller stones at Victoria Place and elsewhere in the area. This is a common feature throughout Rothesay, and elsewhere in Scotland, particularly in Aberdeenshire.

Victoria Place also retains the split-level living which is so reminiscent of the ‘Colonies’ developments of Edinburgh and elsewhere in Scotland – with stairs with cast-iron balustrades accessing upper level flats at the rear of properties, built to give the impression of single substantial dwellings on the main street frontage.

On the whole, Port Bannatyne has retained the character of a small fishing village, despite some fairly extensive development as part of the overall tourist expansion of the Bute urban area. Modern infill development has been kept to a scale appropriate to their setting. The post-World War I local authority housing at Kames and Bute Terraces on the southern edge of the area have been given a ‘garden village’ feel with arched pends leading to stairs to upper floors, and mixed rooflines, dormers and gables creating interest in two rows of ten houses.

Information from RCAHMS (LK), 25th June 2010

Photographic Record (16 September 2010)


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