28 Nov

Whisky Macs and The Steamboat Hotel.

Allanna Brough, Archive

I’d been wondering what to write for my next Blog piece and thought I’d look again at the list of original shareholders of the Picture House. I was still undecided, so many to choose from but so many unanswered questions from the biographies.

By chance, a friend of mine phoned for a chat and while we were blethering, I asked her if she had ever heard of The Steamboat Hotel in Campbeltown. John Adams Robertson bought 10 shares in 1912 and he lived in Royal Avenue Mansions. When I was building his biography, I discovered that he was the Hotel Keeper of the Steamboat Hotel which was on the South side of Shore Street in Campbeltown. He was also the Spirit Merchant of The Station Bar in Main Street. A bit more digging and I found the Steamboat Hotel in the Argyll Ordinance Survey Name Books 1868 – 1878: “Steamboat Inn – small but old established Inn on the South side of Shore Street.”

(If it was described as “old established” in 1878, then just how early was it built?)

As luck would have it, my friend knew all about the Steamboat Hotel. She knew about it because her family had once owned it! She was able to tell me that over the years, the Steamboat Hotel has been known by different names: the Steamboat Inn, The Steamboat Hotel, The Clachan, The Sovereign, The Lynn Hotel and is now known as… Whisky Macs!

I was so excited with all this new information but the best was yet to come. My friend told me about an old photograph showing the Steamboat Hotel with some Pipers standing outside it. She promised to try and track down the photo for me but said it might take some time. I knew she would do her best but I wasn’t hopeful, old photographs can be very elusive. However, when I checked my email a few days later, there was the photograph. It’s a fantastic photo showing six Pipers form Campbeltown’s first Pipe Band and what appear to be two Policemen outside the Hotel with John Adams Robertson’s name above the door. This photograph is part of a collection from the Campbeltown Courier and it appeared in a calendar.

As the saying goes, “It’s good to talk” and if I hadn’t had that blether with my friend, then I would never have seen this photograph.

One final thought. Whisky Macs is a very popular bar in the town frequented by both locals and visitors, just as it was when it was The Steamboat Hotel. That’s a long time whisky has been consumed on that site!


Audrey Comes to Campb… November 28, 2017 Investigating New Arc… November 28, 2017