Kilronan House

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16 July 2020


Kilronan House:
A Short History

Kilronan House is one of the oldest houses in Upper Bridge of Allan. It was originally called Viewfield when the house was built by Rev James Blair, «The Scottish Evangelist», in 1853.

It was later renamed Colaba House by David McLaren (1810-1883) who lived in the house on his return from India. David McLaren was an engineer with the East India Company in Bombay and he named the house after Colaba, a district of Bombay and the locality of The India Gate. The present name of Kilronan dates from around 1920.

Bridge of Allan is a delightful Victorian Spa Town and Kenilworth Road is in a leafy conservation area. The town is on the old A9 route north approximately 2 miles from Stirling city centre. This for centuries was the main route to the north of Scotland avoiding the marshy ground of the River Forth floodplain.

James Blair

In the early 18th.Century Bridge of Allan comprised not much more than a mill and a collection of poor cottages near the bridge. In 1745, 300 Highlanders from Bonnie Prince Charlie's army blockaded the bridge and collected tolls. On 28th August 1787 Robert Burns visited Stirling and passed through Bridge of Allan on his way to the Roman Fort at Braco and then on to Crieff. In 1793 he wrote his poem 'By Allan Stream' «click for the words»

In the late 18th.Century the area was famous for copper mining but when this declined, Bridge of Allan became a popular Victorian resort and Spa. This was particularly so after the arrival of the railway in 1848. Many grand houses, including Kilronan House were built at this time. Today you can still dine in the old spa pump room which is now La Vecchia Bologna Italian restaurant and is just a short walk from Kilronan House.

Colaba House
At this time the house was called Colaba House. It was named after Colaba Island, a district of Bombay. It was given this name by David McLaren who was the harbour inspector in Bombay before he retired to Bridge of Allan. David McLaren lived here until 1883.

In its Victorian heyday, Bridge of Allan had many illustrious visitors including «Charles Dickens» and «Robert Louis Stevenson». For over twenty years Stevenson came here each summer to spend his holidays. There is a lovely walk along the river on the old drove road to Dunblane. Here you can see a cave which is reputed to have been the inspiration for Ben Gunn's cave featured in Treasure Island.

Kilronan House
After the Great War, Kilronan House was an annexe of St Helen's girls school. This photograph is from a post card sent by one of the girls who lived here in 1920.

Kilronan House is close to the Wallace Monument, Stirling Castle and Stirling University. There is easy road and rail access to Edinburgh and Glasgow and there is free parking at Bridge of Allan station. The location is an excellent touring base for The Trossachs and Loch Lomond. The area is steeped in History and there are many attractions and places of interest close by or within a short drive.


 Stirling Websites

Stirling OnLine
Stirling University
Stirling Council
Stirling Observer

Bridge of Allan
as recommended by

 RL Stevenson

Click for more on Robert Louis Stevenson

 Robert Burns

Click for more on Rabbie Burns

 CJH Dickens

Click for more on Charles Dickens

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