A Grade 1 listed building built around one hundred and twenty-five years ago for one of Queen Victoria’s daughters sold last October for just under £1million after being initially valued at nearer £800,000. The magnificent Ferry Inn at Rosneath, near Helensburgh, was commissioned by Princess Louise, but because of the ill health of her husband, the Marquis of Lorne, she never moved into it. According to the recent specification, the property has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, drawing room, dining room, breakfast room, study, spectacular loch views and four acres of well-manicured grounds.
The building was designed by a twenty-seven-year-old, Sir Edward Lutyens, and it was one of only two properties he designed in Scotland and was completed early in his career, the other being Grey Walls in Gullane. This was not a new-build rather an extension to a property built in the early 1800s, although the original inn was later demolished leaving the Arts & Crafts style extension.
The house was redeveloped for Princess Louise and her husband John, Marquess of Lorne and heir to the Duchy of Argyll. They had returned from a time in Canada where John had been Governor-General in the late 1880s; the province of Alberta takes its name from her middle name and Lake Louise from her first name. Queen Victoria arranged for rooms at Kensington Palace, and this was probably intended for breaks though in fact she never visited.
Though Princess Louise never visited or stayed, the property has had several distinguished guests as well as doing its bit for various war efforts. Shortly after work was completed, it was used to look after soldiers injured in the Boer War, and during the twentieth century, it played host to American Naval Officers and hence the comedian, Bob Hope, when he came over to entertain the troops. Sir Winston Churchill also stayed here on trips to meet Franklin Roosevelt.
The house was sold into private hands, and it is understood that following this sale it is still in private Scottish hands.