6 The Lane, Skelmorlie

Source of Photos:  1. Exterior of Whinhill from West – Courtesy of Mr & Mrs McLaren. 2. 1910 ordinance survey. 3. Exterior of Whinhill from the South East – Mr & Mrs McLaren. 4. – 6. Lounge , ceiling rose and cornice – Mr & Mrs McLaren.

Richard Watson1874 – 1904 House built by Richard & his brother Robert 1874/5. See The Watson family for more details.
Hugh Brown 1904 – 1908
Mrs Sarah Craig 1908 – 1923
Mrs Helen Brown 1923 – 1930
Mrs Eliza Tweedie 1930 – 1976
Mr Edward & Mrs Helen Cannie1976 – 1989 Plot of land between house and Mission Hall sold
Mr John & Mrs Elizabeth Craig 1989 – 1992
Mr & Mrs Stephen Cassidy 1992 – 2010 House extended & conservatory added
Mr Murray & Mrs Lucy McLaren 2010 – Present


  • In June 1873, Richard Watson purchased a plot of land, on the west side of the lane, opposite the old school, from Archibald Montgomerie, Earl of Eglinton & Winton, on the condition that he would build a dwelling house or villa of not less than £500 within two years.  Source: Feu Contract between the Earl of Eglinton and Winton and Richard Watson.
  • Richard built Whinhill soon thereafter. We understand that the name is derived from the use of whinstone in the building of the house rather than the red sandstone used elsewhere in the village. Source: Mr & Mrs M McLaren (current owners).
  • Watson Shop, Skelmorlie

    Watson Shop, Skelmorlie

    Richard Watson (1837 -1914) was a well-known figure in the village. His father was Henry Watson and his mother, Agnes McLean Watson. He was the seventh of nine children by Henry; five with his first wife Margaret and four with Agnes. As a child, Richard was brought up at Ashcraig, where his father was head gardener to A.D. Campbell. After the Campbell’s death in 1854, the family moved to Pierhead, later renamed Eglinton Place and Henry and Agnes, with the help of their son George, started a grocery business.

  • Richard became a joiner and ironmonger with his elder brother Robert. Together they built not only Whinhill, but also Mountview, Seaview, Partridgefield (where Robert and his family lived) and Lincluden. He married Jane Macrae from Carradale. Richard and Jane emigrated to North America but the boat they were sailing on sank in the St Lawrence. They were picked up separately and for a time neither knew if the other was alive. When reunited they returned home where they also had nine children. It’s believed that Richard stepped into the grocery business to help his father, following the death of his brother George in 1873. When his father died two years later, Richard formally took over the shop and became a grocer and spirit merchant. Source: A history of the Watson family by Margaret Elder, Edinburgh, great granddaughter of Richard Watson given to Mrs J Yeomans, previously of Ashcraig.
  • Richard continued to own Whinhill through to 1904, just under 30 years. Although he may have actually lived there for a brief period, we know that he and his family lived in Eglinton Place beside the shop and that Whinhill was Let for much of his ownership.
    Glasgow Herald Advert

    Glasgow Herald Advert

    This is supported by regular adverts in the Glasgow Herald, as shown, between 1879 – 1900. Source: Whinhill Deeds, The history of the Watson Family, The Glasgow Herald & Post Office County Directories.

  • When Richard put the house for sale in  1904, it was bought by a Hugh Brown Junior, Chartered Accountant, Glasgow for £690. Hugh only held onto the house for 4 years, before selling to Mrs Sarah (Foster) Craig in March 1908. Sarah was the wife of Robert Hunter Craig of West Park, Skelmorlie, where they both lived. Source: Dispositions by Richard Watson and Hugh Brown. 
  • Sarah held on to Whinhill until 1923 when she sold it to Mrs Helen (Craig) Brown for the sum of £1000.  Helen is not only the wife of Hugh Brown, chartered accountant and previous owner of Whinhill (1904-1908) but the Craigs now live in Skelmorlie at Croftmore. Sarah (Foster) Craig is Helen’s step-mother.  Source: Disposition by Mrs Sarah Craig in favour of Mrs Helen Brown.
  • In May 1930, Whinhill was sold to Eliza (Harkness) Tweedie who owned Whinhill until she died in June 1975. In 1967, there is a brief reference to a Mrs McCormick of Whinhill, Skelmorlie, who was then the local RNLI Convenor. We are told that Maragaret McCormick was Eliza’s daughter and that she was married to David McCormick, a long-serving and respected Clyde ferry captain, hence her support for the RNLI. Note: At some point it is understood that Whinhill was split into two flats for a period of time. Source: Disposition by Mrs Helen Brown, The History of the Grace Paterson Ritchie Lifeboat launched Sept 1967, David Carnduff (friend of the McCormicks) and current owners Mr & Mrs McLaren.
  • Following Mrs Tweedie’s death, her executors sold the house to Edward and Helen Cannie. The Cannies lived at Whinhill for 11 years and some of the family still stay in the village today. We are told  by their daughter, that Edward bought the house for Helen as a silver wedding anniversary present. During the Cannies time at Whinhill, they sold the plot of land between the house and the Mission Hall, upon which, 6a The Lane was subsequently built.  Source: Various dispositions by Mr & Mrs Cannie. 
  • The next owners of Whinhill were John and Eliabeth Craig who bought in 1989 and sold in 1992. They were followed by Stephen and Veronica Cassidy who bought in 1992 and lived there for 18 years. During their time, the Cassidy’s extended the house to the south and also erected a conservatory to the south. Source: Whinhill deeds and North Ayrshire Council – Eplanning.
  • The current owners of Whinhill are the McLaren family who moved to Whinhill in July 2010

Location Map:

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