Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Point House and the Lochinvar

This postcard listed on eBay recently doesn't identify the scene but I think it's looking east up Loch Etive across the mouth of the River Awe at Bonawe near Taynuilt: the nearest I can get to the scene in Google Streetview is here. The OS 25 inch map from the turn of the century marks a house in this location called the Point House which isn't there anymore. 

Ordnance Survey 25 inch map c.1900 from National Libraries of Scotland

Note the two gents on the shore to the left of the house with the boats - they may have been associated with the commercial salmon fishery at the mouth of the Awe (note Corfhouse on the map - a corf house was a building used in connection with salmon fisheries for storing nets and packing and curing fish etc.) or else with the passenger ferry that used to operate across the mouth of the river here (note the Ferry House on the map).

The red star marks the location of the post card view
Postmarked at Oban in July 1914, the message on the back of the postcard is also interesting:-

"Saturday. Just left Oban. Arrived Glasgow yesterday. Not seen any wet yet. The scenery by Callander & on to Oban was fine. Very hot both yesterday & today. On "Lochinvar". It is a petrol driven but very slow but runs very smoothly. It is rather misty on account of the heat. Weather seems settled. JAS".

The "Lochinvar" was MacBraynes' regular vessel on the Oban to Tobermory run from 1908 to the mid 1950s. She was an early example of a ship not powered by steam: motor vessels were rare before World War I and had a reputation for vibration and noise compared with the smooth running of steam engines, hence why the writer thought the ship's propulsion and its smooth running worthy of remark. 

MacBraynes were early proponents of motor powered ships (British Railways, by contrast, continued to commission steamers for the their cross-Channel fleets right into the 1960s) but their ships continued nevertheless to be known as "steamers" until car ferries were introduced in the 1960s. Although state of the art, however, the Lochinvar was no beauty:-

There is a superb series of photos of the Lochinvar in service on the Sound of Mull in the 1950s here. Sold by MacBraynes in 1960, she sailed for a few years across the Thames estuary between Southend and Sheerness in Kent but had a rather tragic end when she was wrecked with the loss of her entire crew on the Humber in 1966.

To round off the story of this postcard, here is the address it was posted to: 19 Cranbourne Road, Bradford 

No comments:

Post a Comment