Lutyens’ extension for Princess Louise

Words:
Justine Sambrook

Ferry Inn new wing, Gare Loch, Rosneath, 1896

Ferry Inn Lutyens Scotland
Ferry Inn Lutyens Scotland Credit: Martin Charles / RIBA Collections

Edwin Lutyens designed only two buildings in Scotland; one was the country house Greywalls in East Lothian completed in 1901; the other was this addition to a modest inn on the banks of Gare Loch in Rosneath.

The Ferry Inn was part of the estate of the 9th Duke of Argyll who had married Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise, in 1871. Louise was introduced to Lutyens by his friend Gertrude Jekyll and in 1896 she commissioned the architect to add a new wing to the existing building, transforming it into fine example of arts and crafts architecture.

Louise’s association with a public house raised eyebrows in the press. Punch published a cartoon depicting Louise drawing a pint behind an inn bar, her customer commenting: ‘A pint please and how’s your mother?’. Queen Victoria was not amused.

The princess never used the house and from 1902 it became a home for wounded Boer War soldiers. Later it was part of the American naval base at Rosneath during World War II. Sadly the original inn was demolished in 1960 and the Lutyens wing is all that now remains.