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Kilmun Tea Caddies

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Viewed from Sandbank, 2009, Fox
Viewed from Sandbank

The Kilmun tea caddies refers to a set of six cottages which lie on the northern shore of the Holy Loch. The houses earned their nicknames as a result of the plain and uniform appearance which they presented upon completion c. 1828. Originally 2-bay, 2-storey, rectangular-plan houses with steep terraced gardens towards the shore, boundary walls of rubble, and a narrow lane for access to the rear.

All have been variously modified and modernised over the years, and no longer retain their original appearance. The houses are:

  • Anchorage
  • Ardmun
  • FountainDavid Napier
  • Heathbank
  • Lochview
  • Woodburn

The houses lie in the western part of the village of Kilmun, opposite Sandbank, and are just over four miles to the north of Dunoon (across the loch), and to the west of Strone Point.

They were built for (1790-1869) a successful marine engineer of the time, who purchased a stretch of land along the loch side from General Campbell of Monzie in 1828. He was responsible for the building of a hotel, Kilmun Pier, and a number of villas, which included the six described here. In 1829, Napier is noted to have advertised the attractions of Kilmun, Including 'Substantial quay-side houses to let', suggesting they were originally built for the purpose of being let, however Napier appears to have lost his enthusiasm for the area, and is reported to have sold off most of his Scottish interests c. 1837. The building group is Listed Category C, but the 1973 report appears to erroneously describe them as '3-bay, 3-storey' house - possibly an uncorrected typing error.[1]

Possibly built by Napier for his staff. In addition to the pier, Napier is said to have instituted a ferry service to Inveraray using horse drawn coaches, and a steam ferry on Loch Eck. Often referred to as one of the first 'iron steam ships', only the bottom of Aglaia was actually made of iron, while here sides were wooden above water. After operating on Loch Eck, Aglia was later renamed James Gallacher, and plied on the Clyde.

David should not be confused with his cousin and brother-in-law Robert Napier (June 21, 1791 - June 23, 1876), who was also a successful marine engineer of the 19th century, often referred to as 'The Father of Clyde Shipbuilding', and who resided at Shandon, near Rhu, on the Gare Loch.


1 Listed building report for six houses at Kilmun. November 22, 1973

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