History

Glenholme, in the Scottish phrase, “looks well” as you pass it on your way into Kirkcudbright. It is a large Victorian house, built of local whinstone and sandstone, set well back from the road and standing on a ridge of high ground which overlooks the water meadows stretching down to the River Dee.

It was built in 1891 by Adam Brown, a local solicitor, at a time when Kirkcudbright was a much busier town than it is today. In those days, steam tugs and sailing boats made their way up the river towards the quay below Tongland Bridge – there to unload coal, timber, grain or potatoes. And in the narrow cutting behind the coach house, trains of the Glasgow and South Western Railway would rumble past on their way down to Kirkcudbright station, shovelling clouds of steam into the garden. In the house, there were more than a dozen open fires to be kept burning in winter. A small army of servants answered the array of bells (which still hang in the kitchen) and the grooms slept in the stable block at the back of the house with the horses.

Glenholme still looks much the same– in fact, photographs taken a hundred years ago show the same kind of Roman blinds that we have in the windows today. Much of the work we have done has sought to restore the wonderful period character of the interior which was hidden beneath several layers of unsympathetic 1970s “renovation.” The river, of course, is deserted now apart from a few cormorants, seagulls and the occasional solitary heron, and the trains are long gone. The servants’ quarters have been turned into The Rookery, our holiday cottage. Instead of servants, we have two powerful central heating boilers – although we still like to have log fires in the Library and the Dining Room whenever we can find an excuse – and grooms are hard to find these days, so we make do with cars.