Fact or fantasy?
The Bulloughs, Kinloch Castle and Rum have for no known reason been subject to many wild fantasies, represented as fact both at some times during tours of the Castle and in print by some journalists. This website tries to show only what is known and provable fact. For the full story of each, follow the links to the relevant webpage.
John Bullough’s first marriage
Many books and articles say that the father of John Bullough’s first wife Bertha was Eduard Emil Schmidlin, a Swiss textile machinery manufacturer. The truth is that his name was Eduard Schmidlin and he was a gardener, later hotelier. He was of German birth although he and his family became Swiss citizens. He did have a son named Emil. KCFA member Thomas Krebs has researched the Schmidlins in great detail as well as their connection with the Hotel (later Grandhotel) Giessbach.
Rum: the forbidden island
No-one was allowed to land on Rum : anyone trying to do so risked being faced with loaded shotguns.
Rum was no more ‘forbidden’ an island than many other privately owned islands. Anyone who requested to land was welcomed as is evidenced in Karl Sabbagh’s ‘A Rum Affair’ and also Alastair Dunnett in ‘The Canoe Boys’.
Hospital ship only for officers?
Fantasy: When George Bullough took his yacht the Rhouma to act as a hospital ship during the South African War, only officers were looked after.
Fact: Both officers and men were treated on board the Rhouma. Officers were given cabins and men were on deck under a special cover. The list on display in Kinloch Castle’s dining room shows the names, rank and regiment of all those treated on board. As the war was drawing to an end, George Bullough wanted to help more men recover from injuries by bringing them to be the first to stay in the newly built Castle. He wanted to look after twenty men and six officers at any one time. No records appear to have been kept as to names or numbers.
‘Castle builders had to wear kilts’
This is an often repeated statement but in fact there is no evidence to show this happened and it seems most unlikely given that through the majority of the building work, George Bullough was in South Africa with the Rhouma as hospital ship during the Boer War.
Fantasy: One story which keeps coming back is that Gaiety Girls came up by train for parties on Rum and scratched the top of the piano while dancing wildly. The top of the piano was actually scratched when one of the brass incense burners fell over.
Fact: George’s half brother Ion married three times, and his first two wives, Maudi Darrell and Lily Elsie were both actresses, Maudi being a Gaiety girl early in her career. Perhaps this is the origin of this particular story?