A Brief History of Lairds & Lore

Kinloch Castle – Rights Reserved Isleofrum.com

Kinloch Castle (Scottish GaelicCaisteal Cheann Locha) is an Edwardian mansion located on Kinloch, on the island of Rùm, one of the Small Isles off the west coast of Scotland. It was built as a private residence for Sir George Bullough, a textile tycoon from Lancashire whose father bought Rùm as his summer residence and shooting estate. Construction began in 1897, and was completed in 1900. Built as a luxurious retreat, Kinloch Castle has since declined.

Rùm was owned by Alexander Maclean of Coll in the early 19th century. At that time, during the Napoleonic Wars, kelp from the Scottish islands was a valuable commodity, being used to produce soda ash for use in explosives. After the war, prices collapsed and Maclean was forced to lease the island to a relative, Lachlan Maclean, for sheep farming. As a result, the entire population, which counted 443 people in 1795, were cleared from the island by 1828, only for new tenants to be brought in from Skye and Muck to service the sheep farm.

Loch Scresort looking across the loch, by Rosemary and Martyn Gregory – See more images within our topotheque

From 1879, the shooting lease was taken by John Bullough (1838–1891), a textile-mill owner from Lancashire. In 1884 Bullough purchased Meggernie Castle in Perthshire, and in 1888 he bought Rùm for £35,000. His intention was to create a shooting reserve, and he introduced new stock of deer and game birds, as well as planting trees. When he died in 1891, his son George Bullough inherited, and built a mausoleum to his father on the island. The first mausoleum, decorated with ceramic tiles, was compared to a public toilet, and Bullough had it demolished, replacing it with the Doric temple which stands today.

He then commissioned a London firm of architects, Leeming & Leeming, to design a luxurious new house. Work on Kinloch Castle began in 1897, employing 300 men from Eigg and Lancashire. The house was built in a castellated Tudor style, using red sandstone from the Isle of Arran. It had its own electricity supply, and also had modern plumbing, heating and telephone systems. A mechanical orchestrion, manufactured in Germany, was installed to provide music in the hall. Kinloch Castle was completed in 1900, at a total cost of £250,000, although further changes were made following Bullough’s marriage in 1903. Formal and informal gardens, including a water garden, Japanese garden, bowling green and golf course, were laid out by 1912, using topsoil imported from Ayrshire. A walled garden with glasshouses was erected, which also briefly housed alligators.

Harris and Mausoleum by Graham Bullough – See more images within our topotheque

The castle and island are now owned by NatureScot, who operated part of the castle as a hostel until 2015, and continue to offer tours of the main rooms to visitors.[1] The Kinloch Castle Friends Association was established in 1996 to secure the long-term future of the building.

Find our more by using our drop-down menu for detailed history of the Castle, the Bullough’ s, and more on this historic site.

Information for this section has been taken from the Kinloch Castle Wikipedia Page