I mentioned recently the Argyll Motor Works in Alexandria and the magnificent façade which is about all that remains of what was once Europe’s leading car manufacturer.
I was passing by Alexandria last week and took the opportunity to stop and admire the building.
Only the middle part is in use as the Lomond Factory Outlet, but as you enter by the front door you are confronted by a very opulent Italian marble staircase.
A truly magnificent sight with on one side of the door a ‘Scamp’ an electric car once produced in the area and on the other side a ‘Hillman Imp’ which must bring some memories flooding back.
The history of the motor car plant is proudly displayed on the walls, but to learn the full story you will find at the end of the corridor some steps down to a large area with perhaps the largest selection of spares you will ever see.
The gentleman in charge of this will tell you the full history of the Argyll Motor Works in every detail and even has a 1927 edition of an Argyll car on display. It is rusty and in need of a lot of restoration, but there to be admired and appreciated how we travelled at speed in such small vehicles. It was well recorded that the Argyll cars held many speed records in their day, so they were fast and were the first cars to have brakes on all four wheels.
The gentleman is obviously in love with his subject and will happily answer any questions you may have. I can fully recommend a visit to the once Argyll Motor works to admire the façade, wonder at the brilliance of the Italian marble staircase and listen to the interesting history of the place as well as appreciate the cars on display.
I have still to discover why the spelling of the town Dumbarton differs from that of the shire Dunbartonshire, but no doubt there is a suitable explanation for an area so steeped in history both old and young. Robert the Bruce died at Cardross Castle in 1329 and in Cardross in 1896 was born the novelist A.J. Cronin who as a doctor wrote among other things Dr. Findlay’s Casebook. Britain’s Oldest regiment The Royal Scots formed in 1633 has as its regimental march Dumbarton’s Drums.
Jackie Stewart, the renowned racing driver, was born in Milton in 1939 and went on to win 27 Grand Prix races perhaps appropriate for an area so steeped in the car industry.
It is quite amazing the amount of history and interesting tales which lie on our doorsteps and I will keep looking for more to tell.
See you next week.