Helensburgh’s oldest hotel has just closed its doors
It was sad to read news of Helensburgh’s oldest hotel having to finally close its doors as the owner pursues ‘other business interests’ – in other words, there are not enough ‘bums on seats’ to keep it viable.
Reportedly refurbished only last year, the Imperial Hotel in West Clyde Street is already said to be on offer online for rent at £35,000 per annum. Dating from the early 1800s, the horse and cart age when it once provided stables and accommodation, first as the Tontine Hotel, then as the George Hotel, and finally (possibly) as the Imperial Hotel.
The hotel, known locally as The Imps, was (in its day) ideally placed, overlooking Helensburgh’s pier and therefore one of the first to be seen by holidaymakers arriving via steamer. But Helensburgh (like most of the Clyde coast) is no longer a holiday destination, and sees the bulk of its visitors in the form of day trippers. Times have changed.
I’ve certainly never been any help, being close enough to drive to Helensburgh to enjoy an evening fish supper in the pier car park while watching various happenings on the Clyde.
Nevertheless, while some parts of the town are seeing some recovery, and some small business and catering operations are prospering, others are suffering the changes badly, and I see a number of older establishments closing down and being boarded up. This fate also seems to be placing some of the fine ‘big houses’ (mansions) that once served as guest houses, business premises, and even care home, at risk, as they cannot sustain themselves.
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