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A walk up the Main Street.

Still with us ...good.

Manse Court

old manse today
old manse
The new Manse Court tenement built in 1901.
The old Manse building dating from early 1600s.
After passing the George we take a quick left into Manse Court. The present tenement building in Manse Court was built in 1901.

Previously on this site was the old church manse which dates from the early 1600s. In 1761 the Manse was sold for £65 to Alexander Fraser who converted it into four separate dwellings. In 1900 the Manse was demolished and replaced with today’s tenement building.

The Old Manse was located next to the Old Graveyard to the right where the very first St Columba's Church was located. When the manse was demolished in 1900, human remains were discovered beneath its foundations, suggesting that before the 17th Century the graveyard was larger. This graveyard was closed in 1867. The new cemetery adjoining the Haylie Brae had been receiving burials for about eight years prior to this. From burial records it has been estimated that between 1723 and 1870 over 5000 burials occurred in this relatively small graveyard.

The church was demolished in 1801. Only the Skelmorlie Aisle remains of the Old Church. To the right is the gated entrance to the Graveyard and the Skelmorlie Aisle.

If you look at today’s tenement building you can see still the original Old Manse date stone dated 1606 directly under the 1901 date stone on the front of the building.

To the right of the stairs is the building which holds the Largs Museum. This is known as Kirkgate House and dates prior to 1876. It was the Old Church’s sextons house who was the person charged with the maintenance of the church buildings and surrounding graveyard. In 1876 a Robert Paton watchmaker lived there. The upper rooms on the first and second floor were once used as staff quarters for the George Hotel.

Today the Museum within Kirkgate House is managed and ran by The Largs & District Museum & Historical Society.

The Museum is opened 2pm to 6pm from May to September and provides guided tours of the Skelmorlie Aisle.

Skelmorlie Aisle, which is in the care of Historic Scotland, is probably the oldest building still standing in Largs. It was added to the Old Largs Parish Church in 1636 on the orders of Sir Robert Montgomerie of Skelmorlie. It was built as his private place of worship and resting place. When the old the church was demolished in the early 1800s, the aisle was spared.

For more information on Skelmorlie Aisle go to the Historic Scotland Web Site.

Largs museum
Kirkgate House. Home of the Largs and District Museum & Historical Society.
Entrance to Skelmorie Asile
Stairs leading upto the Old Graceyars and Skelmorlie Aisle.

The GTO Outdoor Shop,TSB and Bagel Basket Buildings

begal basket building today
begal basket old
The row of buildings as they are today.
Same view with the Hosery shop, The old TSB and Boyds & Co
As we leave Manse Court and turn left up into Main Street we pass the building on the corner of Manse court. This was once a doctor's surgery with the doctors house above of Dr James Caskie who came to Largs in 1826.

Dr. Caskie was ahead of his time and was involved in the plans to improve the sanitary and drainage of the town over a 50 year period following an outbreak of cholera. The new drainage scheme he promoted ensured most streets and lanes were flushed with the waters of the Gogo.

By 1850's Dr Caskies surgery had changed to a chemist and ran by his sons. Later was occupied by Willie Less gents outfitter, then for a good number of years Hosery Ladies Clothing. Currently occupied by TGO Outdoor Clothing Shop.

Next door is the TSB Bank.

Last of all we have the Bagel Basket Cafe Restaurant who have been here since 1991. This building was built in 1829 by William Boyd & Co draper who occupied the site for many years. Later by 1911 was occupied by Archibald Boyd draper.
begal basket building old
Early 1900s view

The Lounge Restaurant and McKay's Tearoom.

largs mckays tearoom

We now reach the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lounge Bar building which has domonated the Main Street for over 100 years.

In 1838 Thomas Mackay set up in business as a baker in a small shop on the site of today’s Lounge and Royal Bank building. In 1900 he demolished the old building and built today's B listed building.

The wing on the right which houses the restaurant with its terraced roof was added in 1926.

The wee paper Saturday 7th July 1900 edition printed a review of the nearly completed building.

"Mr Thomas Mackay baker got partial possession of his new business premises in Main Street at the beginning of the week. The shop being occupied in Tuesday morning.

The new place which has been in progress since last autumn is not nearly finished as yet, and it is quite certain the summer will be more than over before a full use can be got of the extensive premises Mr Mackay has now erected, and which are for their great height and striking and effective architectural design, such a prominent object in Main street.

The building itself is four lofty stories in height and dwafts all the buildings on the same side of the street, The handsome front is reminiscent of more than one huge place of business familiar to all in the "second City of the empire" It is very pleasing and rich, the warm red stone, the substantial masonry and the effective carving ,asking a business front which we are sure will not be found in any town in the country the size of Largs."

mckays tea room
1900 saw the demolition of the original building and the lavish creation of a three story purpose built facility and the car park to the rear was the bakery.

The new building had a shop selling bakery and confectionery goods. The first floors housed three small tearooms, the piping room (where all the baked goods and sweets were decorated) and the kitchen.

The second floor had a large function room and the third floor was used by the Largs Business Club. The buisness ran sucessfully for many years with additional MacKays tearooms opening up in Greenock, Gourock and West Kilbride..

In 1973 after five generations of MacKay's had served the public, Ravenstone Securities Ltd purchased the Largs premisis along with all of MacKays restaurants and shops in Greenock, Gourock, Port Glasgow, Paisley and Kilmacolm. By May of that year they had leased out the Largs building the Rio Stakis group who opened the ground floor Grampian Grill Steakhouse. This did not turn out a great success and the premises was sold to The Royal Bank of Scotland. In March 1979 the marble frontage was added to the Bank.

For a time the ground floor was a Haddows Off licence and later the Golden Sea Restaurant To the right here was a cafe bistro and later the Koo In Koor Indian Restaurant.

In 1984 the two Largs Italian families the Nardinis and Castleveccis combined to convert and run the upper floors as a health club. This only lasted a few years when the building was sold and re branded as Carriages Nightclub.

An early image of MacKays tearoom along side a photo of Thomas MacKay. All photos kindly supplied by Stephen McDonald.
An advert for MacKays taken from the 1960 Largs Tourist Guide.
In 1984 the two Largs Italian families the Nardinis and Castleveccis combined to convert and run the upper floors as a health club. This only lasted a few years when the building was sold and re branded as Carriages Nightclub.

Various developers owned the property over the following 17 years without doing anything with the building. In 2003 it was purchased by local businessman Stephen McDonald as opened as the Lounge Bar and Restaurant.

Today it is multi award winning Bar, Restaurant, Club, Wedding and entertainment venue.

More details of what is on offer at the Lounge can be found on their web site.

Also check out the interior of the Lounge via Google Map which shows many of the old MacKays tearoom features.

the lounge
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