A rather happy view of the Kilmacolm Hydropathic hotel in its finest days during the late 19th century. Now little more than a fading memory, the Hydro was opened in 1880, boasting some 180 rooms and excellent facilities, with free access to the Renfrewshire countryside.
Built in Gothic style, the Hydropathic building is most commonly associated with its architectural dominance of the area. It was on a scale previously unknown to the village and placed upon the summit of the valley in which it sits. Sometime after this image was captured, the tower was graced with a spire-like point which can be seen in photographs from the early 1900s. With the railway carrying visitors into the village to enjoy its peaceful surroundings and, apparently, especially clean air, the Kilmacolm Hydro thrived both as a health spa and as a resort.
However this interesting chapter in the village's history was to draw to a slow and painful end. The hotel suffered following the referendum under the Temperance Act which, by a narrow vote, massively restricted drinks licensing with the parish. Requisitioned by the War Office during the Second World War, the Hydro served as a Royal Navy hospital until the cessation of hostilities. Commercially drained, it was bought over by Stakis in 1963 and briefly added a casino to its list of attractions. All the same, the Hydro's fortunes were to remain in decline and, following storm damage, it closed in 1968.
A dangerous and unvalued ruin, the greatest hotel (and arguably, architectural feat) that Kilmacolm will likely ever know was razed to the ground in 1975 making way in more recent years for luxury housing. A sad demise.