Spittal Hotel FireFrom: Philip Smith Collection
Slides images of the Spittal Hotel when it was tragically destroyed by fire in 1959.*
Information received from Ronald Aitken, 06/04/2014:
’I refer to the fire which severely damaged the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel, the year this happened is stated as being 1959. My father, who was at the time a shepherd at the Old Spittal Farm, tells me he remembers dealing with the fire and he suggests it must have been earlier than this; in 1957, and maybe in June of that year. My parents and older brother moved to Glenshee at the end of May in 1953 and lived at the Tomb, which overlooks the Spittal Hotel. I was born in that cottage in August 1953 and in December 1955 my sister was also born there. We all lived there until the end of October 1957 when we moved to the Meikleour area. I remember my first day at school there; this would have been when I was aged 5, in 1958. The events at the Spittal Hotel must have been before that date so I decided to investigate further.
I spoke to my father about the fire and he tells me that a few months before we left the Tomb in 1957, himself and Jimmy Yule, the Head shepherd, were working in a field overlooking the hotel. They suddenly noticed smoke and flames coming from the hotel roof and they both rushed down there and were apparently the first to reach the scene of the fire. A painter had been working on a ladder, using a blowlamp to strip paint from upstairs windows on the hotel. This may well have been the cause of the fire and, apparently, the painter got such a shock when he saw the flames that he fell from his ladder, breaking a leg. The Fire Brigade was called from Kirkmichael, later backed up by the appliance from Blairgowrie but by that time the fire was too far advanced to be dealt with effectively. He told me of their attempts to rescue property from the building and about some of the happenings on the day.’