Former Bute smiddy is put up for sale

The Mount Stuart Trust has put the former Ettrick Smiddy and adjacent cottage up for sale with a guide price of �100,000.
The Mount Stuart Trust has put the former Ettrick Smiddy and adjacent cottage up for sale with a guide price of �100,000.

A building widely believed to be one of the oldest surviving examples of Bute’s rural heritage is to be put on the market.

The Grade B-listed Ettrick Smiddy and adjoining house have never changed hands before, despite being more than two hundred years old.

The Mount Stuart Trust is to sell the property - with a guide price of £100,000 - after declining to pursue a suggestion that it be turned into a museum.

Bute Estate factor Bob Baines said the future of the building had been discussed at length within the Trust ever since it became vacant a couple of years ago.

“The Trust has looked at many different possible options for the house and smithy and explored various suggestions put to it, all of which presented a significant commercial challenge,” he added.

“Over the same period the Trust has received interest from a number of different parties, including other island-based charitable bodies, which had their own ideas about the building’s future.

“The Trust has now decided to open up the opportunities to all interested groups and individuals by putting this historic building on the market.”

The building comprises a two bedroom cottage and adjoining former workshop, where several generations of the Thomson and Smith families plied their trade as country blacksmiths over nearly two centuries.

It was the last of seven working smiddys on Bute, providing farms in the area with custom-made equipment and repairing their broken machinery.

However, the arrival of tractors on the island in the early 1940s sounded the death knell for country blacksmiths, and the Ettrick smiddy finally closed its doors to customers in 1949.

Addressing the suggestion that the building be used as a museum, Mr Baines said: “The Trust looked at this option very carefully, as it has at all others put to it over the last few years.

“However, developing the property into a museum was assesssed not to be an opportunity the Trust wanted to pursue due to its questionable commercial viability.

“Putting the building on the open market will provide all interested parties with the opportunity to test the feasibility of their ideas for its future and seek to put them into action.

“Mount Stuart Trust is keenly aware of the history of the building and its place in Bute’s industrial heritage and its long term future will be a consideration when assessing offers from prospective purchasers.”

The building is being offered for sale by agents Bute Property (tel 01700 503168), to whom all enquiries should be directed.