Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cardross and A. J. Cronin Part 2

I finally managed to visit Cardross this October, 2008! As I hadn't heard from the people in Cardross who were supposed to have written to me with directions to Rosebank Cottage, I had to find it for myself. This proved a very difficult task as no one I spoke to in several shops had ever heard of A. J. Cronin - can you believe it!? I was astonished. One old lady I met in the street thought she'd heard of Rosebank Cottage and said I was to take a left turning but she wasn't sure which one. Oh well. Geoffrey and I set off optimistically, turning down every left turning I could find. Outside a row of neat bungalows, I spoke to a friendly man - an Englishman who lives in Cardross - who had heard of A. J. Cronin - in fact, we discussed his books for several minutes! Better than that, he knew where Rosebank Cottage was situated and gave us directions. He said we were to cut down the side of a field, which we did, but then found we couldn't get through the undergrowth at the far side as it was too overgrown. I suppose it's possible that we went the wrong way as that man had been confident of a good path through the back of the field, but I couldn't find it. We had to retrace our steps, getting quite muddy into the bargain.

Where the 'cut-through' should have been!

After this I decided to take the car and venture further afield (literally). We took the road slightly out of the village, then a country lane.

A farm was at the end and a cottage - which didn't turn out to be Rosebank unfortunately. There were no other buildings in sight but I decided to set off on foot down the back lane (in the opposite direction to the farm), leaving Geoffrey in the car!

Down a hill and round a corner - and there it was at last: Rosebank Cottage!

The owners didn't seem to be there and I didn't want to trespass on their garden so I just took these photos from outside the gate. An elderly neighbour came to see what I was up to so I explained. I don't think he'd heard of A.J.Cronin and he certainly didn't realise the special history of the cottage!

I sneaked a photo through the hedge at the front though unfortunately the house isn't in focus!

Two photos from the lane outside Rosebank Cottage

Above: looking across the fields to the Clyde, just as young Archibald would have done.

After all this excitement, we drove down to the beach!

The view across to Port Glasgow from Cardross Beach. It was so strange to see it from the 'other side'! I wished I'd remembered my binoculars.

Below: some photos of the railway station...

...and then it was goodbye to Cardross. Apart from finding Rosebank Cottage I must admit that it was a very disappointing visit. How could it be anything else when no one I met that day had heard of A.J. Cronin (except for the Englishman!) ; there was no plaque outside Rosebank Cottage, no statue or memorial of any kind in the town. If I had the money I would put one up myself! I really do think that the people of Cardross should be ashamed for forgetting about the great man who was born there.


Gerard Ward said...

Hard to believe how Cronin has been forgotten about so quickly. Its strange why the village does not have some sort of memorial to him.

Kilmacolm is a charming little village,we quite often drive through it but never stop!


Jane said...

Thanks Gerry. I agree there should be a memorial of some kind! Yes, Kilmacolm is an interesting little place, worth a stop and look around. The countryside round there is pretty too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jane I have lived in Station Road cardross for 25 years and DID know about Dr Cronin. It is said he lived in the semi detched villa opposite the train station after 1901 according to the census. I wish I had met you I know where Rosebank Cottage is. I agree about a memorial to him. Also the fact Robert the Bruce died here and that Percy Piltcher carried out the first unpowered flight - before the Wright Brothers were heard of.
Kind Regards Fiona

Jane said...

Hi Fiona,
Thanks so much for the message - it's great to hear from you! I wish I'd met you too - perhaps the next time I manage to get to Cardross! There's a bit about Percy Piltcher in my later Cardross blog entry. I didn't know about Robert the Bruce though so I must mention that when I write about Cardross next time!
Best wishes, Jane

Anonymous said...

Hi jane, its a pity you didnt meet the couple who are in Rosebank, them man there who has now passed away so both he and his mife surely would have known of the history, i have been in the cottage and its a very cold building, only due to the fact no one has updated the heating over the years

John in cardross

Jane said...

Thanks John, yes a pity indeed that I didn't see the inside of the house. I imagine it would be very cold...sad the man there has passed away now...