Rothesay is the main town on the Isle of Bute located to the west of the Firth Clyde. It is easily accessible by regular ferries from Wemyss Bay on the south west coast of Scotland.
The town of Rothesay itself sits on a north facing bay sheltered by low hills, it has been visited by an eclectic mix of people groups down through the centuries.
Historically the employment of the town centred around the large cotton mills during the late 18th century, but their final demise came in the 1880s as a result of continuing external competition from the mainland. Conversely at the same time, the herring fishing industry was beginning to thrive.
The close proximity of Bute to the seafaring route from Ireland to Scotland provided a gateway for the early Christian missionaries in the 6th century. St Blanes church and other historic sites are testament to that fact found in the southern half of the island.
By the 8th century, the invaders were Vikings from Norway who weren't so peaceful or amenable and kept returning at various times over a 500 year period.
An early simple fort was built by Magnus Barford in 1098 but his stay was short lived due to its destruction by the locals.
Later in the 13th century a stone circular castle and moat was built by The Stewart family which eventually became a royal residence.
The castle saw more Norse battle action, firstly in 1230 and then later in 1263, but despite initially losing the castle in the battles it was later reclaimed after the demise of King Hakon. The invader finally admitted defeat in the nearby Battle of Largs (1263).
The English temporarily took control of Rothesay Castle from 1297 - 1311 during the wars of Independence until Robert The Bruce finally took it back into Scottish hands.
Steps were taken to repair and improve the defences with four towers being added in the 16th century followed by a gatehouse and despite skirmishes with the English (Cromwell's Army 1659) and The Duke of Argyll in 1685, it was never tested again in battle.
Around this time, the Stewart family moved into the more comfortable Old Mansion House across the street. This building is currently being renovated as an educational facility looking at the history of the island.
The second Earl of Bute decided to move the family home again to the out of town and more opulent Mount Stuart in the east of the island leaving the castle derelict for many years.
The Crichton Stewarts restored the castle during the 19th century before being handed over for preservation, overseen and cared for by the organisation Historic Scotland.
Like many other resorts in the 19th century, it became a fashionable destination for those seeking to escape the progressive industrialisation for a weeks holiday, assisted by improved transport arrangements.
Many believed that Hydrotherapy could provide healing properties for body ailments ...
... and Rothesay was keen to replicate the success and marketing of other Spa towns in the UK as a fashionable holiday destination.
The Winter Gardens were built as a result of the thriving music and entertainment business of the resort which had outgrown the bandstand built about 50 years previously. The attraction opened in 1924 at a cost of £7,000 with parts being shipped from Glasgow.
The venue served as a magnet for show business names of the day, many of whom went on to become famous.
Things remained much the same until the 1960's when the cheap European package holiday became more accessible resulting in a decline of the resort.
The Winter Gardens closed and threats of demolition became real in 1982, remaining derelict for some considerable time.
The building was revamped as an exhibition and tourist information centre in 2000.
Whilst Rothesay is synonymous with maritime history, interestingly enough during World War II, many navy personnel were given training on submarines in the bay.
In addition to the newly styled Winter Gardens, the authorities in the town have shown much tenacity in recouping the tourism business by various measures including the upgrade of the pier.
From the archives ... Shipbuilding on The River Clyde provided the constructed Paddle steamers that transported workers for their holidays from Glasgow "Doon The Watter".
Note the hotel transfers 19th century style !!
Hopefully with the amount of shipping transport in those days they didn't have to wait too long ....
And finally there were thankfully no earthquakes today ....