Rothesay is a classic seaside town on the Isle of Bute, in the Firth of Clyde, separated from the mainland of Scotland by a narrow channel called the Kyles of Bute.
The town’s heyday was in the Victorian era when its wooden pier was busy with ferries bringing tourists from Glasgow. Rothesay pier was the main focus of steamer traffic, and boasted a handsome Scottish Baronial terminal building which, sadly, burned down in 1962.
By the late 1800s, the journey from Glasgow, which had previously taken days had been reduced to a steamer journey of just two hours and in 1913 steamers made no fewer than 100 calls at Rothesay. Rothesay became so popular that its summer population rose to 50,000 people.
Rothesay’s popularity continued through the inter-war years but, like many other British seaside resorts, declined in the later decades with the rise of cheap package holidays abroad.
Over the years, the pier and its buildings have undergone a number of major reconstruction projects, a detailed account of which is given on the website of the Bute Sons and Daughters, a link to which is provided below.