Keil School

IF you want to find out more about the local history of Kintyre or post some interesting stories then here is the place! All contributors welcome! You can also check out the Historic Kintyre and Down Memory Lane websites.

Keil School

Postby Ship called Dignity » Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:48 pm

I'm sure someone can fill us in on the relevant details.


Some more pictures from Southend and Mull of Kintyre can be seen here:-
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Postby Pete Reek » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:37 pm

Only know that a fire destroyed what was obviously a magnificent building Davie.
There must be someone who knows the whole bit and I look forward to hearing about it.
I cant help but think of Billy Bunter when I see that building, and as of now so will you :lol:
When I snap my fingers you will wake up and call yourself Billy: snap. :shock:
Pete Reek

Postby take_a_pop » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:45 pm

Noo Noo P.R thit bunter name mae weil stik wae him.
Huv ye seen the size oh hee's carlin belly lately, an the poor wain huz chains insted oh eeelastic on hee's bouncy cher, dinna ken how he disna git milk lak eni othur wain.
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Postby Malky » Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:07 pm

Copied and pasted from the Campbeltownloch site. Hope this is of interest. The School started life as Keil House.


In 1865, Keil Estate was sold to James Nicol Fleming, a merchant from Glasgow. Whilst the previous owner had invested heavily in improving the agricultural output of the estate, the new owner's main plan was to build a brand new mansion house.

Fleming was a speculator who had started his career in Bombay. During the American Civil War he amassed a fortune by buying up Indian cotton cheaply and selling it on for inflated prices in Britain. When he acquired Keil he was a director of the City of Glasgow Bank. Being unhappy with the existing dwelling house, he employed Campbell Douglas, a Glasgow architect specialising in the design of large houses, to plan a grand new mansion, which would be in keeping with his new-found status.

It was built on a new site slightly nearer the shore than the existing house. Much of the sandstone required was probably quarried from the cliffs at Keil Point. Finishing stone was imported by sea and unloaded by means of a crane mounted on the rocks in front of Keil. The interior was richly panelled with the finest timber and adorned with considerable plaster-work. The surrounding gardens were greatly enlarged and enclosed by a high wall with a number of access gates in it, one of which was formed from the front doorway of the old house. The mansion was served by a new access road, lined with substantial iron railings, at the foot of which a small lodge was erected. New cottages were also built at Keil Point and High Keil as part of the development. The new house was finally completed around 1870, and was said to be one of the finest residences in the Western Highlands.

Even the wealth of Fleming, however, was exhausted by the demands of such a large project and he had to borrow heavily from the Bank on the strength of doubtful securities. His fellow directors were equally unscrupulous in their dealings. One morning in October 1878, the doors failed to open and by the crash, countless of its clients were rendered destitute. The shareholders were responsible for debts of around five million pounds.

Fleming fled the country; he was taken off from Keil by a yacht, and eventually reached Spain. Later he returned, stood trial and at the High Court in Edinburgh in January 1879 was sentenced to a prison term. Above the archway over the main entrance to Fleming's new mansion there had been installed a plain slab on which it is said he confidently expected to mount his coat of arms when he was so honoured. The collapse of the City Bank and Fleming's part in its downfall had forever dashed his hopes. The slab remains empty to this day.

After lying vacant for several years, the Estate was sold by Fleming's trustees in 1883 to another Glasgow merchant, Ninian Bannatyne Stewart. Following the death of Mr. Stewart and his wife, their survivors sold the Estate in February 1915 to the Trustees of the MacKinnon MacNeill Trust. Sir William MacKinnon of Loup and Balinakill and his nephew, Duncan MacNeill, had left a bequest for the educational benefit of West Highland boys. Their trustees undertook an extensive conversion of the mansion house, and opened it under the name of Kintyre Technical College, which offered three years free education to less well off boys.

And this is copied and pasted from the page about the school itself.


Near the village of Southend lies the burnt-out ruins of the original Keil School, a private educational establishment for the sons of Argyll. It was founded when Sir William MacKinnon, who made his fortune in East Africa, donated to a trust which later bought Keil House.

A catastrophic fire destroyed the complete building on the night of Sunday, 7th February, 1924. The blaze started in a wood store below the school science room, and spread so quickly that the building could not be saved. The insurance covered only a part of the College, and it was never restored to its former state. The school was relocated to Dumbarton where it flourished until the late 1990's when increasing financial pressures caused it's closure.

In 1926, the MacKinnon Trustees at a public Auction in Campbeltown sold Keil to James Barbour, Farmer of Gartfern, by Drymen, Stirlingshire. The Barbour family still farm Keil to this day but these days, cows graze the lush grass where once the rugby field and cricket ground lay.

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Postby Pete Reek » Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:45 pm

Thank you for taking the time to post that Malky TIM, I didn't know anything about the school apart from the fire.

In my case what Confucius wrote rings true :

"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance"
Pete Reek

Postby Mike Hunt » Sat Feb 04, 2006 3:28 pm

Only those fae the village of the damned now the true story of this place !!! It will make ur skin crawl !!!!!!
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Postby Pete Reek » Sat Feb 04, 2006 4:01 pm

Well Michaela, you should get onto the producers of the film "PORKY'S" as they used your name in a rather derogatory manner in one scene :shock:
As for the village of the damned, I'm sure it's called Sound of Kintyre :!:
Pete Reek

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