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A brief history of The Dumbuck House Hotel

Built in 1798, Dumbuck House was originally owned by Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Geils along with 655 acres in this area. Upon his death, the Dumbuck estate was inherited by his fifth son John Edward Geils, his five older siblings having died in infancy.

John married Frances Dickenson, a union which produced two daughters but the marriage was ill-fated, the couple divorced and Frances moved to Italy with her surviving child, also Frances. John did not remarry and divided his time between his Dumbarton estate and England. Due to failing health in later life, he spent virtually all of his time south of the border.

Consequently Dumbuck House was rented out to various people, including the Glasgow confectioner John Buchanan. He died in 1881 and the house was subsequently rented out to an aspiring artist Alexander Scott.

In 1890 Mary Logan Whyte and Mary Anne Windsor leased the house as private home for women with ailing health.

However, in 1894 when John Edward Geils died, his daughter Frances Chigi-Zondadari inherited the estate.

She was now married to the Italian artistrocrat the Marchese Chigi-Zondadari, who was a senator in Sienna. The couple opted to stay abroad and so the house continued to be leased out.

In 1908 Dugald Gillies, who had been the steward with shipbuilders William Denny and Brothers, leased Dumbuck House and converted its use to that of a hotel.

Numerous attempts to secure a license to permit the sale of alcohol were spurned by the local authorities but the prompt addition of a function hall (now The Grand Hall) succeeded in establishing the hotel as a successful wedding and function venue.

In 1923, the firm of Babcock and Wilcox, who had works nearby, bought the hotel from the Dumbuck Trustees, and refurbished it for general public use.

Babcock’s ownership of the hotel ended in 1936 when it was sold to a company calling itself Dumbuck Hotel Ltd.

By 1950 it was in the hands of William A. McManus, a member of the family that played a huge role in the licensed trade in Dumbarton.

In 2007 the hotel was owned by the McGroarty family who changed the hotel’s name to the existing title – The Dumbuck House Hotel.

The hotel is currently owned by husband and wife team Tommy and Petra McMillan, of Alchemy Inns Ltd, and is now in the midst of an ambitious £500,000 regeneration programme which will restore the hotel to its former glory.

The couple are keen to incorporate key characters from the hotel's history into the refurbishment and have already named three new luxury suites in honour of past owners Geils and Buchanan and Thompson, after the wartime heroine 'Nana' Thompson.


COMING SOON! - The Dumbuck House Hotel blog

Our owners have uncovered some amazing tales about The Dumbuck and it's history in the town of Dumbarton. Watch this space for a regular blog highlighting our hidden historical gems…




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