Bonawe House was built in 1753 initially for the manager of Bonawe Iron Furnace. A Lake District mining company brought iron ore up to Loch Etive where there was a plentiful supply of timber and used charcoal to smelt the ore. At its peak around the time of the napoleonic wars there were 600 people working for the furnace, mainly creating charcoal form as far as 40 miles away. Later in the 19th century coal had supplanted charcoal in the production or iron and there was no need to move the ore to areas of forestation. Though luckily for us the management of the woodland for charcoal has led to some of the best preserved oak woodland in the UK.
Bonawe Furnace gradually declined and was finally sold off in the 1890’s as a country house and estate. Significant extensions were added to the house at this time and it remained in the same ownership until 1979 when it first started to be run with self catering accommodation. The Furnace is near the house and in the hands of Historic Scotland who maintain the lovely stone and slate buildings.
In 1987 it was sold on again and an extensive renovation and restoration was undertaken that put the house in essentially the design it is in today. We bought Bonawe House in 1999, on the day our eldest daughter was born, and have been lucky enough to live here ever since.
We have been busy over the years extensively modernising the fabric of the buildings to ensure that although they still retain the lovely old cottage feel they now have all the comforts of newly built house. The cottages now all have double glazing, and in 2014 we installed a central heating system throughout, fed by our wood chip boiler. The main house has to retain the traditional wooden sash and case windows, and our Edwardian Wing, Etive View and Courtyard apartment all have many traditional features and furnishings that have been re-upholstered and renovated by us in house.