A coaching Inn since 1827, the Black Bull combines traditional atmosphere with modern comforts. 1971.
In the News in 1971...
£140,000 Face-lift But traditions stay.
So often is all the character knocked out of a fine building when the "modernisers" come along, that it's a pleasure to come across a really well-done blending of old and new.
Such was the case when I went to see the new £140,000 extensions which have just been completed at the Black Bull Hotel, Milngavie.
The Black Bull is an old coaching Inn which dates back to at least 1827, and just over five years ago became part of the Scottish and Newcastle Group. It is now managed by Mr. John Allison, formerly assistant manager at the MacDonald Hotel, Eastwood, in the south side of Glasgow.
The staff has been increased to a total of 65 to cope with the increased business which is already evident. The main extension includes 25 new bedrooms, which brings the number of guest rooms up to 30, and all bedrooms now have their own radio, telephone, television, private bath, and shower, and a tea-making machine.
The new rooms are on the upper floor of the extension, which also houses seven new shops in a very pleasant arched arcade. Besides the new bedrooms, there's a new function room which holds 130 people for weddings or conferences, and here local tradition has been preserved. The hotel used to be the venue of the local courts in former times, and the function room has been finished to represent judges' chambers, with fine oak woodwork and book-lined walls.
Manager John Allison. 1971.
The cocktail bar has been extended, and also the restaurant, which now seats 70. The lounge bar and public bar are still to have their face-lift. Still taking pride of place in the reception area is the ancient well, which is believed to have been in use since Roman times. "We keep it glassed over, though," Mr. Allison told me. "It's at least 20ft deep."
A corner of the cocktail bar, which has been extended as part of the hotel's face-lift. 1971.
The Jacobean style of decoration is, for once, simple and without gimmicks, much to Mr. Allison's satisfaction. The dark beamed ceilings contrast well with white walls, plain orange curtains, and grey-green tweed upholstery. Wrought-iron lamps from France are a feature of the restaurant, presided over by the popular head waiter. Mr. Alessandro Moro.
Behind the scenes, chef Robin Coleman is in charge of a kitchen which has been doubled in size, and the good cooking for which the Black Bull has a reputation is represented in the wide range of dishes available, table d'hôte and a la carte at lunchtime and a la carte in the evening.
An ancient well, possibly dating from Roman times is a feature of the reception area. 1971.
"The hotel has always been a meeting place for local people and organisations," said Mr. Allison, "and this is still the case. "Apart from dinner dances, which we are holding on Wednesdays and Fridays in the restaurant, there's a folk group on alternate Sundays run by Lomond Folk, and the Mafia Club meets here regularly.
Head waiter Alessandro Moro. 1971.
"There's nothing at all sinister about that, by the way. It stands for a group of Milngavie musicians who play accordians and fiddles!" The Allander Rotary Club, the local Ladies Circle, and Milngavie Toastmasters have regular meetings in the hotel too. Function menus run from £1.25 to £2, and bed and breakfast charges are £4.25 for single rooms and £6.50 for doubles, plus the service charge.