A Timeline of Women: Her Story who changed Helensburgh, Scotland

I thought I would like to highlight Helensburgh: Her Story. The women that made a difference to Helensburgh. Looking back at the variety of women in sport, literature, art, society and personalities.

How did Helensburgh get its name?

The first thing to remember, Lady Helen Colquhoun nee Gordon was the wife of Sir James Colquhoun. Born in 1717. In 1785, Helensburgh was named after Lady Helen. She had eight children. There is a modern sculpture on the side of Helensburgh Lomond Civic Centre on Clyde St. She died in 1791.

Although, Charlotte Cooper was deaf since the age of 26 years. She was the oldest Wimbledon lady’s singles champion.  Her record of eight consecutive singles finals stood until 1990. When Martina Navratilova reached her ninth consecutive singles final.

Notably, Deborah Kerr was an actress in Scottish film, theatre, and television. Born on 30th October 1921. She lived in West King Street, for the first three years of her life. She died on 16th October 2007. In addition, there is an exhibition of Deborah Kerr in the Helensburgh Library. https://liveargyll.co.uk/facility/helensburgh-library/ 

Emma Richards born in 1975. Important to realise she was the youngest person to sail around the world alone. With this in mind, she sailed 29 thousand miles.

This is Women’s History Month.

In addition, Helen McInnes was one of the most famous former pupils of Hermitage School. Helen was born on 7th October 1907. She became an espionage novelist. Her first novel was called “Above Suspicion”. She was the author of 21 spy novels. She died on 30th September 1985.

Janet Colquhoun born nee Sinclair on 17th April 1781. She married Sir James Colquhoun of Luss in 1799. She was a British religious writer. Janet became a Christian evangelist after being inspired by the abolitionist William Wilberforce She founded a small domestic College for girls to learn cookery and needlework. She died on 21st October 1846.

Great characters and personalities changed Helensburgh: Her Story, Scotland

Madeline Smith was a Glasgow socialite. When she was accused of murder in 1857. Furthermore, the family had a country house called “Rowaleyn” in Rhu. Madeleine began an affair with Pierre Emile L’Angelier. She wanted to end the affair and asked for her letters back. However, L’Angelier threatened to expose her. She bought arsenic to drug him. He died from arsenic poisoning. After his death, her letters were found, and she was charged with murder.

Norah Neilson Gray was a Scottish Artist of the Glasgow School. She was a member of “The Glasgow Girls”.

Notably, P.S. Jeanie Deans was a Clyde paddle steamer. She provided summer cruises from Craigendoran to Lochgoilhead and Arrochar until 1964. Named after a character from Sir Walter Scott’s novel “Heart of Midlothian”.

Uniquely, Susan McGlone in 1847 lived in Portincaple in an upturned half hull of a disused fishing smack. By all means, her personality made her a local celebrity and her home a place in the hall of fame. It was this boat that was known as the “castle”. The Portincaple ferry sailed to Mark Cottage on the other side of Loch Long and back.

In conclusion, While searching for women that changed Helensburgh, led me to be curious about ourselves and the world around us. It is wonderful to keep on learning, discovering and being surprised. Keep the wonder in our lives.

New Helensburgh Walking Tour will start this year on 26th April 2021. Please see details on website www.argyllwalks.co.uk or email at info@argyllwalks.co.uk