There is documentary evidence to say that the ‘fermtoun’ of Gartmore has existed since at least 1598 but the village, as we know it today, was created in 1725 by William C. C. Graham. The first map of the village dates from 1776. Drovers, taking cattle to market, passed through Gartmore and there has been an Inn on this site since at least 1740. Interesting to think that when the drovers were calling for a drink at the bar, America was still British, Bonnie Prince Charlie was leading the Jacobite Rebellion, the French Revolution hadn’t started and life expectancy was less than 40.
By the 1800’s, the Trossachs was at the epicentre of Scottish tourism inspired by the romantic novels of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Queen Victoria sat on the throne and The Black Bull was, by that time, an established Inn and hotel.
Locally, Robert Bontine Cunningham Graham MP, the ‘Gaucho Laird’ and founder of both the Scottish Labour Party and the modern Scottish National Party, lived at Gartmore House. In 1906, Sir Charles Cayzer, head of one of Britain’s wealthiest shipping families, purchased Gartmore House, and was responsible for huge investment in the village infrastructure including The Black Bull - a petrol pump was installed outside the pub to fill up those new fangled motor cars.
During WWII Gartmore was home to AW25, the largest munitions dump in Scotland, with soldiers billeted in and around the village. The Ministry of Defence installed a secret telephone under the bar known only to the landlord. When the phone rang, the landlord would run upstairs and sound a hidden siren to alert the villagers that the Luftwaffe were about to attack.
From the 1950’s the Black Bull continued to serve the village but, like many of Britain’s pubs, faced an era of decline. However, in 2019 the pub was purchased by the local community and since then has been lovingly refurbished. You can see for yourself Gartmore’s incredible history in our new Heritage room – well worth a visit.