Up to the Present Day
Inevitably automation and the development of dynamite brought about the decline of the works. Gunpowder production continued until the late 19th century when the estate was sold for farming purposes. Farming continued well into the 1970′s when the ‘semi-resident’ owner began to offer the old farm-workers’ cottages for self-catering holidays.
In 1982, the Melfort Estate was offered for sale and the part now known as Melfort Village was purchased by Charles and Helen Stott who had discovered the location whilst on a sailing holiday. Their vision of Melfort was to create a Cottage Membership village where people could own, ‘a week in Argyll forever for less than a week in Argyll’. Gradually, over a period of 7 years, 32 cottages were built from the ruins of the gunpowder village and farm buildings, developed by the Stotts’ company, Loch Melfort Estate Ltd.
By the end of 1992, Melfort was almost fully sold out. Charles Stott then put his house and grounds on the market and sold his interests in Melfort Village to The Melfort Club.
Now over a century later and housed in the old buildings Melfort Village flourishes. The names of the cottages reflect their function within the framework of the old gunpowder village. The ruins and the lade along the banks of the River Oude along with certain remnants of the tramway which ran from the village to the pier at Fearnach Bay complete the picture. The very existence of the Melfort Club in its present form ensures that the illustrious history and the uniqueness of the Melfort village will be preserved for many generations to come.
Notwithstanding all the changes seen, today Melfort Village is one of the most successful Cottage Membership operations in Scotland, probably the UK. It is owned and managed by The Melfort Club, being the Association of Melfort owners, and was formed in 1983. Each cottage owner has a direct say in the way the Village is run, through a professionally qualified Committee elected from the membership. The Club has approximately 1200 members owning a total of 1600 holiday weeks, who contribute annually to its maintenance as a high amenity holiday venue. Every week in each cottage has an owner, although they can choose whether or not to use their week each year. This means that we also have rental guests and guests using the RCI and Dial-an-exchange exchange systems.
1. Gillies – Nether Lorn 1909
2. Islands of Nether Lorn – West Highland Series No 3
3. Glenys Crocker – The Gunpowder Industry