Friday, January 15, 2010

A nice shade of grey, in Hunter's Quay

We crossed the Holy Loch and arrived at Hunter's Quay just after MV Sound of Sanda had landed and was offloading her cars. We quickly made our way round her stern (that would become her bow) and found ourselves paddling below more fine Victorian villas. Hunter's Quay was established in 1816 when James Hunter bought the local Hafton Estate. He built a quay in 1828 and extended it to a pier in 1858, as other people moved into the village and built villas there. The last steamer called at the pier in 1964. Then in 1973, Western Ferries bought the pier and opened up the frequent sailings to McInroy's Point at Gourock.

On the beach below a large villa we came across "The Jim Crow". The rock has been painted like this for more than a hundred years but during the night of 21st June 2009, it was painted over all in grey. This caused much local debate and was reported in the Dunoon Observer. Some people think the rock just looks like a crow. Other people think that the name refers to the "Jim Crow laws" that segregated black and white people in the USA from 1876 till 1965.

As you can see, The Jim Crow has since been restored. I don't know what American servicemen from the Holy Loch thought of it. Maybe it is just a crow but it's not a very attractive crow. Just because something has been there a long time does not make it right. Neither does the fact that many may not appreciate its significance to others. I certainly am not one for overzealous political correctness (I call things black and white boards, not chalk and pen boards) but in this case, I think the rock, and Hunter's Quay, would look better if it were a nice shade of grey.


  1. I suspect that the American servicemen weren't too bothered (assuming they were white) - there were no integrated army units until 1944 (and then only because if urgent manpower shortages), and E 9981 didn't come until 1948 -

    Never heard of that rock before. Whatever the true story/intentions behind it, it looks distinctly odious.

    Mark R

  2. Hello Mark, after WW2 there was a second wave of American servicemen from 1961 until 1992. In addition to servicemen who lived on ships there were nearly 450 houses for families on shore. Servicemen on the Holy Loch were both black and white. Odious is a good word for the rock.

  3. I have heard (dont know if its true) that Jim Crow was named and painted after a popular back and white minstral character from days of yore.Its history is now almost gone and forgotten.I think it should remain as it is though.If you wipe out everything thats got a dodgy past there will be not much left worth looking at in this world.

  4. Thank you Bob. Yes Jim Crow was a white American who did a parody of a black man singing. Equally some say there was a garage owner in Dunoon called Jim Crow.