Intriguing Sights No.5

The other day I was a few miles outside the small town of Doune, when I was faced with a ‘road closed’ sign.

There was no diversion marked, but when I got my map out I saw that I could take a detour through the nearby hamlet of Argaty.

Although tiny in terms of human population, Argaty lays claim to being central Scotland’s only red kite feeding station, and has quite a number of visitors as a result.

The feeding station is open all year round so that you can pop along to watch red kites from a hide, and they have a website here if you’d like more information.

As interesting as all of that is, the red kites were not what particularly intrigued me in Argaty. This was what stopped me in my tracks:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A rather substantial bus shelter, but one with a bit of a story to tell.

At the front of the shelter, above and between two pillars, was a date – 1937 – and two sets of initials: GRVI and ER:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInside there was an explanation:

The inscription above the window at the back of the shelter reads: “To commemorate the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth May 1937” and has the words “Fealty” and “Homage” on either side.

Commemorative plaques and other architectural paraphernalia to mark coronations are not uncommon, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bus shelter built for the purpose. Mind you, I say it was built for the coronation but perhaps that’s not true; it might already have been there and just been inscribed to mark the event.

I searched online a bit and wasn’t able to find any mention of this bus shelter anywhere.

I did, however, find information about a completely different bus shelter in the village of Stokenchurch in the south of England, which was erected not for the 1937 coronation but for the present Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

stokenchurch bus shelter

Malcolm Penny and Jennie Ferrigno (name of dog unknown), representatives of Stokenchurch Parish Council and Red Kite Community Housing Association, who jointly erected the bus shelter.

As can be seen above, the Stokenchurch Diamond Jubilee bus shelter is a very different design from the Argaty one and has a metal plaque attached to it commemorating the Diamond Jubilee.

There are several other bus shelters throughout the UK that were erected for the Diamond Jubilee, but I chose to highlight this one because of its very tenuous link with the one at Argaty.

It’s barely worth mentioning perhaps, but the fact that the Stokenchurch one was partly funded by a company called Red Kite caught my attention. Could there be other links between red kites and bus shelters that I’ve yet to uncover? Life is full of curious coincidences.

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19 thoughts on “Intriguing Sights No.5

  1. That is a very interesting bus shelter and a very curious coincidence! Sounds like a case for Poirot! 🙂 I love the words ‘fealty’ and ‘homage’ either side of the inscription – neither word is used very much any more. I’ve been looking at old footage of the Queen’s coronation recently – so inspiring and quite touching in many ways. By the way, I am hoping that Prince Philip recovers fully from his operation. I have a great admiration for him.

    • Thanks, Jo, I’d love to know more about that bus shelter. The Queen has had quite an astonishingly long reign and has done a great job of maintaining respect throughout the world. It is inspiring when you see that old footage and learn more about the sacrifices she’s had to make, alongside all the privileges. I wouldn’t swap with her, for all her castles and wealth. Here’s hoping Prince Philip has a restful stay in hospital and recovers quickly. He’s not doing too badly for 92.

      • I totally agree, and nor would I swap with her, although if they placed the Imperial State Crown in front of me I might ask for a few minutes to consider!

    • You are a most astute fellow. It would be a lovely spot for a tearoom, it’s on a quiet country road and there’s no tearoom at the red kite feeding station so I reckon there would be a flow of customers from there.

  2. As usual, Lorna, you’ve found the coolest things! I literally felt startled by the mention of “Red Kite” in your caption of the second photograph. What are the chances of that?! Really enjoyed this post – life is truly full of surprises, and some of them are nice ones (my theme for the day).

    • Thank you kindly, Christine, I’ve just read your post and been very pleasantly surprised by it. It’s good to celebrate these little quirky things in life that make being alive so interesting.

  3. That is quite some bus stop. And Argaty is a very cool name for a place. Or as a middle name for a daughter, I’m thinking, even though I don’t have one.

    • We used to have that problem in Edinburgh in my youth (not that I’m taking responsibility for it, I’ve never broken bus shelter glass in my life, as far as I can recall), but then the glass gradually became replaced with reinforced plastic, which is nearly unbreakable. Unfortunately, it is possible to carve things into it with a sharp implement though.

  4. Very awesome bus shelter. it’s interesting about the red kite connection. I was wondering if you ever made it to Doune, which is a really nice little town.

  5. I sometimes question whether there are any coincidences…there must be something there as to the Red Kite connection…finding out what that is may be difficult to find though.

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