Station Road, Oban, Argyll. PA34 5RT. Tel: 01631 563133.
Caledonia Hotel. 2008.
Mr John Thomson, manager of the Caledonian Hotel. 1896.
John Thomson was a native of Glasgow, where he received his education at the old St. Enoch’s School, under Mr Sim, who became rector of the Bellahouston Academy. On completing his studies he joined the firm of Messrs. James Pattison & Co., drysalters, West George Street, where he served an apprenticeship of five years. Having attained as a position as he could secure in the services of that firm he accepted the appointment of cashier in the Western Club, a responsible position in, as everyone knows, the senior and premier club in the West of Scotland.
Remaining there for three years and gaining the goodwill and respect of all with whom he came in contact, he thought he would like to see more of the world, and entered the service of the British India Steam Navigation Company as purser, trading between Calcutta and Bombay.
The Egyptian War was going on at that time and Mr Thomson was on board the S.S. Ethiopia when the Indian Government chartered her to carry troops to Ismalia to engage in the battle of Tel-el-Kebir. After three years he returned to Glasgow, and was offered again his old position in the Western Club, but at an increase of salary, which he accepted and again remained for three years. In 1887 he was fortunate enough to get married to Miss Galt, daughter of the late Mr George Galt, glazier and glass merchant, Eglinton Street, Glasgow.
He was appointed at this time the first club master of the Imperial Union Club. When the club was opened they took the premises of the old Junior Club in Sauchiehall Street, a very select coterie of our young men of the best families in the West of Scotland comprising the members. Mr Thomson, besides inaugurating the club, had to superintend their removal to their new premises at 82 St. Vincent Street only three months after, an undertaking he accomplished with credit to himself. In 1890, after three years, Mr Thomson went to Killin as manager of the hotel there, where he remained for a year and went north to Sutherlandshire to manage the Lochinvar and Culag Hotels for MacBrayne.
With pleasure to himself and the satisfaction of his employer, he remained there till the expiry of the lease, when the houses changed hands and he came to Oban to occupy the position of manager of the Caledonian Hotel.
In 1904 Jasper Anderson had the Caledonian Hotel and the Spean Bridge Hotel.