This is an old article found in the National Guardian 1948 by Rankin Taylor, ” What I found when I wandered out to the Wallace Tree Inn and literally tripped over the junk in the old garden where in days gone by a giant oak flourished in a noble tradition withered under the onslaughter of patriotic vandalism and perished in the great storm of 1856.
Around the spot where the old oak tree stood I found bits of motor cars, chunks of aeroplane, and all the shapes and sizes of odd metal which go to make a scrapeheap.
And when the giant oak crashed to the ground that night in 1856 it presaged what was to be perhaps the most prosperous day’s business in the long history of the Wallace Tree Inn. John Ritchie, from Broomward Farm, found the tree lying across the road while on his milk run to Paisley. He took a detour and delivered the news with the milk. That day hundreds of relic hunters from a the airts descended on the stricken tree like a swarm of locusts. Some were armed with saws and whittles; others less avarious were content to use a penknife to cut out a piece of bark where perhaps years before they had solemnly engraved their initials.
Measurements were taken in 1825, if not proving the tree’s capability of hiding 300 of William Wallace’s men, at least proved it to be a tree of very considerable proportions. It measured 21 feet in circumference at the base, was 67 feet high, and its branches extended 43 feet east, 36 west, 30 south and 25 north.
The Wallace Tree Inn, of course, did not depend merely on its close proximity to the tree to be a howff for the sightseer, for only 100 yards up the road is the cluster of white-washed buildings one of which is generally accepted to have been the birthplace of Sir William Wallace. A monument at the site perpetuates the assumption by inscribing it in stone.
The Wallace Tree Inn was built in 1779 in the days of the cotton mills and has lived through the transition from horse drawn carriages to tram cars, from spinning to engineering.
Before the road level was raised, what now forms the inns cellars was occupied by four tenents who were probably attracted by the alleged amenity of running water provided by the burn running close by the windows. The present proprietor’s family seems determined to create local licensing history, for the McDonald’s took over the Wallace Tree Inn in 1897 and are still running the place.
In 1959 a new Wallace Tree Inn was built next to the old building, Steel Coulson and Co., Ltd were responsible for the new establishment. The licence holder was sales manager Mr James Young with John T Kelly as manager.
The new inn comprised of a spacious public bar, public lounge, cocktail bar and a separate off-licence. The well designed cocktail bar had cream tinted walls, a warm red bar, and lighting from wall brackets with trumpet shades. African Sapele dominates the woodwork in both furniture and fittings. Settees and chairs were all upholstered in fawn plastic material. The floors were covered in a thick piled black and red carpet.
The new Wallace Tree Inn, note the old premises to the left of the picture. 1959.
In the lounge bar, a combination of polished woodwork and mirrors enlarges and adds to the bright light attraction of a bar canopied with a blue ceiling broken at intervals by port-hole lights. Other light fittings round the pinkish-tinted walls were designed to throw radiance both ceilingwards and floorwards, and dimpled obscure glass had been used for the windows and half timbered doors.
Multi- coloured lion of a contemporary design emphasised the modern note of the bar lounge. The upholstery in this room was a blue plastic material, and blue yellow formica topped tables give islands of colour to the scene.
Decor in the entrance hall was a combination of yellow and very dark red with hour glass wall brackets giving a soft all over lighting effect that was warm and inviting.
The new inn only took four months to build on derelict ground next to the old inn, local tradesmen were responsible for the main work involved in the construction of the new Wallace Tree Inn. The old inn was demolished shortly afterwards.
The New Wallace Tree Inn.
Interior view’s of the new premises.