The Village of Nethy Bridge
The following text kindly provided by Dr Jean Munro & Elizabeth Fleming (2008). [Dates of building of houses are mainly taken from earliest entries in census and valuation rolls and “built by 1913” from Strathspey Herald lists of summer visitors in 1913, í14 and í15.] Writing in 1899 Dr Forsyth said that the last 30 years had seen a decrease in population in the parish “which would have been even greater but for the rise of the village of Nethy Bridge”.
The earliest census return of 1841 shows the area to be covered with a series of crofts and “ferm touns” centered round several large houses, such as Coulnakyle, and Rothiemoon with 13 houses at Old Bridgend and 3 near the bridge and several at Lynestock, and Garlyne.
Even in 1866 many of these houses were of wood with thatched roofs and the Causer was described as ‘the name applied to a number of small dwellings some of which have a small portion of land and others occupied by tradesmen’ all thatched; also near Causer were ‘poors lodgings’ then for 8 but increased later.
By 1861 there were a few houses up what is now Dell Road beyond the newly built Free Church and Manse, but the area was still basically rural. The 1860s saw the start of change with the visit of Queen Victoria to Grantown, the arrival of the railway and hotel, and a rapid increase of villas up the Dell Road. The 1871 census refers to the ‘village of Abernethy’ and the hamlet of Nethy bridge – apparently the former was around Old Bridgend and the latter near the bridge and hotel.
The early 20th century found the village being promoted as a health resort (as early as 1800 good health was mentioned in the account of the parish). With new building as its best advertisement ‘such work was said to have transformed the otherwise quiet village into rather a lively place’. Owners of villas would move into small cottages and let their whole house to visitors. In August 1913 the Strathspey Herald listed 52 houses in or near the village and named the parties of visitors staying there and the following year reported that ‘no health resort in the North of Scotland has made more progress’ including new houses (some now in Balnagown Road) and the enlargement of the hotel which included the installation of electric light ‘the motive power being obtained from the Nethy’. The large parties of summer visitors continued until WW2, after which the pattern gradually changed to self catering and second homes.
Nethy Bridge Community Centre
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