0 comments28 NovemberRachael Hamilton
Since the turn of the Nineteenth Century, the owner of the Buccleuch Arms, Billy Hamilton’s family have been serious players in the hotel industry. The thread however dwindled through a number of decades until Billy bought the Buccleuch Arms with his wife in 2008.
Dates and details are sketchy but it shows that the Hamilton family have hospitality in their blood. The Hamilton’s owned the George and Abbotsford in Melrose for 100 years and sold it after World War Two. The property had been requisitioned and Billy’s Great great Uncle Jock decided to sell as he was past retiring age and his son was not interested in taking on the business. The family were prominent in Melrose and in addition to the George & Abbotsford owned the King’s Arms and The Abbey Hotel, a three storey building in the Abbey Grounds opposite the turnstile, now a residential property.
Billy’s Great great grandfather Sir Robert Cranston was the builder and owner of the Cranston London Hotels, The Ivanhoe, Kenilworth & Waverley. They also owned the Old Waverley in Edinburgh built by his father, Baillie Robert Cranston a friend of Sir Walter Scott and a pioneer of total abstinence in the 19th Century. Incidentally, all were temperance hotels and didn’t serve alcohol, quite different to our lifestyles today. Sir Robert Cranston was a cousin of the famous Miss Kate Cranston who owned the Glasgow Tea Rooms.
Fast forward five generations and the gene returns with Billy Hamilton striking up an interest in working in the hospitality industry. After leaving Loretto, Billy started work for Greene King at The Rose and Crown, Clapham Old Town and The Clarence on Old Brompton Road and became the youngest licensee in South London aged 21.
Billy eventually came back to the Borders where he grew up. It was his love of hunting and the Lauderdale country that drew him back from the city. He became Manager at the George and Abbotsford in Melrose fifty years after the Hamilton family had sold it. He now owns and runs The Buccleuch Arms in St. Boswells with his wife Rachael and yes they do sell alcohol.
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