|Map of Oban showing the location of
the Ionia Shop 2 Queen's Park Pl
Oban, PA34 5RS, United Kingdom
|If you have a picture you'd like us to feature a picture in a future quiz, please
email it to us at CFitzp@aol.com. If we use it, you will receive a free analysis of
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discount towards the purchase of the Forensic Genealogy book.
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1. George Street or Queen's Park Place, Oban, Argyll, Scotland
2. The McCaig Tower was built to keep the local stonemasons employed during
touch economic times, and as a monument to the McCaig family.
3. December 28, 2008 when the Woolworth's in Oban closed.
(Assuming you agree with me that the store is still open in the picture.)
We are also accepting Jan 5, 2009 when the last Woolworths in the UK closed.
If you think that the store is closed in the picture, the answer is
May 24, 2009, since the new leasers the New Look fashion store
opened in that location May 25, 2009
There are some GPS enabled cameras that will also tell you exactly WHERE the picture
QG: Well, I guess I better avoid asking when and where a photo was taken from now
on, a mean a digital photo....
|How Rena Solved the Puzzle
I use a program called ACDSee. I assume a number of programs can read that data.
Things are not as anonymous as they used to be. First time I used it for a quiz, but I
was getting a little frustrated.
QG: You should know by now that there's no such thing as cheating. Any way you
can get an answer, is fine with me. Besides, I just learned something! Totally!
Dave: Turns out you can get similar info from Windows XP itself. Right-clicking on
the file and choosing properties shows you this (under advanced):
|I believe the photo was
taken in late September
or October 2008. The
Oban Woolworths store
closed Dec 29, 2008 (to
eventually be replaced
by New Look), but this
|Oban Trip Advisor
Thanks to Don Draper
|Oban North Pier with Trawler
Pair trawlers moored alongside Oban's
North pier. A new restaurant has now
been constructed on this pier (2004),
just behind the trawlers.
The historic Caledonian Hotel is mainly off the photo
boundary, to the right. One of my favourite reviews from
Tripadvisor written by someone named Killie on Oct 25,
2008 is included below.
“We stayed in Room 303 for a long weekend which went
well just a few hiccups along the way.... The room was ok
but was a bit tired looking, the showers still have no heads
but the bath done the job. However the toilet was a bit of a
mishmash the oldstyle yank your chain handle felt a bit
dodgy on the Friday, on the Saturday the gubbings of the
|Comments from Our Readers
[My answer] has turned out to be somewhat lengthy! This reflects how much I
enjoyed reading about Oban and why tourists go there. Personally I am off to the
Canadian east coast on Friday and will experience similar settings in places like
Antigonish, Ecum Secum, and Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia. May not have a computer
available for the next quiz! Don Draper
As of Friday, from another website tracking what is happening to all of the former
Woolworth buildings, no new business has taken over the Woolworth in Oban. So, I
suppose the sign could possibly still be there which would take us back to the
construction going on to the left of the picture. Karen Kay Bunting
It occured to me after I sent my answer that the Closing of the Woolworths did not
necessarily mean the immediate removal of the Woolworth sign. I found a reference to
the sites new leaser as "New Look" fashion store and the article was May 25, 2009.
My latest date is now that. Jim Kiser
But the answer was one of the first thoughts I had. The Oban Woolworths closed on
December 29th 2008 – so that would be the latest date the picture could have been
taken. Why I missed it the first time through I don’t remember. Thanks again for a
great puzzle. We both learned something! David Doucette
Woolworth's in the UK is always without an apostrophe. The Royal Bank of Scotland
Branch and the Cafe Caledonian (Oban Caledonian Hotel) helped also.
Robert W. Steinmann, Jr.
|TROUBLES IN DOWNTOWN OBAN
Corean Esplanade is the name of the street,
As the stores in the picture all front,
Even though the Woolworth's location,
Certainly sustained a major blunt.
The round brick building on the hill,
By John McCaig, causing local chagrin,
Was constructed as a monument,
To honor his families kin.
The latest date of the subject photo,
Would be 5 January 2009, probably,
As all Woolworth's stores closed,
In the Country of Scotland, deplorably.
Robert Edward McKenna
Quiz Poet Laureate
is Mull. To the north is the long low island of Lismore, and the mountains of Morvern
and Ardgour. In Oban "The Gateway to the Isles" some 9.4% of the population speak
Attractions in Oban include the Waterfront Centre, the Cathedral of St. Columba, the
Oban Distillery, Dunollie Castle, Dunstaffnage Castle and McCaig's Tower, which
dominates the town's skyline. Oban is an excellent base from which to explore the
sights of Kilmartin Glen.
The Oban Tourist Information Centre, operated under VisitScotland, is located
in the centre of the town in Argyll Square. It is housed in an old Church of
Coordinates: 56.412356°N 5.470232°W
Oban (An t-Òban in Scottish Gaelic
meaning The Little Bay) is a resort town
within the Argyll and Bute council area of
Scotland. It has a total resident population
of 8,120. Despite its small size, it is the
largest town between Helensburgh and
Fort William and during the tourist season
the town can be crowded by up to
25,000 people. Oban occupies a beautiful
setting in the Firth of Lorn. Oban Bay is a
near perfect horseshoe bay, protected by
the island of Kerrera, and beyond Kerrera
It has just been announced (17th
December 2008) that all 807 of
Woolworths‘ stores in the UK are to
close by 5th January 2009. Some will
close on 27th December and all 27,000
staff, permanent and temporary, will lose
their jobs if no last-minute buyer is found.
Many of Argyll’s major towns are host to
Woolworths - Dunoon, Helensburgh,
|1. What is the name of this street?
2. Why was the round brick tower on the hill built? What's its name?
3. What is the latest date the photo could have been taken?
|Answer to Quiz #224
September 13, 2009
|This quiz was suggested by Quizmaster Peter Amsden.
Another beautiful photo of Oban,
Scotland, by Peter Amsden, shows the
North Pier located at the upper end of
Oban Bay. Peter and his wife, Derby
Stewart-Amsden, live three miles north of
Oban at Dunstaffnage Mains Farm near
the historic Dunstaffnage Castle. I was
surprised to learn that she was born here
in Michigan. It really is a small world!
Well, someone was bound to discover that modern digital
photos have all of the information embedded in them.
I also use an attachment at times that includes the exact
longitude and latitude down to a couple of yards. Very
valuable when you are taking shots in some remote area. I
use a small piece of software for the Mac called EXIF. A
free download on which you simply "drop' a picture and all
of the info is displayed. Even tells you how many shots the
camera has made since its manufacture.
And, of course once you have this kind of information you
can easily dig deeper as Stan did. About the only way that
you can be 'private' these days is to say and write absolutely
Mark you, it is this kind of information that the law have
found useful in tracking down perpetrators of child
pornography. Many of whom have no idea that their pictures
have better than fingerprints on them. Most people do not
realise that these cameras have all of this information. In
many, even if the main battery dies, the little clock battery
will keep going for some months.
Of course this only works if you use a digital camera and
you have not reset the time and date to something completely
arbitrary. Lets see how the masterminds get on with some of
my grandfather's glass negatives. Coming soon.
I think that we should declare Rena the winner, since she did
not use anything but her observational and detective powers.
|Dunstaffnage Mains Farm
Now a private residence, this was at one
time the farm house for Dunstaffnage
Mains lands. part of the Dunstaffnage
|Congratulations to Our Winners!
Mr. Rick and his new Quiz Angel Heather!
Sharon Martin Gary Sterne
Diane Burkett Matt Ellesworth
Joshua Kreitzer Marilyn Hamill
Rena Morse Karen Kay Bunting
Dave Doucette Margaret Waterman
Dennis Brann Mike Swierczewski
Alan Cullinan Betty Chambers
JoLynn Pfeiffer Elaine C. Hebert
Milene Rawlinson Judy Pfaff
Don Draper Shellee Morehead
Daniel Jolley Kate Johnson
Tamura Jones Mike Dalton
Linda Williams Stan Read
Maureen O'Connor Jim Kiser
Rebecca Bare Wayne Douglas
John Sims Jocelyn Thayer
Robert W. Steinmann, Jr. Peter Norton
Robert Edward McKenna, QPL
|David Doucette (below) & Rena Morse (right margin)- Best Answers of the Year!
Quizmaster General: When is latest date the picture could have been taken?
Dave: How about Oct 7th at 15:00?
QG: Oh my God, How did you know that?
Dave: Cheating mostly. I have a program that can read digital timestamps of photos.
|Comment from Peter Amsden
Submitter of This Week's Quiz Photo
|Oban Bay Webcam
During World War II, Oban was a busy
port used by merchant and Royal Navy ships. The RN had a signal station near
Ganavan which is now a private house.
Also near Ganavan was a anti-submarine indicator loop station which detected any
surface or submarine vessels between Oban, Mull and Lismore. There was a controlled
minefield in the Sound of Kerrera which was controlled from a building near the
caravan site at Gallanach. There is one surviving air raid shelter in the centre of Oban.
There was also a Royal Air Force flying boat base at Ganavan and on Kerrera. The
airfield at North Connel was originally built by the Royal Air Force during World War II.
A Sector Operations Room was built near
the airfield and afer the war this was ext
near the airfield and after the war this was
extended to become the Royal Observer
Corps Group HQ.
Oban was also important during the Cold
War because the first Transatlantic
Telephone Cable (TAT-1) came ashore at
Gallanach Bay and this carried the "Hot
Line" between the US and USSR
Presidents. There was protected
accommodation for the cable equipment at
Often when looking for a folly, you see
your objective from a distance but
encounter problems finding it when
nearer, especially if it is a tower in
woodland. If though you go to Oban in
north west Scotland you cannot fail to see
McCaig`s folly looking down onto the
harbour from its perch on Battery Hill.
It was built over a three year period
starting in 1897 by John Stewart McCaig
an Oban banker of considerable wealth as
chain mechanism fell out of the cistern..... However with some peserverance with
going to reception we got the problem resolved. The lack of organisation behind the bar
on the Saturday afternoon was a bit surprising, one resident having to shout "SHOP" to
get some service was a highlight also on a busy afternoon the bar running out of
change was amusing whilst the barman ran the about was akin to the waiter from
Spain. Say no more. Sunday with some wind and rain we were met with the delights of
raindrops coming into the bedroom saying to the reception we were told they would
give us more towels to put down....Aye they were a great help!
At 4am on the Monday morning while the rain poured into the room. However the piece
de resistance was the barney between the two waitress at breakfast time certainly
helped break the Monday morning blues. We had the F word and a few others chucked
in and this was all due to one of them taking ten minutes to set a table. Thankfully there
was only a few of us seated at the tables. In general we enjoyed Oban and yes the
Caledonian is a unique experience all for the wrong reasons. PS parking is free on a
Sunday in Oban!!”
Liked — Fantastic Setting. Disliked — Raindrops”
|is certainly not a December-in-Scotland picture. I haven't
located any documents or schedule for renovation work on
the Argyll Mansions/Chalmers Tweed House yet (42-46
Flickr/Geograph dating is not absolutely reliable, but the
Oban Express 25 years celebration on Flickr (which did
occur on Sept 27 2008) is one of the earliest depictions I
could find of the scaffolding
the construction is visible in a number of other images
through the end of November 2008.
The trees in the quiz image are starting to change color, but
are nowhere near the November state. I haven't had luck so
far tracking down online the Oban town flower planting
schedule -- there are clearly still flowers hanging from the
lampposts and visible in a colorful arrangement in front of
Woolworths, which to my mind further crosses November
off the list (no flowers are present in any of the November
photos I located). So currently I feel the image was taken in
late Sept/early Oct but can't rule out yet a date of sometime
later in October. May return with more solid research later
the cost of the folly was in the region of £5000 sterling (£500,000 at 2006 prices using
GDP deflator). His interest was of Roman and Greek architecture and having travelled
widely in Italy he built his own 'copy' of the Colosseum, although the main difference in
his structure is that it is round instead of the oval shape of the roman original. The plan
was for a museum to be housed in the structure along with a central tower, and for
statues of himself and his family to be erected in the windows (some sources say on
the parapet ) overlooking the city. McCaig's intention was to provide a lasting
monument to his family, and provide work for the local stonemasons during the winter
It is built of Bonawe granite taken from the quarries across Airds Bay, on Loch Etive,
from Muckairn, with a circumference of about 200 metres with two-tiers of 94 lancet
arches (44 on the bottom and 50 on top). The tower was erected between 1897 and his
death, aged 78 from Angina Pectoris, on 29 June 1902 at John Square House.
John Stuart McCaig (sometimes styled as John Stuart McCaig of Muckairn and
Soroba) was the second son of Malcom [sic] McCaig (a farmer) and Margaret Stewart
(6 June 1796-2 August 1865) and was born at Clachan, Isle of Lismore, Argyll,
Scotland on 11 July 1823 and baptised at St Moluag's Cathedral, Lismore. He had 8
|Location of Woolworths in Oban
Campbeltown, Oban and Rothesay. It is not yet known which of the Argyll stores are
slated for closure on 27th December or on 5th January except that Rothesay’s store
will be gone by the end of December. That will cost the island 18 jobs.
People in those areas who work in their town’s store will find it hard to concentrate on
Christmas and Hogmanay. Not only are their jobs all but doomed but the daily increase
of job losses in Scotland will make alternatives hard to find.
Retailers with existign business in food, clothes and the ‘value’ end of the market have
put in bids for the leases at around 300 of the chain’s individual stores. The
administrators, Deloitte, say that should any of these bids succeed, they will work to
put redundant Woolworths staff in contact with these potential new employers. Deloitte’
s say it is unclear how much of Woolworths’ debts will be paid, but note that: ‘it is
clear that the creditors and suppliers will not get paid in full’.
|Capt, Hon |
|Island Revenue |
|Minister to |
McCaig made many wills but the latest one set aside the money from his heritable estate
- yielding a yearly rental of between £2,000 and £3,000 and a moveable estate of
£10,000 - as a charitable trust to continue construction, with the University of Glasgow
acting as trustee.
The Will was challenged by his surviving sibling, Catherine, taking 5 years for the
settlement to be found in her favour. In a landmark ruling the Court of Session decided
that the tower was not a charity as it was self-advertisement and not in the general
public good. The judges in their report calling McCaig an, "eccentric testator", and so
the folly now stands an empty shell.
Catherine died at John Square House, Oban on 1 July 1913 aged 84 leaving an estate
worth £69,593. (£6,093,261 at 2006 prices using GDP deflator). In her Will in 1913
she left instructions to commission the statues of herself, her siblings and parents to be
placed in the Tower. In 1915 the Court of Session overturned her will for the
same reasons that she had overturned her brother's testament.
The Court of Session did allow the setting up the Catherine McCaig's Trust, which is
ongoing the study and use of Gaelic and provision of various buildings for inhabitants
of Oban. The structure with its two foot thick walls rising forty feet against the skyline
is not wasted though, as the interior has now become a public garden with magnificent
views to the islands of Kerrera, Lismore and Mull. The first marriage to be conducted
in McCaig's Tower was between Oban High School teachers Jim Maxwell and
Margaret Milligan and was reported in the Oban Times published 11 July 2003.