Things to do in Alexandria, Central Scotland
Once five separate communities of Renton, Bonhill, Jamestown, Balloch and Alexandria, the villages have gradually merged together, yet they have all retained their own identities as separate districts.18th century Alexandria was a mainly rural area with fishing and farming but this changed with the development of the dye industry. Alexandria sits on the River Leven, close to Dumbarton. With its endless flow of clean water from the river, Alexandria became an important centre for cotton manufacture, performing bleaching and printing processes.
The town grew from 300 inhabitants in the early 18th century to over 12,000 by 1881. Gradually cheaper overseas production led to the demise of the textile industry.
In 1906 the Argyll Motor Company moved to Alexandria from Glasgow and opened the most modern factory in Scotland with a grand building which had a marble entrance and staircase and a grand dome above. Check out the carving of the car which still sits above the doorway.
Despite its promising start the business failed in 1914 and the building was used by the Royal Navy Torpedo Factory. The torpedoes were tested nearby at Loch Long.
For a time Alexandria was known as the only unemployment office to have the insignia of Edward VIII over the door. When the building was finally closed and redeveloped as private housing, the insignia remained in place.
Present Day Alexandria
Alexandria is the main shopping centre for the 20,000 residents that live in the area.
It has good bus services and the Balloch branch line makes it easy to reach Glasgow by train.
It is said to be the only town in Britain to have a pub and a railway station in the middle of a roundabout.
Things to Do Around Alexandria
Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is nearby and offers plenty of opportunities for walking, cycling, camping, horseback riding and wildlife watching.
The Loch Lomond Golf Club is within easy reach from the town and is well known as the home of the Scottish Open since 1996. It has a challenging course surrounded by gorgeous mountain scenery and the sparkling waters of the loch.