Pitlochry Festival Theatre
In 1951 the now famous Pitlochry Festival theatre was born at Knockendarroch House. Soon after, a more permanent structure followed (now a curling rink) and remained until 1981 when the theatre moved to its present premises across the river. Until that move Knockendarroch House was both the home of Kenneth Ireland the theatre's director and also its headquarters when the present dining room doubled as the boardroom.
The House was built for an Aberdeen advocate in 1880 and became one of Pitlochry's finest houses with over four acres of gardens, an inner courtyard, gate house and coach house. No expense was spared during its construction as can be seen from the house's grand entrance porch with stained glass windows, a feature that was also used on the main staircase. Another important feature of the house is the plasterwork mouldings of the ceilings as well as the heavy arches and doors.
As far as we know, Knockendarroch remained in the ownership of the Aberdeen advocate unti 1928 when it was sold to James Robb for £105.00 - which would have resulted in a significant loss for the advocate. James Robb was the son of William Robb who was a jeweler and reportedly took some of his collection to Balmoral Castle for Queen Victoria. Ian Robb sold the Knockendarroch in 1945/6 to Pitlochry Theatre Company which was the inspiration of John Stewart its founder. Apparenlty, Ian Robb, the son of James Robb, was very put out on his return from the second world war to find his father had sold the house!
In 1981 the Pitlochry Theatre Company sold the Knockendarroch to the McMenemie family who established the house as a hotel and it has remained so until the present day.
The Knockendarroch has had a relatively small number of owners which probably explains why so many of its period features are still in tact.