Inchgarvie House stands on the site of an older building, Springfield, that appears on the 1st Edition O S Map and on this site there once stood a Roman Watch Tower.
The old lodge house to the estate stands at the drive's entrance. Before the bridge development it had lovely large gardens, but much of its land was taken up with the bridge development which started in 2011. Plans stated “The careful design of the proposed scheme ensures that no property demolitions would be required. However, the scheme requires part of the garden of Inchgarvie House for the main crossing abutment at the southern bridgehead (the structure connecting the bridge to the land)”.
During routine archaeological excavations by Headland Archaeology in advance of work on the new bridge, archaeological deposits from the Mesolithic period were found on both sides of the Forth. On the south bank in a field at Echline, the remnants of a sunken floor structure was found.
The Stone Age timber structure – which may have resembled the wigwams constructed by North American Indians, although some experts believe there may have been a flatter turf roof, was built more than 10,000 years ago, possibly as a winter retreat, in the period after the last ice age. Radio-carbon analysis returned a date of c.8300, approximately 1000 years older than the northern site, making it the earliest known dwelling in Scotland.
In the 15th century King James 1V of Scotland bestowed lands upon the Dundas family which included Inchgarvie Island, with the right to build a castle there.
Ivor has an interesting history. He was born into a Welsh mining family in 1892, trained as an electrician before entering the cinema business at the age of 19. Joining the Navy at the outbreak of World War One, he was made responsible for film and theatrical shows on board ships and went on to organise film entertainments at naval bases. In 1920, he became proprietor of the Kinema House in Uphall, and the following year formed the first specialist film transport company in Scotland.
Within a few years, a similar film transport company was formed in his native Cardiff, and through further growth and acquisition, a nationwide distribution network was established, serving 2,000 cinemas.
At the same time, Grove grew his cinema interests as managing director of Lothian Star Theatres, building a new generation of massive deco-style picture houses at Armadale, Bathgate, Bo’ness, and West Calder during the late 1930s.
He was one of the first members of the County Anti Aircraft Regiment when it was formed in 1928 and was largely responsible for the raising of the Broxburn/South Queensferry Battery. He was second in command of the Battery when it was called up in August 1939.
Ivor had been appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1930, and, on moving to Queensferry, devoted more time to public life, being elected a local councillor and appointed to a commission in the territorial army. He was managing director of several cinemas. As war approached, his contacts and experience were of particular value in planning for local defence and government control of road haulage. In 1938 Ivor was one of the benefactors (along with Admiral Whitehead of Ashburnam House) who jointly purchased Beaverbank Villa for the British Legion to use as their meeting place. (See archive under Queensferry History -February 2020).
In 1941 he was appointed the first commandant of the Army Kinematograph Services; his combined experience in transport and cinema being the ideal qualification for leading a service responsible for setting up temporary cinemas in the theatre of war.
In June 1955, Ivor was created a commander of the British Empire in recognition for his services to the Army Kinema corporation and to the cinema industry generally. Earlier he had been elevated to the Order of the British Empire.
He died in Sussex in August 1955.
In October 1950, the Gazette reported that two men were given 60 days in prison each, for breaking into Inchgarvie house while the owner was away. They thoroughly ransacked the house and stole several items, all items were recovered and some were found in the house of one of the men.
With alterations, before the year 2000, Inchgarvie House was divided into 10 apartments, listed alphabetically.
©Queensferry History Group 2020