William Watt (circa 1870-1931) opened a stationer’s business in the forecourt of Aberfoyle station after the arrival of the railway in 1882 and for fifty years, he dominated the tourist trade in Aberfoyle.
He published postcards with his own imprint, most of which are probably produced by the major firms such as Stengel and Co. and W. R. Ritchie’s. However, he was a photographer himself and some of his cards were undoubtedly produced locally. He published a popular Guide to Aberfoyle the Trossachs and L:och Lomond which was illustrated with a number of photographs. In this publication he collaborated with Andrew Young who was a photographer based at 102, High Street, Burntisland.
Watt was a well-known local character. He had some physical disabilities which meant that he rode a tricycle and always carried a walking stick. In addition to being a stationer, he was a director of the Welfare Coal Company, which sold coal in Aberfoyle. He was active in a number of local clubs, being at various points secretary of the Aberfoyle Curling Club ( 1915) and also joint secretary of the Aberfoyle Golf Club (1915). He also played an active role during World War 1 in encouraging recruits to the army. Typically, Watt was usually the recruiting agent and when there were events to illustrate local recruits, Watt provided a slide show.
His death certificate recorded his occupation as Registrar of Births and Public Assistance Officer. Watt had been appointed to the post of Registrar for the parish of Aberfoyle in November 1922 having been acting Registrar from the previous December 1921. He retained this role until his death in October 1931.
An old rivalry between Watt and the local butcher, Willie MacLaren is remembered in the following verse:
Willie MacLaren for a caper,
Thought he’d stop his evening paper,
Willie Watt thought him a thief,
And went and stopped his side of beef.
William Watt died on 9th October 1931 in Glasgow Royal infirmary where he had an operation for a strangulated hernia but died as a result of a pulmonary embolism. He was survived by his wife Agnes and was buried in Aberfoyle graveyard.
The cards shown in this section of the website are from a collection developed by Louis Stott and include cards from Watt’s series and Watt’s Photo Series. The cards which show the arms of the MacGregors are identical in type to Ritchie’s Reliable Trossachs Hotel series. This shows how the same card was sold in a variety of guises with pretended local connections.
In November 2022 a photograph of Glasgow Corporation Water Works held in copyright to William Watt and this is shown below.