The 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade
(1 Samodzielna Brygada Spadochronowa)
The Life Of
House Stripping Specialists
In a world where the bigger the property the more it is worth, is true, it seems incredible to believe there was at one time a group of people called "House Strippers".
No, not some naughty, seedy night in, but rather a profession centered on stripping out old houses and selling the contents at auction. In one year alone, one company was reputed to have stripped out 45 mansions!
So it comes as no surprise, that in 1951, that the then owners of the house, the Maitland-Makgill-Crichton family of Monzie Castle, Crieff, decided in a bid to avoid property taxes, namely rates, to have the roof removed. The floors were removed at the same time.
The firm that did this was Charles Brand Ltd of Dundee. Some of the photos and drawings of their work can be viewed in the archives at HES (Historic Environment Scotland).
I came across this video that has some info on Charles Brand Ltd;
Some myths abound that the house was declared derelict in 1951 and then the roof was removed. This is untrue, it was the removal of the roof that in itself defined the house as derelict.
Removing the roof meant the property no longer fitted the description of a "roofed building" and thus they tax was bypassed.
The furniture, lead, timber, panelling, bannisters, fireplaces, tiles, sinks, baths, stoves and suchlike were also removed and sold, most likely by Charles Brand (Dundee) Ltd.
The contents went to auction in Ladybank, Fife as you can see from the newspaper advert below.
Coincidentally, 35 years after his parachute training of the 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade (1 Samodzielna Brygada Spadochronowa) at Largo House, Upper Largo, Fife, my grandfather, Wladyslaw Hoscik, moved up from Luton (London) to Ladybank, Fife.
At 6 years old, following the breakup of my family, I joined him there when he became my prime carer in 1977.
It's kind of spooky that Ladybank is where Largo House went to die and yet that is the starting point of my journey in life that was to lead to me researching my Grandfathers life which in turn led to this website about Largo House...
Beginning Of The End For Largo House
1951 was a truly sad year for the house, there was to be no turning back now as the weather did it's best to reduce the house back to the bare earth from where it's materials first came.