Brethwic to Braidwick and finally in the Exchequer Rolls of 1456-7 it appears as Brodick from the Norse “breda-vick” meaning broad bay. It is into this same broad bay that the ferries sail today and apart from the buildings the view will have changed very little from that seen by the Vikings.
Brodick today is on the south side of the bay, but the original village was at Mossend, on the north side, near Cladach. Upwards of twenty families lived in a row of cottages known as The Street, which lined the road opposite Duchess Court (originally the Home Farm). These cottages were demolished between 1856-58 and the people moved to Douglas Row or New Street ( now called Douglas Place) and Alma Terrace.
The modern village of Brodick has grown and expanded over the years. Arran’s first pier was built here in 1872. The Golf Club celebrated its Centenary in 1997. Brodick Hall was opened in 1895 with money raised by the Brodick Public Hall Company Limited. Generations of visitors and locals cherish fond memories of that old hall which is still the venue for concerts and dances and community activities, with the added bonus of the new library.
The 1920’s and 30’s saw the building of some fine hotels along the front. St. Denys was demolished to make way for the new Co-op building, Ennismore became the Arran Hotel, the Kingsley is now McLarens Hotel and Gywder Lodge has been converted into self catering apartments and called Craigielea. It was also during that time that Brodick began to spread beyond Springbank Farm.
More changes occurred during the 1960’s and 70’s. The garden fronting homes such as Kames Cottage, Lyndene, Castle View and others were removed in order to widen the road and inevitably some of the character of the village was lost.
Changes continue. Tides are higher and the beach is much smaller. No room now for the bathing huts which used to line the beach, their arrival heralding the beginning of the season and their removal, the end. Some buildings have disappeared, such as Cora Linn, which was Adolph Ribbeck’s shop and home, and in its place a development of modern homes. Across the bay the castle still stands and the magnificent view remains the same.
Brodick is the main ferry terminal for the island and the view of the mountains as seen from the ferry as she sails into the bay is second to none. Some find Brodick is too busy, but after the last ferry has left a peace settles on the village and nothing can surpass the calm of a summer evening in Brodick with the sea, the beach and the mountains.
NB: The information for this brief history of Brodick was gleaned from the History of the Villages of the Isle of Arran by the S.W.R.I Arran Federation. This very interesting book is available at many local outlets.