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Cromarty Image Library

Donald Ross & Lady Tiverton - c1950???
The Cromarty Archive
Donald Ross & Lady Tiverton - c1950???

EDITOR'S NOTE: This picture was initially titled Geordie Ross and Wife". This wasn't correct, but the information below should be read with this in mind.

Mary said - "This is, I believe, the Laird, Geordie Ross and his wife - unfortunately no date on the photograph. Presumably it was taken in the gardens of Cromarty House. This photograph was my late mother's. She is Elsie Munro (nee Chapman), daughter of Robbie and Bella Chapman, the newsagents in Cromarty. Goodness knows how she acquired it!"
Picture added on 17 March 2004
Mary... am I right in thinking your Grandad took photies? Maybe he took it.
Do you have any photies of your Auntie Mary and your Granny?
Added by Margaret Tong on 18 March 2004
Yes, my grandfather was a professional photographer. I understand that he travelled around "plying his trade" and that is how he met my grandmother. I didn't think about the possibility that he might have taken a picture of the Laird in a professional capacity - I should have! Granda also did some postcards and hopefully some of these may appear on the site at some time. Yes, I have a couple of photos of Granny and Auntie Mary - watch this space!
Added by Mary Campbell (Munro) on 19 March 2004
Oops, Mary!
It was, in fact, your Great Aunt Mary, your Mum's Aunt, I was thinking of. Didn't she have a hurly to take the papers from the bus to the shop?
Too bad most photos were 'posed' when we were wee. What great photos we could have taken if we'd had digital cameras then!
I'm looking forward to your next lot of pictures.
Added by Margaret Tong on 21 March 2004
Colonel Ross was a tall man - well over 6 feet when I met him in the 1970s. Either this is a very tall woman or a short man, but not I think Geordie Ross.
Added by Mary Stuart on 13 September 2004
I just remember Colonel Ross as a small child as my godmother and godfather who brought me up were working for him at the time ie Peggy & Donny Hossack. I remember the old Manse ie Ken & Kristina Dupar's house, as a store for apples tomatoes and so on from the massive greenhouses in the Gardens of the Gardens House. Also Cedric & Liz Shepherd who were Caretakers at the time(no relation) - those were the days!
Added by Paul Shepherd on 25 September 2004
After showing this picture at the Fourways Club I'm told that it is Donald Ross and his wife.
Added by Garve Scott-Lodge on 07 October 2004
I remember Lady Ross - what a very nice Lady she was. I remember when I was a small child about 4 or 5 she used to visit Jemimaville and talk to my Grandmother and always had a sweet word and a touch on the cheek for me. I remember my Granny crying when she died.
Added by Mary Mackay [now Harrison] on 30 October 2004
When I was a policewoman in Edinburgh in the 60s, part of my duties during the Edinburgh Festival was to look after parking outside the Festival Club in the Assembly Rooms in George Street. Donald Ross had the Epicure Restaurant in Frederick Street and had the franchise for catering at the Festival Club. When he heard I was from the Rosemarkie I had an open invitation to the kitchens for something to warm me up after my stint on the street. Donald Ross was a lovely man and liked to talk about Cromarty.
Added by Freda Bassindale on 07 April 2005
I met Donald Ross when I was on boy in Crinan in the late 50's. My family always went to West Coast for our holidays where we had a yacht - we used to transit the Crinan canal every summer, coming up from Tarbert on Loch Fyne. As a teenage boy, Donald Ross was always such an exciting man to be around as he was always doing wild crazy things - blowing up rocks with dynamite to create landing areas on remote islands to land either sheep or cattle, salvaging vessels that had run aground or doing anything that involved messing around in boats. Wonderful memories.
Added by John Gray on 09 September 2006
The restaurant owned by Donald Ross on Frederick St. was called L'Aperitif. I also visited it many times as a child. There are apartments and businesses on the site now.
Added by Hazel Clark on 27 February 2011
My late wife, Ann, worked for a short time at the Denmark Rooms, a restaurant specialising in Danish open sandwiches. I believe Donald Ross could also have owned this operation. I recall Ann mention seagull's eggs arriving from the Black Isle. Could have been used for baking.
Added by B on 07 March 2011
I am writing a book about a man who worked for Colonel Ross after the war. I would appreciate if the person who posted that photo could get in touch with me by e-mail. Thanks
Fred Langan, Toronto.
Added by Fred Langan on 11 March 2012
My Dad, also Donald Ross, used to be at or around Cromarty House a lot when my Grandfather was the gardener there. Because the Donald Ross mentioned above lived there at the time, Lady Ross decided that my Dad should be called something different, so she changed the letters around and "christened" him "Daldon", a name which stuck with him as Daldon the Chemist until the day he died. Both my Dad and the other Donald Ross remained friends for most of their lives, despite the differences in upbringing.
Added by Campbell Ross on 29 September 2012
Very interesting Campbell. I am sure very few people know the story of the name. I remember him and his shop like it was yesterday.
Added by Dorothy Ewen (Robertson) on 29 September 2012
I worked for Colonel Ross in the 1970's at the poultry farm at South Sutor. Although I was a young man then and he was nearing the end of his life, we both got along just fine and indeed he was good to me and my family. I always regret not knowing him for longer, but I do remember Cedric & Liz Shepherd who worked for him at the same time as I did and I knew them to be good people also.
Added by Eric Seymour on 05 October 2012
My parents, Jim and Mary Jeffrey, were good friends with Donald and Ismay Ross and the photograph is certainly of them in earlier years. Occasionally we went to the Aperitif which they owned in Frederick Street in Edinburgh and the red-haired man portrayed in the mural above the bar was Donald. He was fun and loved to tinker with boats, Ismay was more formal. We used to also see them in Cockenzie House where they lived. They had a daughter Vicky, about my age, but I do not know what happened to her.

Added by Hebe Jeffrey on 18 November 2013
Yes, I've often wondered whatever happened to that memorable mural.
By Don Pottinger wasn't it? And fondly described in Eric Linklater's guide to Edinburgh.
Added by Desmond Maxwell on 29 January 2014
I just found a postcard type color reproduction of the mural in question. Labeled:
"l'aperitif Restaurant
Frederick Street, Edinburgh
Part of a Mural behind Oyster Bar, by Don Pottinger.
A red-haired pearl diver and a blonde mermaid. It is quite charming. I found it at a street seller in Rio de Janeiro. If anyone would like a scan of it, let me know.
Added by David Schultz on 12 June 2016
Hi David Yes I would greatly appreciate a scan of the card. My father regularly frequented the restaurant in the 50's. Many thanks Hugh
Added by Hugh Somerville on 16 July 2016
I also have a colour picture of the superb mural by Don Pottinger and a back and white version showing a different part of the same mural.
I have often wondered what became of the mural and of the previous very different though equally charming mural which adorned the same wall. The series of paintings related an amusing story of an ancient mariner's return home.
Does anybody have a picture of this mural?
Added by William Hay on 20 September 2016
I live in Argyll & found this site by chance, but am delighted to have done so. I am researching the life of Donald Ross, who in retirement at Crinan was a friend & close neighbour of my late father-in-law, Patrick Murray - indeed, Donald & Ismay were friends from Edinburgh days. I believe ‘The Aperitif’ was designed by Donald’s friend, Basil Spence.

I bought Donald’s boat ‘Look An’ See from Ismay’s son, the late Adam Giffard [he never used his titles, which are now extinct] and he wrote this of Donald about D-Day – the comments in brackets are mine:

‘At Arromanches, where Donald was Harbourmaster [for Mulberry B], on D-Day plus 2 a storm came up so they hastily scuttled some general cargo Ships that had been Westbound up the Channel in a convoy, to serve as a breakwater. One of these had a hold full of Whisky bound for America. When Donald discovered this from the ships manifest he put on a divers suit and helmet and salvaged enough to become purveyor of spirits to all units. "After al1” he used to say. “I had a publican’s licence”.! Some of whisky went on up to the front where his brother Geordie [Colonel Geordie Ross of Cromarty] was Quartermaster of the 51st Highland Division and he in turn sent back down the line a steady supply of fresh ripe Camembert which was on the tables of L’Aperitif on D plus 4. When astounded diners asked how this was possible, Hamilton the deadpan headwaiter simply replied, "Prom our agent in Normandy, Madam”.’ [I heard from another source that the cheeses travelled in coffins intended for American servicemen!]

I would welcome other reminiscences anyone may have & will reply to each one.
Tony Dalton

Added by Tony Dalton on 04 January 2017
My mother worked in l'aperitif in the 60's, first in the kitchen & then as a waitress. At times she brought home the most delicious coffee cake - never tasted anything as nice since!
Added by Theresa on 12 January 2020
That's a fair wecht o tartan the Laird his aboot him
Added by Margaret Tong on 17 January 2020
Dear all, My parents met Donald and Ismay (I guess in Edinburgh around the mid 50s).Ismay was my brother's godmother and he was born in 56,so it must have been before then. We visited them at Cockenzie and my parents went out to the Aperitif, but I only remembering hearing about it, not going there. Later when they built doran mhor at Crinan we spent every summer and other holidays there. To this I owe my love of the highlands and boating. Legend tells I was first lowered onto a boat in a sack when only a few months old. So those are the positive memories. Unfortunately, Donald had another side and he sexually assaulted me repeatedly both in his house and my parents one over a number of years. In these days of "Me too" he would have been prosecuted and perhaps imprisoned, but when my family found out in the 80s nothing was done, except the friendship ended. Another case where a man was heroic in one aspect of his life and in another far from it. I have often wondered if I was the only one, but I suspect not.
Added by Emma S on 17 January 2020
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