A unique settlement in E Inverclyde, Quarrier's Village lies next to the River Gryfe, 2 miles (3 km) south of Kilmacolm and 2 miles (3 km) northwest of Bridge of Weir. The village was built on the site of Nittingshill Farm bought by philanthropist William Quarrier (1829 - 1903) for £3560 in 1876. He had begun a series of homes to care for orphan and destitute children in Glasgow, and wished to expand his project outside the city. His plan was not for an institution, but for a series of fine houses set in a parkland environment where children could be treated as individuals under the care of a house-father and house-mother. The Orphan Homes of Scotland, as the community was known until 1958, opened in 1878 and grew to around forty individual villas. Each house was funded by donations, often by Quarrier's friends. The village developed as a self-contained community with its own general store, post-office, water-works, laundry, Mount Zion Church, school, hospital, fire station, workshops and farms. Some of the street names reflect the values of the community; Faith Avenue, Hope Avenue, Love Avenue, Praise Avenue and Peace Avenue. More than 30,000 children have spent time in the village and at least 7000 children were sent to a better life in Canada through until 1938.
In 1896, Quarrier built a tuberculosis sanitarium in the village, the first in Scotland, and a care centre for epilepsy sufferers, which opened in 1906. Today, no longer required for orphans, the village includes a craft centre, restaurant, museum and heritage trail for visitors. The prominent B-listed Mount Zion Church was converted into twelve flats in 2007. Although most of Quarrier's villas have now found other uses, Hunter House remains the only residential epilepsy assessment centre in Scotland.
With an income of £35 million, Quarrier's work now goes on across the UK and beyond, amongst homeless and disadvantaged young people, adults and children with disabilities as well as their carers, but the charity remains headquartered in the village their founder built.
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