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Skibo

Skibo Castle

In 1887 Andrew Carnegie married Louise Whitfield and they traveled to Scotland for their honeymoon. Thus begun a habit that continued throughout their lifetime and the lives of their daughter and grandchildren. As one of the wealthiest men in the world, Carnegie could afford to purchase any property he wanted. He was to purchase the Skibo estate and all of its 20,000 acres of land. Within two years the gothic mansion became a rose-tinted baronial castle. The house now contained 200 hundred rooms and 400 windows.

There was a room and a view for every hour of the day and night. Nothing was overlooked including electricity and the most modern plumbing. Living at the castle were 85 permanent employees including butlers, maidservants, cooks, a piper, organist, baker and swimming-pool attendant. Two men were employed to just walk the estate’s roadways to ensure that were no uneven patches which might jolt his limousine.

Over seventeen cars were housed in the various garages. At night a lone piper in full Scottish dress would circle the castle. “It is rumored that Carnegie installed a small rail track on which his bath could be trundled from the bathroom to his bedside. Once when showing guests his amusing gimmick he set the process in motion, only to find his wife was taking a bath!” Carnegie was never one to forget his own humble beginnings.

He met the most prominent people of his day and many visited Skibo. The visitors’ book reveals such names as King Edward VIII, W. E. Gladstone, Lloyd George, Rudyard Kipling and the Rockefellers. “When approached by a professional tracer of family trees who offered to prove his descent from the ancient Scottish monarchs, Carnegie replied, ‘I’m very sorry to hear that, because my wife married me under the impression that I was the son of a weaver.”

After his move to Skibo, Carnegie began to consider selling his 58 per cent share in the Carnegie Company. However, the shares were worth so much that no single individual could afford the purchase. A syndicate of financiers approached him with a proposition to purchase and they were given ninety days to raise the money. A 2 million pound deposit was put into a trust of which 1,170,000 would be forfeited to Carnegie if the option was not taken up within the time frame. At the end of ninety days the syndicate returned to request more time, but this was not granted and Carnegie kept the money.



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