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The origin of the name "Innellan" is obscure. The village was developed as a holiday destination in Victorian times on the site of a smaller and older farming settlement, and the first steamboat pier was built in 1851. With a resident population of around 1,000, growing to many more in summer, Innellan found prosperity as one of many seaside resorts along the banks of the River Clyde serving tourist traffic primarily coming from the city of Glasgow further upriver.
This prosperity started to fade in the 1960s with the increasing availability of foreign holidays to the general public. Competing against resorts in Europe that enjoyed Mediterranean climates, the popularity of all the Clyde seaside resorts fell.
It was around this time that an American naval base in the nearby Holy Loch was established, providing some aid to the local economy, although being controversial. The base was withdrawn in the 1990s.
The village's most striking landmark from its heyday as a seaside resort - the large Royal Hotel that overlooked the pier - was destroyed by fire in 1981 and the site has yet to be redeveloped. The entrance gates to its former site on Pier Road still show the sign for the hotel. Innellan's pier, which passenger steamers regularly called at whilst the area was booming, was extended in 1901 but finally closed in 1972 in response to reduced usage. After falling into increasing disrepair, it was fully dismantled in the mid-1990s.
Innellan Primary School, established in 1868, has a distinguished history. Its headmaster from 1938 to 1972 was the notable Latin scholar Thomas Muir, who was also an accomplished amateur geologist. He revelled in the fact that Innellan was the southwestern extremity of the Highland Boundary Fault, and would regularly send his pupils on field excursions along the shore – but not in the school’s time. The headmaster's name was Thomas B Muir. Taking his initials T B his pupils affectionately called him Teddy Bear Muir. On learning this he glared at his class (his spectacles had that effect) and then gave a great big grin thus establishing his nickname for evermore.
Innellan once had four churches; two Church of Scotland, one Free Church and one Episcopal. Two of them still stand; the former West Church is now converted to a house, and the remaining (and still functioning) church was the charge of the Reverend Dr George Matheson, the blind minister who wrote the hymn “Oh Love that wilt not let me go.”  He wrote this hymn after he had been jilted by his fiancee when he became blind and wrote it in his study at the manse.
The only history of Innellan ever printed was written by the Rev John Hill, minister of the West Church, in 1950. It is now out of print, and was somewhat preoccupied with religious affairs.
During the second world war an enemy German U-boat penetrated the 'Tail of the Bank'. It was chased south from Dunoon close to the shore and was eventually depth-charged and lies about half a mile off the old Innellan pier.
Innellan, along with nearby Dunoon, has in recent years attempted to reclaim a role as a tourist destination. Nowadays its appeal lies more in being a pleasant and tranquil place to retreat to or as a potential location to commute to Glasgow or Dunoon from.
Innellan boasts very impressive views across the Firth of Clyde; stretching from Kilcreggan and Loch Long (looking north) to Cumbrae Head and Ailsa Craig (looking south). There is a local 9-hole golf club, with its course on the hill, which has no shortage of applicants for membership.
The village’s strip of shops (which once numbered fourteen) has now been reduced to just the Post Office, but other services are provided by the nearby town of Dunoon, which is linked by a bus service.
- Williamson (1902). Clyde Passenger Steamers 1812-1901.
- Dunoon Observer News Archive, http://www.dunoon-observer.co.uk/archive/arcjune200630.html Retrieved 29 April 2008
- Hill, Rev. John (1950). Innellan. Church of Scotland Hymnary..
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