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The traditional spelling of its name was Row, but it was changed in the 1920s so that outsiders would pronounce it correctly. The name derives from the Scots Gaelic rubha meaning "point".
It lies north-west of the town of Helensburgh on the Firth of Clyde, in Argyll & Bute, and historically in the county of Dunbartonshire. Like many settlements in the area, it became fashionable in the 19th century as a residence for wealthy Glasgow shipowners and merchants. It has its own Community Council, which covers both Rhu and Shandon.
Rhu and Shandon Parish Church dates from 1851 and stands on the site of an 18th-century predecessor. Amongst those buried in the kirkyard is Henry Bell, whose Comet was the world's first commercially successful steamship. In 1851 the marine engineer Robert Napier built the statue which today marks Bell's grave.
Famously a Theological controversy took place in Rhu known as the "Row Heresy", involving the Church of Scotland minister John McLeod Campbell who began to teach doctrines contrary to the Westminster Confession of Faith and was subsequently thrown out of the ministry in May 1831.
Near the entrance to the Gare Loch there are two sandspits opposite each other, one on either shore of Rhu and Rosneath, forming a narrow constriction about 430m across. This is known as either the "Rhu Narrows" or the "Rosneath Narrows". The loch would have been cut off and a lagoon formed if the "longshore drift" was allowed to occur naturally. Groynes prevent this from happening.
Rhu Amateurs Football Club have been in existence since 1896, they played Garelochead on 1 January that year.
Rhu Amateurs Football Club won the Scottish Amateur Cup in 1967. They played the final at Hampden Park Glasgow beating Penilee 3-1 after being behind 0-1 at half time. The goalscorers being Neil (Pony) Walsh who scored two and one from Barry Irvine.
Rhu and Rangers Football Club.....
Rhu was the birthplace of Peter McNeil (1854–1901), a Scottish footballer who along with brother Moses (October 29, 1855, in Rhu, Dunbartonshire] – April 9, 1938, in Dumbarton), was one of the founding members of Glasgow Rangers Football Club. He made seven Scottish cup appearances for the club.
Rhu is also the birthplace of Peter Campbell (born late 1850s in Rhu, Dunbartonshire]; died January 1883) who was also a Scottish footballer and one of the four founding members of Glasgow Rangers Football Club. He made 24 Scottish Cup appearances for Rangers and scored 15 goals.
Matt Dickie was born in Rhu in 1873, and became a goalkeeper. He played his early football with teams in Helensburgh, then joined Renton, at that time a fading force in the early Scottish game, although they did appear in the Scottish Cup Final of 1895. That summer Matt Dickie joined Rangers, and he made his first team debut on August 15th 1895 in a 5-1 home win over St Mirren.
■ Members of another Rhu family played significant parts in the history of Rangers.
James Parlane was at Ibrox as an inside forward in the Willie Waddell and Willie Thornton era, between 1945 and 1950, and his son Derek played at Ibrox as a striker for 10 years from 1970.
It is thought that they were the only father and son to have played for the club at that stage. It was Willie Waddell who signed Derek, and he and Willie Thornton visited market gardener Jimmy Parlane’s home in the village to complete the signing of the young Rhu lad.
Rhu & Shandon Gala is held each year, on the 2nd Saturday in June, and is one of Rhu's older traditions.
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