Before Mrs Craig’s father, Mr. Ferguson, bought the hotel, he ran horse buses from Port of Menteith House in partnership with the Crown Hotel. Mrs Craig remembered that when King Edward VII came to Dunblane to open the Queen Victoria School, her father drove a four-in-hand in the procession from the railway station to the school.
Having bought the hotel, Mr. Ferguson continued to run his horse bus business alongside his hotel business. The area that is now the Lion and Unicorn car park, was then stables and sheds for horses, traps and carriages. He also had a hire business and customers could hire traps, or a hearse or even a sleigh – all horse drawn. Jessie MacFarlane said that when she married in the early twenties, she and her fiancée hired a landau to bring them to the manse at Norrieston (by Norrieston farm) and they were married in the minister’s study. She told us that only “toffs” were married in church at that time!
By the hotel, the wall on the road side of the stable yard was high with large sliding doors, so that it could be shut off from the road. There was a weighing machine beside the gate to the yard where farmers would come and weigh their carts full of hay, paying the hotel landlord a small fee. The farmers knew the weight of their cart and were, therefore, able to get an accurate measurement of the load before buying or selling it.