Wartime wedding heroine remembered at Dumbuck Hotel in Dumbarton

Dumbuck Hotel
Joan Baird with a photo of her mum, Agnes Thompson

Our cockles have been warmed by a story of a lady who’s undoubtedly the 1940s equivalent of a wedding planner. Agnes Thompson, who selflessly made free cakes and wedding dresses for young couples desperate to tie knot before the groom was shipped off to war, has been honoured by staff at the Dumbuck Hotel in Dumbarton.

Agnes’s story was brought to light after her daughter Joan Baird contacted the team at Dumbuck to tell them about how she went along with her mother to bring cakes to the hotel.

These delicious homemade cakes were the result of Agnes and her daughter’s hard work but she refused any fees, allowing the often-struggling couples to enjoy a perfect day before being separated.

As this was during the rationing period, each wedding guest was asked to donate a cake ingredient.

Local women also donated old wedding gowns that could be altered and transformed to suit the new bride. All scraps of material were saved to avoid waste.

Thompson suite
Joan Baird with the Thompson suite plaque

Joan Baird, now 77 years old, revisited the hotel after being asked back by the Dumbuck Hotel owners, as the first guest to stay in the Thompson Suite, named in honour of her mother.

“I truly am touched by what [hotel owners] Petra and Tommy have done and I know my mum would be too,” said Mrs Baird.

“She really did do so much to help so many families during the war. She had such a big heart. I hope the couples that stay here will be blessed by her love and enjoy a long and happy married life together. This is a lovely way for her to be remembered.”

By the time Mrs Thompson died age 77 in 1980, it is estimated she had made over 2000 wedding cakes in her lifetime.

Inspired by her incredible mum, Mrs Baird has continued her legacy and is known within the Dumbarton community as a wonderful baker. To this day, she continues to bake for family and friends.

Petra and Tommy McMillan, the new owners of the Dumbuck, hope to restore the hotel to its proud country house hotel heritage and to bring important colourful characters and events from the hotel’s past into the present.


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