OCHIL HOUSE in Alloa was built in 1806 and became the Tontine Inn in 1807.

Situated on what was once the main road, it was popular with travellers as they made their way to Stirling from Fife.

Standing at two storeys tall, although three to the rear, it is rectangular in shape.

It was designed in classical form for a pub or inn in the early 1800s and is thought to have been erected on the site of an older hostelry called The Plough Inn.

The earliest of this Tontine type of inn in Scotland was recorded at Greenock in 1802 with subscribers investing large sums of money then given an annuity from the profits.

They were geared towards the middle and upper classes and provided good quality accommodation as they travelled to their destinations.

They also offered meals which was relatively new at the time.

It is thought the first proprietor was Malcolm Wright.

On the ground floor was a spacious dining room and a travellers’ room while on the upper floor there was a dining parlour.

On the second floor was the accommodation, consisting of seven bedrooms.

The kitchen and laundry were in the basement. There was also a stable block, bowling green and garden.

In 1844, it became county offices and in 1860, the courthouse. This was following the formation of Alloa Burgh in 1854, with its police force formed on March 14 that year.

Before this, the Candle St premises comprised of a boardroom and courtroom on the ground floor with the police sergeants house upstairs.

His duties included street patrols and ensure law and order was maintained. He also had to report any misconduct of his men to the Superintendent, Thomas Anderson.

Colonel Kinloch inspected Candle Street, and suggested it was not fit for purpose, and that a new lock-up be found.

This was when the old inn was purchased to be used as the County Courthouse and prison. The large dining room was transformed in to the courtroom.

A new west wing was added which contained nine prison cells, perhaps an indictment that Alloa’s crime rate was low.

A kitchen and office were next to the courthouse and on its upper floors was the prison governor’s house. The basement also had offices as well as three cells and washing facilities.

In 1865, the new Sheriff Court Buildings were built on the corner of Mar Street but there was direct access to the court from the prison via a passage below Mar Street. Less than 20 years later the old prison was closed.

IN 1888, the former Tontine Inn was put up for sale and bought by Walter Erskine, Earl of Mar. In 1882, the old prison cells were demolished.

One of the most noteworthy people to spend time in one of those cells was Elizabeth Ford.

In September 1889, Ford, or Swartz, was brought before the Alloa court on a charge of committing a breach of the peace.

In front to the judge the prosecutors produced a charge sheet. On it was a list of 104 previous convictions with the continuous sheet measuring more than three feet long.

It was handed to the magistrate, Sheriff Alexander Blair, who said he was at a loss what to do with her.

However, in her defence, she told him she was going to work the harvest at a neighbouring farm, so he gave her another chance, and let her go. Her first conviction was in 1862 and up until this most recent case, her fines had amounted to £35 and she had spent a total of eight years of her life in prison.

The Alloa police headquarters remained in the old building in the basement for a time, while the upper floors were converted for the 1st Clackmannanshire and Kinross Volunteers.

In 1887 the force consisted of one Superintendent, two sergeants and five constables, all in charge of policing Alloa. Of note is Thomas Nichol, who went on to become Chief Constable of Alloa.

Born in Fife, he worked at Menstrie then Tillicoultry before being offered the position of office clerk and sergeant in 1882 with the Alloa Burgh Constabulary.

Within eight months, the burgh officers gave him other duties including Superintendent of Police, Burgh Surveyor and he was in charge of the local fire brigade. He was one of the first, if not the first, to introduce noiseless boots for his officers beating the streets at night.

John MacDonald of Glenurquhart, who was a sergeant with the Burgh Police, is also of note. He was appointed to Alloa in 1874 and went on to become Chief Constable of Inverness Burgh Police in 1880.

Ochil House was category B listed on 12th June 1972. During the 1970s it became the headquarters of the local social work department, then housed small businesses until 1993 when it was altered by Colin Machin to accommodate the Ochil View Housing Association, which remains there to this day.

The drill hall was demolished in the 1990s with the stable block thought to have been demolished in the early 20th century.