TWO prominent Scots businessmen who own one of the country's largest bus firms have denied they are set to snap up an iconic Largs pub.

Sandy and James Easdale were rumoured to be interested in purchasing the Sheiling Bar after recently buying a number of bars across Inverclyde.

A spokesperson for the brothers, who own bus company McGill's and a number of other enterprises locally and overseas, told the News this week that they were 'not interested' in taking over the premises.

The Sheiling, which has been closed and knocked out inside, is set to re-open as a bar following recent renovation, although the identity of the new landlord remains a mystery.

The restoration project however has revealed some interesting facts about the origins of the building.

The Main Street premises has been shut in recent years and earlier this year, Quigley Architects moved in to remove the internal structure of the Victorian surroundings - and were surprised by what they found.

The News spoke to architect Graeme Quigley about the changes that have taken place inside.

He said: The refurb is due to take place over the next few months and we think it is going to be a bar which will offer live music.

"When we carried out the work to strip back the old pub, we found that it was originally the foyer area of a hotel which was built in the 1850s, at a time when increased tourism activity became a big thing in the area.

"It was called The Glasgow Hotel, probably because it was popular with people from the city who were wanting to escape their daily grind of working in factories for a trip 'doon the watter'.

"The hotel even had its own gardens where the tenement flats now are at the corner."

Explaining the changes that have taken place at The Sheiling, Mr Quigley, who studied at the Universities of Florence, Barcelona and Strathclyde, said: "The principal was to change the dynamic as it used to be quite a stale old man's pub. We have been involved in quite a lot of conservation historical research in a number of properties and wanted to restore it to the way it used to be when it first opened all these years ago in the Victorian period, and we discovered a lot of history.

"We found that there was an extra metre of ceiling space, and in doing so, we have made it roomier, and we can now see the original cornice work.

"We have changed the whole face of the building and enlarged it but in doing so brought it back to the ethos of what it was originally in the 1850s.

"The good thing is that it has been stripped away and it still has a hint of what is used to be and the new owners are keeping the majority of it the way it now is, which pays homage to its original historical roots."

The Main Street bar was owned by Belhaven Breweries in the early 2000s, but closed in 2010. It re-opened for a few years, before closing down again.