Here's one that should be of interest to the Stevenstonians among you.It's forty years ago this very week that Ardeer Community Centre opened in the refurbished Ardeer Halls in Stevenston, on Friday 12th May 1972; and the picture and article below relating to that event appeared the following week in the Ardrossan and Saltcoat, to whom full acknowledgements as always.
I would guess most of the people in the picture will coincide with those mentioned in the article, and maybe some of you will be able to match names to faces.
As a bonus, along with the description of the opening came some interesting detail by James Clements on the earlier history of Ardeer Halls. I would guess the original Ardeer Halls mentioned that housed Stevenston's first school may have been replaced or remodelled at some point, because here's today's building, and it bears a date which looks like it reads 1910 ( a datestone we missed !!! when we were finding them around the Three Towns ): http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=Shore+R ... 42,,0,-7.5
But., not a subject I know anything about myself; hopefully you Stinstonians will be able to shed some light there , and maybe too have more to add to the memories of Ardeer Halls that are already on 3T.
ARDEER CENTRE OFFICIAL OPENING
The new Youth and Community Centre in the former Ardeer Halls, Stevenston, was formally opened last Friday when the ceremony was performed by Mrs A. F. Nisbet, county councillor for Catrine, who is chairman of the Further Education and Community Development Sub-committee of Ayrshire Education Committee.
The county convener, Mr William Paterson, presided and said that those who remembered the halls as they were before welcomed the transformation. Among those present, he said, were many people who were interested in the qualities of life which activities in the new centre would enhance.
Mrs Nisbet said she was envious of "these very beautiful halls" — there was nothing like them in her area, and she hoped they would be used to the full. The conversion cost of £32,000 was a lot of money to spend on a building, but all would agree it was money well spent.
The first concern of the Centre would be with young people, although its scope would be broad enough to assist their transition from school age to adulthood. With this centre, the first in Ayrshire, boys and girls would have a wonderful meeting place which was not only desirable but essential to help them get through the difficult times they lived in.
In other places, said Mrs Nisbet, she had seen groups of youths standing disconsolately around street corners — "only a step away from delinquency" ; and in juvenile courts she had often heard the words "We have nowhere to go and nothing to do."
The young people of Stevenston now had certainly somewhere to go and a variety of exciting things to do. Declaring the halls officially open, Mrs Nisbet said she hoped the whole community would take advantage of the facilities.
A prayer of dedication was offered by the Rev C. M. Saunders, Ayr, a member of the Further Education Subcommittee.
Provost Samuel Gooding, Stevenston, making his first public appearance since his appointment, said he was very proud indeed of the halls. People who represented Stevenston in town and county council had achieved something for which they could hold their heads high, and he was sure the people of Stevenston would show their gratitude to those who had provided such a place for the benefit of themselves, their children and grandchildren.
Mr William Muir, chairman of the original Stevenston Youth Club presented the balance of the funds remaining with that club — £125 — to the warden of the new centre, Miss Sheena Gilbertson. Souvenir gifts of the occasion were presented to Mrs Nisbet by James O'Hare, captain of the 'Wasps ', the 12-14 years old football first team; to Provost Gooding by Patrick Tomelty, captain of the Wasps second team; and to Mr Paterson by Miss Pauline Appley, a leader if the 12-14 age group.
A vote of thanks to the speakers and all concerned with the establishment of the centre was proposed by Mr William Goudie, vice-convener of the county council. The ceremony was followed by teas and displays of the activities for which the centre caters. History of Ardeer Halls
Notes on the history of Ardeer Halls were provided by Police-Judge James Clements, who writes: " The original suite of halls was built by local colliery and iron masters for their employees' children in 1859, and ceased to be a school after the introduction of the 1872 Education Act , which made education compulsory and resulted in the construction of Stevenston Public School ( now Glencairn Primary. )
" The halls were used as a cinema for about 15 years, ceasing to operate as such in 1919-1920, being leased latterly from the local Conservative and Unionist Party who had purchased the halls in 1911. After 1920 the premises were used exclusively as the Conservative Club.
" Ardeer Halls must hold nostalgic memories for Stevenstonians and others in the 50 and 60 years age group, through attending the 1/- hops which took place there regularly at weekends, and nightly during the Glasgow and Paisley Fair holidays. Many will recall the Ayrshie Fox Trot Championships being held there under the management of two prominent locals — Jimmy "Hunner" Harvey and Mattha "Cutter" Ferguson.
" At General Election meetings the large hall was always packed, and to overflowing if the meeting was addressed by General Sir Aylmer Hunter Weston MP. Jimmy Maxton and David Kirkwood, the Socialist propagandists, addressed overflow meetings in the halls in 1924. The halls, howver, never had the distinction of sheltering James Keir Hardie, since at the period he was in this area, and contributing to this paper, around the turn of this century, he addressed the Stevenstonions from the steps of the 'Clarion Van' at the 'Brig' (The Cross). His organisation, the ILP had difficulty in raising the fee for a one night stand in Ardeer Halls.
"In 1927 there was again an upsurge in roller skating in Scotland, which hit the country first in 1909 and then lasted only a few years. The Pavilion (now a garage) in Saltcoats had been built for the purpose, and the old Steel Foundry engineering shop in Portland Place was converted for roller skating. A new maple wood floor was laid in Ardeer Hall to serve for skating and some locals became very adept at dancing, particularly waltzing, on the skates and a Roller Hockey team was formed which gave some commendable performances.
" At this period an attempt was made by George Celso, Shore Road, to break the world record marathon for skating. George went round the hall for two days and two nights, and failed after giving a good account of his enduring ability.
" For some years during the early thirties the halls were used as an 'Old Time Music Hall ' at weekends, but with the advent of the 'Talkies ' this went by the board and they reverted to a dance hall which was very popular during the war years.
" After the cessation of hostilities No 9 Area District Council purchased the halls on behalf of Stevenston District Council and on the formation of the burgh in 1952 it became the property of the town. "