Return to Threetowners Home Page

Old Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald Reports

Discuss all aspects of the three towns in the Threetowners' Lounge.
Forum rules
Please familiarise yourself with our Board Rules and Guidelines
User avatar
George Ardrossan
Mega Heid Poster
Mega Heid Poster
Posts: 1123
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: Ardrossan

Re: Old Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald Reports

Postby George Ardrossan » Wed May 30, 2012 11:50 am

I was reminded of Penny Tray's post EGLINTON SCHOOL SAND, viewtopic.php?f=25&t=5644&hilit=sand#p58533 when I came across the following very sad story from an Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald of 1899.

One of the saddest incidents it has fallen to us to record for some time, happened in a sandpit in the vicinity of Eglinton School, Ardrossan yesterday (7 September 1899). It seems that during the play-hour in the forenoon, a number of boys were at play in a sandpit to the rear of the school when the sides collapsed and four of the boys were buried in the sand. Three were extricated, little the worse. The first that the fourth was a-missing did not transpire till the evening. He proved to be a lame lad, thirteen years of age, son of a carpenter of Glasgow Street. The first official intimation the Police had of the occurrence was the recovery of the body in the evening. The lamentable occurrence created a profound sensation in the town and much sympathy is felt for the bereaved parents. It transpires that quite a number of boys were at play in the sandpit. It has been a favourite resort for some time and numerous holes had been dug in the face. Yesterday, the idea of the boys was to connect all the holes by a tunnel. This idea they were following out when the back fell in. Several other boys were running along the banks before the collapse took place but many of them, as well as some of those engaged in tunnelling, had cleared out on perceiving several rents in the surface showing a fall to be imminent. The three boys who were partially buried were from Barr Lane, Princes Lane and Church Place. One boy was missed from his place in class by his teacher but his playmates, on being questioned, stated their belief that he had gone home with another. Failing to go home at dinner time would appear to have been not altogether unusual with him but when he did not put in an appearance after school hours, his mother dispatched a younger brother in search for him. Enquiry at the teacher revealed the fact that he had not been in his place in the afternoon and the possibility that he may be entombed in the pit dawned on the anxious minds of those more immediately interested. The boy was recovered in the evening under some eight feet of sand. The pit in which the deplorable accident occurred is that from which the sand used in filling up the old quarry in Eglinton Street has been taken. Large quantities of sand have also been taken out recently by builders.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 8 September 1899

Last edited by George Ardrossan on Wed May 30, 2012 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
George Ardrossan
Mega Heid Poster
Mega Heid Poster
Posts: 1123
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: Ardrossan

Re: Old Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald Reports

Postby George Ardrossan » Wed May 30, 2012 4:37 pm

This may be of interest to people following Penny Tray's post Tragic Fire At Seafield School - 1952 on viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10702#p104740.

Here is a photo of Seafield School taken in January 2008.

Seafield School was built in as Seafield House in 1820 for Mrs Bartlemore. It was substantially rebuilt in the Scottish Baronial style in 1858. The tower at the rear was added in 1881. Around that time, it was owned by Archibald Douglas Bryce-Douglas (1841-1891), an esteemed marine engineer and shipbuilder. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, it was a hydro or hydropathic hotel. From at least the 1950s to around 2000, it was called Seafield Residential School. In late 2004, North Ayrshire Council sold its interest in it to Quarriers who renamed it Quarriers Seafield School.

Archibald Douglas Bryce-Douglas, shown below, was an esteemed marine engineer and shipbuilder. He was born in Saltcoats and died in Ardrossan. He owned Seafield House from at least the mid 1880s till his death there in 1891.

He donated the ship, called the Bryce-Douglas, on the steeple of Barony Saint John's Church in Ardrossan.

The following extracts from Ardrossan and Saltcoats Heralds give a profile of his life.

In connection with the annual Fair which takes place next Thursday (5 November 1884), the Secretary Mr Andrew Stirrat has received the following letter.
Seafield House
20 October 1884
Dear Sir
I am in receipt of your favour of date intimated to me that, being the President of your Society for the current year, you naturally expect me to preside at the annual dinner. Let me assure you that nothing would give me greater pleasure but unfortunately, I sail for New York on 1 November and consequently, it will not be in my power to comply with your wishes which I very much regret. I have sent Mr Mack of the Bank of Scotland here a cheque for ten pounds being the money which I promised to you last year for the best Ayrshire cattle and Clydesdale horses and he will hand over this sum to the Treasurer of the Ardrossan Farmers' Society on 6 November.
Wishing your Society every success,
I am, faithfully yours,
A D Bryce-Douglas
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 31 October 1884

The model ship presented by A D Bryce-Douglas esquire has this week been successfully placed on the steeple of the New Parish Church, Ardrossan. The old stone courses at the top of the steeple were taken down a distance of nine feet, the old rod taken out and a new rod two inches thick by twenty feet long inserted. From the top of the base stone to the deck of the ship is eleven feet and the rod rises seven feet clear of the topmost point of the steeple, the indicators north, south, east and west being midway between that and the ship. The work is being done by Mr John Boyd, mason, Mr Robert Barbour junior, joiner, the steeplejack in this instance being Mr John Mellon, joiner, Vernon Street, Saltcoats who has done several jobs of this sort in Paisley and elsewhere. The ship is four feet eight inches long by eight inches broad of beam, three feet intervening between keel and the truck on main topmast. The hull and rigging are of copper, yards of brass and she is steered by 'double spankers' or main sheets.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7 August 1885

Saturday last (29 August 1885) was a gala day in Ardrossan. The occasion of the almost total suspension of business and large influx of visitors was the regatta and aquatic sports which came off in the North Bay. For some weeks past, an energetic committee were engaged in drawing up rules, arranging events and collecting subscriptions and their labours culminated on Saturday in a very successful day's sport. At the outset, they were fortunate in securing the services of A D Bryce-Douglas, esquire and George McRoberts, esquire as commodore and vice-commodore but as Mr Douglas was unavoidably absent, being called to Liverpool on business, the duties of both offices fell on Mr McRoberts.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 4 September 1885


A meeting of the Liberal Association was held in the Orange Hall, Ardrossan on Wednesday evening (16 September 1885) for the purpose of re-organising the association. There was a good attendance of representative Liberals. The office-bearers appointed were Honorary President - A D Bryce-Douglas, esquire, Seafield House; President - J L Bailey, esquire; Vice-Presidents, Messrs William Duncan, saddler and John Boyd, builder; Secretary - William Guthrie, Treasurer, John Adams and a large committee. Mr Bryce-Douglas who was present addressed the meeting on the necessity which existed for unity and energy and expressed the hope that their efforts would be crowned with success. It was intimated that as Mr Emslie had resigned his position as agent for the district and as secretary to the Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston Association, Mr William Douglas, writer had been engaged to attend to the legal work of the association.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 September 1885

Seafield House
24 December 1885
Friend Guthrie
Will you kindly accept the enclosed £10 and, as last year, distribute among the deserving poor of Ardrossan and Saltcoats irrespective of church or denominational connection?
Your truly
A D Bryce-Douglas
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 25 December 1885

The first game of the season in connection with this club was played on the Mill Pond (shown below as Millglen Caravan Park in 2006) on Saturday (18 December 1886) when four rinks competed with the following result: John Boyd 21, Robert Lochhart 14, J Caldwell 21, J McLean 28. On Monday (20 December 1886), two rinks of the same club met on the Mill Pond and played a game of 21 ends for meals to the poor. The ice was in splendid condition and after a well-contested game, the match ended in favour of Mr John Henderson's rink by a majority of four shots, the scores being: Mr John Henderson 17, Mr William Craig 13. It will be noticed that the Castle Club gained the silver cup and medal at the great bonspiel on Tuesday (21 December 1886). Mr A D Bryce-Douglas, honorary president, becomes the custodier of the cup.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 24 December 1886

On the morning of Sabbath 29 March, Mr A D Bryce-Douglas landed at Ardrossan from the Empress of Japan, then on her trial trip and after a week of severe suffering died at Seafield Tower, his residence here on the morning of Sabbath last (4 April 1891). Need we say a shadow of a great sorrow hung over the community of Ardrossan all week. It was known that Dr Macdonald was in all but constant attendance, that Dr Moore, Glasgow, made daily visits, that enquiries by telegraph were coming from all parts of the country and day by day the first enquiry in the morning and the last at night was an anxious enquiry as to his condition and this and this anxiety was not to be wondered at. The parish was proud of the eminence he had attained as a marine engineer. He was the son of their old parish minister whose qualities as a preacher and freedom from denominational prejudices were still remembered. He had purchased Seafield Tower because of old it had been in the family. The poor he had helped. The New Parish Church had the benefit of his large-hearted generous contributions for late improvements and hundreds of young men were indebted to him for situations at Fairfield, at Barrow and in other parts of the world. All this had endeared him to the community. He was looked up to because of his genius for unquestionably, he was a mechanical genius of a high order. He was respected for his great administrative abilities as a large employer. He was one of the kings of labour and liked for his warm-hearted kindly deeds, his frank intercourse with gentle and simple and his independent bearing. When his death became known, there was everywhere in the district an expression of sincere sorrow. It was felt that Commerce had sustained a great loss and that the poor and the needy were the poorer and the more helpless because he had passed away. Nor was this feeling confined to his native parish. All last week, a like anxiety was felt by all classes at Barrow, by Lord Harrington and the other noblemen and gentlemen associated with him in the works there and when the news of his death became known, public testimony was borne to the respect in which he was held by the display of flags half-mast high on public buildings, on public works, on shipping and elsewhere. Mr Bryce-Douglas was born at The Manse, Saltcoats on 3 October 1840 being the youngest son of the late Reverend John Bryce, parish minister of Ardrossan. He was educated at Irvine Academy under Dr White, master of the Commercial department and afterwards at Glasgow High School under Dr Bryce, finishing at the university. Like many another son of the manse, young Bryce was destined by his parents for the ministry of the church but his bent lay in another direction and as from his earliest days, he had a mind and a will of his own. His father wisely gave way and allowed him to carve out his own path through life. Indeed, if it be true that the boy is father to the man in the case of those who rise to distinction, it was so in his. 'Still life' was unknown to him as a boy. His restless energy even then was conspicuous. When seventeen years of age, he was apprenticed to Mr Robert Drape, joiner, Ardrossan with whom he remained for two years. He also served for one year as a mill-wright with Mr Hendry, West Kilbride but not yet had he found his vocation and at the end of that time, he removed to Glasgow and entered the engineering establishment of Randolph, Elder and Company then situated in Centre Street, in the evenings attending classes for the study of mechanics at the Andersonian University. In Messrs Randolph, Elder and Company's employ, he found congenial work and throwing himself into it with all the ardour of his nature, he soon attracted the attention of Mr Randolph, the head of the firm who predicted for him, even at that early age, a distinguished career but he was not content to remain for more than a few years in the Centre Street establishment. He had always been possessed by a spirit of adventure and early in the sixties he shipped as a passenger in a sailing vessel for Auckland where he had the promise of taking charge of an important machinery plant. On the way out, the carpenter died and Mr Bryce was offered and accepted the situation rendered thus vacant. On arriving in New Zealand, the Maori war had just broken out and taking the situation in at a glance, he soon found an opportunity of working his passage with a well-known captain with one of our ocean liners to the Pacific coast. For about a year, he was in the service of the Peruvian Navy at the end of which time he was offered and accepted a situation as seagoing engineer with the Pacific Steam Navigation Company. In the year 1865, he revisited Scotland and after taking a few months with his friends and taking his examination for extra first-class engineer, in which he was successful, he returned to Callao to become assistant engineer of the Pacific Company. This position he occupied till 1869. In that year, the headquarters of the company were removed from the island of Tobogo in the Bay of Panama to Callao on the establishment of a line of steamers to sail direct between Liverpool and Valparaiso and a vacancy taking place at the same time in the office of the superintending engineer through the resignation of Mr Jamieson. Mr Bryce received the appointment which he held for a period of six or seven years. On his way home an incident occurred which was an index of the character of the man. A small coal-laden vessel had stranded in the Bay of Panama. He took with him, from Callao, a staff of men and the necessary appliances with the view of raising her. On arriving in the bay, he learned that the Tagus, one of the Royal Mail Company's steamers had gone ashore near Colon. Unable, on account of the heavy sea, to accomplish the work he had come to do, he crossed the Isthmus with his staff and appliances and successfully carried out the more difficult of raising the Targus. The other vessel was also raised in due course, Mr Bryce, not only directing, but taking an active part of working in the diving bells and repairing the hulls, his fertility of resource being displayed on occasion by the employment of a locomotive to work the pumps. For the raising of the steamer, the Pacific Company claimed £30000 as salvage on the ground that Mr Bryce had used their appliance. This claim Mr Bryce resisted and raised an action in the Court of Session which proved unsuccessful. On carrying his case, however, to the House of Lords, his contention was partially sustained and he received a sum of £6000. Shortly after his return to this country, Mr Bryce resumed his connection with the firm in which he had received his early training becoming head of the engineering department at the Fairfield Works which were then carried on under the denomination of Messrs John Elder and Company. He had found, as told us, the first month of absolute rest delightful after the close attention of everyday work of previous years, the second became wearisome and before the close of the third, he was again glad to be in harness. He remained at the Fairfield Works until he removed to Barrow in 1888. The history of the Fairfield Works during that period it is unnecessary to recapitulate. Briefly, it may be stated it was during this time that the Arizona, Alaska and Oregon and other vessels for the Cunard fleet were built and that the revolution in the construction of ocean-going steamers, which has not yet seen its close, was commenced. The whole of these vessels were engined under the superintendence of Mr Bryce-Douglas as well as the Orient, the Austral and the Ormuz for the Orient Line. He also constructed the engines for the Czar's yacht, the Livadin for the Italian iron-clad Magicienne and for several of the numerous vessels for the British Navy which were turned out of the Fairfield yard. He also re-engined the Russian warship, Peter The Great. Mr Bryce-Douglas's connection with Barrow commenced in 1886 when engines of his design were built under his supervision for the Navigation Steam Navigation Company's Orula and Orizaba which were constructed by the Barrow Shipbuilding Company. These were two of the earliest examples of engines of the triple expansion type put into ocean-going steamers. In 1888, influenced by Lord Harrington and other capitalists, Mr Bryce-Douglas accepted the position of managing director of the Naval Construction and Armaments Company which took over the works of the Barrow Shipbuilding Company. The latter company had all along been an unsuccessful enterprise but, under the new regime, several and extensions were made and new plant and machinery were laid down. Important contracts were soon secured which rapidly brought about a renewal of activity in the shipbuilding and engineering trades of the port. Among the first orders, Mr Bryce-Douglas procured were four steamers of large size and full power for the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, a number of steamers for the British and African Steam Navigation Company and for Messrs Elder, Dempster and Company of Liverpool. He also obtained the contract for three second-class cruisers to be built for the Admiralty all of which have been launched and one, the Latona, delivered while a second cruiser, the Melampus, will be handed over to the Admiralty at the close of this month. He also undertook the building of three high-speed 5000 tons steamers for the Caledonian Pacific Railway Company and intended for the service between Vancouver and Japan and China. The pioneer of these steamers, the Empress of India, is now on her way from Hong Kong to Vancouver on her maiden voyage. The sister ship, the Empress of Japan, ran most successful trials last week as reported in another column and was taken over by her owners and the third steamer, the Empress of China was launched a fortnight ago. In the yard, there are at present building nine steamers of various sizes. There are over 5000 employees in the works and the weekly payments in the shape of wages amount to about £8500. Thus, if at Fairfield, Mr Bryce-Douglas made an advance on his achievements on the Pacific coast by constructing swifter-sailing steamers than companies up till that time constructed, it was at Barrow where he gave the fullest token of what he was capable of accomplishing. The directors had the fullest confidence in him, a confidence justified by his few years of management and with practically a free hand, he was further a development both as respects increased speed and beneficial results to commerce and civilisation which would have marked a new era in steam navigation. Long ago, at Fairfield, the idea was conceived of crossing the Atlantic by fast-sailing steamers of twin-screw, triple-expansion type from Liverpool to Canada in five days and then by equally fast-sailing steamers from Vancouver to Australia thus developing new routes to the east and establishing a new direct line from England to Australia, crossing the British territory of Canada by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Last autumn, he visited Canada to take the initiative in this great scheme and the Premier of the dominion, Mr John MacDonald granted him a grand subsidy of $750000 per annum for ten years if he would establish the line. Had he lived to carry out this scheme, it would have been regarded as one of the greatest conceptions in the history of Commerce and for the sake of the great works at Barrow, with which from henceforth his name will ever be connected, it is hoped that the proposed Imperial Steam Navigation Company will be formed and the enterprise entered upon in the spirit and confidence which commands success. No better monument could be raised to the memory of him whom Lord Brassey, at the launch of the cruiser Naiad, said was "a great benefactor to the place" than by realising his dream and for which it is said he had secured nigh a million of money. The immediate cause of death was a cold caught, it is believed, at the launch of the Empress of China and which developed into peritonitis. He was ill on board and was prescribed for by a medical gentleman of the party and when he landed at Ardrossan on a bitterly cold morning, he was able to walk to Seafield. No time was lost in calling in medical aid and all that human skill and good nursing could do was done for him. The inflammation, however, had got too firm a hold and a constitution, remarkable for its strength, succumbed and at the comparatively early age of fifty, a life of much usefulness and still greater promise came to a close. He had probably when at sea faced death too often to dread the approach at the last. This at least is certain, that when told the illness might have a fatal termination, he received the tidings with the greatest calmness and with the utmost composure, awaited the end. Beside possessing several patents, Mr Bryce-Douglas was proprietor of Seafield, Ardrossan which he purchased from the liquidation of the City of Glasgow Bank and greatly enlarged and beautified. By inheritance, he was also the owner of Brownhill Estate in the parish of Dalry and Burnbrae Estate, Dumbartonshire and it was when entering into the possession of this last, on the death of his cousin Captain McAlister Douglas, that he took the name of Douglas. In politics, Mr Bryce-Douglas was an advanced Liberal and at the general election of 1885, he was approached with the view to his being brought forward as a candidate for the representation of the Burgh of Govan. Assurances were given of almost certain success but he declined to oppose the late Sir William, then Mr William Pearse. He was also for some years an honorary member of the executive of the Liberal Party of North Ayrshire and as an indication of the estimation in which he was held by his professional brethren, it may be mentioned that he was elected as their representative in Lloyds new sub-committee by the Institution of Naval Architecture. He was married to Miss Jessie Caldwell of Boydstone, Ardrossan, who died while they were resident on the Pacific coast and her death was a great blow to him. She was survived by one daughter but she also died about then years ago, another daughter predeceasing her. Two of Mr Bryce-Douglas's sisters remain with many devoted friends to mourn his sudden and unexpected death. The funeral took place on Wednesday (8 April 1891). In accordance with the expressed wish of the deceased, it was strictly private and beyond the two male relatives, the trustees, representatives of the Barrow works, one of the directors representing the board, and a representative of the Canadian Pacific Railway only a few intimate friends were present. The day was one of the finest of the season and all along the route from Seafield to the cemetery, crowds of townspeople had gathered to see the cortege pass. Before the coffin was placed in the hearse, the Reverend J D McCall of the New Parish Church (now Barony Saint John's Church) conducted a brief but impressive service and shortly thereafter the sad procession began. Eleven mourning coaches followed the hearse and upon the coffin and in those coaches in which the blinds were not drawn, beautiful wreaths of flowers could be seen. As a public tribute to the memory of the deceased, the shops in the town were closed between the hours of one and two and the bell of the New Parish Church, of which he was a trustee, tolled. The wreaths were given by Mr Samson Fox; Mr and Mrs Bagshawe, Leeds; Lord and Lady Edward Cavendishe, Holker Hall; Sir James Ramsden, Abbotswood, Furness Abbey; Mr and Mrs Evans, Furness Abbey; Mr and Mrs E H Clarke, Haverthwaite; Mr Joseph Mitchell, Rotherham; commercial staff; managers and secretaries; draughtsmen; patternmakers; joiners; mechanics; boilermakers; shipsmiths department; plumbers; foremen of the shipbuilding department; caulkers of the shipbuilding department; engineers and brass finishers; platers and angle-ironsmiths; riveters and shipwrights of the Naval Construction and Armaments Company Limited, Barrow-in-Furness; tradesmen of Barrow; managers and officials of the Barrow Hermatite Steel Company; president of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company; Mr H Maitland Kersey of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company; Dr and Mrs Macdonald, Ardrossan; Mr and Mrs McCulloch, Liverpool; Mr Thomas Reynolds, London; Mr Daniel Taylor, Liverpool; Mrs Adamson, Barrow; Sir William Pearse, Govan; relatives and men- and women-servants at Seafield. Among those present at the funeral were Mr Robert Harvey, London; Mr Albert Vickers, London; Mr Asplan Beldam of London; Mr R Ewing, Burnbrae, Perth, cousin of the deceased; Mr James Caldwell, Blackshaw, brother-in-law of the deceased; Messrs A M McCulloch, Liverpool; Alexander Comrie, Dalry, trustees; Mr James Wylie, Border Farm, Saltcoats; Mr John Wylie, Mayfield Farm, Stevenston; Messrs C Dunderdale, Glasgow; Alexander Macdowall, Glasgow; Mr R McAlpine, Bearsden; Dr Macdonald, Ardrossan; Mr Hugh F Weir of Kirkhall; Messrs Henry Benham, director; A Adamson, managing director, pro tem; Archibald Buchanan, shipyard manager; John Macgregor, engineworks manager; John Hair, engineworks assistant manager, Naval Construction and Armament Company, Barrow; Robert Neil, private secretary; James Reid, shipbuilder, Port Glasgow; George Napier, 9 Woodside Place, Glasgow; Samson Fox, Leeds Forge, Leeds; R Le Doux, Liverpool; J Blair, Glasgow; James Mutter, Meiklelaught; A Stewart, 17 Park Terrace, Glasgow; H Maitland Kersey, Canadian Pacific Railway Company, London; John McPherson, Blantyre Farm; James M McCosh, solicitors, Dalry; John Walker, Falkland Bank, Partickhill, Glasgow; James Weir of the firm G and J Weir, Glasgow; Robert K Gray, London; Arthur Guthrie, editor, Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, Ardrossan; Reverend William Ross Brown, MA, Saltcoats; Mr Richard Cunliffe, Glasgow and Mr J Scarlett, Furness Abbey. Many expression of sympathy have been received by the relatives and the board of the Barrow Company met specially on Tuesday (7 April 1891) and a resolution of sympathy, drawn up by the Marquis of Hartington, the chairman, was unanimously passed and specially conveyed to the relatives.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 10 April 1891

Archibald Douglas Bryce-Douglas's gravestone in Ardrossan Cemetery is shown above. The inscription is 'Erected by A D Bryce-Douglas in loving memory of his wife, Jessie Caldwell who died at Calleo, 27 April 1865, aged 30 and their daughter, Jessie who died 4th March 1881, aged 12; also his father-in-law, William Caldwell, Boydstone who died 14th July 1886, aged 78 and his wife Jean Simpson who died 14th May 1889, aged 78; also their children John who died at Calleo, 9th April 1868, aged 25, Annie who died 19th April 1885, aged 26, Margaret who died 6th January 1890, aged 36; the said A D Bryce-Douglas died 5th April 1891, aged 50; Jeanie, daughter of the said William Caldwell died 1st August 1901, aged 60'.

The remains of Mr Bryce-Douglas were interred in Ardrossan Cemetery on Wednesday of last week (8 May 1891) and on each succeeding day, crowds visited the grave to look upon the floral wreaths sent from workmen and friends to testify respect for the memory of the dead. On Sabbath (12 April 1891), the numbers who visited the cemetery were unusually large, the visitors having to wait for some time before they could get near enough to the railing. The like magnificent wreaths had never before been seen here and what greatly added to the interest and touched the onlookers most was that the finest and most beautiful of all the tributes to the worth of the departed, as noticed last week, were sent by the departments of the Barrow Yard. The floral wreaths were costly, chaste and beautiful and were made up of the choicest of orchids, tuberoses, eucharis, lilies, gardenias, splendid nephetos roses, lily of the valley, freesias, lilium harrisii, stephanotes, cyclamen, white azalea and rhododendrons, camellias, carnations, white lilac, arum lilies, white narcissus, double white primulus, myrtle and choice ferns. White and coloured porcelain wreaths, all under glass globes, have also been sent by the boilermakers, joiners, mechanics of the shipyard department, patternmakers of the engineering department and from the workmen of the shipsmiths department all resting upon marble pedestals.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 17 April 1891
The picture was 'per favour of The Barrow News'.

Curling was engaged in on Mill Pond yesterday (28 December 1899) in cold wintry weather. The final tie in the competition for the Bryce-Douglas (rink) medal was won by Mr George O Baird. The badge given by the club (single) was won by Daniel Roberts.
Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 29 December 1899


User avatar
George Ardrossan
Mega Heid Poster
Mega Heid Poster
Posts: 1123
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: Ardrossan

Re: Old Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald Reports

Postby George Ardrossan » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:46 pm

The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Heralds of March and April 1892 carried the following reports on the opening on the Eglinton Dock extension to Ardrossan Harbour.

On Tuesday afternoon (22 March 1892), the steamer Mersario, owned by Messrs McLean and McIntyre, Glasgow and commanded by Captain Napier, entered the new dock carried 19000 tons of iron-ore from Bilbao. Rumour was current in the early part of the day that the large steamer lying at anchor in the bay from early morning was likely to be the first to pass through the gates, the object which the harbour authorities had in view in admitting this steamer before the formal opening being to test the new cranes on the east quay. At five o'clock, the Mersario, gaily decorated with bunting, steamed into the hitherto preserved dock amid lusty cheers from the spectators who had gathered in considerable numbers to witness the sight. During the time the proceedings lasted, the scene was a lively one. It is gratifying to know that the discharging of the steamer was accomplished in a highly satisfactory manner. The vessel came in without a single rope being thrown out thus proving that the design of the entrance is upon a most approved plan and reflecting at the same time, the highest credit on Captain Napier as a seaman. In view of 12 April, the work on the harbour has been actively engaged in during the week. The iron and wooden structure at the point of the steamboat pier has been dismantled and the wall, which was taken down, partly rebuilt. A new iron roof is to be built and to extend the whole length of the island platform which is in course of erection. The old platform is to be done away with and a new one erected for the convenience of foot passengers.

If the sun be pleased to shine and the rain clouds to bottle up, Tuesday (12 April 1892) will be held as a right royal gala day in Ardrossan. The occasion has been long looked for and the stored-up energy and enthusiasm will find vent a few days hence. The several committees who were deputed to make the necessary arrangements have been actively engaged for some time past and we trust the fruits of their labours will be seen to every advantage on Tuesday. The decorating of the town has entrusted to Messrs Lambeton and Company, Glasgow who have had large experience in such matters. It is proposed to erect thirteen Venetian masts about thirty feet high on each side of Princes Street. These will be covered with coloured cloth and ornamented with shields and flags and connecting streams of pennants will run along both sides of the street. Across Glasgow Street, it is proposed to hang five rows of flags and at the junction of Barr Street and Montgomerie Street, decorated Venetian masts will be erected, also joined by pennants. These decorations, coupled with the individual efforts of the townspeople, will transform the appearance of the town and make it a thing of beauty and a joy, for a day at least. The procession will be an important feature in the day's proceedings. From the details which we give below, it will be seen that the three towns are heartily cooperating in making the procession thoroughly representative. If those who propose taking part but bestir themselves in the morning and assist the marshals in carrying out the programme, the display will be worthy of the occasion. The Ardrossan processionists should meet in their respective meeting places at 9 00 am and proceed at 9 45 am to South Crescent in the following order: Grand Marshall Major Hogarth; Band of Sixth and Seventh Battalions of the Ayrshire and Galloway Artillery Volunteers; Fifth Company Artillery Volunteers; Police Commissioners; Boys' Brigade; Saltcoats and Ardrossan Saint John's Royal Arch number 320; Lodge Neptune Kilwinning Ardrossan number 442; Tree of Life Lodge of Free Gardeners; Castlehill Tent of Rechabites; Ancient Order of Forresters number 6237; Dalry Instrumental Band; Employees of Ardrossan Shipbuilding Company; Employees of Ardrossan Harbour Company; Employees of Mr Young, Engineer; Employees of Messrs Goodwin, Jardine and Company; Butchers; Rocket Apparatus and others who wish to take part in the procession. Saltcoats processionists should assemble at Kyleshill School ground at 10 30 am and be in readiness to join the Ardrossan division of the procession at the Kyleshill Bridge at 11 00 am. The order of procession is Grand Marshall Major Kelso; Band of the VB Royal Scots Fusiliers; E Cox, VBRSF, Saltcoats; Solomon Lodge of Free Gardeners; Beith Instrumental Band; Fishermen and others. Stevenston processionists should assemble between the railway stations at 10 00 am and be in readiness to join the Saltcoats and Ardrossan divisions of the procession at Kyleshill Bridge at 11 00 am. The order is Grand Marshall Colour Sergeant Reid; Nobel's Fire Brigade; Royal Order of Ancient Shepherds; Band of Pipers; Blacksmiths on Lorries; Oddfellows; Thistle and Rose Lodge of Freemasons and others.

A great undertaking is now quite complete
And all in Ardrossan the tidings will greet
The Eglinton Dock will be opened right soon
Which seafaring men will consider a boon
For five year and more many thousands have wrought
And now to a climax their labours are brought
Their work is substantial in every detail
Notwithstanding the force of the tide and the gale
The cost of the contract I could not just say
But let us all hope 'twill eventually pay
And bring to the shareholders all in good time
What will more than pay for the wood, stone and lime
The great Caledonian runs right to the dock
They study the people to them let us flock
Let their managers see that whatever they do
To study the masses as well as the few
By us is regarded and we'll not forget
To render to them the example they set
By using the railway now summer is here
For there we get comfort and have naught to fear
On the twelfth in their thousands let Scotchmen come out
And vie with each other who loudest can shout
Hurrah three times o'er for the dock that is named
After him who in Ayrshire is justly well-famed
Let all Ayrshire natives rejoice with us here
In the fact that the twelfth of this month is so near
We cordially ask you to join in the throng
And walk in procession the new dock along
We hope to see houses and shops all look bright
With lamp, gas or candle and let all unite
The town to illumine at setting of sun
The bonfire to crown all, we may say well done

See Sodger Hugh, my watchman stented,
If poets e'er are represented;
I ken if that your sword were wanted,
Ye'd lend a hand;
But when there's ought to say anent it,
Ye're at a stand. from The Author's Earnest Cry And Prayer by Robert Burns
The great event on Tuesday last (12 April 1892), the opening of the new dock with tidal basin, suggests reference to the Eglinton family on whose property the harbour has been erected. The connection of the family with the works and the gradual conversion of a small peninsula, waste and worthless, where at one time a contraband trade was safely carried on to be the site of a thriving town and a commodious haven for ships. The Eglinton family is not of mushroom growth for its beginnings are lost in the mists of antiquity. The family name was originally Barclay but, as not unfrequently, it was dropped and the name of the estate Ardrossan used in its stead. As in all great historic families, the records preserved show the usual vicissitudes. The line of the Baron of Ardrossan closes with the death of Godfrey who lived for some time after 1357, at which date his name is appended as a witness to a charter granted by John de Maxwell of the patronage of the Kirk of Liberton to the Monastery of Kilwinning. On his decease, a daughter or sister married Eglinton of Eglinton and their only daughter again marrying Sir John Montgomery of Eaglesham. Eglinton and Ardrossan passed to the Montgomeries with whose descendants, not without changes from one branch to another, they have ever since remained.
Sodger Hugh is Colonel Hugh Montgomerie of Coilsfield later Earl of Eglinton.
The spelling of Montgomery and Montgomeries are as in the Herald article.

On 31 July 1806, in presence of a crowd of interested spectators, the foundation stone of the harbour of Ardrossan, over the construction of which, powers had been obtained in 1805, was laid in a spot opposite the garden wall of the present Bank of Scotland buildings (shown below left as the Community Education Office in 2003 and below centre and right in 2011), the point which in those days connected the pier with the shore. Were the foundation stone to be opened, beside coins of the realm, a list of subscribers and the Acts of Parliament under which the work was to be executed, there would be found the following inscription. In the reign of the most gracious sovereign George III, the Right Honourable Hugh, Twelfth Earl of Eglinton, Lord Montgomery at Kilwinning, Baron of Ardrossan, Lord Lieutenant of the County of Ayr first suggested the foundation of a harbour and wet docks at this place to be connected with a canal to Paisley and Glasgow and afterwards under the patronage of and patriotic exertions of His Lordship, two Acts of Parliament have been past for carrying into execution these works so well calculated for the improvement and prosperity of the country on plans by Thomes Telford, esquire, engineer. William Blair esquire of Blair, Grand Master Mason of the Mother Lodge, Kilwinning laid the foundation stone of these works on 31 July 1806 and of the Æra of Masonry 5806. May Almighty God, the Grand Architect of the Universe, bless and prosper the undertaking and protect to the latest ages the name of Montgomerie.
The spellings of Montgomery and Montgomerie are as in the Herald article.

The Dock Gates formed the point to which the crowds and the procession alike converged although the former had great difficulty in getting as near as they evidently desired. The space immediately adjoining each side of the entrance channel was set apart for processionists and invited guests, the former taking up positions on the south side and the latter being accommodated on the north side. A line of Volunteers was arranged on each side of the gates while beyond the reserved ground, vast crowds lined the docks. Every coign of vantage was taken possession of, a number even viewing the proceedings from the windows of houses in Montgomerie Street. The day was dull and rather cold and unnecessary delay would not likely have been appreciated but happily no delay occurred. The Mastiff lay moored at Winton Pier where her distinguished passenger embarked an promptly at half past twelve, she steamed slowly into the outer basin and towards the Dock Gates. Captain Shields, harbour-master, dressed in handsome uniform, stood on the bridge and piloted the vessel in. When the Mastiff had partly passed through the gates, a blue ribbon was thrown across the channel in front of the bridge. A basket gaily decorated with flowers and containing pieces of coal, pig-iron, cast-iron, ore, limestone, nitrate of soda, etc, the materials expected to be shipped and unshipped in large quantities at the dock, was attached to the ribbon. The appearance of Lady Gertrude Montgomerie, who was led on to the bridge by the honourable Greville Richard Vernon, was the signal for a cheer of welcome. The ribbon having been properly adjusted and the basket taken on board, the honourable said he had much pleasure on behalf of the Harbour Company to ask Lady Gertrude Montgomerie to open the new Eglinton Dock which he trusted would be prosperous for the Company and be of great advantage to the trade of Scotland and Ireland and indeed the whole country. He was sorry the sun had not shone out as bright as they would have liked but they must take the elements as they were. Turning to Lady Gertrude, he said "Lady Gertrude Montgomerie, I now ask you to accept these scissors from the Directors of the Ardrossan Harbour Company and I hope it will serve to remind you of the services you have done to us this day in opening the dock.". Amid deafening applause, Lady Gertrude Montgomerie cut the ribbon. The honourable Greville Richard Vernon then said "I will not ask Lady Gertrude Montgomerie to load the first vessel with various minerals and products with which we hope many vessels may yet be loaded and discharged in this new dock.". Lady Gertrude Montgomerie, amid cheers, emptied the basket with its miniature cargo into the hold. The bands struck up Rule Britannia and the National Anthem. A salute was fired from the forecastle-head of the Mastiff. The Volunteers on each side of the entrance fired a feu de joie, large guns sent forth salvoes, locomotives started on both railways sending off fog signals as they moved and rockets were sent off. The Mastiff was followed into the dock by the steamship Captain McClure, steamship Gem, steamship Pembury, steamship Onyx, steamship Emerald and steamship Alfred Nobel. After two waggons of coal had been tipped into the Captain McClure, by means of the hydraulic hoist, the company on board the Mastiff landed on the north pier and the vast crowds dispersed. After the opening ceremony, over five hundred invited guests were entertained to luncheon in the Montgomerie Pier Station. For the occasion, it was tastefully decorated and presented a very animated appearance when the party on board the Mastiff entered. The luncheon, which was served in good style by Mr T Butcher of the Eglinton Arms Hotel with a large and capable staff of waiters from Glasgow, comprised the following menu - Salmon, Tartare Sauce, Lobster a la Parisienne; Fillet of Beef a la Macédoine, Gallatine of Turkey, Aspic of Game en Belle-vue; Ham and Tongue, Hare Pie, Chanfroid of Chicken, Cold Lamb, Press Beef, Roast Beef; Salad a la Française; Wine Jelly, Gateau Moka, Vanilla Cream; Phitiviers, Peches a la Condé, Rhubarb and Apple Tarts; Patisserie Française; Fruits.


User avatar
George Ardrossan
Mega Heid Poster
Mega Heid Poster
Posts: 1123
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: Ardrossan

Re: Old Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald Reports

Postby George Ardrossan » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:55 pm

This report from the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald of 4 March 1921 is linked to Mitchy's enquiry about The Former Football Park Near The Inches In Ardrossan -


An important event in the history of Ardrossan burgh took place last Saturday, when Castlecraigs in Glasgow Street, was opened as a Recreation club for the employees of the Ardrossan Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company Limited.

This commodious house, with imposing baronial frontage and its extensive grounds, were purchased by the Shipyard Company over a year ago for the purpose of providing such a Club and since then a huge amount of work has been done in converting the buildings and grounds into their present condition. The interiors of the main building and adjuncts have been completely reconstructed, redecorated, fitted and handsomely furnished, and the grounds laid out to suit the present purpose; and a remarkable transformation has been achieved.

On the ground floor, the principal apartment is the boys' recreation and reading room. This room presents a very striking appearance. In the making of it, the old carriage house was utilised and a large archway was made in the dividing wall which lends an effective note to the aspect of the room. It is admirably furnished with tables and chairs, and the essentials for various kinds of games are provided - cards, chess, draughts, dominoes, etc - while newspapers and monthly periodicals will also be available to the members. Another prominent feature of the facilities provided on this floor consists of the baths and lavatories. These are excellently fitted up and equipped. There are two large baths with hot and cold water, and also spray baths, and there is ample washstand accommodation. The staff bathroom, an office for the Welfare supervisor, a room for ambulance outfit with medicines, splints, stretchers, etc, a dark room for photographers, cloak room and the caretaker's house are also on the ground flat. Upstairs are the staff reading and recreation room and the men's reading and recreation room. The former is beautifully furnished with carpet, artistically upholstered lounge chairs, tables and piano, and its looks the very acme of comfort. The men's room, which has four windows, is larger, and it also is most comfortably furnished and presents a very inviting aspect. In both rooms, games and periodicals are provided, and every thing has been done to make them attractive. The outstanding feature of the club house is the gymnasium hall. This is a large brick building adjoining the main building and erected over the old courtyard. It is 87 feet 6 inches long by 47 feet 6 inches wide and has a steel girder roof. The floor is of maple with special springs underneath, and the hall, which presents a bright, pleasing appearance, is lavishly equipped with gymnastic appurtenances of every kind including all the latest Swedish apparatus, a standard boxing ring, punch ball, basket ball, etc. There is also at one end a large balcony which opens off the boys' well-furnished dressing room. The hall can be used for dances, concerts, and other functions. It is estimated that about 750 persons will be accommodated in the building, and that it will be able to hold about eighty couples at a dance. At the end opposite the balcony, an aperture opens into the kitchen, where there is a steam cooker, stove, etc. and where refreshments can be prepared on the occasion of a social or dance. Practically the whole building is heated with steam pipes and radiators and it is lit by electricity, which is generated by a petrol-driven motor engine withy dynamo inn one of the outhouses. In the grounds at each end of the building, two large tennis courts have been laid out in the most up-to-date style with seats for spectators, and in front of the house, a huge flagpole has been erected.

The caretaker, Mr Edward Renyard, was for sixteen years in the navy and acted as a physical training instructor there. He will be in charge of the gymnasium at Castlecraigs and, under a man of his experience, the youths of the club should receive a thorough training in physical exercises.

Everything about the building is done on an elaborate scale and the employees of the shipyard are indeed fortunate in having available for their use such a splendid club.

Prior to the opening ceremony, the Ardrossan Shipyard Cadet Corps to the number of about seventy, under command of captain W Hamilton, and including the Corps Pipe Band under Pipe-Major Adams, paraded on the grounds in front of Castlecraigs and were inspected by Mr E Aitken Quack, managing director of the firm.

Mr Quack, following the inspection, addressed the boys. Some people claimed, he said, that a Cadet Corps was an encouragement of militarism, but he denied that. It was not militarism; it was citizenship. They had joined the Corps voluntarily in order to improve themselves and form friendships among themselves, and their membership of it would, in after life, stand them in very good stead. One thing they learned in it was discipline, and discipline did not include only the obeying of orders of those over them, but also included self-discipline. One thing that it was necessary the youth of the country should learn - and he was trying to teach his own boys - was self-control: and another thing was to be efficient. Whatever they did, they should try to be efficient, try to do it whole-heartedly. Their uniform was that of one of the best-known regiments in the British Army, and the tartan they were wearing was that of one of the oldest regiments. They had therefore a tradition to keep up. They must always remember that one of the things that Scottish regiments were famed for in France was their courtesy and kindliness to the inhabitants. There was no doubt the Scotsmen in France endeared themselves to the population by these elements. These constituted the essence and the basis of a gentleman. A gentleman did not consist of a man who was able to wear good clothes or to speak perfect English or to write grammatically. He must have these two elements of courtesy and kindliness and he hoped that was one of the things they would remember whenever they had the uniform on. They were getting a certain amount of military training in the Corps and when they reached 18 years of age, he hoped they would join the Territorial Force. All boys owed it to their country to put themselves in a position to be able to defend it, if necessary. The sneers from some quarters about this being militarism were entirely unjustified. It was every man's duty to be able to defend his country - not to be defiant but to be ready to defend. And he had no doubt that, like the rest of the boys in the country, they would be prepared in after life to do their duty if called upon. He was glad to be with them and inspect them for the first time. He congratulated them on their smart appearance and he hoped that as time went on the Cadet Corps of Ardrossan shipyard would always maintain a high reputation.

The opening ceremony was simple and brief. It took place in the gymnasium hall, and there was a good number of members of the club and townspeople present. Mr E Aitken Quack presided, and accompanying him on the platform were Mrs Quack and Master Richard Quack; Mr David Smail, a director of the firm; Mr S Turnbull, general manager; Provost G McKellar and Police Judge I T Fawcett.

The Chairman said he had great pleasure in welcoming them to that ceremony on behalf of the Company. The idea of the club germinated in the Welfare movement in the country. The firm bought that house, Castlecraigs, and they did what they could in way of improving it and them they built the gymnasium and formed the tennis courts. The only regret he had was that the club was not big enough. He would have liked to extend it, if possible, but the limited area of ground prevented that. It gave him great pleasure to welcome the Provost and members of the Town Council of Ardrossan. They had always worked in great sympathy with the Company, and the Company in the early stages, owed a considerable amount to their intelligent and sympathetic treatment of any question that they put before them. He hoped that the good relationship would continue. He them asked Mr David Smail to declare the club open.

Mr David Smail said that when he was asked by Mr Quack to open that club house, he accepted the invitation with very great pleasure. He had been connected with Ardrossan Shipyard for over twenty years and he had taken part in many functions in connection with it during that time but at none had he had greater pleasure than in being present at that function that day. He said that they had in that club sufficient evidence to prove how much the directors of the Company, and particularly their managing director, appreciated the fact that all work and no play was bad for the whole of us. A certain amount of pleasure was necessary in our lives. The time was - in Scotland, at least, and not so long ago - that anything in the nature of pleasure was taboo. If it was not sin, it was looked at askance. But happily these times had changed and we had a better appreciation of what life should be for the most of us. He referred to an advertisement in last month's Works magazine which stated that "Success can only be built upon a solid rock of quality." And he said there was no doubt about it that unless those in business - whether it was large or small - worked together and thought together and pulled together and each decided to give the other a square deal, no lasting good results could be got. Referring to the new club house, he said it was not so big as they would like, but he thought it was big enough for the present at least, and he had no doubt that if it was found too small later on, their friend, Mr Quack, who was full of resource, would find means of having it extended. He was sure he echoed the sentiment of all the workers in the yard who were associated with Mr Quack, and the townspeople as well, when he wished him long life and prosperity, and when he hoped he would carry on in the future in the way he had done in the past. He asked for three cheers for Mr Quack, which were given right heartily. In closing, he made a remark about the serious times we were passing through, and the testing time that lay ahead of us, and he then formally declared the club open amidst applause.

Provost McKellar, on behalf of the town, congratulated the directors on their enterprise and consideration for their workers. He was sure that all the employees would appreciate the benefits that would accrue from such an institution as had been opened that day. He was very glad of the opportunity of saying personally to Mr Quack and his co-directors that they had the town and Town Council at their back. He, the speaker, was a son of the town and he well remembered the ebbs and flows of business here during his lifetime. And he was sure that never in the history of the burgh had it been so prosperous as it had been since the Shipyard came under the management of Mr Quack. Mr Quack had proved himself to be a man of resource, a man of great ability, and, if he might say so, a "lad o' pairts". All connected with the Shipyard were under a debt of gratitude to him and other directors for placing at their disposal that palatial and handsomely equipped building, and he hoped they would all thoroughly appreciate and enjoy the privilege. He also hoped that Mr Quack would be long spared to the burgh of Ardrossan because the burgh of Ardrossan could not very well spare him.

Mr Quack expressed thanks for the kind remarks that had been made regarding him and said that it was gratifying to him to hear that what work he was doing was bearing some kind of fruit. After all, there was no greater pleasure in life than to know that where one blade grew before you made tow grow. He thanked all present for turning out to the ceremony, and he hoped the members would appreciate the club. It was being run by the members' own committees; it was in their own hands and he hoped they would make the most of it.

On the call of Provost McKellar, Mr Quack was awarded a hearty vote of thanks.

The Cadet Pipe Band thereafter discoursed music in the balcony, and the company made a tour of inspection throughout the building.


Return to “Threetowners' Lounge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], MSNbot Media and 11 guests