I recently 'discovered' two blue plaques in Ardrossan - one at the Montfode Burn Bridge on the North Shore and the other on a pillar at Saint Peter's Church.
At the bottom of each plaque is a website address http://www.naheritagetrails.co.uk
. I accessed this site and learned that there are sixty such plaques for Ardrossan, Saltcoats, Stevenston, Kilwinning and Irvine.
The Ardrossan plaques are for
• Ardrossan Castle and Church, 13th century; Montgomerie stronghold
• Peter Nicholson, 1765-1844; architect of Ardrossan
• St Peter-in-Chains, built 1938; designed by Gillespie, Kidd & Coia
• Horse Isle Beacon, built 1811; navigation beacon
• Mungo Campbell, 1712-1770; excise officer and murderer
• Rev John Kerr, 1824-1907; physicist
• Ardrossan Harbour, built from 1806; designed by Thomas Telford
• Edith MacArthur MBE, born 1926; actress
• Dr Alexander MacFadzean, 1788-1849; physician and philanthropist
• Majestics, 1986; film location of Tutti Frutti
The Saltcoats plaques are for
• Saltcoats Bathing Pond, built 1932; salt water bathing pool
• Robert Cunninghame, died 1715; industrialist and entrepreneur
• Betsy Miller, 1792-1864; first female sea captain
• Janice Galloway, born 1955; novelist
• Sir John Lavery, 1856-1941; artist
• James Smith, died 1881; philanthropist and missionary
• Queen of the Sea; first crowned 1928
• William Ritchie, 1756-1834; pioneer shipbuilder
• Kenneth Campbell, 1917-1941; Victoria Cross recipient
• Ardrossan Parish Church, rebuilt 1773; heritage centre
• Harry Kemp, died 1972; impressario.
The Stevenston plaques are for
• Rev David Landsborough, 1782-1854; naturalist and author
• Cholera victims, 1845-1871; some 606 killed by epidemics
• Kerelaw Castle, 15th century on; Cunningham stronghold
• Battery and Nelson's Tower, built c.1812; in grounds of Seabank House
• Francis Love, 1781-1860; poet
• Deep Shank Pit, sunk 1678; first deep pit in Stevenston
• Ron Geesin, born 1943; musician and composer
• William Landsborough, 1825-1886; first European to cross Australia
• Edward Boyd, 1916-1989; writer
• Alfred Nobel, 1833-1896; inventor of dynamite
I drove through each of the towns yesterday and had a wee look for the plaques. I didn't find any in Stevenston. The only one I saw in Saltcoats was for the Bathing Pond. While there, I visited the buildings on the sites of the Regal Cinema, La Scala Cinema and Beach Pavilion looking for Harry Kemp's plaque as he was involved with these places but did not find it. I went to the Cannon Hill in Ardrossan expecting to find plaques on the Castle and MacFadzean's Monument but there was none.
Does anybody know where the plaques are? Please let me know if you find one in Ardrossan and I will take a photo. It would be good if the Saltcoats and Stevenston plaques could be identified and photographed too.http://www.naheritagetrails.co.uk
gives some background to the plaques.
Here are more details on Mungo Campbell. On Tuesday 24 October 1769, the tenth Earl of Eglinton, Alexander Montgomerie, was travelling in his carriage to Fairlie with four servants following him on horseback. The Earl of Eglinton owned most of the land in and around Ardrossan. As he was near Montfode Burn where it enters the sea on the North Shore - and where the plaque is - the Earl was annoyed when told that two men, one with a gun, had been seen on his land. He ordered his carriage to stop. The man with the gun was Mungo Campbell, a son of the Provost of Ayr, who worked as an excise officer in Saltcoats. Campbell had permission to shoot on the nearby Montfode Estate and prosecute poachers but not on the adjacent Earl of Eglinton’s land. The Earl confronted Campbell and told him to hand over his gun. Campbell refused. The Earl tried to grab the gun which went off, mortally wounding him. The Earl was taken to his home at Eglinton Castle in Kilwinning where the best medical attention could not save him and he died early the next morning. Mungo Campbell was charged with murder but despite claiming that the gun was fired unintentionally, he was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. Mungo’s mother was so distraught over the death of her son that she hanged herself near a well in Ayr.
I have been told that Mungo Campbell gives Ardrossan a very loose connection with Robert Burns.
In Burns' poem, ‘Tam O’Shanter’, there are lines: And thro' the whins and by the cairn whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn
And near the thorn, aboon the well, whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel'.
Mungo’s mither hanged hersel’ because her son killed himself after being convicted of a murder in Ardrossan.
If you know more about this Ardrossan-Robert Burns connection, please let me know.