Personal Recollections ~ Saltcoats
Saltcoats by the silvery sea one of the Three Towns, the town where I was born. The sea, the sandy shore, the wall along the Promenade that I climbed upon one sunny day and kept walking till I couldn't walk anymore and ended up at Ardrossan. I got a guid skelp oan my backside that day.
The wall to this day is one of my favourite memories as is the bathing pool where I spent a lot of my childhood days swimming and playing with friends, Saltcoats bathing pool was magic and if you had seasons tickets you were blessed. I was always freezing while I was there but couldn't wait to get back to it the next day. I loved everything about the shore I would wade in and watch the flounders, they used to swim in and around my feet, we loved picking wulks On Sundays and listening to the Salvation Army band on the beach.
My Mother Sarah McCallum and her parents were born in Saltcoats. My Dad James Boyle was born in Stevenston as were his parents. I was born in St. Lawrence Place, but the only thing I remember about it was the day a big bully was picking on my brother and he was pushing him around, I was watching out the window and waited for my chance, It came almost instantly I made my move and walked over to him and as he was sitting on the curb of the circle I went behind him, picked up a large stone and hit him on top of his head and then I ran as fast as my wee legs could carry me.
My last address was 37 Springvale St. we lived on the bottom floor and we had a nice backdoor and a big wash house that accommodated all the tenants, my Mom used to spend hours washing in that gigantic tub. the toilets and coalbunker were at the end of
the close and my brother Henry's job was to fill up the coal skuttle before he went off to the First Boys Brigade.
My Grampa Andy McCallum lived on Parkend Rd. right next door to the slaughter house I sometimes watched them bringing in the animals it was awful hearing them scream. In his early years Grampa had a coal business and my sister Anna and I spent a lot of time at his house he used to take me with him on a lot of his travels, one being the Tonyard, grampa would go to see his relatives, I remember Rab McCallum well .Grampa looked after the garden for the church and he grew the most delicious ayrshire tatties and vegetables so we always got a good supply.
I loved the Saltcoats train station too, I spent a lot of time just watching the trains arriving and departing and was elated when I actually got to go on one. I went to Saltcoats Public school and I loved it I went to Kyleshill for a short time too. My Dad worked in the ICI Stevenston and his father before him and most of his sisters and brothers, my Auntie Susan lost some of her fingers at the plant it was a dangerous place to work in the early days. Dad worked on the night shift but he always had a wee job on the side. He brought hot rolls home every morning for us for breakfast before we went off to school.
I remember the rag man, the gas man, the rent man, meter boxes and the co-op store where they put the money into wee metal containers and sent them flying across the ceiling to the cashier but my most loved store was Woolworth's when Mom took me shopping. Yes everything was rationed in those days but we managed. Beautiful Arran was another favourite place for me and going on the ferry was a big thrill a truly a wonderful place and we were glad to have been part of it.
We left our beloved Saltcoats in 1947 and arrived in Canada in December that year. I was ten years old when I left Scotland so these recollections are of my childhood which I have never forgotten. Saltcoats will always be home to me.
Josephine Millen (nee Boyle)