The Ardross-man

Storm Ali

Storm Ali bashed the Ardrossan coastline today with winds of over 50mph.

And unfortunately, the Barony St John sustained some damage;

The belfry tower roof hatch blew off and this caused a vacuum to occur in the staircase which cracked and damaged the internal walls.

Plus two small pains of glass were blown out of a window.

And the winds were so great that the courtyard gate was ripped off its hinges and the padlock was also ripped off the wall. We had to prop the gate up with rocks.


Fingers crossed we on’t have any more damage.


Office Before

Here are some photos of the Office (the old Vestry) before we stared work on it…

Watch our progress.

Sweet and Sour

As I mentioned in my last couple of post (Seventies Flashback and Jobs for the Boys), I found an old Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald dated 5th September 1975 behind the Barony St John’s church organ.

But I also found some sweet bags in the rafters of the top balcony. They are from Robert Hogarth’s store which sued to be on Glasgow Street in Ardrossan.


There was also an old magazine with the insert pamphlet titled “Seeds of Love”. The attire of the figures on the cover give an idea of the era in which this was published – and I thought it may be the 1930’s but it was far earlier.

A further clue was obtained from a small article which mentions the Irish Professional Golf Championship results in which a Mr Moran was the winner and a Mr Kidd was the runner up.

A check of the internet revealed that Michael Moran was born in 1886 and was the leading Irish golfer of his generation and that he won the Irish Professional Championship five years in a row from 1909 to 1913.

A further check showed that Harry Kidd was runner up in the 1909 Irish Professional Championship so this newspaper was from 1909. Wow!

Sadly, Michael Moran died on 10th April 1918 at the young age of only 31yrs.

He was one of the many who died during the First World War.

Michael had joined the South Irish Horse in 1915 and in September 1917 his regiment had been retrained as infantry and formed the 7th (South Irish Horse) Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment.

The battalion was mown down in the German Spring Offensive of 1918, Michael was wounded and died in hospital a month later. The Official History records the waste of life during the battle saying “two companies of 7th Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, posted in forward zones, suffered terribly; not a man succeeded in escaping.”

Since Michael died in a German hospital, his death was not confirmed until 16 December 1918 – a month after the war had finished.



Free Seats

I was emptying buckets of rainwater out of the church building recently with volunteer Emma Paterson when I noticed that the doors to the last few pews in the upper balcony of the church, had previously had writing on them.

The letters are no longer there but the words can clearly be read – “Free Seats”.


You may remember from a previous post (Victorian Graffiti), I had found foot rests engraved with the initials of members of the congregation and names engraved into the hand rests on the pews, presumably to indicate where families or members usually sat.


When I used to go to church, I arrived in with my father and sister and we sat anywhere, but I think the congregation from years gone by had “unofficially” reserved their seats by putting their mark or initials on it.

Now remember, the reason this church was built was because the original Ardrossan Parish Church (actually in what is now Saltcoats) could only hold 840 people and was too small for the size of the parish congregation.

The New Ardrossan Parish Church, which is now the Barony St John, could hold around 1,200 people……and at some point, these numbers must have reduced and some of the back seats were deemed as “Free seats”.

Even still, that’s a lot of people worshipping every Sunday.

How times have changed.

Oh, oh plastered again!

Came in to find more plaster has fallen off as the church building dries.

Jobs for the Boys

As I mentioned in my last post (Seventies Flashback), I found an old Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald dated 5th September 1975 behind the church organ.

Some of the job adverts are similar to today’s, like The Kandy Bar in Saltcoats advertising for Shop Assistants, Students and a Van Man (not a van driver).

But in the seventies, there obviously wasn’t much call for equal opportunities so you could advertise for a particular gender if you wished, for instance, one advert describes “an excellent opportunity for a career in Sales and Administration” but it was only available to a “young man” aged 20-25yrs.

And another advert for a “Clerkess / Typist” which states “Young lady required” for the position.


What caught my attention more however is how much wages have increased in the last forty years or so.

The highly skilled job of Planning Inspector had a salary of £2,529 – £3,582 and the lesser skilled job of a Technician had a starting salary of only £1,215.

But then again, the average house in Scotland in 1975 cost under £10,000 and you could buy a brand new car for less than £2,000 with a litre of fuel only costing 16p.

Oh, how times have changed. LOL

Seventies Flashback

I was searching for old memorabilia in the Barony St John church building last week with volunteers Emma and Ami Paterson when we discovered, stuffed behind the organ, an old newspaper from the seventies.

The newspaper is, of course, The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, and the date is 5th September 1975.



The articles that caught my eye were the ones which were accompanied by a photograph;

The first photo is of Ronnie Robinson and Turner Chalmers who won the team event in the Saltcoats Boat Owners’ fishing contest. Does this contest still take place?




The next photo is of the cast of “Mixed Doubles”, a play presented by the Student Drama Group of North Ayrshire Arts Centre in West Kilbride Hall. Just look at the hairstyles and clothing  fashion of the day.




And finally, there’s a cracking photo of the Ayrshire Women’s Bowling Championships at Ardrossan green.

So does anyone recognise anyone? Are YOU in any of the photos?

The Perfect Wedding

There are weddings……and then there are Barony St John weddings.

We filmed this “wedding” for our forthcoming crowd fund video.

What do you think?



Many thanks to Iain Hamilton of Clyde Kilts for supplying the groom and bride’s father with outfits and for playing the part of the bride’s father.

And to Lorraine Rankin-Smith of So Beautiful Bridal for supplying the bridal dress, bouquet and bridesmaid Tilly Rankin-Smith.

And Brian Jay of Jay’s Wedding Car Services for supplying the wonderful 1930’s Beaufort car.

Jennifer Reeves for being the bride and hair and make-up by Therapy at the Registry.

Tyler Poole for being the groom and Michael McCulloch for being the piper.

The Three Town Growers for supplying the flowers.

And Ryan Sinclair for providing his yacht “Caledonia”.

I’m sure you will agree, this looks fabulous – and hopefully a taste of things to come at the Barony St John.


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