If you climb up the rickety old internal ladder in Barony St. John’s church building, you’ll come out onto the parapet which then leads into the clock tower and belfry.
Surrounding the hatch that leads from the ladder to the parapet is a water gully and drain which frequently blocks with bird droppings causing the parapet area to flood with rainwater and subsequently leak into the church, bringing down ceiling plaster as it flows.
The reason why there is so much bird droppings is that there are a lot of birds!
And the reason why there are a lot of birds is because the doors to the clock tower have long since rotten away and now this area has become a sanctuary for flocks of pigeons, starlings and even the odd seagull or two.
Since buying the buildings in December 2014, I regularly managed to wedge the rotten plywood “door” back into place but every gust of wind (for which there are many on this North Ayrshire seafront) sees my makeshift mend blown back down and the entrance to what is now a bird haven is once again opened.
Now, when I took the above photos back in the Spring of 2016, I remember taking an almost full black bag of bird droppings out of the clock tower area – and as you can see by the photo, there was not much evidence left of the birds presence once I’d cleaned it up (okay there is – but believe me, compared to what was there, this is not much left). 🙂
Since then though, I gave up my fortnightly trips to the clock tower and left the birds to their own devices until builder extraordinaire, Paul Marchetti, could come and provide me with a more secure door frame and closure that would stop birds nesting in this area.
Today, Paul managed to get up on the parapet and seal the doorways (both sides) after arranging for the room to be cleared……
Eight bin bags of bid droppings later – yes, EIGHT full bin bags – and it was finally cleared!
And hidden near the clock mechanism were these old bottles;
This first one is a milk bottle which says Ross’s Ideal Milk followed by a picture of a cow and a baby and the strap line Justice to both.
I’ve searched the internet and cannot find any reference to Ross’s Ideal Milk so if any readers know anything of this maker or a rough age of this bottle, please let me know.
The second bottle was this bleach bottle;
All-White Bleach seems to have been manufactured by Ailsa Drysaltery Co. Irvine.
As well as the warnings of not to use on woollens, silks or leatherwork, the label displays the price of 6D (sixpence).
Again, although I found out that a “drysaltery” dealt in a range of chemical products including glue, varnish, dye, colourings and bleach, I couldn’t find anything about Ailsa Drysaltery Co. in Irvine. So, if anyone can help with information, I’d appreciate it.
Finally, we found this bottle with only a partial label;
You can just make out a drawing of what looks like thistles with a castle ruins blow them and the words Kilbirnie Castle below that. And although partially missing, I’m sure the lettering spells “Burdock” making me suspect that the plants are not thistles but burdock (a similar looking plant) and that this bottle contained Dandelion and Burdock.
The manufacturer’s name at the base of the bottle is Turner & Ewing Ltd. Kilmarnock.