You may remember, in a recent post (Sexy Mary) I explained how we had a visit from a former Ardrossan resident, Mary Buswell, and how she thought the small hall room which we aim to turn into a Training Room was much larger when she was a child?
I thought this explained why the buildings were named as “Barony St John Church & Halls” (halls, plural). The Training Room was at one time much larger and therefore another hall.
I also thought that this would explain why the back wall of the Training Room is made of brick and the rest of the walls are stone – maybe the room extended down along Princes Street and at some point in the past, the adjacent land was sold and the building “squared off” cutting it in half?
Well, now I’m not so sure again.
You see, the architects involved with compiling a feasibility study for the former Barony St. John’s church building found this street map of Ardrossan dated 1910.
The first thing that struck me was the shape of the hall building.
The current shape is an L-shape but this map showed a straight building parallel to the church building and linked via a corridor.
So, here’s a photo of the hall building – and as you can see, there is a bottom spur attached to it to give it its L-shape (this is the Training Room);
Now take a closer again at the roof above the red side door in the photos – it looks weird doesn’t it? Like it’s been added on as an afterthought.
Looking at the 1910 map, I’m thinking that the side door and the main body of the building were all that was there when the hall building was built in 1889. I’m thinking the Training Room section was added on at a later date, obviously after 1910.
With this in mind, I walked around the building to the back area –
Now, you can clearly see where the wall is different. The stone wall stops at the corner and is replaced for the length of the Training Room by a brick wall (which is why Mary might be right in thinking this room was larger). It then goes back to stone, level with the main hall building, then switches back to brick before going back to the stone of the main church building.
Now this middle stone section is also shown on the 1910 map because the church hall building and the church building are level, connected only by a recessed corridor.
You can see from the photos below that there used to be a window in the original back wall that has now been bricked up. In fact, it was easily seen when we took the plaster off the walls while renovating the toilets last year –
So, I think at some point after 1910 the building was altered, probably to install toilet facilities. The corridor was extended level with the rest of the external wall and a kitchen and small room (which may or may not have been larger than it is today) were added. This whole new section was then roofed at right angles to the main body of the church and hall buildings giving the roof its odd look.
Now this is good news because trying to find someone alive today who remembers the original buildings of 1889 is impossible and although finding someone who remembers them from 1910 is a similarly impossible task, if the building was altered after 1910 to include indoor toilets, this may mean that the alterations never took place until the 1940’s, 50’s or even into the 60’s – which means, someone may still be alive who can tell us exactly what the buildings looked like and how they have changed over the years. 😀
If you think you can help, have a photograph or know of someone who may remember the original layout of the hall building, please get in touch.