The Ardross-man


August 2018

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

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