The Ardross-man


Building works

The new Training Room

In 1886 an appeal was made for funds to erect a hall, able to seat around 300 people, on ground adjacent to the Barony St. John’s Church (or as it was known then, New Ardrossan Parish Church). Funding was successful and the hall building was opened in 1887 at a cost, including furnishings, of £1,000 (around £120,000 in today’s money – which is still a bargain).

Now, exactly 130 years later in 2017, we have finally managed to renovate a major part of the hall building into a Training Room for my charity (The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety).

The before and after photos below show a dramatic change;


Rotten timbers and broken floorboards, crumbling wall and ceiling plaster, water ingress, wet rot, dry rot and decaying, broken windows meant this room was completely unusable.

But now, it looks like this –


We have a wonderful new Training / Meeting Room which can seat up to twelve people for the various training courses we provide including Personal Safety in the Workplace, Lone Worker, First Aid at Work, Refresher First Aid, Emergency First Aid, Paediatric First Aid etc. as well as accommodating meetings and social gatherings for both ourselves and other groups within our community.

Dr Danielle Farrel will be offering independent advice for carers and those living with a disability via her social enterprise, Your Options Understood (YOU), which will be operating out of this room from this week onwards and we will be offering free Personal Safety classes for people with low or no vision, every Thursday from 11am until 12.15pm.

All this is thanks to our funders; The Hugh Fraser Foundation, The Clothworkers’ Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation who funded the building works for the room.

hughfraser  clothworkersfoundationlogo       The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation 

And “Thank you” to Howdens Joinery Co. in Ardrossan who kindly donated the kitchen units and worktop for our tea/coffee area.



Without your funding, this room could never have been completed. Thank you one and all.

If anyone is interested in renting this room out, booking one of our courses or simply finding out more about volunteering or fundraising for our charity, please contact us via our website or look us up (ScotCPS) on Facebook or Twitter.

Goodbye for now.

Many, many, many thanks 😀


My Office

At long last, I have finally started to clear out the old Vestry Room and make it into an office space where I can store confidential documents, hold private meetings, etc.

Here is what it currently looks like –

The skylight window is cracked in several places and letting in water…

The plasterboard is completely off one of the walls due to water ingress which has now been stopped. This water damage has also caused a lot of the plaster work to comedown…


And the whole place needs painted and decorated…..


It’s going to take a bit of time but I’ll get there……………….Watch this space! 😀

Crystal clear

After what seems like an eternity, the windows in the Training Room have been completed – and they look fab!

Here is what they looked like before –

The wood was rotten (in fact one of the arched windows fell out when we removed the plaster work around it) and every pane was a different type of glass – frosted, clear, opaque, patterned with dimples, patterned with ridges, tinted, mottled – you name it, it was here.


The wooden windows are exact copies of what was there before even down to the small square opening segment in the middle of the square windows.


With a new coat of paint, the new windows look absolutely fabulous compared to the old, rotten ones.


Now we need to focus on the metal protective covering which is on the outside wall of each window.


These are badly rusted and damaged causing rust to flow down the external stonework so they need removed, de-rusted, repaired and re-painted – if that’s possible. If not, they’ll need replaced.

Onwards and upwards. 😀

Getting there

Yes, I’ve had a lot of setbacks with this Training Room; the water ingress, the plasterwork, the rotten windows, the wrong size windows, the wrong size glass, etc. etc. but through it all Paul Marchetti, builder extraordinaire, has shone through. He tackles every problem with a shrug and a smile and just gets on with the job. Likewise his partner in crime, Peter.

And so, we are finally getting there. The window glass is ordered and in the meantime, the room has been framed off.

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Next stage was to put in insulation between all the frames leaving a gap between the insulation and the stone wall to allow air flow and prevent a build-up of sand and dirt again.

The room is starting to shape.

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The next stage was to take one of the windows out so that it can be sent to a specialist wooden window making company and exact copies can be made. Paul undid a screw at the top of one of the arched windows…………and the whole thing fell out. :-/

Luckily, Peter was there to catch it and between the two of them they managed to lower it to the ground. The frame was a mess, completely rotten.

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Then came the plastering and the painting of the walls and the building of an internal cupboard.

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A lick of paint and that’s one wall done.

The big job ahead is to do the same to the other three walls, two of which contain the windows – and all of this is only if we find the next lot of funding.

I can’t wait to see the windows boxed off internally with shelves below each of them. 🙂

But then the tea/coffee area needs to get built, everything painted, carpet and floor coverings put down – and even then we need to look for funding for the equipment to go in the room (SMART Board, meeting room tables, chairs, dry wipe board, flipchart, WiFi, breakout sofa area, etc, etc.

One step at time though…..we’re getting there. 😀


Well, after the saga of the windows being made to the wrong size (see my What a Pane! post), I kinda hoped it would be plain sailing from here on in with the Training Room windows – but no!

Even although the windows are exact copies of what was in previously, there seemed to be some miscommunication with between the window makers and the glass makers and the builders.

Paul Marchetti and Peter put the glass into the small square windows and got them in okay – even the small opening segment in the middle top was duplicated.


With a new coat of paint, the new windows looked fabulous compared to the old, rotten ones.


Then Paul and Peter put the arched panes of glass into the arched windows – still going well.

But then disaster struck again – the square shaped panes below the arches were too small. 20mm too short to be exact.


So near and yet, so far!

Paul’s having to drive into Glasgow to get the glass especially cut again. Nightmare. :-/

A real pane!!

In one of my last posts, What a Pane!, I explained how we found that the windows in what will become the Training Room were rotten and falling out and how this added a substantial amount of money (which we didn’t have) to the overall cost of renovating the room.

Well, after weeks of getting the windows specially made to fulfil our conservation remit, we finally got the small square ones delivered.

Paul Marchetti (our builder extraordinaire) spent two days carefully taking sections out and undercoating them in the best possible weatherproof paint to protect them against the salty wind and rain of the east coast of Scotland.

But on the third day, disaster struck –

On a whim, Paul measured the windows and realised that they were 9cm too small. Somehow the window makers had got the sizes wrong. 😦

Paul had to rush into Glasgow to tell them while calling the glass company to ensure they hadn’t cut the glass yet for each small pane.

Yet another setback!




The Mystery of the Church Hall extension

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);

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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 –

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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.

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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 –

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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.

You’ve got to Laugh

This is the door in the hall building that leads to the church building. As you can see by the Health & Safety notice on the door, I haven’t lost my sense of humour. 😀




I was hoping to get my electricity meters replaced with SMART meters but when the electrician came to look at the connecting fuse box he told us he wouldn’t touch it.

Apparently the age of the box meant it was unsafe and so we had to call in a specialist company.

What I thought would be a simple job turned into a major operation!

First, paving stones were lifted and a hole dug outside of the church building and the old electricity cables were exposed.

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Next day, the engineers came out in force and we opened the double doors of the main church building to let them gain easy access to the fuse box cupboard.

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Finally, the new wiring was connected and the hole eventually refilled – but it took three vans from the electricity company and six staff to do the job.

I think the locals are getting used to seeing work vans parked on the pavement outside these buildings now. sorry for any inconvenience.

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