The Ardross-man



Storm Ciara 2020

As the owner of the former Barony St John church and hall buildings on Ardrossan’s shorefront, winter is usually a fairly depressing time of the year for me.

Cold, wet weather and storms galore play havoc with public transport, making it difficult for the service users of our charity (The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety) to get to and from our Barony St John Centre, despite it being so close to bus and railway links.

Having the former Barony St John hall building can be a problem – we need to make sure it’s wind and watertight, which isn’t always easy in a 131-year-old building – but having the former church building to look after too, always proves to be a challenge.

The church building is 156-years-old and has been derelict, as far as I know, since 2010.

A couple of months ago during Storm Brendan, several parts of our buildings roof were damaged including the overhang roof from the hall building to the church building blew down and needed work on it to repair the damage. Luckily, we had sealed the doors to the church and hall back in November 2019, effectively separating both buildings, so the internal damage was minimal. But last week the Ardrossan coastline was once again battered – this time by Storm Ciara.

Storm Ciara proved to be much stronger than Storm Brendan and although no roofing was blown off our buildings this time, we did get quite severe water ingress into the church building.

Missing roof tiles meant roof leaks above the shore facing windows of the church and these have brought ceiling plasterwork down and sent water falling onto the upper gallery floor….which in turn, has seeped downwards, bringing down more ground floor ceiling plasterwork and creating a huge internal puddle at the main entrance of the church.


It doesn’t look good but at least the main structure of the building is still sound.

When my charity first came to Ardrossan back in 2015, I said I would give ourselves three years to renovate and equip the Barony St John Centre and open up to the public. This was achieved by 2016 and a Feasibility Study recommended that we try to convert the church building into an Events Centre as a secondary source of income for us.

I pledged to try to achieve this by 2020 but, reluctantly, I now have to admit defeat.

For many, this will be sad news but some of you reading this will be smiling now because some of you actively stood in our way, preventing us from developing the church building. But who loses out on this? Is it me? My charity? Or the people of Ardrossan who have lost a fantastic opportunity to increase jobs in the town, increase visitor spend in the town and also lost the chance of a great local venue for live bands, plays and exhibitions right on their doorstep?

Either way, without backing from the Council and the “movers and shakers” of Ardrossan, this dream cannot be turned into a reality – at least not on my watch.

It’s therefore time to face the reality; we will continue to own and improve the Barony St John hall building (our Centre), but it looks like, regrettably, we will have to put the former Barony St. John’s Church building up for sale later this year. Maybe someone else can develop the church into an Events Centre or flats or a dream home on the seafront?

We will however, continue to look into how the hall building can be developed and I will keep you posted of this progress, as well as the final destination of the church building as the year goes on.



Storm Brendon 2019

Storm Brendon hit Ardrossan hard with several buildings being damaged including a chimney and some rendering being blown off a building at the opposite end of Princes Street (where we are situated). The pieces of the building fell 8 metres onto the pavement below which resulted in the Fire Brigade and Police being called into attendance.

And we were just as unlucky…

We now have daylight between our hall corridor and the church building as this partition roof was ripped off leaving a precarious overhang. 😦


Storm Ali 2019

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.

Barony St. John photos

In a previous post (Ardrossan views) I shared with you some photos of the Barony St. John taken by various local photographers and residents.

With all the problems I’ve been facing with the funding for the renovation of the Training Room (see my last few posts) I’ve decided that I need cheering up and have scoured the various internet forums for some more fantastic photos of the Barony St. John buildings. I hope you like them too 😀

This dusky photo taken by Howard Arthur Moiser is absolutely beautiful as it shows the stars just beginning to peak out even although the sun isn’t fully down.


Whereas this photo by Helen Abbott is of a sunset and highlights the rocket-esque look of the Barony St John Centre wonderfully.


This is a lovely photo showing a line of seagulls as they fly past level with the Barony St John spire in the background. Unfortunately, I don’t have the name of the person who took this photo. 😦


And this is a cracking photo by John Craig showing the buildings reflected on the watery sand.


These next photos also show how close we are to the beach and how extensive the beach is (both in width and length) – and bear and mind, the beach goes on for miles and miles towards Stevenston.

This photo of a cold looking day is by Pauline Clements –


Whereas this photo by James McLaughlin seems to have captured some sunshine. I love the miles of clean sand and the Barony St. John on the horizon – a very well thought out photo.


And this photo taken from the beach looking up one of the many slopes to the promenade with Barony St. John in the background is actually from Trip Advisor by an unnamed photographer.


These next few photographs show the splendour of snow capped Isle of Arran in the background. This first one is by James McLaughlin.


While this one was posted by the Chair of my charity, Deirdre Oakley.


And we’re even more famous than Trip Advisor as this photo, taken using a drone, is from Irvine Bay Regeneration’s webpage and media reports. What a fantastic view with Princes Street in the forefront and the Isle of Arran in the background. 😮


Finally, this photo is very similar to that taken by James McLaughlin and was used by Scottish Television for their weather report. It was sent in by “That Blonde Woman” 😀


So now you’ve seen them all – what’s your favourite?

Rainbow’s End


A fabulous photo from Ardrossan of a beautiful rainbow with the end apparently disappearing into the Barony St. John buildings.


Let’s hope that pot of gold can help us restore and open these buildings up as a Community and Events Centre.

It would be extremely fulfilling to give something back to the community and to help those who need it most within North Ayrshire – let’s hope the locals get behind this project.

New moon, New Year, New era

Another fantastic photo by Peter Ribbeck Photography taken last week and showing a full moon at dawn with the Barony St. John weather vane silhouetted.

full moon

And he has added a warmer tone for this photo;

brighter moon

Which one do you like the best?

I like this photo as it reminds me that this is not only the start of a New Year but also with a new moon coming so a new era will dawn on the Barony St. John buildings. 🙂

For more wonderful photographs, check out Peter’s Facebook page –

Glad tidings we bring…or maybe high tidings

Beautiful photo by Peter Ribbeck Photography taken yesterday at high tide and showing the Barony St. John in the background.

Stunning 🙂


Far, far away…


After a week of failed funding bids, leaking roofs, water ingress and bad, bad vibes, the prospect of turning these iconic old buildings into a Community and Events Centre is looking very, very distant.

Maybe it’s just a beautiful dream – but a dream none the less? 😦


PS – many thanks to Jeanette Ramsay for the lovely sunset photo.

The parting of the waves

Went for a walk down to the church today with Ben and we almost got swept away.

The waves are coming right over the promenade and the beach is no-where to be seen.

Let’s hope the water doesn’t get any higher :-/

image2 image3

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑