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Remembrances and stories of Minniebolers and their connection with Maybole. If you have a story please contact us.

It was with interest that I read the write up on Jim Lucas.   The Ina Lucas referred to was my aunt, having married my uncle John Peacock, they resided at Seaview Cottage after my grandparents passed away during the 1940s.   John and Ina were married when he returned from the forces after the war, if I remember correctly.

Like Jim, I was also a member of the Boys Brigade, however unlike him, I did not mind the pill box hat although I was not altogether sold on having to blanco the webbing white each week in order to pass muster.   From the Brigrade I passed on to the Army Cadets where we spent some time emulating real soldiers in the farmers’ fields around Maybole. more

Boots and Shoes

Looking at the home page I notice that the Gala theme this year is boots and shoes and this stirs old memories.   Quite often though, I see Maybole being described as a small market town in South Ayrshire which in my time, during the nineteen thirties and forties, is or I should say was, only partially true.   At that time it was quite the bustling metropolis, if only a small one, what with footwear factories, tanneries, agricultural implement manufacturing, the railway and a very robust commercial/merchant infrastructure.   Of course, the agricultural industry surrounding the town always played a huge part. more

"Secret Works" - Acid Works on Kilkerran Estate

I have just been reading a very interesting article by David Courtney McClure appearing on his web pages, concerning the Acid Works on Kilkerran Estate.  The part which really piqued my interest is the last paragraph of appendix one in which he names Mungo McAlpine, Craigfin Cottages as one of the men who aided Mr Bennet in the demolition of the old factory. Mungo was the brother of my father, or in other words, my uncle. He resided in the northernmost cottage which was one of four belonging to Kilkerran Estate, at that time. That particular cottage cottage, flagstone floor and all, had been occupied by the McAlpine family for years.  more

Maybole's Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society remembered

I am looking at the building as it is today, but seeing it with a good deal of nostalgia, as I remember it during the late thirties and the forties, along with two sister stores, one in the middle of High Street and the other in the New Yards(Cassillis Road). During that time all three stores were busy and vibrant destinations for all of the townsfolk to replenish their pantries. I recall that the high store (Whitehall) and the middle store (High Street) were the ones preferred by our mother and to which I was dispatched with a message basket, a written note of the goods required and the co-operative book.  more

Seaview Cottage Revisited

I have been reading with much interest the recollections of Maybole in the thirties and forties. Of particular interest to me was the story about Seaview Cottage which incidentally is still known as Seaview. If ever there was an appropriate name for a house that’s it! The view over the Firth of Clyde is indeed spectacular. This picture was taken from the opposite end of another one on the website shows the view from Culzean Castle towards the Howmoor. more

Cairn School, The Breek, and Bench an 'a' that by Jim McAlpine

The picture of Cairn School (at right) was taken pre 1939 and the field over the wall is where the cattle shows were held.   The school is just as I remember and which I was enrolled into in 1934, in the infant's quarters which were by the wall at the bottom of the playground, over that wall is now Glebe Crescent.   As boys we used to have races around the school starting at the top corner nearest Kirkland Street. This was the start and finish spot, two boys at a time.   One boy would go around one way, the other in the opposite direction.   The school in those days was the original building which has since been added to.

I recall one such race with Bertie Patterson who used to live in the loaning, a race which had no winner.   Bertie and I met head to head on the bottom corner of the school and both of us were really moving when we came together, the upshot was that I had to go home with a nasty gash above my right eye, and take a fast trip to Doctor Rennie who inserted three stitches.   Bertie was unscathed, he must have had a harder head than me.

During the war my aunt and uncle lived in the Breek, one or two of my cousins were born in that building.   I believe to this day that the site occupied by this building still lies vacant.   My boyhood friend John Hempkin's grandparents lived in one of the houses just down the street from the Breek, next to what was the Buck's Head at that time.

The Bench stirs memories of younger days mostly because there used to be a lady by the name of Downey living there, if I remember correctly.   Mrs Downey made toffee apples and sold many of them to the boys and girls on Kirkland Street, they were delicious.   Later on there was a garage next to the barracks, I believe that it was Connolly's garage. As always memories of the old town rise to the surface.
See also A snapshot of life on Kirkland Street, Maybole from mid to late 1930s through the experience and eyes of a then young lad , Sunset over Arran , Seaview and Memories of Straiton.

Cairn School

The Breek

The Bench

The Glebe in days gone by Jim McAlpine
I've just been looking over the photos of the Maybole Gala 2010. It makes me proud as a former Minnieboler to see all these young people and their parents gathered together to celebrate our hometown. I look at the young people and wonder what will be in store for them. To a great extent nowadays, the young, regardless of where they are from, are citizens of the world. Perhaps many will stay close to home, others, professional people, artisans, tradesmen, or just people with the native intelligence they were born with will relocate to different parts of the globe and make a positive contribution to those who need or require assistance. It seems to me that the locale of some of these pictures is in the vicinity of Cairnfield Avenue, my old home. I would just like to describe what went on in the Glebe in my day.

During the second World War the residents of Cairnfield were given a plot of land to grow food such as potatoes or whatever. In the beginning we did grow potatoes and with the proper insulation against a harsh winter, we were never short of food. My father enlisted the aid of McBlane's donkey of Auchenwynd small holding to cultivate the plot. After the cessation of the war we fenced in the plot, built a hen house and started to raise chickens, the eggs were many even though we lost a few to the rats. There used to be a spring at the bottom of the field and this emptied into the wee burn which separated the glebe from Tunnoch's field. As boys we would gather tadpoles in the spring, in jars, and at other times baggy minnows. It just shows how times and circumstance change but something will never change and that is the pride of growing up in our town of Maybole.  (July 2010)

See also A snapshot of life on Kirkland Street, Maybole from mid to late 1930s through the experience and eyes of a then young lad , Sunset over Arran , Seaview and Memories of Straiton.

Remembrance of Saturday Afternoons in Ayr by Isobel Seymour

Most Maybole folk have a good interest in old Ayr.  Saturday afternoons in towns like Maybole were like ghost towns – everyone got dressed up and went to Ayr.  I don’t think there will be many older Maybole folk who haven’t followed the changes in Ayr from at least 1950s until now. My parents and I went into Ayr every Saturday afternoon.  My Dad parked the old green Vauxhall in the Dalblair Hotel car park (behind Hourstons) with my mother justifying it because they had had their wedding reception there. We went to the Alexander Stores  first.  It was a 2 storey shop, the upper storey being on a balcony which looked down at the ground floor. more

Memories of Maybole and Croy Shore by Isobel Seymour.
I don't know what year this photo was taken but by the dress it looks like 1920s.  I love all the wigwams dotted here and there.  Maybole Shore and Croy shore were very much used by day-trippers right up to the 60s when cheap holidays in Spain started appearing. I spent most of my summer holidays at Croy Shore's Burnside Caravan Park (that was the park on the right when you came down the Croy Shore road and entered on to the sand).  It was an old man called Mr McCall who owned the park (the bit of ground his but'n'ben was on!!), and really it was a field with a spicket, and a small brick building which had  a Girls' and a Boys' toilet - with half doors!!

A snapshot of life on Kirkland Street, Maybole from mid to late 1930s through the experience and eyes of a then young lad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           -by Jim McAlpine.

Residence: Carrick Place. opposite Cairn school, 3 storeys up and if memory serves, 18 families lived in the building which had a view of the bowling green from the rear window. Toilet facilities were located outside at the rear of the building along with the wash house. Interior lighting was by way of a gas lamp in the kitchen area, otherwise oil lamps. School: Cairn Primary - Headmaster Mr Alex B. Coburn (see story below) - infants were accommodated in a structure at the bottom of the playground abutting what is now Glebe Crescent.

Minister: Reverend David Swan who lived in the church manse on Kirkland Street. Doctor was doctor James Rennie who resided in the New Yards at that time. Responsibilities - mine- polishing the footwear of parents, brothers and sisters along with my own. Helping with the care of my younger siblings, fetching the messages (groceries) from the Co-operative Society, fetching cutoff wood from Alexander Jack & Sons' sawmill in our bogey, to split up for firewood kindling. and generally trying to stay out of trouble which we sometimes succeeded in doing.

 Jim McAlpine with Skye

See also Jim McAlpine's reminisces about his youth at Seaview Cottage

Activities: Sitting barefoot on the pavement on a warm summer day watching the men apply tar to the surface of Kirkland St., from a spray attached to a tar boiler then there would be an application of chips (small stones} followed by a rolling from the steam roller. I loved the smell of tar and often wound up with stubbed toes on my bare feet. Watched the drovers driving the cattle from the goods station at the top of the Red Brae down Kirkland St., to the slaughter house at Baloney. Watched the horse teams haul the very large logs from the surrounding area to the sawmill of Alexander Jack & Sons which were used in the manufacture of farm vehicles and implements. I marvelled at the sight of new and newly painted farm carts awaiting shipment to who knows where. Every once in a while I would run down to the smiddy on Crosshill Road to watch the heavy draft horses being shod and watched the skittish way they behaved when getting used to the new shoes. I liked the smell of the hot shoe being applied to the hoof. I attended one or two cattle shows which were held each year in the field on which Cairnfield Ave., is now sited. Watched the construction of the Ailsa Cinema from excavation to completion at the corner of the Smiddy Brae (St Cuthberts) and Kirkland street. A few years after the cinema opened I went with my father to see the Great Dictator featuring Charlie Chaplin.

Recreational activities: All activities generally took place on the street as there was next to no vehicular traffic on Kirkland or anywhere else for that matter in those years. Such games as rope skipping, peevers, kick the can, rounders ( a form of baseball), hide and seek and soccer were all in vogue then. Every so often there would be a wedding and all the children would gather round with the anticipation of a "scramble" which always happened when the married couple would toss coins for the lads and lassies to gather up. This usually took place outside the manse. We were given a ha'penny, when it was available, to go down the street to Mary Crawford's to buy some sweeties and in those days a halfpenny would garner you five caramels, what a luxury. Then there was the Buck's Head pub which always had various aromas issuing forth such as, beer, whisky, cigarette and pipe smoke.

Jim McAlpine.

The Inspector - by George Davidson. "Really great teachers are rare and it is a privilege to have been taught by one. His name was George Johnston, a short stocky man with a gruff voice.  His favourite saying was –You! This was normally shouted at the top of his voice.  He had the uncanny knack of making everyone within earshot believe he was speaking only to them." The rest of the story.


The Music Teacher - by George Davidson. "In the early fifties when some new fangled ideas were beginning to creep into education, music hit the curriculum like a great crescendo from a Beethoven symphony.  It was only a matter of time before the class of ‘c’ were exposed to this bit of culture.  Some years before an eccentric lady had exposed me to the art form in the primary school.  Her name was Miss Patterson". The rest of the story.


Mr. A. B. Coburn - Headmaster Cairn School. As remembered by Tom McQuiston.

"I was about nine years old when I first attended Cairn School. You must remember in those days the teachers were seen as 'gods' and as for the 'Heedmaister', he was above all things. I remember the features of Alex Coburn in this way. He had a shock of hair that started almost right above his eyebrows and was swept straight back over his head. (Boy, do I wish that I had a head of hair like that now!) Of mannerisms, the only one that I can remember was that he had a habit of putting both hands over his face and rubbing his face vigorously. There were times when I thought that he was going to rub it all away!!

One of the other things that I remember was his ring. He had a black ring on his finger, which one I cannot remember, and I was told that it was made of polished lava. It was very impressive. (It may have been onyx.) Whenever he came into the classroom all the pupils stood until told by Mr.Coburn to sit down. But that happened when any adult person came into the classroom, well maybe, except for the Janitor. Of course it must be remembered that Britain was at war in those days. It was at that time I learned to knit. We knitted nine inch squares that were eventually, with others, stitched into the size of a blanket and sent to the men in the submarines.

But, I digress. Alex Coburn was a wonderful musician. He could play anything on the piano. At least once a week he would come into the classroom and have us sing. I think that there was a piano in each classroom. He would screw up his face, rub it, and standing, would play the piano with what seemed like ten hands!! Oh, it was not a concert, it was to accompany us to sing. And the songs were, (this sounds like the Oscars), Elgar's "Land of Hope and Glory", and the Sailors Hymn, "Eternal Father Strong to Save". I have never forgotten these two works, and to this day when the hymn is played, and I must admit that it is not sung too often in almost land locked Manitoba, my thoughts go back to the days at Cairn School and Alex Blue Coburn."

 Note: Mr A. B. COBURN retired as Headmaster of Cairn School in 1954. He had been appointed to his position in 1927 and was only the second headmaster the school had had since it opened in 1890. He was succeeded by Mr J. Nicolson.

page3site.jpg (43116 bytes)This is a story, told to me a long time ago, about the Reverend Roderick Lawson. The Reverend gentleman had a club foot. It was his custom to come down the High Street and go to the  store that is shown in the Pocket Guide as that belonging to R.A.O.  Blackley. The stone step had become worn over the many years of feet  crossing it, and this was very handy for Lawson who managed to swing his  club foot over it without having to lift the foot too high. Well of  course we never shy away from progress, and the store keeper decided to replace the step with an unworn one. Everyone "oo'd" and "ah'd" at this  improvement. That is until Lawson come walking into the store. Not  knowing about the step, and therefore not lifting his foot, the reverend  gentleman caught his toe on the step and measured his length along the  floor of the store. Would you wonder he never shopped there again.

Tom McQuiston. Birtle, Manitoba, Canada


.....Maybole as a bustling little town with 4 shoe factories Lees, Ramsays, Crawfords and McCreath's and when the factory horns blew at midday all the factory workers walking through the town on their way home for the midday meal. Quite a crowd.

.....Starting school in the Huts behind Cairn School and moving up to the new Carrick Academy in about second grade. What a transition.

.....Sunday school picnics from the Glen Kirk always to Girvan. Marching to the station and boarding the train. Rev. Alec Williamson was the minister and Mrs. Williamson was always in charge of the buns and food.

......Singing in the choir of the Glen Kirk and always after the service on a Sunday night walking down the Low Road with chums and meeting and greeting other friends on the road. Always ending up at Amos Biagi's for ice cream and hot peas.

....Billy Arroll's taxi to the shore - before everyone had cars. It was a great place for picnics. We would even walk to the shore (4 miles) or ride bikes - what energy. Latterly my family had a little cottage at Croy shore where we spent wonderful summers at Croyburnfoot...

.....The Whist drives and dances at the Town Hall on a Friday night for all the different charities. We didn't go to the Whist but to the dances later - all dressed up in our long gowns.

carrickcinema.jpg (44630 bytes)... I  remember the cinema which played silent  movies with a pianist interpreting the movie. It cost us twopence to get  in and a penny for sweeties on a Saturday afternoon. If you were really well  off or courting you spent threepence for the plush seats at the back. Then along came the Carrick Cinema and then the Ailsa.

..... The Wednesday night concerts in the Memorial Park by the Burgh Band conducted by Johnny Hempkin who made the children stop running around and sit down and listen.

.....I remember meeting Robert MacBryde and also Robert Colquhoun in his  mother's small shop in Weaver Vennel. He must have been minding the shop  when his mother was away and he gave me a drawing lesson on how to draw a  hand. I never realised at that time that he could become so famous. I was a  small kid at the time.

.....The weekend War was declared on 3rd September l939 when all our lives changed. That weekend all the evacuation plans went into operation with the Red Cross and civic committees in full force. A train arrived in Maybole with children from Glasgow and before nightfall all these children were billeted with families in the town and many of them stayed with the families for a long time. There was such a wonderful spirit in the town and everyone pulled together to help. Luckily Glasgow was not bombed early in the War and we were designated a safe area. Soon our young men started to go off to the services and I well remember the terrible blackout where one could not show a chink of light from the windows or the Air Raid warden came to call. I joined the local Fire Brigade and everyone joined one of the organizations to help the war effort. As my father was Provost at the time and I worked with David Briggs the Town Clerk we were very involved in all the arrangements. A lot of charity affairs but no more long gowns and ration books for clothes and food became the order of the day.

.....My memories of the old town were from another era - a much slower time - but with much fun and I think back on it with great fondness I left it in l946 to travel the World but it will always have great memories for me

Margaret  Pedersen
Ithaca,  New York

sloan1.jpg (65905 bytes)I don't know too much about the Sloans history (click on photo on the left) although I do believe that it was their father who either was born or lived in Maybole. I remember meeting David and John but I was much more interested in their large chauffeur-drive car  at that age. My father [Provost McCulloch] was a Credit Draper when he started his own business and I really think that the old man Sloan had also been in that business but they had moved to Glasgow where they were in the Wholesale warehouse business. At that time before the days of cars and large stores people would order goods of all kinds through a credit  draper and they would take orders and go out to the country places delivering all kinds of goods and paid their bills by weekly installments. Once a week the salesman would go to Glasgow to fulfill the orders and it was there my father did business with the Sloans. They had a very large wholesale business and made a lot of money. My father was the one who initiated the project to build a Sports Pavilion in the park and got them to give the money to do it.  It was named the Sloan Pavilion.

I've been pouring through some old memory boxes and have come across a newspaper clipping of my father's death and it mentions his participation in the Sloan Pavilion. Many invitations to  affairs with  Royalty etc. and it has been interesting reading. In my mind I can still picture the High Street as it used to be and I had great fun trying to reconstruct the merchants in the 20's and 30's. I remember Alan Dent  and have his books. Also his father John Dent who had a candy shop at the Town hall. What an interesting old man he was. Well enough already - ... bringing back a lot of old memories.

Margaret  Pedersen
Ithaca,  New York

I am hopeless with names; I have a clear picture of events since 1920. I have had a series of strokes which has disabled part of my brain. I remember the secretary of the Baptist Church at that time - Hugh B MacFadzean; ( the boss of Jack's works. I remember one of the deacons , the chemist Martin Lindsay ( whose son I knew as boys, and has now inherited the business )

I wonder what has happened to Jim Strachen, the son of the local librarian. We used to first and second in the class.

The last time I identified with Maybole was in 1962. I was at the time taking part in a professional play, produced at the Westminster Theatre. After touring the main provincial theatres, we were invited to USA. We started in Los Angeles and went right across to Boston, and then Canada.

The incident happened in Palm Springs, where the Chairman of Rexalls, invited his neighbours and his house-guests who happened to be ex-President Dwight Eisenhower and the First Lady. ( after the world war II they gave him of Culzean Castle because of what he had done in the War).

Eisenhower wanted to meet the cast. I positioned my self at the end of the line. After the stars, he passed along the line. I stopped with the statement - "I come from Maybole, sir" to which he replied "oh, they want me to be chairman of the local bagpipe band." he enjoyed the conversation and introduced me to Mamie. 

Don Simpson

[Friends of ours gave us the web address and we passed it along to our Uncle Rev.Donald Simpson now 82 and retired to a London England nursing home. His Father the Rev. David Melville Simpson was invited to be the first full time minister in 1919 to the Baptist Church in Maybole. Arriving in Maybole they found the Manse not ready so found themselves occupying rooms in the house of Thomas Ramsey on Shore Road (the boot maker). David Simpson had three children a daughter- Elizabeth Brotchie Simpson ( my late mother-in-law) and Donald Simpson my wife's Uncle - still alive in England and David Simpson who died in 1952.. They attended the Primary School in army huts - the school itself had been burnt during WW1. They then were to be the first pupils in Carrick Academy which was then built. This is being sent to you to help fill in any "holes" in history. Donald Simpson's e-mail is ]
Arthur Thomas

I log on every week and read the Ayrshire Post headlines. In the Baptist church centenary celebrations I found a picture of my grandmother among a group of women cleaning for the church. I remember this picture well from my grandmother's house in the Ailsa buildings when I visited her as a child. It is so wonderful to bring up past history after l00 years. I think an aunt of mine Mary Lauchlan Martin may also be in the picture but I can't be sure of this. Thank you all so much for your good work on this.
Margaret  Pedersen
Ithaca,  New York

Italian Prisoner of War Camp in Maybole - by Peter Cleave

During the nineteen forties Murray gardens was used as a POW for Italian soldiers who were captured in the 1939 -1945 Second World War. I live in Murray Gardens now and I wonder what it was like living in the 1940s in Maybole. At that time in Alloway Road there were air raid shelters built to protect local people in the event of enemy air action. I remember visiting the shelters many years ago. They were quite dark dreary inside. It must have been frightening staying there during the war years, hearing aeroplanes at night in the sky above.

In Murray Gardens you can still see corrugated huts in the grounds of the SAS factory in Maybole. These were used as living quarters for the prisoners. I gather that after the war had ended some of the POWs stayed in Scotland, finding work to earn a living. I moved from Glasgow to Maybole in 1965. I had heard many stories about what it was like in Glasgow during the war, where many people died during air raids.

In Maybole there is a memorial to soldiers who fought and died during the war and there is a memorial service every year when a poppy wreath is laid to commemorate the dead. Thanks to Britain and the Allied Forces we now live in peace.