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.
The family consisted of my grandparents David
and Agnes and their children, David, Jenny,
Mungo and James (my father).
our growing up years we were very familiar with
the "Secret Works'(pronounced Saycrit Works) by
the old folks. My "Seaview" grandfather also had
a few of these old sayings, such as, did you "steek
the yett"? Which he more or less uttered every
time I came in from the road, making sure that I
had shut the gate. He also would refer to my
father as faither, but to my ears it always
sounded like he was saying feather.
I'm sure that Uncle Mungo's involvement with the
"Secret Works" was limited to securing, cutting
and delivering timber to the factory. He bought
a new Fordson tractor fitted with a flywheel,
presumably to belt drive a power saw to cut he
required timber. My late brother David who
accompanied me to Canada was afflicted with
severe asthma from early childhood until early
adulthood. About 1939 and on advice from Dr.
James Rennie that perhaps the air around the
"Secret Works" would be beneficial for David, he
was sent off to live with his grandparents at
Wee Craigfin. He stayed there for about two
years, attending school at Kilkerran.
think that the move had any impact, for the
better, on his asthma, as a matter of fact in
later years he started smoking vile smelling
herbal cigarettes, again on the recommendation
of the doctor. I'm not sure that the cigarettes
gave him much relief either. What I am sure of
though is that the smell made one of our cabin
mates on the ship to Canada sit bolt upright in
the middle of the night, he thought that his
mattress was on fire. David did eventually get
medical treatment in Canada which gave him
enormous relief from a chronic condition.
remember one night towards the end of the war
walking down the road from Wee Craigfin to get
the train back to Maybole. I can't recall ever
walking on a road where there was absolutely no
light, no moon, no stars, nothing. There were
woods on either side of the road from which
would come the occasional rustle or scurry, this
prompted the adrenal to kick in and drive the
legs a bit faster. It was absolutely great to
eventually see the lights of Kilkerran station.
Mungo was a man of many talents and was quite
adept with blasting powder and dynamite, he was
often sought out by local farmers to clear large
rocks from their fields. Aunt Jenny was a great
cook and around New Year I would enjoy one of
her many specialities, black bun, yum, yum.
are the memories of childhood, boyhood and young