Happy Birthday! Maybole Website
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Happy Birthday! Maybole’s Website is now one year old!

By Rich Pettit, Maybole Site Administrator.

From its first baby steps in cyberspace in August of last year and a few simple pages, Maybole’s Internet presence has grown to over 500 pages and 1600 images! Although only a year old the site’s growth has been tremendous even compared to the explosive growth rate of the Internet. This is a tribute to the enthusiasm of Maybole’s citizens and its worldwide netizens. Their generous contributions in many forms has made the site a great success. The activity on Maybole’s spot in cyberspace continues to accelerate in line with the rest of the Internet, as the number of pages and images viewed continues to grow by about 15% each month.

To celebrate its first year Maybole’s site has recently received some birthday presents in the form of site awards from some well-known site review agencies. These include an award from The Médaille d'Or for
Web Site Excellence and an award from the International Association of Web Masters and Designers. The site awards page may be seen at: www.maybole.org/Home/awards.htm

Site recognition has also come in the form of more compliments from visitors and requests from other sites to link with Maybole’s site. Recently the London based National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk ) asked to link to Maybole’s pages containing information about John Knox’s association with Maybole and the famous debate, which took place in the town in 1562.

Some recent visitor comments include the following:

We took you up on your invitation to take a look at your site, and were very impressed by what we saw. Congratulations on being awarded the Medaille d'Or for it!

Ken & Maureen Lussey

My family and I are researching our roots in Maybole. My mother has been doing a little research over the years, not making much progress. When I finally got online and found the Maybole site, we were just in awe! The site is fabulous! It has everything my mother has always dreamed of seeing in person. Thanks for letting us take a virtual visit to Maybole!
Maggie Anderson Bessette

It will be my pleasure to travel to the beautiful place my ancestors called home, hopefully one day soon. Through your site I can actually visualize their homeland. Frankly, it seems difficult to image why they would leave such a pretty place. Please keep up the great work. Your site is very well done!

Kate Young

Some of the new additions to the Maybole site in recent months include –

  • A 'What's New' page which helps frequent visitors find new pages or features recently added to the site. Site statistics indicate that many visitors are returning on a regular basis to view it. A link to this page may be found on the site’s homepage at www.maybole.org as the first item in the left-hand column. Many of the additions noted below may currently be found on the 'What's New' page.
  • A "site map" which provides a convenient method to scan much of the site’s contents and jump directly to pages of interest. A link to this index may also be found on the site’s homepage in the left-hand column.
  • A translation facility allowing visitors from other countries to translate and view the website in Spanish, French, German, Italian or Portuguese.
  • The Kennedy Family - The Kings of Carrick. A page of images, documents and links describing some of the association of this family with the region of Carrick.
  • A page for the Village of Minishant with images and links to other pages of news items, photogalleries and history about the village.
  • New or revised pages and links for community organisations such as the Ecumenical Prayer Group, The Carrick Colts Boys Club, The Dead End Club and The Haze.
  • A business directory featuring many of Maybole area merchants with their products and services has been added. Those wishing to be included in the directory are invited to do so free of charge. This is an opportunity for those with an interest in doing so to offer their products and services in a global marketplace no matter what the size of the business.

Just as reality is often stranger than fiction, news from the past can be just as fascinating as current events. The following passages are taken from "new" articles placed on Maybole’s website. The full text of these stories may be viewed on the website by following the links found on the 'What's New' page.

Misfortunes Seldom Single.-- A few days ago, the wife of a poor labourer named Barnard McVae, residing at Goat’s Green, Maybole (better known by the youngsters as Mary Meikle’s Shore) having been confined, one of her children about two years of age, while amusing itself about the doors tumbled into the well and was found there drowned by a neighbour who had gone there for water. - On Friday last, the father coming into the town to look after some work having, it is said, partaken too freely of spirits, missed his foot at the top of a stone stair in a house at "Pat’s Corner," fell to the bottom and was killed! Thus a poor family, lately requiring the aid of kind neighbours, are thrown entirely upon the public for support. This is a sad case. Intemperence as usual has not been behind in claiming his victim - slow it may be, but sometimes as in this instance fearfully sudden ; but, whether quick or slow, inevitably sure in the end. We must not forget the living however. Poverty has a heart and feelings. The benevolent will, we daresay, make a little subscription for a mother in her confinement, with a child and husband lying dead under the same roof- probably in her sight. Fiction could not heighten the shocking reality.’ Ayr Advertiser, April 10th 1851

[From an article contributed to the Maybole site by Bob Foulkes and the Alloway & Southern Ayrshire Family History Society]

Alexander Jack and Sons, Maybole

"To the city visitor who expects a free-and-easy condition of things in the country factory the office arrangements must be surprising. There is the enquiry counter, and behind it the counting house, just as though it were in the heart of Glasgow. Businesslike and spacious, the offices are on the second floor of the front building. The land slopes upwards to the back, and on a level with the counting house the large engineering shop extends back for about sixty yards on an earthen floor. Here all kinds of iron-turning machines are at work. Lathes varying from three feet bed up to sixteen feet; drills vertical and horizontal, planers, slotters, screw and tapping machines are cutting and shaping the metal parts of agricultural implements.

[ From an article contributed to the Maybole site by Elizabeth McFadzean and the Ayrshire Archaeological and Natural History Society.]

William Niven of Maybole

William Niven was a close friend of Burns while they attended Hugh Rodger’s School in Kirkoswald in 1776. In fact the three earliest recorded letters of Burns were written to him…. William Niven’s boyhood friendship with Robert Burns is far from being his sole claim to fame. In his own right he was a colourful, forceful character and probably the most influential figure in the life of Maybole 150 years ago…. Unfortunately, so forceful and abrasive was Bailie Niven’s personality that he acted on the Council like a kind of one-man-band, bulldozing his way through any objection or opposition with the result that his name appeared with monotonous regularity in the Council’s business…. When he died in 1844 there was little mourning for him. It is reported that as the pallbearers raised his coffin onto their shoulders, someone shouted derisively: "Hoist him up, he’ll never be nearer Heaven."

[From an article contributed to the Maybole site by Sheila Dinwoodie and the Alloway & Southern Ayrshire Family History Society]

It was just a year ago that David Kiltie sent me a message asking if I was "prepared to see the site expanded?" And so it has been. On this first anniversary of the site, I must give a special thanks to David as the site’s co-author for his trust, patience and numerous hours of support in the form of email correspondence, scanning of images and text, proofing of pages, advice, encouragement and much more. And my sincere gratitude also to the many Minniebolers everywhere for their most generous and extraordinary support for what is truly now a special site and connection for all those people around the world with a place for Maybole in their hearts.


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