View of Ailsa Craig from Seaview Cottage
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 Jim McAlpine wrote the story below of his years as a youth at Seaview Cottage.   Photo by David Kiltie.   Larger photo   Other images

I was just looking over some of the pictures which you have recently posted on the Maybole web page. This one in particular grabbed my attention. I would estimate that the picture was taken from the approximate area of my grandparentsí cottage which used to be known as Seaview Cottage. I spent most of the summer holidays with my grandparents and used to awaken every morning and look at this very same view. This would be from about 1939 to about 1943. The farm steading to the right is Castlehill, the farmers at that time were the Duncans, the cottages in the middle were occupied the Jackson family, they worked on the farm. The farm to the left I believe is Balchriston. The Jackson boys taught me to fire a twelve gauge shotgun which belonged to my grandfather. In 1939 I was nine years - old heady days for a young fella. 

I enjoyed watching the trains run from Balchriston crossing to Knoweside and the coal boats sailing from Ayr to Larne. Later on during the second World War, I would see the bombers from Turnberry practising their bomb runs along the coast. There were many fatalities during WW2 training exercises and you only have to visit Dunure cemetery to see the headstones of many young men from many countries in the Commonwealth. I can recall watching one aircraft in particular and see what appeared to be a propeller dropping into the sea. The plane went down and a few days later while walking along the shore I came across a plane washed up on the sand. I don't know if it was the plane I had seen earlier but I can still recall even as a young lad, thinking about the crew and what happened to them.

On another occasion I was at home in Cairnfield Ave., Maybole. I was outside at the time when suddenly out of nowhere this Lockheed Hudson appeared at an altitude a little higher than the surrounding treetops. I remember thinking at the time Wow! Perhaps it was some other utterance as wow was not a household word in Scotland in those days, but I had never seen a flying aeroplane so close before. Apparently some of the residents took exception and reported it to the authorities at Turnberry aerodrome. It turned that one of the crew lived on Cairnfield Ave., and it was said that the entire crew got a reprimand.

 Jim McAlpine, now living in Ontario, Canada.


Seaview Cottage Revisited - by Bill McCubbin

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 thatís 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


What a wonderful winter picture of the Maybole railway station. I was employed by the London Midland & Scottish Railway Company from about 1944 until 1948 prior to my National Service service in the British army in 1948 until 1950, in 1950 I returned to my railway job at the Maybole station before I left for Canada in 1951. I was what was known as a booking agent selling tickets, making up payrolls as well as consigning packages and merchandise to all points in Scotland and the UK. The Station Master at that time was Mr William Riddell, he was actually native to Newmilns and as I recall he had a son who served in the RAF during the war. During my time at Maybole Station there was an upbound and a downbound track with waiting rooms on each side of the track. The traffic between Maybole and Ayr and points beyond was very substantial in those days. My brother David, now passed away was the signalman in the signal box which is no longer there. Janet Cook the wife of Murray Cook was one of the ladies with whom I worked during the latter part of the war years at the station. The London Midland & Scottish Railway afforded employment to many people from Maybole and surrounding area.

Another memory springs to mind which has an oblique association with Maybole station. A co-worker by the name of Alfie Caldwell who had recently returned from war service to employment with the London Midland & Scottish Railway. Alfie, his wife May and their daughter Rita, lived in the cottage at Balchriston Crossing which is on the Wrack road to the Maybole Shore. Well I was going to Ayr, probably for some reason or another and he asked me to pick up a box of 12 gauge shotgun shells for him, which I did. I was on the last train back from Ayr to Maybole, always the last train in those days, and unfortunately by the time the train got to Maybole I was sound asleep and ended up in Girvan, 12 miles to the south with no return train to Maybole. Alfie was waiting at Maybole station for his shells, He eventually gave up and went home. I had to hurry to the SMT bus station in Girvan to get the last bus back to Maybole. I presented him with his box of shells the next day at Maybole station, with a minimal explanation.

I remember the station as shown in these old photos with the exception of the signal box which is no longer there. The little addition at the gable end of the building was the stationmaster's office accessible only through the ticket office. The sliding door at the front led to the luggage and parcel area and this area in turn accessed the ticket office. I don't know if you knew of Willie Sherry, he had a horse and cart and was an independent contractor and was paid a certain amount for each parcel he delivered to the station for onward shipment. He got a lot of his business from the shoe factories in those days. The next door was the exit/entrance for train passengers and part of my job was to collect the tickets from the incoming trains. The trains from Ayr were particularly busy, especially the one which arrived about 6pm. When the rush of people finally subsided from that particular train and I had time to look at the tickets in my hand I quite often many things which had absolutely no resemblance to a railway ticket. The next door was the entrance to the lunch room where we enjoyed such gourmet meals as a cheese sandwich held in front of the open fire on a shovel, to toast it, and to be washed down with tea from an enamel mug. The pavilion across the road on the town green was also in existence at that time. Ah those were the days.

Jim McAlpine with Skye. Jim is now living in Ontario, Canada.
More of Jim's stories below