We are  interested in collecting photographs or artefacts from Seafield House, or relating to Sir William Arrol, to share via the website and to display for exhibitions.  If you have something you would like to share or loan to us please get in touch via the Contact Us page.  Alternatively you could email your photographs with some background information about them to  All contributions are gratefully accepted.

Memories of Seafield House

We would love to hear your  memories of Seafield House.  Please feel free to add any stories you have using the comment box at the bottom of the page.


53 thoughts on “Memories

  1. We’ve been sent another lovely memory from a former Seafield Hospital nurse, Morag Boyle nee McGhee. Thanks to Morag for letting us share it with you. I don’t imagine there are many hospitals now that take in orphan lambs!

    “As I am approaching my retirement after 45 years as a paediatric nurse I have fond Memories of Seafield hospital . I started my training april 1976 as a Student Paediatric Nurse . We did our training at Blendon school of nursing . Stayed in Strathdoon Nurses home while I was training . Miss Robertson was the Matron then along with Miss Addis and Sister Sutherland . I qualified in 1979 and went on to Work firstly as a Staff Nurse in the Childrens Medical Ward my first ward Sister was Elsie/ Main Strang , Our Paediatric Consultants were Dr Ruthven Dr McClure and Dr BLair. It was a lovely ward with its own veranda and we frequently nursed the babies in the prams outside in the fresh air in the garden there . At One time we had a n orphan lamb From Mr Thomson the surgeons Farm and the lamb had its own feeding regime ! I am sure some people will remember this .
    There were many social occasion hospital dances and Burns suppers held in the big grand hall in the main building . We used to hold the childrens Christmas parties there too .
    I went on to work as a Staff Nurse in the Orthopaedic ward such a happy ward with a lot of long term patients some of which were in the ward for over a year and nurse on leather frames to treat the perthes disease . In the good weather they would sleep in their barrow beds on the Veranda . Consultants at the time were MR Watt and Mr Brown ,
    I nursed in various settings before Seafield closed and then we moved on to The Seafield unit at Ayr hospital . Still working in Paediatrics yet in Ayrshire and Arran .”

  2. I trained at Seafield as a Registered nurse from 71 to 74. I then worked there as a Staff Nurse until 81 when I left for Canada. I remember some of the patients in the notes above and Dr McFarlane, Dr Watt, DDr Lewis, Sister Sutherland, Sister Christie, Sister Addie and MacDonald. Where the babys milk was prepared was called the “Coo Hoose”. It was one of the best times of my life. We used to get invites to dinners and dances at HMS Gannet and I married one of the officers there. I am now in Dallas Tx and am still working as a nurse 50 years after I started.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your lovely memory and congratulations on 50 years in nursing. It’s wonderful that you recognise some of the people from the comments here. I am sure reading this there will be many who remember you too…as well as the “Coo hoose”. It really seems to have been a very special community within the hospital. I love that it also extended outside your working lives too, opening up invitations to social events.

  3. I was along term patient in Seafield Hospital from 1958-1959 . I was there when Princess Margaret opened the sunshine veranda built by money raised in the community . She came and spoke to the long term patients . They decided to move some of the long term patients beds onto the veranda and ended up leaving us out there day and night for six months or more !
    I have many stories of that time and the difficulties it caused for patients and nurses . I was in and out from I was 6 til I was 9 . I was only allowed home 3 times in that period !

    • Thank you so much for sharing this memory. It must have been hard being in hospital for so long and not being able to go home. I love the idea of patients sleeping on a veranda and I imagine being in the fresh air would have helped. I hope that you will write down your stories and share more of them with us.

  4. I have memories of being in Seafield in 1968 (I think) when in fact Princess Alexandria came to visit, I was 3 years old and I am more than positive I was in the daily paper at that time waving a flag in my cot,does anyone else remember this and have any photos or footage,thank you in advance.

      • Hi K…
        Thank you very much for the swift and positive response,and for the great photos and knowing the exact dates of the royal visit.


  5. I was in Seafield back in 1956 I was only about two years old but those memories are my earliest.
    Looking back now it must have been quite traumatic for both me and my parents,Seafield was a long
    long way from my home in Saltcoats and they would to come to visit me in the bus and of course it was just the public phone box to phone the hospital.
    My memory is of me standing in my cot,it was in the corner, and I was entertaining the painters.
    who were redecorating the ward around us.Imagine that nowadays. I can also remember my
    Mother and my lovely Gran coming to visit and the screaming match I had when they went to leave,
    I knocked my Grans hat off. They’re journey home in the bus must have been very difficult.
    I was down at Seafield today for the first time since then, it’s a very sad sight I just hope it can be
    saved and have a new life as something else.

    • Thanks for sharing your poignant memory with us Gordon. It never ceases to amaze me how people have such fond memories of Seafield despite the traumatic circumstances while they were there. The condition of the building is very poor but there are plans to convert it into flats and build new properties in the grounds. We are eagerly awaiting the developer to submit the application for planning permission early in 2019 and any news will be posted on our website.

  6. I have many memories of Seafield hospital and it’s staff. I gave birth to my son in irvine central when I awoke I found my son has Spina Bifida and he was I first saw my baby days later in the arms of a nurse who had an apendex removed in an emergency op. As I walked toward her she smiled and said come hold him. We was then lead to the tiny turret where there was another 4 babies all very ill. Sadly within a short time only my son Christopher was left. Later when Chris had been through meningitis and many opperations he was about 1yr and I walked in to hear a real big belly laugh and the black nurse said your son just called me mammy. It was funny he was as white as snow. I also owe debt of gratitude to sister Martin a true angel I believe emigrated to Canada. Many thanks to all staff. But MR JACK MASTARDY. saved my baby’s life twice god rest his soul he’s in heaven now and we’ll deserved ..update Chris is 48yrs now and doing great. Many thanks.

    • What a traumatic time you and Chris went through but fantastic to hear that despite so many illnesses in his early years he is doing well now. We have had so many complements on the skill and personal care at people received at Seafield Hospital, showing that it really was a special place and still held dear in people’s hearts. I also find it interesting how all the rooms were used – even the wee turret. Thanks very much for sharing your story.

  7. My eldest daughter spent a week in Seafield after have a convulsion.It was spring time 1978 and I remember someone bought a lamb in and the children had a photo with the lamb.The photo was published in the local paper.I’d love a copy of that picture,it must be in achives somewhere.My next daughter had to have her blood topped up with plasma as she was very small.Lastly my son was taken there when he died,a victim of cot death.It was Dr McClure that teated my girls,a lovely man

    • Susan thanks very much for sharing your connection with the hospital and that despite you going through very difficult times there with your children you still have a place in your heart for the hospital. I am sure that has much to do with the wonderful staff who worked there, like Dr McClure. He was on the Committee of Friends of Seafield House and we were all very saddened by his recent passing.
      We don’t hold archives for the hospital but you may be able to find a copy in the Ayrshire Libraries or an online newspaper collection. I will certainly keep my eyes out for a copy in my research and if I come across it I will send you a copy.

  8. I spent a lot of time here in the 60s with a severe burn. I remember my brother coming up the spiral staircase with a cone. The ice cream fell off before he got there!! On a brighter note, I can still smell the delicious soup.

    • Thanks for sharing your memory Alison. It would have seemed a long way up the stairs for a wee boy and he must have been really upset to lose his ice cream before the top, providing memorable distraction for you.

  9. I had my tonsils out when I was 2 or 3 , probably around 1974. I have a deep aversion to macaroni cheese and remember being upset because a big boy called me a baby.
    I was back at Seafield in 1984 having pins removed from my hip (had the pin put in at Ayr County because I was actually too tall for the beds at Seafield so no idea why I had my second op at Seafield) The surgeon was Paddy McNally – he used to pretend he was going to tickle my foot, which I hated because I would flinch and it hurt!

    • No wonder you were upset, I am sure you were being as brave as you could be getting your tonsils out at the age of 2-3 years old, and then being back at Seafield 10 years later.

  10. I remember the Rocking Horse in Seafield Hospital, when my brother was an outpatient. I was in a ward at the age of 10. For something that I don’t like to think about thought doctors and nurses was brilliant in 1991.

    • I wonder how many others remember that rocking horse? Thanks for getting in touch, the fantastic care provided by the hospital staff certainly seems to have made the difference in turning what could have been an unpleasant memory into a good one, for many people who contact us.

  11. I was in Seafield around 1967-ish when I had my adenoids out (aged about 5). The photo on the Gallery page from 1890 of the central open space certainly brings back strong memories. The posh furnishings of the private house were long gone by the 1960s, but I clearly remember that wooden balcony around four sides of the open central lobby. My hospital bed was directly in front of a door that looked directly out to that balcony. When my mother and aunt came to visit me in the ward, they would always come round the far side of the walkway first, so that they could wave to me across the open lobby before continuing around to enter the ward. When they left, they would wave back from the other side of the balcony across that central open space. I don’t remember any other details of the house, but that balcony really sticks in my mind from 50 years ago.

    • Hi David
      What a lovely memory. It certainly was an impressive balcony so no wonder you remembered it, even as a 5 year old boy. The heavy gothic-style carving of the wooden balustrade and wooden paneling made for a very grand main hall and in Sir William Arrol’s time music recitals were held there. There are several rooms off the upper balcony and I wonder which room it was your were in. If you looked directly out at the balustrade I am guessing you may have been in one of the rooms on the opposite side from the staircase. Those were originally the rooms of Cecilia Murray, the niece that lived with Sir William and his wife as a daughter. We have been pulling together all the information we have about the house from that time and will be writing up a series of blog posts about them, so do keep an eye on the website to find out more. Thank you for sharing.

  12. I spent a lot of time in Seafield between 1956 and 1959. I remember being allowed to stand at the door of the polio ward to talk to the children but not allowed being allowed to go in. There was a smaller ward upstairs with four beds and I watched many programmes ( without any sound on) on a wee television while all the other weans had visitors because being from Stranraer and having siblings at home, my parents could not get to visit much. One ward downstairs had big windows giving a view of what seemed like a forest. Professor Abramson was the consultant treating me.

    • Thanks for sharing your memory with us Sally. It must have been hard for you to spend so much time in hospital away from your family. Despite that, it sounds as though you have fond memories of it. The house is still surrounded by beautiful mature trees and it is expected that many of those will be retained once development takes place.

  13. I spent a long time in Seafield -I had burst appendix and was very ill. I remember a surgeon who operated on me, on his rounds he would call me Brown Eyes. I remember Princess Margaret coming to visit the hospital but I was too excited to wait for her-I wanted to play in the new play area. As soon as I couldngetntonthebplay area myself , I was there, but that was day Princess Margaret arrived!!! There were pictures of Princess Margaret with some of the patients in the Ayrshire Post. I think it was around 1957/58.

    • Thank you for sharing your memory. I didn’t know about Princess Margaret’s visit so I’ll be following that up in the old newspapers to add it to our timeline of the history of the house.

  14. I was an SHO at Seafield in 1977 when it was a pediatric hospital. My late wife and I lived in I think Brookfield cottage which was at that time married quarters. We also had the use of a ” mobile home ” in the hospital grounds. I remember the building and the wards. There was an open air area for kids orthopaedics where the children with Perthes disease of the hips were kept on frames to maintain the position of the hips. They sleep outdoors most of the summer months. There was a room in the tower with beautiful views which us junior doctors used to study for our exams. I went on to train at Ayr County, Irvine General and Ballochmyle before emigrating to Canada. I found this site purely by chance and it has brought back great memories of days gone by. Thank you and good luck to Seafield.

    • Thank you for sending in such an interesting memory. We always love to learn more about the house and how it was used and your story has really added to that. It must have been so frustrating for children with Perthes disease being immobilised in frames but at least they had beautiful grounds where they could get some fresh air and distractions (although it’s hard to imagine anyone sleeping outside with our Scottish summers!) From our research we think that the room on the second floor of the tower was the parlour Sir William Arrol used for business when he was working at home. It would have offered more seclusion and quiet from the rest of the house and so it is not surprising that it was also used by the junior doctors for their studies. Now that you have discovered the website I hope you will continue to follow it, offer your support and see what the future brings for Seafield.

  15. I spent lots of time in Seafield as a child in the 70s and had many ear operation I always remember the rocking horse at the bottom of the staircase I loved playing on this, I also remember when I was too ill to go down i was taken out of the ward to the top of the stairs to wave to my sister as she wasn’t allowed to come up no idea why now.

    • Thanks very much for sharing your memories. It is good to hear that you think fondly of Seafield Hospital despite having to have so many operations. Sadly the House itself has not received any remedial treatment since it was bought for development. Please keep following the campaign and we will keep you posted with what is happening.

  16. My Son Stuart was a Patient in Seafield Hospital Ayr for 6 weeks as he was in traction for a dislocated Hip when he was 2 years and the care he recieved by the nurses and by mr Douglas Brown the Orthapedic Surgeon then when the new Ayr Hospital was opened my son was one of the first patients and he had to have hip surgey then age 7 and he was mr Brown last patient as he was retireing to take over as Chairman of the Hospital so my son Stuart was a hospital VIP

  17. I was a patient in Ayr Seafield Hospital in 1965, 1966 i was in the hospital for 3 months I can remember a lovely nurse who used to look after me The name Nurse Yuille or something similar rings a bell with me My name then was Agnes Lindsay (Enis) i think she was a Farmers Daughter I have though of her often

    • Thanks for sharing your memory with us. I imagine it must have been quite daunting at the time to spend 3 months in hospital and that Nurse Yuille must have made it as pleasant an experience as possible for you. It is amazing how memories of these kindnesses stay with us all our lives. It is wonderful to think that Seafield touched on so many people’s lives and that it will continue to do so.

  18. Having spent a lot of time there you must have many memories of how impressive the building was and of the beautiful interiors. I have only seen them in photographs. I wish I had seen them in person.

  19. I spent a lot of time in seafield hospital during 1970’s having had a few hip operations by Mr brown

  20. I spent a few days every year from the age of 4 till 11 with hearing problems. I was alwYs in a big ward upstairs … 2 different ones that remember. They were wood panelled and one had huge windows along 2 walls with beds between windows. The view was of the huge trees surrounding the house. I remember with dread the feeling of walking in to the all wood hallway with huge fireplace and clearly remember a rocking horse being there every time I visited. I remember the tv being wheeled in to watch Top of the Pops in middle of ward and the nurses commenting on Kim Carnes voice … Which was 1981. I don’t have fond memories of my time there but feel a real heart tugging every time I see it. The building with its grand entrance and iconic twisting steps are still beautiful … It’s such a shame to see it in such a sorry state. I would love to see pics if the old wards & rooms if anyone has any … And if course to see this beautiful building saved!

    • Thanks for sharing your memory of Seafield House. It is great to hear of the strong attachment people have to the building despite, as you say, not perhaps having the fondest memories of their stay there whilst receiving medical care. We hope that there will be a positive decision made soon on the sale of the house and that it will be saved for future generations to enjoy.

  21. Does anyone remember the story in the Ayrshire Post in either the 60’s or 70’s about the woman who claimed to have seen the ghost of the woman who was supposedly pushed over the balcony on the night of Halloween? I happen to know the truth 🙂 my Granny in Law was there working the back shift and her and some colleagues were a bit naughty and were sworn to secrecy! Hahahaha! Anyone want to know what actually happened?

    • Thanks for the intriguing question. I am not familiar with the newspaper article you mention but I did read a booklet about Seafield Hospital which said that the ghost of Sir William Arrol’s first wife, Elizabeth Pattison, was reported to “roam the balcony at night” after having “committed suicide by jumping off the first floor balcony”. So there seem to be a few stories of ghosts in Seafield House and of who they might be. I’d be very interested to hear more of yours and the truth behind the newspaper article…. if you are willing to share. Or if you prefer not to “go public” with it you could email it to – and I promise not to tell!

  22. I was a patient in the hospital in, I think, 1979 with appendicitis. Sadly, I don’t have too many memories of the building, except for the occasional walk round the grounds with nurse {sorry, forgotten the name} and the wards. I was in the one near to the front door as well as the one a bit nearer the stairs, at the bottom of the corridor from the operating theatre. I cannot believe the state this building is in. I feel a sort of emotional affinity to it, as I very nearly died in there.

    Will the building be saved? I realise not in the way I remember it, but at least save the building from the years of neglect it suffered. I’d love to see it again, even from the outside…..

    • Many thanks for your memory of Seafield House in its days as a children’s hospital. There is hope that the house will be restored by way of enabling development. We will post news soonest.

  23. That’s great news to hear he’s involved. Please do. I have no issues with my hip (I’m 43) although I’m no athlete! Keep up the great work and I will follow and support the campaign.

  24. I had a hip operation in Seafield in 1972 by the surgeon Douglas Brown. I have vivid memories of it and I was only 2 at the time. So sad to see it like this as it was a big part of my childhood and made me what I am today! Great news on a possible restoration.

    • Thanks for sharing your memory of Seafield. Douglas is a great supporter of the campaign. We will pass on your message. We will keep on campaigning for this remarkable building to be saved! Thank you for your support!

  25. I had many operations for Ear trouble in Seafield… what a shame such a gorgous building , be left to decay… Many people should hang their heads in shame…… i often pass it + feel really sad to look at it now… KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK FRIENDS OF SEAFIELD…

  26. I was born in Seafield in 1943 and then was back in for a small operation when i was 8 or there abouts, i am in Australia now but at no time did i ever think that there would be no Seafield, we have to keep it.

    • Apologies for the delay in replying! We appreciate your comment. We will keep up the campaign and would welcome you joining FoSH as a new member!

  27. My son was hospitalised many times as a child due to asthma. I remember sitting on a big leather sofa in the hall surrounded by beautiful wood panelling during the night [while he slept]. It was a peaceful retreat, from the daytime bustle of Dr’s, Nurses, tests, medication, etc, where I was able to gather my thoughts and strength for the next day! I would love for the building to be resurrected and saved for generations to follow!

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