FoSH New Membership Year 2017-2018

The new membership year started with our AGM on 15 May 2017 and it is time for membership renewals or for those who would like to become FoSH members to become a Friend of Seafield House. Corporate memberships are also welcome. Details are to be found in the Membership section of our website.

FoSH continue to monitor the building and will continue to update the local Seafield community by leaflet and personal contact and maintain our website, Facebook page and Twitter feed over the time that it takes for planning permission and consents for the restoration of Seafield House as residential apartments and the building of the small number of houses in the grounds as the enabling development.

We would welcome your support in this hopeful year for Seafield House. Please become a Friend or renew your membership by completing the form in the Membership section of our website.

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4th FoSH AGM : Monday 15 May 2017, 6.30pm : Ellisland House Hotel, Ayr

The 4th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) will be held on Monday 15 May 2017 at 6.30pm at the Ellisland House Hotel, 19 Racecourse Rd, Ayr KA7 2TD

Download a pdf of the Notice and Agenda here.

Following the business of the AGM, we will have a presentation on econstruct design and build’s plans for the restoration of Seafield House, which are now at pre-planning application stage.

We look forward to welcoming all those who can attend.

Recent coverage of Seafield House in online press

The Mail Online recently published an article showing photographs of the decaying interiors of Seafield House.  The images show the very sad state of the building with rotten ceilings and floors, with mould and damp and exposed brickwork.

images showing damp ceilings, mouldy fireplace boarded up window and damp wooden panelled walls

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4317448/Pictures-decaying-interior-abandoned-hospital.html

Unfortunately the article contains several inaccuracies and fails to mention Friends of Seafield House (FoSH), and the campaigning  FoSH has done  with SAVE Britiain’s Heritage to ensure that the house is not destroyed.  FoSH continue to push for progress on development of Seafield House and hope that action will be taken soon before what remains of the architectural detail decays beyond restoration.

FoSH would urge people not to attempt to enter the building.  Not only is the structure very unsafe, but the creation of entry points into the buildings will encourage others to go inside who could cause further damage, either accidentally or on purpose.

If you would like to do something to help Seafield House then support the work of FoSH and follow our news and events online.

Capturing the mood

A fabulous night was had by all at Waterstones Ayr as we gathered on World Book Day to listen to Beatrice Colin read from her novel To Capture What We Cannot Keep.

photogrraph of woman in a bookshop reading from a book with others sitting listening and drinking wine.

Beatrice Colin reads from her novel

Beatrice enthralled us with an excerpt from the air balloon excursion over Paris where Cait Wallace first meets Emile Nouguier.  To set the mood we were treated to french fizz, a delicious sparkling Blanc de Blanc, supplied by Corney & Barrow, Ayr. In recognition of the Seafield connection Beatrice also read an excerpt where Cait had returned to Glasgow and was meeting with William Arrol.

“The city lay beneath a fug of smog and smur.  At William Arrol’s ironworks in Dalmarnock, the yard was full of steel girders on their way to the Queensferry workshop for the new Forth Bridge.  Arrol’s office was on the first floor above the erecting shop.  In his letter he’d asked if she could drop by sometime the following day to see him about a personal matter. Cait’s timing was unfortunate, his secretary told her.  Arrol had just been given the news that a twenty-year-old rigger had died in a fall from the Forth Bridge construction site.”

Afterwards Beatrice gave us an insight into her research for the novel and how she so perfectly managed to capture the atmosphere and spirit of the period.  The attitudes, clothes, city sites and engineering work are so well described that you are transported to  late nineteenth century Paris and Glasgow at the time of the Eiffel Tower and Forth Bridge constructions. But all too soon the evening came to an end and Beatrice followed in Arrol’s footsteps, catching the train from Ayr back to Glasgow, albeit without steam engine or horse-drawn carriage to meet her at the other end.

Meet the author of Arrol/Eiffel inspired novel in Ayr

poster with an image of the book and details of th event.If our blog post about the launch of Beatrice Colin’s latest book, “To Capture What You Cannot Keep”, has whetted your appetite, then come along to join us for a drink and hear more about it at Waterstones Ayr on the 2 March at 7pm.

Beatrice will be there to discuss and read excerpts from her novel, and if the Glasgow launch is anything to go by, it will be a very enjoyable evening. Afterwards Beatrice will be happy to sign copies of her book.

The novel is beautifully written and and builds a very evocative atmosphere of Paris in the late 1880s. It is based around the construction of the Eiffel Tower, and as it grows, so does the romance between Caitriona Wallace and Emile Nougier. Cait and the Arrol niece and nephew are fictional creations, but many of the characters are based on historical figures and have been well researched, including William Arrol. Although he isn’t one of the central characters, he has a strong presence throughout the novel and has been sympathetically portrayed. In the story, during an encounter with William Arrol, a reference is made to the house he was building in Ayr “with a vast conservatory and a view of the Firth of Clyde”, what was to become Seafield House.

Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) have organised the evening in association with Waterstones Ayr who are putting on the event to celebrate World Book Day and the launch of the novel, with its Ayr connections. Drinks will be served in store from 6.30pm and members of the FoSH committee will be there to answer any questions about Seafield House and Sir William Arrol.

Tickets are free and available now from Waterstones in Ayr or by phoning 01292 262600.  Further details are on the Waterstones Ayr website and Facebook page.

Arrol and Eiffel inspiration captured in fiction

Last night saw the launch, in Glasgow, of Beatrice Colin’s latest novel To Capture What We Cannot Keep.  It is a story of love in the 1880s set around the construction of the Eiffel Tower and may be the first work of fiction to feature Sir William Arrol.

Cover artwork with image of the Eiffel Tower

It follows the romance between Émile Nouguier, one of the engineers who designed the Eiffel Tower and Cait Wallace, a young widow and chaperone to Alice and James, a niece and nephew of Sir William Arrol. Whilst Cait and the Arrol siblings are purely fictional characters, Beatrice has cleverly woven them into a story based around historical fact.  She was inspired to write the story following a visit to Paris which sparked her interest in the Eiffel Tower and she chose Émile Nouguier as a central character for the story.  Beatrice also wanted to introduce a Scottish dimension to the story and it was only when she discovered that Gustave Eiffel had attended the opening of the Forth Bridge that the Arrol connection was made.  As Beatrice has pointed out, both Nouguier and Arrol are responsible for building famous iconic structures, like the Eiffel Tower and the Forth Bridge, and yet, despite their achievements, the two engineers are relatively unknown.

Beatrice Colin lives in Glasgow and is a novelist and lecturer in creative writing, and this is her 7th published book.  It was during her research on Sir William Arrol that first introduced Beatrice to Friends of Seafield House, when she came along to the launch of the campaign, back in 2012.  Since then we have been intrigued to hear how her story developed and eagerly anticipated its completion.

To celebrate its publication, Friends of Seafield House have arranged with Waterstones bookshop in Ayr to host an evening event with Beatrice Colin on 2 March.  Keep an eye on this page for further details if you would like to come along and hear Beatrice read some excerpts and talk about her novel.

Tower Bridge : Acknowledging Sir William Arrol’s contribution

Tower Bridge in London is considered by many to be the finest bascule bridge in the world, an icon of bridge building. Designed by Horace Jones and John Wolfe Barry, its construction owes much to Sir William Arrol’s innovation and engineering expertise. His company – one of five main contractors – was responsible for the construction of the central steel structure that is hidden from view, but provides the bridge’s core strength. His success in constructing, in steel, the Forth Bridge – another of the world’s iconic bridges – led to the significant commission at Tower Bridge.

Colour photograph of Tower Bridge showing the central towers, bascules and side spans.

Tower Bridge, London

Construction of Tower Bridge took eight years. Arrol’s construction of the bascules, side spans, towers and walkways involved over 11,000 tonnes of steel, each section manufactured at the Dalmarnock Works in Glasgow and shipped to London. The visible stone structure is both protective of the steel core and decorative.

Until the summer of this year, Arrol’s role in the construction of this iconic bridge was lesser known. Through our website, FoSH was contacted by Dirk Bennett, Tower Bridge’s new Exhibition Development Manager, who knew of Sir William’s contribution and wished to make it visible. FoSH was delighted to provide background detail. In July, Sir William Arrol’s portrait was placed alongside those of Horace Jones, John Wolfe Barry and Sir William Armstrong, the hydraulics engineer, in Tower Bridge’s main exhibition hall.

colour photograph showing the 4 portraits on display at Tower Bridge Exhibition.

Portraits in Tower Bridge Exhibition: Sir Horace Jones, Sir William Arrol, Sir William Armstong, Sir John Wolfe Barry. Photograph ©Tower Bridge Exhibition

 

Sadly, the research for the Tower Bridge element of the engineering and construction series that Rob Bell presented for Channel 5’s current series, “Britain’s Greatest Bridges: Discover how six of Britain’s most iconic bridges were designed and constructed”, did not reference Sir William Arrol. Indeed – surprisingly, given the programme title – those responsible for Tower Bridge’s construction were entirely overlooked. Happily, in the previous programme on the Forth Bridge, Rob Bell paid full tribute to Arrol’s innovation and construction prowess.