Tribute to Dr John McClure MBE

Friends of Seafield House Committee Member, Dr John McClure MBE, passed away peacefully at home on 30 January 2018, aged 74. John was diagnosed five years ago with bowel cancer. His courage and dignity shone, as did his warmth, humour and style; John’s signature bow ties a hallmark.

John served as a Registrar in Pediatrics at Seafield Children’s Hospital from 1970 to 1971, and as a Consultant from 1975 until its closure. He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List last year for services to pediatric healthcare.

John was Chairman of the Scottish Cot Death Trust (SCDT), a position he held since 2002, having joined the Trust in 1991. For the first time, the International Conference on SIDS, Stillbirth and Baby Survival will be held this year in Glasgow. SCDT is hosting the conference in June on behalf of the International Society for the Prevention of Perinatal and Infant Death (ISPID) and the International Stillbirth Alliance (ISA). That this prestigious event is coming to Glasgow is further testament to John’s trailblazing work over many years.

John was one of the leaders of the “Save Seafield” Campaign in 1978. In joining the campaign to SAVE Seafield House by Friends of Seafield House, with SAVE Britain’s Heritage and others, John showed his generosity of spirit in taking on another campaign: one close to his heart. Although John was unable to attend regular Committee meetings, he was active in supporting the campaign by telephone and email. Friends of Seafield House will continue its campaign with renewed drive in honour of John’s memory.

John’s funeral service was held this morning at Ayr St Columba Church. Over 600 people attended to pay their respects. The service was led by Rev Fraser Aitken. A collection was made for the Scottish Cot Death Trust. FoSH Chair & Secretary attended to represent FoSH, make our donation on behalf of Committee Members and give our tribute to the family.

15 February 2018


Responses to Public Exhibition on Seafield House Development : Extended Deadline for Receipt of Written Responses

Given the extended deadline that the developer econstruct has given for receipt of written responses to the public exhibition held at Ayr Town Hall on Thursday 5 October 2017, FoSH has decided to delay making public its position until all responses have been received. The developer has set a deadline of two weeks from the date of the public exhibition. For further information on the proposal and for a copy of the questionnaire on which to make comments, please email:

With the plans having made public on 5 October, FoSH can now publish the replies given by the developer to questions posed at our 4th AGM, the Minutes of which can be found on our website on the Committee Meetings and AGMs page. Questions and answers are given below:

Q1. Is there a joint venture partnership in place or has econstruct sold the site?
A1. Yes: with CALA. No: econstruct continues to own the site.

Q2. Will the development go to planning as one application or will two separate planning applications for apartments and new builds be made?
A2. One application will be made.

Q3. How many houses will be built in the grounds?
A3. 27 houses are planned for the grounds.

Q4. How many storeys will each house have?
A4. 2-storey houses are planned.

Q5. How will the title deeds for the apartments and houses be drafted to define the status of the stone perimeter wall?
A5. There will be shared title. The wall will be maintained by the development factor.

Q6. Can the SH site accommodate the new-build Malcolm Sargent House?
A6. No.

Public Exhibition: Seafield House Conversion into Apartments & Residential Development in the Grounds

Public Exhibition

Planning Application & Listed Building Consent for Seafield House
Conversion into Apartments & Residential Development in the Grounds

Thursday 5 October 2017 : 11am – 7pm

Ayr Town Hall

This is the first opportunity to see the proposals for Seafield House and grounds. Please see the advert in the 29 September 2017 issue of the Ayrshire Post for further details (page 58).

Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) Committee Members will attend to discuss the proposal that has been submitted by Edesign Architecture and Planning on behalf of the owners and give our view & comments.

On Friday 6 October 2017, we will post our view & comments on the proposal.

Contact FoSH at for further information.

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.

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

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.