Update on Seafield House in the SAVE Summer 2014 newsletter

image of the article on Seafield House from the newsletter

SAVE Newsletter, Summer 2014 – Seafield House article

SAVE Britain’s Heritage continue to provide tremendous support to the Friends of Seafield House and have featured an update on the Seafield House campaign in their Summer 2014 newsletter. The article  covers the neglect of Seafield House, the continued refusal by NHS Ayrshire & Arran of the £1,000 financial assistance SAVE offered towards gutter cleaning, and our hope that the sale will be concluded soon with a sympathetic new owner.

The Summer 2014 newsletter provides updates on SAVE’s ongoing campaigns, including the recent success of their campaign to save Smithfield Market.  Download the full Summer 2014 newsletter from the SAVE website.


Seafield House campaign features in the SAVE October 2013 newsletter

Article from the SAVE Britain's Heritage October 2013 newsletter featuring an update on the Seafield House Campaign

SAVE Newsletter, October 2013 – Seafield House extract

SAVE Britain’s Heritage continue to provide tremendous support to the Friends of Seafield House.  Further to making Seafield House their building of the month, they have featured an article on the Seafield House campaign in their October 2013 newsletter.  The newsletter provides updates on SAVE’s ongoing campaigns, including Seafield House, and buildings that have been saved, lost or are at risk.

Read the full SAVE newsletter on the SAVE Britain’s Heritage website.

SAVE make Seafield House their Building of the Month


SAVE Britain’s Heritage is a campaigning and conservation group championing the cause of endangered historic buildings. SAVE have been firm supporters of Friends of Seafield House from the beginning, offering fantastic support and advice.  We are delighted that, on the back of Ryden’s marketing drive and Developers Open Day, SAVE have featured Seafield House on their website as Building of the Month.

SAVE President Marcus Binney says: “we welcome the NHS trust’s decision to put the house on the market with the focus on restoration by means of enabling development. It is vital that the price sought takes account of the work needed to repair the listed building. The NHS Trust that owns it does not insure it as it has a self-insuring policy. In this case no money at all has been spent on repairs. To achieve a good scheme with a sensitive and a not excessive amount of new build in the grounds, it is vital to acknowledge the need for a scheme which provides the necessary investment in the historic building. It is also vital that in any planning permission the developer is obliged to repair the building at the same time that the first quarter of the development takes place. There should be no prospect of the land being sold off separately for development while the house is left derelict and unrepaired.”

– Exhibition to Commemorate the Centenary of the Death in Ayr on 20 February 1913 of Renowned Scottish Engineer & Contractor Sir William Arrol (1839-1913)

Exhibition to Commemorate the Centenary of the Death in Ayr on 20 February 1913 of Renowned Scottish Engineer & Contractor Sir William Arrol (1839-1913) 

Carnegie Library Foyer, 12 Main Street, Ayr KA8 8EB : 11-23 February 2013

Opening hours: Monday & Tuesday 9.00am – 7.30pm; Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 9.00am – 5.00pm;  Thursday  10.00am – 7.30pm ; Sunday  CLOSED


To commemorate the centenary of the death in Ayr on 20 February 1913 of renowned Scottish engineer & contractor Sir William Arrol, Friends of Seafield House is mounting a Foyer Exhibition at the Carnegie Library, Ayr from 11 to 23 February 2013.

The exhibition focuses on Sir William Arrol’s life at Seafield House in Doonfoot Road, Ayr; his engineering & contracting achievements, which include the construction of iconic structures including the Forth Rail Bridge & London Tower Bridge; & his public service as Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for South Ayrshire from 1895 to 1906.

The exhibition is researched & written by Rob Close & Brian Williamson with design by Big Blue Dog & production by Owen Kerr Signs. Photographic images have been sourced from the Royal Commission on Ancient & Historic Monuments (RCAHMS), Glasgow City Archives & the Carnegie Library’s Scottish & Local History Library.

Photo of display cabinet containing photographs andmemorabilia about Sir William Arrol and Seafield House

There will be information on how the public can nominate Sir William Arrol for induction into the Engineering Hall of Fame in this Centenary Year & the campaign mounted by Friends of Seafield House to propose “The Arrol Bridge” as a name that will go out for public vote in Transport Scotland’s “Name the Bridge” competition for the name of the new Forth Crossing.

Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) was established on 15 October 2012 to support SAVE Britain’s Heritage & others who are working to SAVE Seafield House & secure a new use for this important B listed building in Ayr. Further information can be found on the FoSH website www.friends-of-seafield-house.org.uk.

– SAVE Seafield House : Public Meeting : Saturday 1 December 2012 : Photocall at Seafield House 10:15 : Meeting at The Old Racecourse Hotel 11:00

SAVE Seafield House 

PUBLIC MEETING : Saturday 1 December 2012
Photocall at Seafield House 10:15
Meeting at The Old Racecourse Hotel 11:00

A5 Flyer FOSH Public Meeting, 1 December 2012

Come & show your support for the campaign to SAVE Seafield House!

10:15 Photocall at Seafield House

followed by

 Public Meeting 11:00 – 12:30

The Old Racecourse Hotel, 2 Victoria Park, Ayr KA7 2TR

Tea/coffee will be served

11:00 Presentation

Patrick Lorimer, architectural adviser to Friends of Seafield House & Rob Close, Chair, Friends of Seafield House will set out the campaign to support SAVE Britain’s Heritage & others in rescuing Seafield House  from the threat of demolition & proposals to secure its future.

11:15 – 12:30 Open Session

Seafield House is much loved by residents of the Seafield area, the people of Ayr & many nationally & internationally as the former home of Sir William Arrol.

Share your memories of Seafield House & discuss your ideas & suggestions for campaigning activities and support the campaign by SAVE Britain’s Heritage & others to SAVE Seafield House.

– Meeting to establish Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) on 15 October 2012

Friends of Seafield House (FOSH) was established on 15 October 2012 to support the campaign by SAVE Britain’s Heritage among others to save Seafield House, securing a new use for the building & developing proposals for its restoration.

Over 15 of Scotland & Britain’s leading conservation architects & engineers, architectural historians, academics, authors, entrepreneurs & local residents met in Ayr to launch their campaign to SAVE Seafield House. Two Arrol family members are involved: Andrew Arrol who has become a Patron & Kirsty Menzies as a Founding Friend.

The meeting was introduced by Marcus Binney, President of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, and Patrick Lorimer, Director of ARPL Architects who are spearheading the campaign. The new Friends of Seafield House unanimously endorsed their initial proposals to rescue the building, beginning with a swift programme of urgent works to stop further deterioration during the forthcoming winter.

Video kindly provided by ELGATO Film Productions

Marcus Binney says:
“Ruined castles tower houses and mansions have survived centuries of abandon and neglect all over Scotland and during the past  60 years not just dozens but hundreds have been brought back to life and use by enterprising new owners. Seafield House must not be allowed to join the long list of over 200 major historic houses demolished in Scotland since 1945”

Patrick Lorimer says:
 ”Not only is the building iconic in the  light of its original owner it is also a critical and vital element within  the historic landscape of this unique part of Ayr, it should and can be  rescued”

Andrew Arrol, one of two Patrons of the Friends of Seafield House, who as Surveyor to York Minster, is in charge of one of the most important and ambitious repair and restoration programmes in the British Isles, says:
“In my view Seafield House can certainly be saved. It is very well built of good durable materials and potential has many years of life ahead of it.”

Charles Blackett-Ord, a leading structural engineer with long experience of endangered historic buildings who also attended the meeting says:
 “Despite the loss of most of the roof in the fire, the walls remain substantial and stable and a quite modest programme of urgent works could safeguard the building while plans are drawn up for its rescue”

Seafield House owners, NTS Ayrshire & Arran, seem reluctant to discuss Seafield House with SAVE Britain’s Heritage despite SAVE having a wealth of success in achieving new uses for buildings, including Dumfries House. The NHS Trust refused all attempts to secure a hard-hat site visit for Marcus Binney, Patrick Lorimer & a core group of eminent conservation professionals. The refusal was made despite each professional having the required indemnity cover. The group instead had to inspect the neglected exterior of Seafield House. Its conclusion was unanimous: Seafield House can be saved.

Over a lunch meeting at the Savoy Park Hotel, those present discussed next steps in the campaign, including a Public Meeting in December and an event in February 2013 to celebrate the Centenary of Sir William Arrol’s death.  Two substantial proposals were put on the table. The first proposal is for a phased programme of repairs, the first phase of which would consist of re-roofing the house and creating a secure interior with reinstated windows and floors. The second proposal is for using the house for engineering training and a permanent display of the life and achievements of Sir William Arrol open to visitors including school pupils.

The NHS Trust has set up a Viability Group to consider the future of Seafield House. SAVE Britain’s Heritage with the supp-ort of the Friends of Seafield House will present their proposals to the NHS Trust and are determined to seek and receive a positive response. The message from the Friends of Seafield House to the NHS Trust is simple: Seafield House can be saved.

Friends of Seafield House will seek to persuade South Ayrshire Council and Historic Scotland of the need for an urgent works notice to be served on the owner, the aim of which is to secure the building from further deterioration.