Seafield House cited in Historic Environment Scotland debate in Parliament

At the meeting of the Scottish Parliament on 4th November MSPs debated the Historic Environment Scotland Bill, Stage 3. Liam McArthur MSP had lodged an amendment to the Bill in connection to the Functions of Historic Environment Scotland. He proposed that “promoting the maintenance of the historic environment” be added, given that it  appears in guidance, but not on the face of the bill.  Initially raised by the Law Society of Scotland, Chair of Friends of Seafield House, Rob Close had written in support of the amendment, setting out the example of the lack of maintenance of Seafield House.

“The word ‘maintenance’ has a much more practical meaning: it is a word that talks directly to owners who are not minded to ‘conserve’ or ‘preserve’.”

The letter was cited by Liam McArthur in speaking to the amendment and Chic Brodie MSP raised a question on how the amendment would add to the bill.

Sadly, despite cross party support – SNP excepted – the Government did not agree the amendment and it fell. The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, did say some useful words, however, which we can reflect on in considering future options.

“The bill should set out the overall task for HES in broad terms; it should not offer a detailed catalogue of the contents of the toolkit that it will deploy.  Promoting maintenance is already fully covered by HES’s general function of “investigating, caring for and promoting Scotland’s historic environment” and its particular functions of “managing” and “conserving” the historic environment”

“I note that local authorities already have strong powers to take action in respect of listed buildings that are being neglected by their owners. Those powers include the ability to issue repair notices, compulsory purchase, and the power to make repairs to unoccupied buildings and recover the costs.”


Read the Official Report of the debate on the Scottish Parliament website.


Commemorative Events on 20th February 2013

Gathering at the Sir William Arrol Exhibition in the Carnegie Library, Ayr

Photograph of Friends of Seafiled House and supporters at the Sir William Arrol Exhibition in the Foyer of the Carnegie Libray in Ayr

The programme of commemorative events to mark the passing of Sir William Arrol 100 years ago this day started off at 11am with a gathering of Friends of Seafield House and their supporters at the Centenary Exhibition in the foyer of Carnegie Library in Ayr.

The exhibition mounted by the Friends of Seafield House 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.

For those who haven’t been along to see the Exhibition yet, it’s not too late. as it will remain in the Carnegie Library for another couple of days until 23 February 2013. Follow this link to find further information about the Exhibition.

Wreath Laying at the Arrol Grave at Woodside Cemetery, Paisley

A group of Friends of Seafield House and members of the Arrol Family pictured beside the Arrol grave where the wreath was laid.While members of the Friends of Seafield House committee were making their way from Ayr to Paisley, flowers were laid in memory of Sir William Arrol on the steps of Seafield House at 1.50pm, the time that he passed away 100 years ago.

Meanwhile, arriving in Paisley at 2pm the FoSH committee members were delighted to be joined by two great nieces of Sir William Arrol who helped to lay the wreath at the foot of his grave  at Woodside Cemetery in Paisley. Ina and Annette Arrol are grandaughters of James Arrol, who gave up his career as a marine engineer to go into business with his brother, Sir William Arrol,  in the Engineering Works.

Debate in the Scottish Parliament

At 5pm FoSH members gathered in the public gallery in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament to listen to the debate on Chic Brodie MSP’s motion S4M-05003 on Scotland’s Historic Buildings. The plight of Seafield House featured in the debate an FoSH will be following up on the suggestions that the Cabinet Secretary for Culture & External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, made in her response to the debate.

A recording of the debate can be viewed in the Parliament TV members debate page.

A transcript of the debate can also be read in accessible web page of the Official Report or as a PDF of the Official Report as published.

FoSH are grateful to Chic Brodie MSP for lodging the motion, all MSPs who signed the motion to secure cross-party support and those who spoke in the debate.

Reception: Yale Pevsner Buildings of Scotland

Following the debate, a reception, arranged by Chic Brodie, was held in Queensberry House for MSPs, FoSH members and invited guests. The focus of the reception was Yale Books Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of Scotland new title “Ayrshire & Arran”, which features Seafield House, and other titles in the series.
Reception at the Scottish Parliament

Seafield House the focus of motion on Scotland’s Historic Buildings to be debated in the Scottish Parliament on 20 February

FoSH members will be travelling to Edinburgh for Chic Brodie MSP’s members business debate at 5pm in the Scottish Parliament that has Seafield House as the focus of his motion on Scotland’s Historic Buildings:

Motion S4M-05003:  Scotland’s Historic Buildings

That the Parliament recognises what it considers the vital role that historic houses and buildings play in preserving Scotland’s rich history; acknowledges the efforts of the Friends of Seafield campaign in Ayrshire, which is attempting to secure the future of Seafield House; believes that Scotland’s historic buildings are a fantastic resource for the people of Scotland and will be for future generations, and acknowledges calls for public authorities to do all they can to maintain the condition of important historical buildings.

Supported by: Hanzala Malik, David Torrance, Kenneth Gibson, Jean Urquhart, Adam Ingram, Bill Kidd, Mike MacKenzie, Jim Hume, Joan McAlpine, Dennis Robertson, Gordon MacDonald, Colin Beattie, Brian Adam, Bill Walker, Rob Gibson, Roderick Campbell, Jamie McGrigor, Angus MacDonald, John Wilson R, Gil Paterson, Annabelle Ewing, Nigel Don, Kevin Stewart, Maureen Watt, Jamie Hepburn, Stewart Maxwell, Mark McDonald, Stuart McMillan. Current Status: Achieved Cross Party Support 

We thank Chic Brodie MSP for lodging the motion & are delighted that the motion has been selected for debate on the Centenary of Sir William’s death. All those who would like to reserve a seat in the Public Gallery for the debate, please book on the Scottish Parliament website (for the timeslot 4pm-6pm). The debate can be viewed live on Scottish Parliament TV.

Reception: 6pm-8pm Scottish Parliament : Yale Pevsner Buildings of Scotland

Following the Debate, this reception, arranged by Chic Brodie to focus on Yale Pevsner’s Buildings of Scotland new title “Ayrshire & Arran”, which features Seafield House, and other titles in the series,  is by invitation only. Please complete the Contact Us form for further details.


First FoSH Newsletter commemorating the centenary of the death of Sir William Arrol

The first Friends of Seafield House Newsletter has now been released.

The Newsletter focuses on the events that FoSH have got lined up for the 20th February 2013, the centenary of the death of Sir William Arrol.

Image of the newsletter

Events include

  • A wreath laying at 2pm at the Arrol Grave, Woodside Cemetery, Paisley
  • A members business debate at 5.05pm at the Scottish Parliament
  • A reception from 6pm-8pm at the Scottish Parliament : Yale Pevsner Buildings of Scotland

Full details in the newsletter which can be downloaded from the link below.

FoSH Newsletter – Issue 01