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.

Last chance to see Arrol Exhibition at Paisley Heritage Centre

The exhibition Sir William Arrol: A Renfrewshire Connection, is due to finish in the next couple of days.  If you haven’t already been along to the Paisley Heritage Centre to see it you have until this Saturday.

Exhibition Board The exhibition has been mounted by Friends of Seafield House to coincide with the 2015 meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Germany. The exhibition gives the background to UNESCO World Heritage nominations and why, in particular the Forth Bridge was a worthy submission.  When it was announced on the 5th July that the Forth Bridge was to become a World Heritage Site we had to make a quick addition to the display.  Being optimistic that it would be a positive result, we were well prepared and had stickers already made up with the winning announcement.

The exhibition is also a celebration of Sir William’s strong connections with Renfrewshire. He was born in the village of Houston and grew up in Paisley, and the exhibition tells of his early career as a blacksmith and engineer there. It also looks at the manufacturer of  Arrol-Johnston cars in Paisley and Sir William Arrol’s connections to the earliest motor cars built in the UK. Sir William Arrol never forgot his roots and when he died his body was carried from his home at Seafield House in Ayr to Woodside Cemetery in Paisley, where he was buried.

As well as the FoSH display boards, the Heritage Centre have provided a display of resources from their archives and have set up iPads with links to relevant websites, so visitors to the exhibition will be able to find out more about Sir William Arrol and the Forth Bridge.

See the Heritage Centre webpage for opening times and contact details.

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BBC covers Seafield House story

David Miller, BBC Scotland’s environment and transport correspondent, returned to his roots on Friday to cover a story on the future of Seafield House.  Having had his tonsils removed at Seafield Children’s Hospital, David had a personal interest in the story of the building.

Committee members of Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) together with Robin Ghosh of econstruct,who recently bought the house, gathered in the grounds of Seafield to be interviewed for radio and TV.

Photograph of interviewer with microphone interviewing 3 people in front of derelict building

David Miller, BBC correspondent, interviewing outside Seafield House

FoSH committee members were asked about the importance of the house and what had inspired em to campaign to save it, whilst Robin Ghosh, was asked about his plans for future development of Seafield House and it’s grounds.

The recent introduction of the Clydesdale Bank £5 note, bearing the portrait of Sir William Arrol, has helped raise his profile in the public domain. It is exciting to see that now the house he built will also have it’s profile raised through these radio and TV features.

We don’t yet know when the items will broadcast but we will be sure to post it on the website, facebook and twitter feeds once we do know.

Invitation to 2nd FoSH AGM on 19 May 15

All Friends of Seafield House members and Friends are warmly invited to attend our Second Annual General Meeting (AGM).

It will be held on Tuesday 19 May 2015 at 6pm at the Ellisland House Hotel, 19 Racecourse Rd, Ayr KA7 2TD.

Tea, coffee & shortbread will be served (£2 – donation appreciated). It would be helpful in gauging numbers for refreshments, if you would kindly advise the FoSH Secretary by Monday 11 May 2015 that you plan to attend.

See this flier for full details and Agenda for the meeting .

125th Anniversary of Forth Bridge Opening

This week marked a special anniversary in the life of Sir William Arrol. It was 125 years ago on 4 March 1890 that the Forth Bridge was officially opened and that Sir William Arrol received his knighthood.

Photograph of Forth Bridge from South Queensferry shore

The bridge was a feat of engineering, designed by Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker, and built by William Arrol & Company.  It took 8 years to complete and over 4, 000 men were involved in it’s construction. It took 54,000 tons of steel to build and at 2, 467 metres was the longest bridge  in the world when it was completed.

Front cover of the Illustrated London News from 8 March 1890

William Arrol assists the Prince of Wales to place the last rivet in the Forth Rail Bridge.

The bridge was opened by the Prince of Wales who drove the last rivet into the bridge with the assistance of William Arrol.  At the luncheon following the opening the Prince of Wales made a speech in which he announced that Queen Victoria had conferred a knighthood on William Arrol in recognition of his great achievement in the construction of the bridge.

A wonder of it’s age, the Bridge remains today a landmark structure and icon of British engineering.  A nomination for it to be given World Heritage Status has been submitted to  the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and  the decision is expected in June this year.

Further information on Sir William Arrol, his life and work, can be found on a new website SirWilliamArrol.scot which is currently under construction by one of the Friends of Seafield House committee.

Members of the Friends of Seafield House Committee are also looking forward to attending a lecture to mark the 125th Anniversary at the ICE Scotland Museum in the William Arrol Building at Heriot-Watt University on 27 March.  The lecture will focus on the Bridge’s lasting legacy and an original hydraulic riveting machine, used to bolt in many of the 7M rivets will also be unveiled at the event.

Motion in Scottish Parliament to congratulate Friends of Seafield House

On hearing the news that Seafield House was saved, last week Chic Brodie MSP lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament to congratulate Friends of Seafield House. The motion was published today in the Motions and Amendments on The Scottish Parliament website.

*S4M-11191 Chic Brodie: Seafield House in Ayr—That the Parliament congratulates the Friends of Seafield House in Ayr on what it understands has been their long battle to save Seafield House, which once owned by Sir William Arrol, considered one of Scotland’s greatest design and civil engineers, and believes that securing the future of the house, which it sees as an outstanding architectural and historical development, is a tribute to all of those involved in this hard fought campaign to save it for Ayr and Scotland.

As of the 28 October, the Motion is now supported by: Angus MacDonald, Kenneth Gibson, Graeme Pearson, Stuart McMillan, Graeme Dey, Rob Gibson, Bill Kidd, Joan McAlpine, Richard Lyle, Mike MacKenzie, Dennis Robertson, Adam Ingram, Anne McTaggart, David Torrance, Kevin Stewart, Gordon MacDonald, Annabelle Ewing, Christian Allard, Gil Paterson, John Scott

Our thanks go to Chic Brodie for this acknowledgement on the success of the campaign.

SEAFIELD HOUSE IS SAVED

Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) welcomes the sale of Seafield House and grounds to econstruct design and build, an Ayr-based developer founded by Robin Ghosh. Seafield House is SAVED! The sale was concluded yesterday, Friday 10 October 2014.  Econstruct plan to restore Seafield House as residential apartments and build a small number of new-build houses in the grounds.

We extend our warmest thanks to all those who supported our campaign to SAVE Sir William Arrol’s former home in Ayr. We thank those who became Friends, attended public meetings, visited our exhibitions & posted messages of support on our website/Facebook page & Twitter feed. We thank in particular Marcus Binney, President of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, and his colleagues, who have been the head, heart and soul of our campaign from day one.

A new chapter is opening for Seafield House. We wish Robin Ghosh and his colleagues all success and will support them as they follow through the planning and consents process.

Again, we extend our warmest thanks to all those who supported our campaign to SAVE Seafield House, Sir William Arrol’s former home in Ayr.

Digital scrapbook on Seafield House

Friends of Seafield House have created a scrapbook about Seafield House on the Forth Bridges Scrapbooks website.

Image of Seafield House

Seafield Scrapbook on the Forth Bridges Scrapbooks website

The aim of the Scrapbooks project is to gather stories, photographs and other historical material relating to the Forth Bridges and create a central hub for information about them. The Forth Road Bridge celebrates it’s 50th anniversary this year and the Rail Bridge celebrates it’s 125th anniversary next year.  The archive will be used as part of the Forth Bridges Festival. Anyone can sign up and create a scrapbook and the process is very simple. People can illustrate their personal stories about the bridges with their own images or a selection from the gallery provided.

The Seafield House Scrapbook  explains the link between Seafield House and the Forth Rail Bridge, of how William Arrol built the house and lived there whilst working on the construction of the Forth Bridge. It also describes the current condition of the house and the campaign to save it.

Reviewing FoSH activities at the 1st AGM

Thanks to all who turned out for the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) on Saturday 17 May 2014 at the Ellisland House Hotel.

photograph of people sitting round tables at the AGM

Members attending 1st FoSH AGM

The meeting started out with FoSH Chair, Rob Close, giving a review of all the activities carried out since it was established in October 2012. It was interesting to review what had been achieved over the last 18 months, including:

  • public meetings and exhibitions, including events marking the centenary of Sir William Arrol’s death
  • debate in the Scottish Parliament on the motion on Scotland’s Historic Houses lodged by Chic Brodie MSP
  • participation in National Science and Engineering Week programmes at Rozelle House in 2013 & 2014
  • continued campaigning to secure the future of Seafield House, liaising with individuals and organisations
  • widespread communication of the campaign via social media and press coverage
  • continued pressure on NHS Ayrshire & Arran to maintain the building

For full details download a copy of the Report of the Management Committee

It was hoped that we would have  been able to announce a positive outcome on the sale of Seafield House at the meeting, but unfortunately, we are still waiting to hear the decision on that from NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

All other business at the meeting was approved and the Management Committee was elected  for another year.