A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

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Re: A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

Post by gnyaff »

I have a feeling the name of the pianist was Jim Dale?

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Re: A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

Post by Penny Tray »

Gnyaff,

I don't mean to correct you because I'm not sure myself but I was thinking the marathon pianist was Glen Dale? I never actually saw him but an older brother kept coming home with updates.
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Re: A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

Post by gnyaff »

You are more than likely correct Penny, The name Dale I was sure of, but the Christian name not so sure. I was probably thinking of Jim Dale the actor.

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Re: A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

Post by down south »

Time now to turn the corner onto Windmill Street . We already covered the main part of that street earlier in the Stroll, principally on pages 15/19, with some more on p 29/30. But before we head on round the harbour bay, I'll just divert briefly up there for a small catch-up on a few additional items.

Firstly, here's a picture I've lately rediscovered showing customers and volunteers at a recently-opened Oxfam shop in Windmill Street in January 1974; something I'd completely forgotten about when Hughie a while ago raised the subject of what charity shops there may have been in the Three Towns back in the day. Which shop it occupied I don't know; perhaps somebody else has an idea.
Oxfam shop 1974.jpg
Apparently it had already taken £ 400 in the two months since its opening; and among the leading members of the local Oxfam group involved in setting up the shop were named Dr John McQuaid, Mrs Alice Hainey and Miss May Murray. Whether any of them are in the picture I have no idea, but I do recognise one person there; the fair-haired girl at the back is my primary classmate Janice Green, who lived nearby in Winton Circus.

I've also come across this obituary from June 1974 which tells us a little about Mr Archibald Shedden the joiner, whose premises as we briefly mentioned earlier were at No 7 Windmill Street :

Mr A.C. SHEDDEN
The death occurred in hospital last Friday of Mr Archibald C. Shedden, master joiner, who lived at Crawford Lodge, Ardrossan.
Mr Shedden was the proprietor of an old-established joiner's business in Windmill Street, Saltcoats, and was widely-known in the district.
In his younger days he played rugby with Ardrossan Academicals and was an ex-president and the only surviving life member of Ardrossan Castle Curling Club.
He was also a keen golfer and was a former captain of West Kilbride Golf Club.


And while we're on obituaries, I might as well also add this one from March 1972 for Mr Clayton McLachlan the electrician, whose Hamilton Street shop was discussed here on page 38. We also heard in this post about his sisters and their photographic studio. Interesting to see that their shop is described here as having been in Chapelwell Street, because in the posts there we were looking at 1920s photos showing ' McLachlan, photographer ' at the later home of Jack Boyd's in Dockhead Street. Presumably the business must have moved later...perhaps even to the Chapelwell Street shop that was R V Brown's by the sixties.

MR C.McLACHLAN
The death occurred on Sunday at his home, 25 Ardrossan Road, Saltcoats, of Mr Clayton McLachlan, who was for many years an electrical contractor in the town with premises in Hamilton Street.
He retired some years ago but continued to do a little work from his home where after the death of his wife he resided with his sisters who were also prominent business people in Saltcoats , where they formerly had a photographic studio in Chapelwell Street.
Mr McLachlan was a retiring man whose thoughtful and considerate qualities gained him many friends.


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Re: A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

Post by Milda »

Yes I think his name was Glen Dale,it sounds right. Funny two of my sons are called Dale and Glen.
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Re: A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

Post by westendcafe »

Hi Susan, Dr McQuaid lived in Stella Maris, which is next door to Star of the Sea in Ardrossan Road. The lady in the photo, second from the left at the back, I think may be his wife.

As discussed elsewhere Donald's cafe was named Castlewirock when it became a lounge bar. One of the tenements at the bottom of Windmill Street has a very thick wall in the back garden which I believe has some connection to the Castlewirock. Perhaps someone knows a bit more about the origins of this name.

When the flats on The Braes and Windmill Street were built a new ceiling heating system Flexel, which had been developed by ICI, was used. It would be interesting to know if it is still in use today and how effective it is. A quick check online shows that it is still available today.

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Re: A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

Post by down south »

Think it may be a different ancient landmark that wall belonged to , John. The Castlewirock, or " Castle-weerock ", is supposed to have been a small fort built out somewhere on the headland at the end of Windmill Street, back in the dim and distant times of the Picts and the Celts. Not sure where exactly it was, but from the description here in " Saltcoats Old and New " it sounds as though it may even have been somewhere out on the rocks where the Pavilion was built.

http://www.threetowners.com/old-new/chapter-10/

Come to think of it, that castle may well be what the little tower, that as we just saw has recently been built out on the bathing pool rocks ,is meant to commemorate.

In any case, according to the author , no trace of it remained. But there were supposed to be remains still of a more recent ruin somewhere behind the houses at the shore end ...the old windmill after which the street was named . You can still see it marked on maps of the mid-nineteenth century., and it's reputed to have been behind No 51. The base was all that was left apparently, and it seems quite likely part of it might have been incorporated into a wall; you're certainly not the first to have heard tell of it.

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Re: A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

Post by calleytwo »

My brother took me to the back yard where the windmill ruin was when I was a wee boy of about 5 in the early 50's. My wee boy recollection is not clear but I seem to think the ruins were of a round base and about 6 feet high? Wee Ali
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Re: A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

Post by westendcafe »

Thanks Susan, that makes sense, it would have been the base of the windmill structure which I saw all those years ago.

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Re: A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

Post by down south »

Great to have that eyewitness evidence for the old windmill from the two of you. :)

And even up to the early years of the 20th century the stretch of shore along Windmill Street wasn't a whole lot more modern than the author of " Old and New " describes. In fact it's sufficiently hard to recognise from this old photo that we took a bit of convincing that that's where it was, here in Which Saltcoats Shore .

Windmill Street shore early 1900s.jpg




It wasn't till 1923 that the sea wall was built along here, and round the Braes to the harbour. There's a fascinating Scottish Screen archive film here that shows the works in progress:

http://ssa.nls.uk/film.cfm?fid=0563

The first scene confirms that the Pavilion hadn't yet arrived at that date; there's just a brief glimpse of the back of the old bathing station out on the rocks.

And as you can see from the rest of the panning shot , the view of the shore along the back of Dockhead Street was no more up-to-date than Windmill Street, with a similar jumble of old buildings in view and a natural shoreline.

Conditions for the works weren't always of the easiest: this comes from an old Herald Files. Sounds just like this summer...

" August 1923. Owing to the heavy rains and stormy seas this week, the work at the Braes improvement at Saltcoats has been made difficult, and proper tracks have had to be made for the heavy Sentinel wagons depositing the material. "

But by next spring the work was nearing completion:

" March 1924. The sea wall at the Braes has now been completed and provides an up-to-date appearance to the landscape. Some filling-in and levelling has still to be done behind the wall. "

Susan
Last edited by down south on Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

Post by peterm1711 »

down south wrote:the old windmill after which the street was named . You can still see it marked on maps of the mid-nineteenth century., and it's reputed to have been behind No 51. The base was all that was left apparently, and it seems quite likely part of it might have been incorporated into a wall; you're certainly not the first to have heard tell of it.

Susan

I recall many years ago being told by an older Saltcoats gentleman, now in his mid-eighties, and who was born in Quay Street, that Windmill Street is so-called because hundreds of years ago, there was a windmill on the site.

The ruined base of this old Windmill still lies behind No 51. The date is unknown - as even the oldest maps show it as a ruin.
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Re: A Stroll round 1960s Saltcoats

Post by down south »

Of course we haven't yet mentioned an even more ancient feature of Saltcoats Harbour; the petrified forest that's mentioned in this week's Herald Files .

Herald Files 1962.jpg

The harbour bed, as we know, is shallow and rocky; and in among those rocks are a group which have been identified as fossilised tree-trunks , estimated to date from something like 300 million years ago. Not sure of the exact spot where they are, but perhaps someone who knows can give us an idea. Meanwhile here's a picture of them on site:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/re_teacher/20763869/

And here are some close-ups of part of one that's been removed to the museum, which come with some additional information:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nayesterdays/5552821854/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nayesterdays/5594774949/

A relic of the days when Saltcoats was a tropical swamp ! Now we really are going back a bit....but we're still far from off-topic, since this was a 1960s discovery.

PS More about the fossils, and some indication of their location in the harbour, I've now come across here.

Susan
Last edited by down south on Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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