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We moved to 25 Innellan Road from Edinburgh in the late 70s as part of the influx of power station families when I was about 10.
The story goes that when my father brought my mum through to look at the new SSHA estate she told him to turn round at the North Lodge! It was pretty sparse in those days, no shops or school just the lonely looking 100 houses of the ‘Gunsite’ on top of the hill and the posh Lawrence estate.
The scrap yard of unused power station steel fabrications next door didn’t add much to the allure. But what an amazing wonderland to grow up in.
I had moved from Wester Hailes in Edinburgh (remember ‘Trainspotting’) so Wemyss Bay seemed like a little bit of heaven in comparison. The woods were at the bottom of our garden and the shell of the old castle was still up. What an amazing playground the whole area was, too many great memories for now.
My dad still lives in the same house and when I visit I love to sleep in my old bedroom watching the light from the distant Toward Point lighthouse illuminate the room.
All good things must come to an end and that really started when I went to Greenock High School; I was so glad when they knocked the place down. There are not many places that would be improved by building a prison in its place.
So much has changed in the area over the years from the wasteland left by the destruction of heavy industry on the Lower Clyde through the slow regeneration of the area. Not all good and not all bad, just like most things.
When I was last back with my new Australian wife I took her to the Station Bar. It’s nice to know in life that some things will never change.
I remember around age 6, in the early 80s, my mum taking my brother and me on a long train ride to Wemyss Bay station. We were told it was a holiday! However, after arriving at the station and having a big hill to drag our bags up, we reached our destination of open grounds and a huge big building and inside there was 2 big long wooden tables with people eating dinner. I was so hungry but we were told we were too late and would have to wait till breakfast for food.
Our room was shared with another family which I thought was weird but I never said anything. The next day we were all given a rotation of tasks for setting up breakfast, lunch and dinner - I remember been growled at by someone that I wasn't fast enough peeling potatoes so I got sent out of the kitchen and given a big bell to go up and down the staircase to let everyone know to get seated. I think there were 4 floors and the top floor was narrow with only a few doors in it, I remember thinking how the heck is this a holiday?
There was some games played at night in a big hall and if you won any of them you would get a sweetie out a big cupboard that someone stood at with a long key to open the big wooden door with.
There was a swing park nearby down the hill and I remember it had a metal horse in it with some local kids sitting on it. They said it was their park and ended up fighting with the other boys - we were not allowed to go back to the park.
On the last day they had white tents on the grounds with stalls, clowns and jugglers. I think we spent 2 weeks there but I would love to know what was the name of the place I was in if anyone knows?
Ship navigation lights still hold a magic for me that's indelible, the red and green, port and starboard, are imprinted on the memories of my post-war childhood holidays in my family's hut on the farm overlooking Wemyss Bay station and pier.
My memories of the village in the years after World War II start when I was about four years old - I was born in 1946 after my dad's return from the war. Before the outbreak of war, he and my grandfather had built a wooden holiday hut at West Kilbride, but circumstances meant they had to move it. Thankfully they chose the farm field above the village of Wemyss Bay, where family members, who were not engaged in war activities, could escape battered Glasgow to the relative serenity of the beautiful Clyde Estuary, and the often extremely cramped quarters of "The Hut".
We were a big family - my maternal grandmother had 15 children plus two orphans who were taken from kitchen slavery in an English boarding house and subsequently officially adopted. This meant that all family subdivisions had a key to The Hut - and you never knew who was going to be there. What a wonderful way to keep a huge, sprawling (and growing) family together.
The Hut was erected where the field began its downslope towards the stream, the lane and bridge, and the main coast road running through the village. So the view across the estuary was breathtaking. As I lay in my small part of what seemed a huge bed, which had three levels with me on the top by a narrow window, my clearest memory even now invokes such feelings of happy nostalgia. Before I drifted off into sleep, I heard the toot-toot of a paddle steamer approaching Wemyss Bay pier, its red and green navigation lights shining through the night.
No traffic then on the road through the village, but on the railway it was hustle-bustle. The ship's approach signal was answered swiftly by the approaching steam train's whistle as it sped into Wemyss Bay station. Such magic!
The moving red and green lights as the ship eased into its pier berth and the fiery reflection of the self-important little locomotive's boiler fire on the clouds above provided a small boy with such dramatic movement. All backed by the night glimmer on the surrounding choppy sea.
The station was the gem of the village. There was also a cafe and a garage, a few other shops but, importantly, there was a toyshop towards Skelmorlie. There I was bought a plastic horse with four moving legs. It would walk down a tilted book or tabletop and provided hours of fun in an era without television.
Nowadays, of course, the elfin safety folk would not allow the rather basic amenities shared by the Hut people - water provided by midfield taps, loos that were really only large buckets in small sheds not too far from those same taps. Flies the size of bumble bees. But 1940s-50s Glasgow was not great on hygiene. But the people around us were always kindly, always a smile and a friendliness.
The smithy, I remember, was a warm place, and a place for a chat for the adults. The buses, too, that often carried us to and from Glasgow, by St Enoch station, always had a holiday air. If you sat at the front downstairs on the colder days, you could feel the warmth from the metal cowling over the bus's transmission system.
Having seen much of our world now, and many navigation lights, I still find the occasional visit to Wemyss Bay is balm for the soul. Thanks, Wemyss Bay, for the major part you played in my formative years.
From Ken Nelson, former Glasgow Evening Citizen reporter and Press Association news writer.
I was 10 years old when I visited a distant relative's beautiful home in Wemyss Bay. I am now 42 years old and live in America (I am from America I might add).
I met a little friend who was the same age as me and I remember his name was Steven. He lived up behind the Dunloe and he showed me around the Bay and I have to say, the adventure will stay with me forever.
I promised Steven I would be back in a year but my parents never did take me back to Scotland. I wanted to let Steven know that I have not forgotten about him after all these years. If by any tiny chance Steven reads this, please feel free to email me so we could possibly reconnect. I'm sorry I do not know his last name. My name is Shawna and I miss Wemyss Bay so very much.
I also wanted to find out if the "Dunloe" is still alive and well. I miss Wemyss Bay so very much. I want to visit again so badly.
I also would not mind if you posted my phone number here in America (Colorado) in case Steven just by chance reads my story. I almost want to say his last name was MacCormick but I am not certain. He defininately lived up and behind the "Dunloe", up the street a little ways on the left hand side. I keep a picture of the "Dunloe" on my mantle all the time. What a special place.
God bless and warm regards,
Tel: USA 970-308-5496
Moved to Wemyss Bay in December 1974. My dad got a job at the Power Station. Truly it rained for 6 months after we moved in!
The house (6 Morar Road) was an SSHA rented one - I don't think the houseowners liked the renting families - remember the residents and the tenants association? The Lawrence houses were badly built - the squeaky floors, thin flimsy walls and terrible heating. However living in Wemyss Bay was great - the woods, the rocks, the castle - fantastic!
Even Mr Honeyman, Miss Stenhouse (bad piano), Mrs Barnfather (very bad piano), Mrs Black etc etc fantastic League of Gentlemen types at Inverkip Primary.
The Skelmorlie cubs / scouts / gang shows with Banks Wylie / the indefatigable Alistair Wylie / Skipper etc and some more sinister characters (Stanley the Inverkip tramp - rumoured to be a millionaire and others...) What a fun place!
The demise of the castle is terrible... it was fascinating... the badminton court, the pier, the flag site, climbing up the castle floors, the greenhouses etc and the roman baths, monks cell, and it all seems built on now.
When I've been back its difficult to remember exactly how it was but the shore is identical... those rocks you climbed over at 10 years old - identical - only you have changed - a potent reminder of mortality - "this will be here long after you've gone mate".
Sorry to get maudlin... it was a great place to learn alcohol too - if you could get someone to buy a carry out from Jeans.
Hello to Paul, John, Maurice, Andy etc. Hope the Porteous are well and any one else that remembers the Renwicks.
I was born at South Lodge (Bank House), Wemyss Bay in 1927 and lived there with my family until 1943. There was four boys and a girl. I am wondering if anyone can remember us. I used to know Hughie and Nan Bar, Tommy and David Landels, Ronnie Herbert, Tommy Kid, Carson McCartney. My relatives lived in upper Skermorlie. As a boy I was a friend with Jim Halliday who lived at Woodburn Cottage just up the hill from the Wemyss Bay Hotel.
When I come back to Scotland I usually take a walk round the Bay. I used to play at the creek with Hughie Bar, Tommy Landels, Ronnie Herbert and Eddie McKerra. I often wonder what has happened to them. Jim Halliday was one of my friends.
I was born in 1927 and can remember all the activity when they were concreting the shore for the landing crafts to take the commandos over to Loch Striven to carry out manoeuvres with live ammunition. In fact when I told my older brother Billy who is now 82 that I was struggling with trying to use this laptop and we were talking about the commandos he reminded me of the ambulances that used to come down regularly, I think from Greenock, to take casualties away.
I read that the Bay was used as a sea plane base but I can assure you that they were never there, as far as I can remember they were at Gourock and down at Largs. When the Wemyss Bay home guard were formed it was just like dad's army, Mr Napier was the officer in charge. My brother, who was four years older than me, had he been alive would have been able to tell me more information. Unfortunately he passed away ten years ago.
You were asking what the shore was like as you looked at it from South Lodge before it was concreted over. It was all pebbly and as the tide went out it was a very nice sandy bottom with a sand bank.
During the last war we used to love it when we saw one of the big tank landing crafts coming in on half tide and it was a bit stormy, because they would suddenly ground on the sand bank and they thought that it would be shallow enough to drop their draw bridge and the tanks would come out and after 20 yards or so they went under water (poor tank crews) but boys would be boys and we thought it was great to see all the commotion. That was why Pearson's Garage started to fit snorkels on to their exhausts, so we were told at the time.
I have written a book about my childhood days as far back as I can possibly remember for my grandchildren and great grandchildren to read when I have gone and to let them know what a wonderful place that Wemyss Bay is.
I will close now and apologise for being such a poor writer, I wish you a very happy and healthy new year. Tom Moodie.
My name is Joan Jobson, I was born in Wemyss Bay in 1923, my name was Margaret Joan Heggie and lived there until 1944 when I married a Canadian naval officer and emigrated to Canada.
I attended school at the Academy in Greenock and travelled by train and bus. I remember cycling to Largs on many occasions and got a nice wave from the bus driver when he saw me.
I was an only child and my parents were Thomas Heggie and Mary (Daisy) Heggie. The golf course wasn't too far from our home and I started going with my parents when I was five. My main job at the time was picking up sheeps' droppings for my father's garden.
I have enjoyed the Wemyss Bay web site with the pictures of local scenes that I remember clearly. The short memories written by locals from days gone past caught my attention. I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who recognizes me or my family. I currently live in Sidney, British Columbia, Canada. Thank you and wishing you the best.
If you would like to contact Joan please e-mail me and I can put you in touch with her. She has visited Wemyss Bay several times, the last visit was to attend her mother's funeral in 1979.
Hello, I submit this contribution for your consideration.
My name is Arthur Brocklebank. When I was 11 my father and mother and I came to live in Wemyss Bay having been bombed out during the Greenock blitz.
As my father was organist at the English Episcopal church on Inverclyde's estate, Lord Inverclyde invited us to stay at the castle for a couple of nights until he made enquiries in the area about accommodation for us.
He approached Mr Stewart of Dunloe and suggested opening up Ardvar. This was agreed and we moved in with what possessions we could rescue from our wrecked house in Caddlehill Terrace in Greenock.
Soon, other evacuees moved in and we became a small happy community.
Every day, I caught one of Dunlop's buses at the Smithy to take me to Greenock Academy. Dunlop's buses found the hill from the Hotel on the main road quite a challenge especially if they were full.
It did not take me long to meet up with some of the boys and girls who lived close by and I remember Hugh and Nan Barr, Ronnie Herbert and Ian Ramsey from the grocer's shop particularly well.
I joined the Skelmorlie Scouts with Mr Alexander as the Scoutmaster and headteacher of the primary school, delivered fish on my bike round the area from Smith's fish shop in the village, joined the Skelmorlie tennis club, fished off the rocks in borrowed boats below Ardvar for mackerel and plaice, played and got many a soaking in the famous creek, and, on Saturdays and Sundays, delivered milk with horse and cart from the estate farm. The horse was named "Boy".
The arrival of the Americans with their armoured cars and tanks brought great excitement to the village. Pearson's garage had the job of welding on exhaust snorkels to the vehicles, and when the beach was covered in concrete it was fun running to welcome the landing craft when they crossed over from Rothesay. We were told, secretly, that these Americans were training for landings in Sicily.
The estate walled garden above the castle was kept going during the war years and we boys had great adventures clambering over the wall to pinch some apples. Often the gardener would come round which forced us to lie face down until he passed by. We were never caught!
My father joined the local Home Guard. one of his duties being to guard Wemyss Bay pier at night against invasion by the Germans with his rifle and one bullet.
A year after the war ended, we left Ardvar and returned home.
These were happy years. but at the age of 75, I have forgotten nearly all the names of the many friends I made. I would be delighted, if any of my contemporaries from those days are still alive, would care to get in touch.
I now live in Dingwall.
I am an Indian, currently living at Bangalore, India. Was reading an article on the Skye bridge and one thing led to another and I got to your site. It is very nicely designed.
I had come down to the London in 1996 and within a month of being there, there had secured a contract position at IBM. My company had put me up at the Wemyss Bay Hotel (a gorgeous B & B) near the equally gorgeous railway station. The people there were amazingly friendly (like all scots) and went out of their way being nice to me.
I still remember of the extra care they took in preparing food for me as I am a vegetarian. I lived there for a month and then moved to Largs. After being in Largs for more than 2 years, I went back to London, then Singapore and am back in India working for a software multi national but Scotland especially Wemyss Bay / Largs and its wonderful people are always special to me.
If you can, please let me know if the hotel is still there and whom do I get in touch with? It used to be run by Ms Tricia McCauley. The lady who cleaned the rooms was an angel and also made sure the radiators were always on so I did not freeze to death.
V Vivek (eternal scotland and Glenmorangie supporter)
Hi from Australia,
I lived in Woodburn cottage from 1950 to 53 with my parents and brother, it was a great place for kids.
We used to spend hours up at the Smithy and petting the calves left there to be picked up the lorry, and each of us took turns pumping the bellows for the Forge. One area that was out of bounds was the radar gun base that had been built up near where the powerstation is now.
All the kids had free range of the gardens around the Bay so long as we did not cause any damage. We fished at the old harbour and generally had a carefree time.
We had to get the bus to Inverkip to go to school (sweets were still on ration) and the race to get to the bakers when the bus stopped to get the BEST broken biscuits was on each morning.
We moved to Ayrshire in 1953 and lost contact with our friends. Hope this triggers memories for some others of that era.
While looking through the wemyssbay.net history page I was interested in the comments re the part played by Dunavertie House in the Second World War. It was during that period that I had a close association with Dunavertie. My mother assisted the housekeeper and as a result I as a young boy spent much time in and around Dunavertie, its pond and its gardens.
The period in particular would be around 1943/1944 but since it's some 60 years ago it's difficult to be precise. The reference to the house being commandeered for top secret intelligence intrigues me somewhat as the only people I can recall ever being in the house were the housekeeper, my mother, Robin the son of the house, a family of evacuees from Greenock and myself and there certainly was no restriction on visitors. Also the reference to the Short Sunderland and Catalina flying boats using the bay again I cannot recall, however there was a flying boat base at Largs in the grounds in front of the old Barrfields theatre, now the Vikingar, and if I'm not mistaken the slipway used then is the one used by Largs RNLI.
The Wemyss Bay beach which we knew as the shore road did have the concrete facility as is mentioned and was used by landing craft that came from somewhere and went up some lochs somewhere but we never found out where, such was the way of the war, but the concrete landing area certainly made a good outdoor swimming pool if the weather was good and the tide was in.
I was living at this time in a caravan in Kelly Estate in the avenue, a short distance from McIntyre's Kelly Mains farm, having moved down from Glasgow after the Clydebank blitz. The caravans were all well spaced out under the trees, unlike the present day, and the rent paid to Mr Bill McIntyre was £5.00 a year.
It was not unusual to be awakened in the wee small hours by the sound of army tanks, bren carriers and army lorries coming up into the estate and stopping under the trees to avoid detection from the air, also not realising that the caravans were all occupied thinking they could perhaps get a good billet for the night.
One particular instance, where having disturbed us during the night, the young English officer in charge apologised the next morning and stated that they were now leaving and taking the bridge to Rothesay. We explained there was no bridge to Rothesay and it transpired that he was looking for the Kincardine Bridge as they were going to Rosyth!
The memories of my almost five years living in the caravan at Kelly are many, some sad some happy, it's not always good to revisit old haunts, particularly the Kelly Estate itself which as a boy I considered as my backyard. I prefer my memories to remain a slice of time.
George Sneddon, Cumbernauld.
I moved to Wemyss Bay with my parents in 1974. It was a great place to grow up. It was much quieter a place then as there was far fewer houses and much more open space for us kids to run riot in.
The woods were always a favourite place to go exploring in. We would build 'dens' and attempt to build treehouses and big rope swings. In the fields we would hide from each other and use hay bails to make houses. And if that wasn't enough for us we had the beach with all the rock pools and the grounds of Castle Wemyss to explore.
I'm sure we were luckier than most and were rarely bored over summer months. I am sitting smiling as I write this as I remember those days and they weren't really that long ago.
I lived in Wemyss Bay after I got married but it wasn't the same as it just kept growing and less and less of the character of the village was left. I now live in Gourock but enjoy reminiscing.
Found your site this evening & thought I'd comment. The pictures of the Pier House & station are great, from the outside the premises look almost like old times. However, this past year I managed to get inside the old house, after many years of trying & many phone calls. What a let down! I wonder, since the buildings are now listed, why the powers that be allow the decay to take over?
I grew up in this environment, lived many wonderful years there, with my Grandparents, in the 1940's. I have a head full of memories of people, employed in/around the station & pier, the local butcher, Archie at Pearson's, Ginn's tearoom, the Fishmonger, the grocery shop, whose name escapes me at his moment. Your postie is to be complimented for his camera work. I would like to participate in the "ex-pats segment". I have many lovely old pics which I will look out with a view to forwarding to you.
We will be back "home" later this year,
Margaret Smith Elliot[nee]
I enjoyed reading all the material on your site. The contributors, I think, are all a generation or two, after myself. Where does the time go?! I feel like it was yesterday that we left there. I am most upset about the pier house, almost derelict.
Would you know where all the paddle boxes disappeared to, the ones that were all down the inside covered area, station to the steamers? The grocer family was Ramsey. We had many connections in Upper Skelmorlie also, Golf Course, Craig na Hullie.
Julie and I lived on the estate that was built to house the workers, who worked in the Inverkip Power station. I lived at 29 Innellan Rd up until I moved away in 1988. I have been back several times but only in passing and I feel it is overgrown with housing as it used to be a great place when we were children.
We loved to roam about the old castle, pier, woods and never grew tired of living there. Julie and our other friends had fun but I don't think I will be back as I am living in Lossiemouth now and it's much better up north. I will be visiting Inverkip this weekend as my sister Hayley lives there so maybe I might meet some people I know. Michelle Stevenson.
Hi there :)
Ok, it is a while ago that I went to Wemyss Bay. The last time I went over was when my grandma passed away and I am now 26 years old. My name is Ian Macleod Cassels and I live now in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and was born in Leven Road 17 or Levens Road, I don't know it any more.
My father and mum are John Cassels and Marcella Cassels so maybe some people know us? :)
I had a great time there but unfortunately we had to leave because of my father's work. I keep thinking back of Wemyss Bay and Gourock and when I was young the lights in the middle of the road and all the tiny lights at the other end of the Clyde.
Yes, I can say that I miss Scotland and it will always be with me until I die.
Thank you and greetings from the Netherlands,
Ian Macleod Cassels
Hi there, I was just supplying some biographical information to the Canadian Dental Journal which will be featuring a painting of my father's on the cover on their April issue. I mentioned to them that he was born in Wemyss Bay. I did a search on the web for curiosity sake and stumbled across wemyssbay.net.
My father (Dr Jim Messer) was born in the Wemyss Bay Hotel on April 11, 1940. His parents managed the hotel at the time I believe. I have a picture of him as a grown man standing outside the hotel taken at the same spot as the photo on your website. I just wanted to say thanks for the pictures. Though I lived in Glasgow as a child I have never been to Wemyss Bay, I hope some day I will. I was born in Canada where dad eventually settled and worked.
See http://www.cda-adc.ca/jcda/vol-69/issue-4/artwork.html for the article about Dr Jim Messer's artwork.
Excellent Site. I've been going down to Wemyss Bay from Glasgow for about 30 years and I was married in St Joseph's last year. I can't believe the changes in recent times. The housing developments have ruined the town. I heard that the Caravan Site has recently bought the wild woodlands on the Kelly estate down from the farm, a good place to see deer and all manner of animals, no doubt this is in danger of being destroyed. Only in Scotland do we make such a dogs breakfast of our towns!!!
The power station I believe was always a white elephant, I was told it never actually made a contribution to the National Grid, I would need this confirmed though. They should knock it down - it's such an eye sore. Return the area to a nature reserve would be good.
Some historical stuff, the "horses tomb" did have the remains of horses in it at one point, however I could not find out why Lord Inverclyde did this, apart from being keen on horses. The Castle was always a source of gossip, apparently Inverclyde was a bit of a ladies man and enjoyed the wild entertainment of the day......drunken skinny dipping in the Clyde off the castle pier was often seen at his parties!
The Kelly house was destroyed by fire instigated by some woman's movement early in the last century, I believe the villains were caught the following day at Fairlie. The Stable House, which housed the horses and carriages, still stands in the Forest (just down from the Farm) but it won't be there long if the Caravan site have their way!
Many thanks for your reply. I've got an old aunt in Wemyss Bay who has been there since WWII, she has lots of stories about the area and some old photos of Wemyss Bay even before the main road to Largs was tarmac'ed. I have some scanned onto a floppy somewhere I'll see if I can find them and pass them on.
I never knew about the South Lodge, if it was in England it would be renovated, they seem to be more into preservation than us. I remember your house [on Undercliff Road], it was near the place on the rocks which are carved out like large stairs, I think it was the first pier for the Castle. I was a keen rock climber at school, I did some practice on the rock faces near your old house when the tide had gone out.
I didn't know many people down there, most people I knew lived on Lomond Road. The names of which totally escape me. You should take walk up the Kelly when the weather is good you will get some good pictures for your Web site. Go up were the clay pigeon tower is located at the top of the hill, the views are fantastic up there.
Really enjoyed your site, especially the one photo of the sub in the Clyde. The first fish I ever caught was out on the Clyde with my granda in his wee row boat and as I was reeling it in one of those American subs popped up a couple of hundred yards away and sailed right by us, man did that photo bring back memories. I was only four years old and I remember it clear as day. I'm trying to get things together so I can make a trip back home, permanently I think. I've been away from Scotland for over 30 years; I left when I was 6 and I've only been back once. Your site and the pictures just made me want it even more.
I really belong to Largs, as of many years ago, but it is pretty hopeless trying to contact anyone there. I found your site to be very good and I used to take part in the 10 mile bike race from Largs to Wemyss Bay as a member of the Greenock Wheelers. That was 53 years ago, today I live in Australia and feel a little homesick reading all the stories on the net, and somehow the net brings everything so near. Thanks for the chance to talk to you.
This site made me laugh and brought back a lot of memories. I used to stay in Wemyss Bay when I was younger, I am now 22.
Maybe you could answer a question for me? Just before I moved away, roughly 1989/90 I took part in the recording of what I think was an educational show for television with the primary school. Unfortunately I moved and forgot all about it. Any ideas?
I went to the primary school from 1984-89 (roughly). I had loads of really good friends in Wemyss Bay which if I remember correctly were a lot smaller then. I have been back a few times but I have lost touch with everybody which is a pity.
I moved to Ayr after Wemyss Bay and I now live in Kilmarnock. I don't know if you know Martin Smith but he was a good friend. I also was friendly with Helen Sweeney? This is strange as I always wondered who still lived there.
My family used to live in Wemyss Bay, and I grew up there. I used to play in the Castle ruins, which was great. It was fantastic to see the pictures you have, including the Horses Tomb (and to note that it was still called that).
Although I don't have any photos myself I hope that people will still contribute. Could you add dates for when the photos were taken?
The 'stone table' is actually a small building. It was hard to get to, as I recall, but all through the woods shown in that picture are paths and steps from the original gardens.
I would really like to see pictures of the new Castle housing development. I am sure the area has been ruined, but I heard that the stone jetty had been preserved. No, I'm not too lazy to go there myself, but currently I am living and working in California.
Yes, I know the Meiklejohns. I am now 32, and I went to school with David Meiklejohn. I moved to Wemyss Bay when I was 4 (in 1973 I think), and I left in June 1984 when I was 15. I went to Inverkip Primary School (the Wemyss Bay Primary at the top of the Lawrence Estate had not been built then, but it opened a year or so before I went to high school).
The last time I went back was in 1994 or thereabouts, and I hadn't been back in the intervening period. There were a lot of changes, especially lots of new houses. When we moved there the Lawrence estate had just been started (we lived in Larch Walk) and I think the houses up to Leven Road had been built.
There was the woods between the Estate and the coast on the west side to play in, and the field between the houses and the road and railway on the east side. The north was 'under development', with a large area for builders' supplies by the telephone exchange.
The SSHA estate was started a few years later, on the hill to the very north of the Lawrence estate, and east of that was a stockyard for material for the power station.
I think the building of the power station drew so many people to the area, and is what caused its decline. It saddens me that that decline was now for no reason, since the power station is not used. My father worked hard on that project, I should ask him how he feels about that.
I think your web site could be a great place to pull together memories from people who are now scattered far and wide. Wemyss Bay was a fantastic place to grow up in the seventies.
I am not sure I would like to live there now. It's nice to see the entries from people who lived there and who now live there, and it's nice to receive e-mail from you. Isn't the web splendid?!
At the gate at the south end of the Castle estate (at the corner of Undercliff Rd and Castle Rd) were some coal holes in the wall, and there were some buildings and a small courtyard behind the gate.
I could swear there was a building with a glass canopy there, but I am really not sure. Anyway, beyond that was the 'hall' (Baseball hut). Past that was a field with a summerhouse (octagonal, I think) nearby. Through that field would take you to the stone jetty.
(Re: Flag pole) The flagpole base was actually another small building, and you could go inside. There were steps up to the roof (about 6' off the ground), and railings around it. I always got vertigo when I looked up at the pole.
(Re: Horses Tomb) I don't even think it was a horses tomb, despite what the people on the message board say. At least the name remains consistent. Do you think 'Freddies' is from the Elm Street horror movies? It certainly was a bit spooky there. There was an actual dog cemetery in the grounds of the castle. I went there the last time I was in the area. It rained.
I noticed in the winter pictures a photo of the house on the cliff. It seemed to have windows boarded up. I had a friend who lived there for a while. Also, are the big old houses on the beach front still there?
I once wanted to research the Castle, and I did start putting together some information. I think I have only four our five items, so it's not very impressive, but I'll try to dig it up.
Can anybody tell me the name of the farm on the road up to Denny's caravan site? Who owns it? Bob?
I used to work there in the summer as a student. I'm now in Melbourne, Australia.
I am now living in Skegness, Lincolnshire and have been for the last 7 years. I remember when Inverkip Power Station was first built as we were one of the first families to live in the estate built for the workers.
I have not lived in Wemyss Bay for approx. 10 years now but still go up as my sister still lives on the estate. Every time I go up it has changed so much, and might I say not for the better in my opinion. I remember when it was a lovely little estate; now there are houses everywhere.
I am at present reading the Largs and Millport and this is where I saw your e-mail address and reading about Wemyss Bay Castle.
I have very good and fond memories of Wemyss Bay but unfortunately I probably will never live there again.
Before anything is done with the Power Station site I just wish people would look at what they are doing to this beautiful countryside, and I think it is becoming more and more unattractive. This is only my opinion of course, I do not live there anymore.
My dad, who is Jack Edwards, worked at Inverkip Power Station from 1975 to 1989. He then went to Hunterston.
I remember bonfire night. My father, John McDaid (who has unfortunately passed away but I think his wife Jean still lives in Innellan Road) were the main people to start the Wemyss Bay Tenants Association who organised events, Carnival day etc.
They also built a play park at the back of the estate with the help of other men on the estate. Also the ladies got involved as well. The wives used to make massive pots of soup and treacle toffee etc. for bonfire night. They also organised a Silver Jubilee party.
When the estate was first built there was a steel storage yard behind the area where the shops are now. We lived at 4 Whiting Road and could see this from our bedroom windows.
I also remember when they were building the new Largs to Greenock road. I will also try and look for some photos of the Old Castle as we used to call it. Many a time our gang! used to play there and climb the Castle. One of my friends got stuck at the very top and we had to get her father to get her down.
We also used to swim at the Old Pier in the summer. Also, where the Gate House, was there was an old concert hall with a stage, it was full of old doors, old keys, which I had but threw out, you know what you are like when you are young you do not think to keep anything.
Also there was the tin advertisement boards with Oxo, Cadburys etc. on them, stupid me threw them away as well! There was also the dogs graveyard at the Old Castle.
Please let me know how much information you would like because I could probably sit here and write all night. I will get as much information as you need and I can also name the first people to live on the estate. It depends really what everybody is interested in. I will ask my dad who also lives down here now to help.
I don't remember the Stone Table is that where the Monks Caves were on the cliff? As kids you know what it's like we all used to go to the Castle and the lads used to make eerie stories up and all the girls would be screaming running off.
The lads used to say that a man called Stanley would come and get us and he was called Stanley because of the name of the knife he used. You believe anything as kids.
I think the Power Station was built where it was because of the transporting of the oil for the Power Station but would have to ask my Dad about it. I will send you a photo looking down at the jetty from the chimney. I was on the YTS when they had one. Our group were the first to do it there. Brilliant laugh. I could not finish the course because my dad got a secondment to South Africa so I went there for two years to live until I was 18 years old. Party Party Party!!!!
I do remember the Meiklejohns and the Skeltons at the bottom of Whiting Road. I am trying to think of anybody else but a lot of people have now moved away.
When I was about 9 years old I went to a Sunday School and that was run by Mr and Mrs Renton and Mr and Mrs Page that was held down at the beach road in this old building. Sorry can't remember the road. On the road where you can walk on the beach and the Wemyss Bay Hotel is at the end.
I have some pictures and will look out for some better ones for you if you like. On the main road, at the estate where North Lodge is, that used to be just two houses. Father Woods lived in the second one.
I still like to go up to Wemyss Bay when I have got the time but it is not very often. Everything changes over the years and people move on. I still know quite a few people in Skelmorlie who still live there.
I read in the Largs and Millport that someone is doing a book about Wemyss Bay which I think would be quite interesting - will have to keep my eye out for it when I come up there.
My sister also told me recently that the Wemyss Bay Hotel has changed hands again and that they are having an Indian restaurant in it.