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Articles > Beith Bygones > Pictorial Journey

Pictorial Journey

Published by Richard on 2007/6/8 (3899 reads)
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This publication is respectfully dedicated to the memory of

(1950 – 2002)

Sheila was one of Beith’s best-known and loved citizens. She was of the noble company who leave behind them a name to cherish. An extremely well known and very popular person in the town and district, when the name Sheila was mentioned in Beith everyone instantly knew that the person referred to could only be Sheila Pearson. The news of her death on Sunday, November 3, 2002 was received by all her many friends with the profoundest of sorrow. It is true to say that in the week prior to her passing there was a discernable cloud of sadness hanging over Beith and district when word filtered through that Sheila was in Ross Hall hospital and her passing was imminent. A woman of her excellent character and charm of temperament seldom fails to win universal esteem and affection, and her death leaves a void in the lives of many who treasured her friendship.

View of the Christian Fellowship Church in Backburn, Beith. This building was formerly a small industrial school where pupils would often work in local industry for half a day and spend the other half day receiving a basic education. Such pupils were known as ‘half-timers.’ The Beith School of Industry was established in 1847 by the Church of Scotland "for the instruction and education of the poor of every set and denomination." This school was located in Backburn at the foot of the parish school and remains largely as shown in this photograph.

A view from Janefield Gardens of Scapa Cottage, known locally as "Dummy Cottage." The entire outside of the sandstone building is indented with marks giving it a most unusual appearance. The present owners are Ian and Helen Lamont and they believe that their home is one of the oldest in Beith, having in earlier years been a Toll House. A deaf and dumb young man lived in the cottage in earlier times, hence the acquired name "Dummy Cottage," which is a politically unacceptable term today.

Beith Academy class of 1935. This was the year of the coronation of George V and the class were all presented with a coronation medal to commemorate the event. The headmaster of that period was David Conn (Senior) and the head teacher of the Primary was Miss Barr. The New School which was located on the site of the current Beith Primary, was built in 1931 and demolished to make way for Beith Primary in 1998/99. The first dux medallist in 1931 was Ian Maxwell with John Wilson second and Jack Bamford third. Information from well known Beithite, John Irvine, who is in the photograph.

Back row (l to r): John Irvine, Alex McMillan, Jim Reid of Bankhead Farm, Ian Cashmore of Barrmill, Tom Blackwood (still working in Blackwood Butchers as at June 2003), Tom Anderson, John Young and Charles Roxburgh.

Second back row: Miss Frame (teacher), John Hamilton, John Hays, Michael Dale, John Wallace, Willie Gemmell, Ian McLeod (Beith High Elder), Ian Harvey and Archie Wylie.

Second front row: May Johnstone (McLeish), Margaret Gibson, Betty Maxwell, Nancy Anderson, Betty Nelson, Margaret Walters, May Anderson, Muriel Gardiner and Betty Mullen.

Front row: Isobel Burniston, Sadie Cashmore, Margaret Lennox, Betty Stewart, Anna Craig, Betty Pratt, May Anderson, Netta McGill and Ellen Harvey. On Ground: Eleanor Walker, Cathy Robertson, Willie Taylor and Margaret Burns.

A photograph of Waverley Cottage, Dalry Road, Beith in the early 1920s with Mrs Kerr in the garden. The cottage is located adjacent to the Dalry Road/Balfour Avenue junction and little has changed from this view.

A rare photograph of Marshalland Farm, no longer extant. This was located on the south side of the road to Barrmill on the opposite side of the road from Spiers School. The last owners were David and Mary Kerr. The farm was demolished in the early 1960s.

Beith Academy Building which later became Beith Primary School Infant Department was known locally as the Wee School. The school closed its doors for the last time in June 1999 and the building was rased to the ground in May 2002. Many Beithites will have fond memories of being taught in this building.

Geilsland House, designed in Domestic Gothic style, is today owned by the Church of Scotland and is part of a residential establishment. The main villa houses the school offices. In Pont’s Cunningham is to be found the following quotation about Geilsland. "In 1867, two of these divisions (i.e. of Geilsland) were acquired by William Fulton Love, writer and bank agent in Beith, who has built a handsome villa (by 1874) and enclosed and planted with much taste, five acres around it." (John Shedden Dobie).

Beith Primary was built in 1998-1999 and opened its doors to pupils in August 1999. The headmaster is Tom Mabon and the new school was a tremendous improvement on the older buildings which it replaced. The new Beith Primary was formally opened on 22 June 2000 by Councillor Peter McNamara, Chair of Educational Services, North Ayrshire Council.

19 year old rifleman, Tom Steel at that time of 8 High Street, Kilbirnie. In 1950 he left for National Service and ended up in 1952 patrolling the dense jungles of South Malaya, searching for Communist bandits and their agents who lived in kampongs or villages on the fringes of the jungles. He joined the 1st Battalion the Cameronians. After a month’s jungle warfare course, learning how to live and fight in the jungle and how to protect himself against mosquitoes, leeches and numerous other insects which abound in the jungle, he joined ‘D’ Company.

At the time of this photograph he was stationed on a large rubber estate near Seamat in Jobore. Armed with an ‘Owen’ gun, a light automatic weapon and a favourite with troops operating in the jungle where visibility is often limited to a few yards, he took part in many operations against the terrorists. He was also a member of a section which arrested two bandits and several suspects.

Longbar showing the road to Auchengree with the double storey building known locally as the Big Lawn in the background. This would be taken around the 1930s. The small building with the white gable on the immediate left of the photo is now Longbar Community Centre.

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