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The Palace of Kilbirnie 1958, Kilbirnie

The Palace of Kilbirnie 1958, Kilbirnie

The Palace of Kilbirnie 1958, Kilbirnie Ref: K206002

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Memories of The Palace of Kilbirnie 1958, Kilbirnie

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Kilbirnie & local memories

Read and share memories of Kilbirnie and Ayrshire inspired by Frith photos.

Bakehouses Four.

There were four bakehouses in Kilbirnie; we had the Co-op bakery famous for their rolls, this was in part due the recipe and part due to the rolls being baked in the auld scotch oven. This type of oven gave a good soul to the roll, the underside of the roll was crispy, people say the roll was most enjoyed with butter and milk. 'Millers' were bakers of distinction, they were famous for their pies and meat stuff in general. To one pound of steak mince there was added one ounce of black and white pepper. Millers also had a huge range of biscuits. Paterson the baker was also famous for their morning rolls, there was a wee ditty we used to sing called 'the Patersons rolls for me'. Walkers employed the same two bakers who had worked in Patersons and they had taken their baking skills with them. Walkers specialised in double cream cakes which were a luxury. There was one more shop that made the best pie ever... Read more

Piano Pong

Kilbirnie Central School and music teacher Mr Brawn. Mr Brawn was a most gifted pianist; if you recall he always wore a grey shiny suit. Mr Brawn would often give a piano recital at the start of class, this was as he put it, to warm up the piano. When school started after the summer holidays we all came home with stink bombs. We knew the drill by this time so we slipped in and placed loads of stink bombs inside the piano. Mr Brawn played an overture called Orpheous in the Underworld. When it came to the 'can-can' most stink bombs had been perforated and the pong was objectionable. Mr Brawn got the better of us; he lifted the piano lid then walked out and locked us in.

The Old Lamp Lighter Sanny Dillon.

The gas lamps in Station Road, Kilbirnie, were the responsibility of staff on duty at the High Station. This line went right through to Glasgow Central Station and of course it was the age of steam. Sanny Dillon was the lamp lighter and being small he carried with him a large pole with a hook on it. The idea was to hook onto a chain and pull it down, thus lighting the gas lamps that were on either side of Station Road. The boys at the time made their own poles and in the darkness laid in wait for the emergence of Mr Dillon coming out to light his lamps, of which there were many. We would wait for him to light three or four lamps then quietly sneak out and with our poles (or indeed climb up the lamp post) and turn them off. By the time he got to the end of the street he turned round to find all his lamps had been turned off. Sanny knew... Read more

Sweet Shop Trilogy.

Maggie Cook had a sweet shop at the bottom of Milton Road. She would have done well today with the Garnock Academy business but she served us well and we all have our favourite moments. Maggie was small and petite and in order to access the top shelf she used a ladder. Six of us went in one day and the first asked for four ounces of anniseed balls. Maggie replaced the sweets on the top shelf and asked the next customer what he wanted, John Irvine said four ounces of anniseed balls. Maggie berated him for letting her go up the ladder again, again she replaced them and yet again the next in turn asked for four ounce of anniseed balls. By this time Maggie was fed up with it and she asked the last person William Irvine if he wanted four ounces of anniseed balls to which William answered no. Maggie replaced the said anniseed balls on the top shelf and asked William what he wanted. Williiam... Read more

A Thousand Uses.

It seems She never had it aff, she wore it aw the time, Dain the bakin covered in Floor, dain the dustin covered in Stoor, Hining oot washin,Beating the rugs, Cleaning the windies, Dichtin the dugs, Wipen the sweat aff her auld furred broo, she even wore it milking the coo. She aye kept a guid wan fir the minister cummin, That wan wis clean, the ither wan Hummin, She wiped oor tears sae gentle aboot it, When she did tak it aff then wee got clouted, Ma Maws name wis Polly and she wis nae meenie and this is my Ode tae her auld Trusted PEENIE.


It is over 40 years ago since Kilbirnie singer John Allan recorded an L.P. with the above title. The recording studio has now transferred this on to C.D. Now available through Scottish Music and Amazon.

Extra Time

School playtime was prolonged on many occasions by up to half an hour. At the end of playtime the school bell was supposed to ring out. It rarely did because we would climb up the pole and place a dodd of wet paper between the hammer and the bell, so there was no sound. This was at Kilbirnie Central, Do you remember this?


It was the year of the coronation and we the ALLANS had a T.V. We were all sitting watching this event when mother got up and said, right one of you go down and tell Annie Laurie that Bill her son is on the telly, I said who is Annie Laurie? Mrs Ferguson she said run like stoor move yourself. I ran down to the house and Mr Ferguson answered the door, Whit dae you want, My mother said tae tell Annie Laurie Bill is oan the telly, Mrs Ferguson barged past and ran up that road faster than me, I was only seven, I still remember her belting it up that road. Better still, Mrs Ferguson was able to see Bill on telly as a Guardsman on parade. She was nearly greetin.


William Campbell Anderson. I lost a friend, He was a rock, A dignified and decent bloke, Had many a pain to Ca his ain yet never a day did he complain. Always welcome in his home, even cats and dogs did come. Not a man for idle chat nor Pontificate or gloat. Kept his own counsel good or bad, Natures Gentleman it must be said. Did not adhere to any creed, educated and well read. Abou Ben Adam, his tribe increase, a cheerful giver sadly missed. By John Allan. Campbell was born disabled but worked until he retired from the local steelworks.

The Bird Man

I was reminded today of The Bird Man who went round all the schools doing Bird Call imitations. We were at Ladyland School and this presentation was a welcome break from school work. At the close of his performance he asked for requests and seeing we were at Ladyland school, someone shouted out, Can you do a Ladybird? The person who shouted the request also had a bird connection via his nick name which was 'Wee Owl', Billy Thompson.

Sing For Your Dinner

So many people recall how at Ladyland School we had to stand up and sing before school dinner. The song is still to this day an evergreen anthem worth mentioning. The song, which became ingrained in our memory was; "All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all." This was not a trained choir, it was young people rushing through the song so we could start eating. Nevertheless the words and music left a lasting impression.

Great, Response to A Question.

Willie Watt was a successful business man in Kilbirnie. He along with his brother owned Watts Network. Willie was smart, good looking, debonair, he had it all. Willie was also a singer of great repute. Just before singing his first song at a Burns supper the chairman asked, how did such a good looking, obviously successful gentleman like you manage to escape all the adoration of all the local women. Willie replied with typical panache, "With great difficulty I can assure you - including your wife."

Pig in The Middle

Local man Jimmy Mcvarry helped out at a pig farm. Two pigs won best of show and Jimmy had his photo taken standing between the them. Jimmy was so proud of that photo and showed it time and time again prefaced with the words; 'that's me in the middle!'


For over thirty years MATHEW BROWN played the BIG BASE DRUM for the local Salvation Army Band. Marching back one morning from an open air service MATHEW slipped on the ice as we marched down a steep hill known as COO BRAE. Mathew went down head over heels but amazingly managed to get up to signal the double beat at the end of the tune. Someone commented, I have heard of a Drum Roll Mathew but that was an entirely new version, quite spectacular, Mathew replied, I never miss a beat, I even had time to rescue my false teeth from the SNOW.


Kilbirnie man, James Fairly, better known as JIMMY went on a camping holiday with four others to Fort William. We had car trouble on the way and had to pay the cost of that. This left us with reduced spending power and on the way home we were running low on petrol. Jimmy brought out from the boot of the car a bottle of whiskey he had bought as a present. Jimmy poured the whisky into the petrol tank and to our amazement we managed to get home. Don't try this on todays cars, but this really happened.


A Kilbirnie woman, over on holiday from Boston, decided to go to a farm day out. Mrs Liz Stewart was 92 at the time, Liz was very capable in dealing with the public and she was used to horses. Liz made a bee line to the Clydesdale horses and stroked them on the nose. An attendant shouted at Liz in front of everyone, don't touch the horses madam, how would you like to be stroked by thousands of people every summer. Liz, to the approval of everyone replied, AT MY AGE DEAR I WOULDNT MIND A BIT. She dealt with him NEIGH BOTHER.


People have been asking the name of the pony which was kept in the park where Presto shop used to be. The pony was called DINKY. Also been asked to verify who owned the chicken runs or hen houses in that same area. Airchie Allan was one, Wullie Mcgookin and Joe Carey.


Jake Stewart the cobbler shoemaker lived and worked at a house known as The Breest. Jake had an Alsatian dog named Cleo. That dog would let you in the shoemakers shop but it lay down across the door and would not let you out until you had paid for your purchase. Many people remember this, DO YOU?

No Need For Police.

Four Kilbirnie men were walking home after a shift in the steelworks, this would be after ten at night; it was a Friday and in those days people were paid in cash. Archie Allan, better known as Big Airchie, Wullie Mcgookin, Johnny Mason and Alex Irvine were waylaid by six would-be robbers. The problem was dealt with in typical Kilbirnie fashion - they went into the local Police station to report the incident. Constable Sanny Frew asked Big Airchie if he could identify any of them. Airchie replied, "No, but if you care to go up the railway line they will still be lying there" - and they were.


Jake Stewart, the cobbler shoemaker, late on in life accepted Christianity. Jake was known for his quick wit and put downs. Someone in church was giving a personal testimony and in closing he said, "Well Mister Stewart, you will be pleased to know that no cobblers will be employed in Heaven because all the souls are mended.... there will be no need for cobblers in Heaven." Jake stood up to give his testimony and started off with the words, "Aye... but there will be no need for Insurance men either!"


People have been asking for the words for the song 'Family Silver'. This song does not relate to Kilbirnie other than it was composed by myself. That said, I will wait for Francis Frith getting back to me to see if it is allowed.

Ailsa Craig, From Kilbirnie Hills.

There stands the Craig, dark austere majestic, landmark to mariner, constant proud monastic. Lonely place viewed from afar, awesome place much to adore, volcanic rock in form and mode, midst jagged rocks the birds abode. From Paddys Milestone Irish eyes view the coast where Ayrshire lies. Forboding Sentinel and Barren, far different from the hills of Arran, a symbol of the ages gaun, curling stones hewn out by haun, Timeless stands The Craig, ALOFT-- ALOOF--ALONE. by John Allan.

Back by W.D.Fisher.

Hi kilbirnie folks world wide. This is the poem you have all been asking for. No ettlin oanything wrang, wee albin daunert alang by the side o the orchard wa, where the pears an apples an aw were hinging ready tae fa. Folk say an its ma belief opportunity maks the thief, a hole in the wa in view, whit less could albin do but wrastle haulf wae through. An there ayont the wa whit wis it albin saw, a giant six fit three wae a cudgel frichtsome tae see twixt him an the apple tree. Whaur are ye gaun ya deevil baith looks an voice unceevil, there was jist yae choice tae mak, there was jist yae gate tae tak, so the wee soul answered BACK.

Swimming Places or Dookin Holes.

I stand to be corrected; have been asking around about our dookin holes or places in the river Garnock where we used to swim. Starting at the Conga; the wee lynn, the gless cutter, the Zambezzy, the Comb, the Broom, the Jonah, the Garret lynn and the Sheperds. Finally, the spoot or the spout of the river Garnock itself. It was great to stand under this waterfall and feel the might of the Garnock thrashing doon on your bare back, then swimming in the pond.

The Phantom Whistler.

My father told me only once about the 'phantom whistler'; apparently in the early hours of the morning someone walked about whistling, it was normally inspirational tunes like Onward Christian Soldiers or I know that my Redeemer liveth. Who was the Phantom Whistler?

Schoolwynd Sweet Shop.

People have asked for the name of the sweet shop in Schoolwynd, it was Hallidays. Also been asked to name all the dookin holes on the river Garnock; I will have to get help with this enquiry and get back to you.

Co-Op Knock

its many a lang and weary day since 1889 when a cam tae kilbirnie toon tae let folk see the time. theres lots o things that i hae seen, keep mind am tellin ye especially oan a satrday night an no through drinking tea. yon institute that stauns ower there was gifted for your pleasure and folks they cam fae far and near tae spend an oor a leisure. the robert knox memorial hall wae its bricht shining light is there for wan an a tae see an guide yi hame at night. the brig itsel has chinged a bit, its been made fairly wide tae cope wae extra traffic fae largs an west kilbride. the thackit hoose that stood against the brig has been knocked doon, a mission halls been bilt ower there for the gid folk a the toon. a picture and cafe is whaur bridgend mansion stood fur tae entertain the blasties when thet are in the mood. forbye the numerous chinges that just had tae tak... Read more

I Remember When I Was Just A Little Girl...

I remember when I was just a little girl Ladside won the Junior Cup and the whole town went wild, my brother Tom Storie was on the committee many years later.

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