Welcome to Catrine Ayrshire.

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Rab 2012. Click here to mail me

I'm Rab your host. Just a few pages for anyone who has an interest in the village of Catrine in Ayrshire Scotland. Once an old mill town,  now just a nice little corner of the world where you can still enjoy a little bit of peace and quiet provided your neighbours are humanoid. Catrine was a thriving mill town for nearly 2 centuries and had gas street lighting before the city of London. Today it is more of a quiet residential area and not the bustling mill town it once was. I was born here and I love this area for it's natural beauty. The water systems that were created here to drive the mills were always a thing of local interest and in recent years many local people have strived to maintain what is left of them as a nature reserve. Local efforts are being made to restore the weir and voes all the time and it is hoped that Catrine will succeed in securing the funds to see it becoming a small part of our National Heritage of which we can be proud. 

 

Click on any of the pictures below for a full sized view in a separate window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a picture from the mid 1950's of the owners and staff of the Burns Arms in Catrine run then by 'Wullie' Brady  and Etta his wife. Etta is on left picture, friend Meg Donaldson on the right. Meg was a widow from Glasgow. Guys are locals who worked in the evenings at weekends, I think some were miners. Jock, pictured with Meg,  I think emigrated to Canada or the States with his family [he sent the Brady's back a coloured photo-very modern- of himself by a big saloon car] These pics may have been taken during some GB wide celebration.  

This information and these pictures were sent to me by Stewart  Griffin who stayed in the Burns Arms in the mid 50's with his aunt and uncle.

Anyone recognise any of the local faces from that time? Thanks to Stewart for sharing this picture with us.

Thanks to Yvonne Reid for this latest school photo and the following names she can remember. 

Back row -    Ian Gillies, Ronnie Bunting, Mitchell Little, ??, Alan Hope, Donald Duncan
Middle row - Ian Kiltie, Richard Kyle, Billy Aitken, Raymond Fowler, Adam Steele, Thomas Wotherspoon, Mathew?
                      Wildon Holland, Billy Bates  I think the teacher is Mrs. Baxter
Front row -    Agnes Ewing, Yvonne Reid, Jane Fowler, Ann Bell, I think this could be Ella Dignam who emigrated to Australia, Marilyn Clelland, Irene Morgan, Josephine Russell, Barbara Belshaw, Ann Edelberg
Ground at front - Bobby Kane, Robert Fowler, David Ewing, David Steele.

Can anyone fill in the blanks?


 

Many thanks to Moira Frize for the above picture and the following explanation: My father Charlie Frize was the foreman steel fixer working on the new Howford Bridge.  We lived in a caravan in the grounds of Catrine House nurseries.  The caravan was unusual in that it was a single decker bus which my father had converted.  It was painted blue and cream.  My brother and I went to St. Patricks at Birnieknowe and were picked up every day by minibus.  I have attached a photo of primary 1 with Miss McAtee.  My brother is Charlie Frize second row from the back 4th from left next to the little altar. I wonder if anyone else from the photo knows other names. 

Olive Winning has kindly named most of the people in the photo she remembers as follows. Back row: JamescGinn, ?, Michael Henry, Bryan Burns, Derrick McCluskey, Peter Greenshields. Second row: ?, Frankie Loy, Peter Brannan, Charlie Frize, Gerald Dempster, Tom McCann, James New, Michael McGarry. Third row: Frances Loy,  CharlesLusk, Mary Keys, Lex New, Brendan Armstrong. Forth row: Collette Forrey, ?, Bernadette Hollywood, Marian Rafferty, Mary Bradley, Hillary Taylor, Olive Winning, Kathleen Stakim, ?. Front row: Julie Favali, Bernadette Milgrew, Agnes McMurdo, Helen McCluckie, Margaret Makin, Eileen Burns.

I have now added a new link opposite for Birnieknowe Photos but so far only have 3. It would be great to get some more. Rab.

Many thanks to Jim McDowall for this clip from the daily record of 1962. My parents lodged with old Jock as we knew him in the Crescent before they got their first council house. Click on the picture for a bigger view in a new window. The councilors mentioned were boycotting the tea because the Tory secretary of state Michael Noble was opening the Bridge. Old Jock worked at the killing house as we knew it when my parents lodged with him in the 1940's and he moved on to being the site watchman for the council house's that were being built in the scheme at that time. It's hard to imagine what the new Howford Bridge would cost if it were being built today. The reverse side of this old paper is full of adverts and the prices of things back in1962 when I was 12  is also interesting reading. See Here and Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above pictures are of the Cooperative horse with Hugh Harvey and the cooperative van with Hugh Brown. Hugh's family kindly donated these pictures. It's amazing to think we came so far in such a short time. I can just remember Hugh on the horse and cart going round the village before he was upgraded to a grocers van. Now we have mobile phones and computers and we've been to the moon and back and I'm an official old age pensioner next month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Hugh Duncan, husband of Anne (nee McBroom) and father of Gwen and Donald. Opposite is Hugh Brown and his wife Jessie (nee Duncan), Elizabeth (Betty) Duncan and husband William Duncan (Willie – Co-op Baker and WW11 pilot of Lancaster bombers) I have happy memories of them all and many thanks to Jessie and her son and Willie and Betty's daughter Beryl for sharing their parents memories.

 

Brian Roxburgh

Many thanks to Brian Roxburgh for this one and for all the names.
This is a photo of Catrine School Football team,early 60s
 Left to right Back row. Sandy Duncan, Myself, Jack Shaw (Sorn) Ronnie Stewart.
Middle row. Jack Jackson, Mr Sinclair (woodwork teacher &manager) Willie Clark, Mr Paterson, (headmaster) Torance Gibb (math teacher)
Front row. Ian Hutchison, Bryan Rodgers, Sandy Kerr ,Mat Ferguson, Bert Fulton, Billy McIlvaney, Jim Ruddy, Willie Shields, Tommy Fowler.
Billy McIlvaney went to Canada shortly after this picture was taken so I recon about 1962.

 

Jim Bunting

Many thanks to Jim Bunting for this latest photo. We all recognise the Wilson Hall. He thought it was an old folks party but it's up for debate. I think I recognise John Thomson who was the Headmaster of Catrine School in the late forties at the back in the middle of the banner which says it's the Friendly British Order Ancient Free Gardeners Society. Jim has also donated some pictures from the bleachworks where his Grandfather came to Catrine to work as a dyer before he was born and also some school photos from his family. I have put his School Photos into page 11 and 12 and the bleachworks and others into the New Photos page. Thanks to Inglis Thomson who says:  it is his Grandfather John Thomson and next to him is the Reverend Campbell. Frank Caruthers, the Headmaster who took over from my Grandfather, is standing in the back row (v. tall, full crew cut head of white hair) standing beside Sam Gilles, who is bald and at the right hand end of the back row. Willie Thomson is standing in the back row on the extreme left.  He was the usher at Palmers Pictures held in the Wilson Hall.  I can still hear his voice shouting at us kids to be quiet and flashing his torch along the row to identify the noisy culprit. Sam Hilditch, (Church elder) is standing right in the centre of the picture (white handkerchief in breast pocket). I myself know a few more as does Inglis but we just can't put the names to them.

 

Dr McCrae

On the left is a picture of the late Dr McCrae who died July 17th 2012 aged 96. On the right is a cutting from his retirement presentation. Both him and his wife were a large part of the community in the 40 years he served as GP in Catrine. Many thanks to Frances McCrae for sending me some pictures and newspaper clippings from her collection. I will be putting together a collection of memories of the McCrae's in my Local People page. 

 

We all remember with affection Miss Scott; Catrine's  primary school mistress who took over from Miss Beg.

Many thanks to Jean Hamilton nee Welsh, Shelfie and Sara's Grand daughter for sending me this photograph and another 6 gems from way back. I have put her other photos into the New Photos page. Have a look at it and see the women of wood street back in the 1930's and the broons wagon and the carnival queen. I will add her school photos to my school photos page. You will notice the collection is now growing and I have loads more to follow Jean Welsh of later pictures of Catrine primary classes.

School picture  1954 Left to right:

back row: Billy Paterson, Ron Cross, Wilma Wotherspoon, Graham Welsh, Mary Cree, John Gilmour.

middle row: Jean Welsh, Moira Anderson, Sheena Ruddy, Janet Fulton, Netta Meikle, Mary Wallace. front row: Micheal Ewing, Scott Mckinnon, Andrew Clark, Margaret Kyle.

Do have a look at Jean's other photos on my New Photos page. Below is an old program from 1951. Were you in this concert in the Wilson Hall way back then when I was just 1 year old. click the images for a full page view.

The Wilson Hall 1951   The Dancing School Program

 

 

 

 

Findlay girls at the King George VI celebrations.

 

These ladies were part of the Findlay's group at the celebrations of the Coronation of King George VI. in 1937. This is taken at Catrine playing fields, now the football park. In the background you can see the tidy gardens of St Cuthbert Street and the roof of the castle building on the right, long since demolished. It is part of a full album which John Thomson the former headmaster of Catrine school took and was kindly donated by his grandson Inglis Thomson. 

I have the full album of 90 photographs in the link to Catrine 1937 album on the main menu on the left. Many thanks yet again to Inglis for all his efforts in making these photos available in digital format. Have a browse of the album and see what a lovely place Catrine was in those days. You may even be able to find your parents and grandparents in some of these pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

Peggy Mcvitie

Robbie Wilson sent me this photo with his mother Peggie McVittie in it, of Catrine Primary around 1926. She lived at the Clews then and 2 years later moved to Mauchline. I have the following names.

Top row left to right ?, George Fisher, ?, ?, ?, ?, Henry Brown, Techy teacher at Cumnock Academy Ian Murray, Malcolm Kidd, ?, ?, teacher - Miss Shepherd.
2nd row from top ?, ?, ?, ?, Jenny Ferguson, ?, Robbie's mum Peggy McVittie (blonde), Jean Stewart, Jean Reid, ?, Margaret MacLean, ?, ?, ?, John Harper.
3rd row from top ?, ?, Steel(e) ?, Isabel (McCulloch?), ?, ?, Minnie Shaw, Rankin Park, M.Mackie or Mackay, Craigie twins, Jim Gibb. Front row Robert Young, ?, Dick Roxburgh, ?, Jackie Ramsay, John Wotherspoon, ?, ?.

 

 

 

 

Thanks Robbie.  Any one know any of the faces?

 

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Many thanks to Marilyn Kidd for these two  photos and the following explanation.

The man with the wheel is my grandfather Alex Kidd who was the blacksmith in Catrine from 1923 to 1937. The smithy was at the top of St. Cuthbert's Street and the family lived a few doors along. Alex and his wife Grace had four children: Alex (born 1913), Malcolm (born 1917), my father Rob (born 1921) and Grace (born 1932). The family moved to Glasgow in 1937.
 
Alex shod the horses of many local farmers who sometimes paid him in potatoes rather than part with hard cash. He also made the railings for one of the local schools; we are not sure of the date but this might have been around 1935.
 
My father had very happy memories of his childhood in Catrine. When he died in 2004 my mother, brother, sister-in-law and I took his ashes to Catrine and scattered them by the side of the river where he had played as a boy. He had a great boyhood friend called David (Davie) Calder whose father was the butler at Daldorch House (now a school but at that time a private house).

 

 

 

 

 

The Kidds 1924

The photo of the three boys dates from 1924 and was taken outside the smithy. It shows Malcolm on the left, Rob in the middle and Alex on the right. On your website you have a school photo from 1928 with Malcolm in the back row. 

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Ria McDowall

This is Maria McDowall when she was in her 40's. On the 5th of June 2012 Maria who was a resident of Catrine most of her married life, celebrated her 100th birthday. 

Born 5th of June 1912 Maria Stewart Smetherhem, at Glengyron Row which was a miners' row just about a mile from Cumnock on the Skares Road.
 
She was one of eight children and her mother was widowed aged only 31 and was left to bring the children up on her own. Her mother lost her husband and her father in the same week in 1918 from the flu epidemic.

  Married to George McDowall in 1934, She has two sons William and Jim. Maria was widowed in 1992.

 Maria fitted in a few jobs between bringing up her family. She was a kitchen assistant at Ballochmyle Hospital and also worked at Catrine Bleachfield and as a home help. Maria's first job was in the "American Laundry" in Kilmarnock.

 Ria, as she was known locally, was active into her 96th year and bought her first house at the age of 80. These last few years she has spent in Cumnock Hospital. I have various pictures with her and her husband George in my WebPages as they were always a very big part of the community here in Catrine. A true lady. Congratulations Ria. 

 

Catrine School 1928?

Many thanks to Bob Meikle centre front row for this Catrine School photo from around 1928. All rows are named from left to right.

 Back Row:   Jock Paterson, Dykes Cook, John Brown, Tommy Maxwell, Jim Blain, Serio Sissi, Frank Patrick, Malcolm Kidd, John Hilditch, Davie Ferguson, George Meikle [teacher].     

2nd from back::  Jim McPhee, ---, Cissy Armstrong, Mary Brown, May Cook, ---, Nettie Hare, Ellen Murray, Jemima Elliot, Netta Mitchell [?], Matt Taylor.

3rd from back:   ---Paterson, May Nimmo, Lizzie McDougall, Mima Inglis, Joanne Cross, Lizzie Fram, ---McPhee, Annie Archibald, Kitty Ramsay, could be my mother Margaret Gordon [?], ---.

4th from back:   Marion Park, Madge Edmondson, Annie Gemmel, ---.

Front Row:   Bill Trusdale, John Weir, George Roxburgh, Bob Meikle, ------, Willie Fowler, Davie Hamilton.

 

Catrine Primary

Many thanks to Elizabeth Duncan for this photo and another 2 school photos from 1954 and 1955. I have put them into my school photos page

Catrine Primary 1950, Miss Begg
top row: pamela brown, netta standring, muriel stevenson, christa bergmann, kathleen boyle
middle row: len anderson, harry rodgers, ian hall, iain mcrae, victor clark
bottom row: alan gardiner, betty gardiner, angela gemmell, irene davies, beryl duncan, margaret finnie, sheila pullar, mary duncan, betty sayers, alex kyle

Ayrbank FC

One of two photos of Catrine Ayrbank Rangers kindly donated by Jim McDowall. I think they won the junior cup around this time. I was contacted recently by
and informed that in the back row third from the left is Robert Elliott, her father.

So here is my names so far left to right back row: ?, ?, Robert Elliott,?, ?, ?, Jim Blain, ?. front row: Davy Johnston, ?, George McDowall, Pat McGary, ?.

 

Ayrbank

Ayrbank again. Names I do know are there but in no particular order:  Alex Niven, Davy Johnston, Tam Elliot, Jimmy Thomson, Andrew Cook, Jim Blain, Jock Paterson, Pat McGary, George McDowall.  Can you name the rest?

 

Catrine School 1923

Catrine School 1922-1923 (possible names in no particular order)  Lairdy Davidson, Mary Brown, Jean Paterson, Dick Roxburgh, Miss Mackay [teacher], Miss Milne [teacher], Margaret Gordon [?], Willie Duncan, Frank Patrick, Tom Aitken, Cissy Armstrong, ---Cross, Duncan Brian, Annie Gemmell, Kitty Ramsay, Marion Park, Mima Inglis, Bob Meikle(in Sailor suit)

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