PRESERVING THE PAST . . . . FOR THE FUTURE
MILLENNIUM CELEBRATIONS IN MAUCHLINE
The Loudoun Spoot is one of Mauchline best known landmarks. When the flow of the spout was noticed to be in decline in the late 1990's, a group was formed to attempt to do something about it. The details can be read in the booklet published to commemorate the Millennium in the summer of 2000, the day Fred Dibnah came to town!!
Photo Jimmy Davidson
Photo Jimmy Davidson
Photo Jimmy Davidson
Above are members of The Loudoun Spout Society. These were publicity shots done just prior to the 24th June 2000. Every was the widow of the late Mungo Hamilton-Campbell of Netherplace, see the text below.
The Loudoun Spoot Society are from left to right:
Borland (ex Lochlea farm, Mauchline) as Robert Burns.
Fraser - Site Servicing Manager of MacTaggart and Meikle [Main Sponsors]
SECRET HELD WITHIN THE LOUDOUN SPOOT
Alas with the march of time, I am the last of the commitee members still alive. Bill Anderson, Every Roosmalecocq, Douglas Hall, and Kenny Blair have all passed away. The best that I can do is leave word for future generations who are carrying out local history projects for example in the year 2100, to remember the capsule is there in its protective box, and read the contents. The capsule is directly beneath the new trough.
Hopefully the contingency plans of ayrshirehistory.com will have finally worked out by then, and this web site in some form or other will still be available by then. Kenny, the founder of the site will at that stage be celebrating his 137th birthday!!!
Best of Luck
Jimmy Davidson, June 2011
THE STORY OF THE LOUDOUN SPOOT SOCIETY - BY JIMMY DAVIDSON JUNE 2011
I replied something like “If I create an organisation that does all the work, will you front it as chairman?” He agreed, but at the birth of the Spout Society we had no funds. Not even enough to buy a second class stamp.
I did the usual trip round Councilors and local Authority to drum up support. Everyone thought it was a good community project but the mention of that dreaded word funding killed any involvement. The project just bounced around going nowhere for about nine months and I realised that if we were to have any real chance of “Making it Happen” we needed a “Big Gun” with the right connections.
I knew that the widow of Mungo Hamilton Campbell of Netherplace was still alive and living somewhere in the Alloway / Doonfoot area of Ayr. But she had remarried and now had a foreign name possible French or Belgian. So into the local telephone book and get dialing any name that looks likely. The conversation was limited to the question "Does the word Netherplace, Mauchline' mean anything to you. After four or five unsuccessful calls I hit the jackpot with Mrs Every Roosmalecocq who replied, "YES I used to live there"
Myself and Bill were invited for afternoon tea. Bill wasn't too keen about going because of the gulf in social standing between Every's country house set and Bill's two roomed house at the Burns Memorial homes. However I persuaded him to go, and on arrival he remarked to Every that he remembered picking her up from Netherplace in his father's private taxi, driving to Stairaird House and picking up her friend Margaret Howie, before driving them both to the Odeon Picture House, Ayr to see a film. He remained with the car until the film ended and then drove them home. The year would be either 1942 or 1943. Every immediately responded having also remembered this 'Brief Encounter'.
After that Bill could do no wrong. Bill had the key to open the door. Every wholeheartedly supported the project and telephoned Derek Michel of MacTaggart and Michel which resulted in major sponsorship for the project.
Every truly felt that she had let the people of Mauchline down by selling off Netherplace in such a hurry which ultimately brought about its closure and demolition. The actual story was her husband died suddenly aged 41 years in 1953. The family had made no provision for death duties and the government moved in for their share of the estate in death duties. Every couldn't pay the death duties and was forced to sell the estate. She apparently tried to gift the gardens and grounds to Ayr County Council as a country park for the benefit of Mauchline residents. Ayr County Council would’t accept the gift. She believed that it boiled down to politics. She was a Tory land owner and they were a Labour Council who could not be seen accepting gifts from Tories.
So we had the funding and work began in late 1999. The whole of Mauchline was an expert as to the source of the Spout, but in truth no one really knew, it was all gossip and hearsay. The real knowledge had already died with the passing of the previous generation.
Our intention was to refurbish the Spout for the year 2000 (The Millennium Year) and have a small celebration in the Loudoun Arms in mark its opening. The grand parade, assembled guests, Fred Dibnah, Gala day etc were never planned.
That all started after a meeting with the Local Community Council who were trying to arrange celebrations to mark the year 2000. I knew that one of the ideas was to set off fireworks from the Burns Memorial Tower at New Year 2000, to mark the Millennium year. This didn't happen because of health and safety reasons. There were other events planned, but they also came to nothing. When the meeting was opened to any suggestions from the floor, the only thing I could put forward was getting Fred Dibnah to come and perform the opening, and provide much needed publicity. There were some loud gasps and bodies falling from chairs at the cost involved. My reply was it only happens every thousand years, so why not do it right and leave Mauchline something to be proud of.
I knew that I would get backing from MacTaggart and Mickel, all that I had to do was to convince Fred Dibnah to come. Once I could use his name it was amazing how many people and organisations wanted to help out.
Remember Victory has a thousand fathers, Defeat only has one.
hardest part of the job was continuing with my own work while pushing
Bill Anderson forward as the chairman. Bill would quite happily have
vacated the position but I felt he deserved some dignity and self respect
in the community after some difficult years. I think in the end, it
was a day worth remembering in Mauchline.
HOW FRED DIBNAH CAME TO BE IN MAUCHLINE - BY JIMMY DAVIDSON
Steam enthusiast Jimmy Davidson writes the following:
I thought I would send this picture and explain the significance it has to Mauchline. Therefore after i'm gone the story is not lost for ever.
The location is a marquee erected for corporate hospitality (thats a booze up for posh folks) in the grounds of the former Star Lane Bleach Works in Horwich near Bolton. The date is 5th Decemember 1999. Fred has just demoilshed the 200ft chimney on the site. I played a small part in the demolition.
During our refreshment break I asked Fred if he could come to Mauchline in the year 2000 and open our newly refurbished Loudoun Spout. After consulting his fileofax (a threepenny jotter with no batters) he agreed to come on 24th June 2000 and as they say,the rest is history.
So thats how Fred came to Mauchline with Betsy his engine and his wife Sheila.
Click above for a pdf of Fred's wedding invitation. I just love the old worldly style graphics on this. Similar style graphics can be seen on some of the old bill heads, elsewhere on this site, usually under the banner of "traders".
The Spoot is mentioned in a piece of local poetry, as published by THE ECHO from May 1994.