West Kilbride Civic Society
West Kilbride Civic Society

West Kilbride Civic Society: proudly serving West Kilbride

The Society's aims are to stimulate interest in the character, history and attractions of the West Kilbride, Seamill and Portencross area and to encourage the preservation,  development and improvement of features of amenity and historic interest.


It is a charitable organization and one of the oldest continuously functioning voluntary civic organisations in West Kilbride.  


Programme for 2018 - 2019


Tuesday 25th September  "AGM and Social Evening"


Tuesday 23rd October  "Kirkton Liqueurs" by Janet Martin


Tuesday 27th November  "Music Hall Britannia Panopticon" by Kitty Walker


Tuesday 22nd January  2019  "Easter Island" by Audrey Kolon


Tuesday 26th February  "Iron Age Finds from the Hunterston dig" by Thomas Rees


Tuesday 26th March  "Hidden Treasures of Glasgow" by David Walker


History of Nursery Rhymes

Catherine Mills gave a very interesting and entertaining talk on Nursery Rhymes.  Old King Cole was written 400 years ago.   She covered the period from Tudor times to Civil War which she called Part 1.  The rhymes were written by Rhymers about events happening in the country in times of religious turbulence.  We all had to repeat each rhyme and she assured us that we would remember them and although it was many years since most of us had said them we certainly did remember them but had no idea of their significance 

  I had a little nut tree for example related to Henry VII and the part about the King of Spain's Daughter referred to Catherine of Aragon.  Old Mother Hubbard was actually about Cardinal Wolsley going to the Vatican, and Mary, Mary Quite Contrary was about Queen Mary the 1st of England, the silver bells and cockle shell were instruments of torture and not garden flowers as I think we all assumed

Three Blind Mice related to the arrest of 3 churchmen who were tortured.     Humpty Dumpty was about Charles the first and the Civil war.     It was a most enjoyable talk to listen to and I hope that some day we may hear Part 2.


Thursday 25th May to see Scotland’s Screen Archives which is part of the National Library of Scotland at Kelvin Hall

There is a 12 screen video wall showing a snapshot of the collections of Scottish life past and present. After a tour of the resources you will be able to view films of your choosing.  List of films available at  www.scotlandonscreen.org.uk   There is also a small display of historic projectors and other film equipment and discovery chests to explore.

There is a café serving snacks and 2 hot meals daily.  Another 0ption is to cross the road to go to Kelvingrove Art Gallery


Coach departs W.K. at 10.00  arriving back in West Kilbride by 4.30pm approx.


Cost of bus only to Members - £9   Non members - £15


Wed 14th June to Wemyss Bay station – Two options.

The station designed in 1903 by James Millar is one of Scotland’s finest railway buildings & has recently been restored. Friends of Wemyss Bay station  adopted the station and one of the founding members will give us a short talk about the station.They  run a 2nd hand bookshop, a gallery with display of photos showing  the history of the station and a tearoom. They also have an impressive floral display. 

We will be travelling by cars and there is an option to go to Strathclyde House overlooking the Clyde for lunch afterwards or catch the ferry at 12.00 or 13.05 to Rothesay for the afternoon.

Please indicate on the booking form whether you wish to use your car or require a lift and if you wish to go on to Bute.

Leave West Kilbride at 10am The  car  drivers  will contact their passengers to arrange pickup. Parking at station for the day costs £3 and ferry costs £6.10 return.  



NAC were going to close the toilets on 31st March 2017 and demolish them  unless a Community Group  were willing to take responsibility for them.    After  discussions into what was involved the Civic Society agreed on an Asset Transfer from NAC  to the Society.   We will arrange for the opening and closing of the toilets each day, the cleaning  of them  and buying in supplies.     We are approaching the local traders to see if they will be willing to assist in opening and closing as they are around early in the day.   If anyone is interested in helping they should get in touch with the  Society.




Irene MacMillan gave an excellent talk with pictures of the history of the Castle.  Dundonald Hill has had habitation on it for over 5000 years.   There have been three  medieval castles present on this site. The first was built by one of the stewards of the king of Scots.  The second castle was built in the late 13th Century by Alexnder StewRT, 4th High Steward of Scotland and his castle was predominantly built of stone. The third castle is a fortified tower  house built for Robert II on hias accession to the Throne of Scotland in 1371 and it was used as a royal residence by Robert II and his son Robert III.    It had 3 floors, servants were in the ground floor , the laigh hall on 1st floor was a banqueting hall and the top floor was the Kings quarters.  It had a minstrels gallery, a brewery and stables.    Robert died at the castle in 1390.    In 1527, James V sold it to the Wallaces.   Later Boswell and Johnson were entertained there.

It is now owned by Historic Scoland.    In 1985 Friends of Dundonald Castle was formed and  a Visitor Centre has been built.  They hold many events there including Teddy bears picnics and Halloween parties.   After her excellent talk she showed photos of the castle and answered questions.   A most interesting and ennjoyable evening.

Coin log in burn

The Civic Society Chairman George Donohoe was walking his dog through the glen just after New Year when he noticed that the log which has coins imbedded in it and is known as the wishing log had been put in the burn.  Concerned that it may cause damage if not taken out, he put a picture on facebook asking for help to get it out of the burn.    Within a short time he had numerous responses and offers of help

The following morning three helpers turned up with equipment and  managed to get the log out and placed it behind a tree to try to stop vandals trying to move it again.      Many thanks to the three gentlemen  who helped rescue it and to all those who sent messages of support to  Facebook.



After only a few weeks in place, two of the benches have been vandalised.- one in the Glen and one on the beach path.  People had said how pleased they were that the benches had been provided by the Civic Society and installed by NAC so it is very sad that a few thoughtless folk have already completely destroyed one and badly damaged another.

Further vandalism has taken place since the aforementioned with many more benched destroyed. We have procured a number of new ones which are much more rugged and these have been put in place of the damaged ones.                                 

On Saturday 27th July 2013 in glorious sunshine, a ceremony was held at Jack’s viewpoint to rededicate the new viewpoint indicator plaque which has been funded by grants from The May Lockhart Trust, The W.K. Community Trust and The Civic Society.

Alistair Lennie played the pipes to open the ceremony and George Donohoe, Chair of the Civic Society made the introductions, Rev James McNey said a few words about the family and John Lamb, Chair of The W.K. Community Trust accepted the Indicator plaque on behalf of the community.   George then asked Gillian and Joan Jack to unveil the plaque while the pipes played.   The ceremony was watched by invited guests and members of the public, about 100 in all.   Afterwards about 45 people attended the Golf Club where refreshments were served. It was a most enjoyable event.


OYSTER CATCHER or St Bride's bird is our Logo

WEST KILBIRDE CIVIC SOCIETY holds talks at 7.30p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month from September - November and January - March in West Kilbride Community Centre, Corse Street, West Kilbride, N Ayrshire KA23 9AX  




Office Bearers

Chairman - George Donohoe

Vice Chair - Alan Hodgkinson

Secretary - Audrey Kolon

Treasurer - Chris Fisher

Mem Sec - Chris Fisher


Events Sec - Alan Hodgkinson

Website -  George Donohoe

Committee members

Pat Anslow

Wendy McNab




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