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IMAGES of LOCK-DOWN
With the whole country in Lock Down due to the Coronavirus Pandemic we were advised to follow government directives for non-essential businesses. Consequently we decided to close the shop and gallery on March 17th 2020, barely a month after opening. Of course this also means that our usual glorious floral displays will not be happening this year.
Outside the station the normally full car park is eerily empty, and along at the new local Co-op store people are queuing to be allowed in.
OUR RED WHEEL AWARD
On Friday 29th November a plaque noting the importance of Wemyss Bay station was unveiled on the outside of the building. This has been provided by the Transport Trust, a charity dedicated to the preservation of all modes of transport and its infrastructure.
The Trust’s Red Wheel plaque scheme promotes transport heritage, by marking noteworthy sites across the UK. Although about one hundred such plaques have been erected, ours is only the third in Scotland.
It was unveiled by Professor Gordon Masterton, the Deputy Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, and the ceremony, blessed with sunshine and clear blue skies was attended by a good crowd including various local dignitaries.
DOORS OPEN DAY
– Saturday 31st August 2019 –
It’s Doors Open Day this weekend, but Inverclyde Council has made an
error in the brochure by repeating details of St Mary’s Church, Greenock
instead of information about Wemyss Bay Station. Correct details can be
There will be guided tours of the station at 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm and 4.00
pm on Saturday 31 August. No need to book. Just come along.
PS Waverley benefits from FoWBS Donation!
The Friends of Wemyss Bay Station made a £1,000 donation to the Boiler Refit Appeal.
Sheena Inglis, who is the bookshop manager, passed the cheque over to Paul Semple, General Manager of Waverley Excursions, with other committee members giving their support.
Sheena commented, “Waverley is the last of the Clyde Steamers and needs everyone’s support to get her back sailing Doon the Watter.”
To see the Waverley’s own website click HERE
Our Events Organiser Greg Beecroft has compiled our Summer Newsletter, highlighting the very busy year we have had so far – the tenth year since the foundation of Friends of Wemyss Bay Station
To read the newletter click this link: Newsletter August 2019
A View over the clock tower and pier at 9pm on a July evening
10th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS THIS JUNE
We are marking our tenth anniversary by holding an Open Day at the station on Saturday 22 June.
Organisations providing displays include ScotRail, Caledonian MacBrayne, Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Visit Scotland, together with a variety of local groups.
Authors Chris Vine (Peter’s Railway) and Geoff Marshall & Vicki Pipe (All the Stations) will be present to meet readers and sign books.
There will be a face-painter and station quiz for children. The station bookshop and gallery run by the Friends will be open, as usual, as will the station café and bar.
The list of expected attendees is:
All The Stations, Ayrshire Coastal Path, Bute Conservation Trust, Caledonian MacBrayne, Clyde River Steamer Club, Inverclyde Tourist Group, Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, Peter’s Railway, RNLI, ScotRail, Skelmorlie/Wemyss Bay Clean Up Crew and Visit Scotland.
Come and admire our extraordinary station, one of very few to be listed Category A, and help the Friends mark their anniversary. Over the last ten years the Friends have restored the famed floral displays and enhanced the station in other ways, including installation of the statue of a wee boy “Bobby” going on holiday.
The open day is free of charge.
ScotRail in the Community Volunteer Awards 2019
Selected volunteers mingled with ScotRail staff over lunchon Friday 7th June in the Grand Central Hotel at Glasgow’s Central Station, before the award ceremony took place in the afternoon.
More than 1100 volunteers keep the 275 adopted stations in Scotland looking smart for the millions of passengers who travel throughout the country every year and this new award celebrates their efforts.
Cathy and Brenda attended the event on behalf of Wemyss Bay Station, and although we did not win anything this year it was nevertheless a most enjoyable event.
Click HERE to see our Newsletter February 2019
Our Latest Addition to the Gallery
We were recently delighted to receive a donation of some beautiful vintage destination boards from one of our supporters. The boards had originally been used on an early paddle steamer which had taken passengers on day trips around the River Clyde. The destinations would have been arranged on a special frame to let passengers see the trip for that day.
A photograph of an original destination board was found and a joiner approached to construct a replica of the original frame. This has been beautifully accomplished and the result is proudly displayed in the Gallery.
Season’s Greetings to One and All!
See you all in 2019!
WEMYSS BAY HISTORY ON DISPLAY
A TIME LINE illustrating the history of the railway to Wemyss Bay and the local community has gone on display at the station. This has been commissioned by Friends of Wemyss Bay Station, in response to the widespread interest in the Category A listed building.
The display, which is permanent, includes many historic photographs. It describes how the railway came to be built and particularly the complete reconstruction of the station and pier in 1903. The story is brought right up to date with the recent renovation and Wemyss Bay receiving the accolade of being “Britain’s loveliest railway station”.
The Time Line was designed by Iain McGregor of Bootlace Creative Limited, who is based in Skelmorlie, using material supplied by the Friends. The Friends were particularly pleased to be able to employ a local designer.
The Friends hope that users of the station find the Time Line of interest and that it will help them appreciate the design of this remarkable building.
Summer 2018 Floral Displays will be Amazing
Thanks to the hard work of our chief gardener Cathy Galbraith and husband Stuart, the Summer planting is finally finished and the displays promise to be absolutely stunning as another season rolls in. The current heatwave means a lot of thirsty plants and Cathy can be seen here pushing the water bowser which typically requires several fills during one watering session.
Well done to the pair of them – everyone who passes through the station is well impressed!
Another Colourful Summer Approaches
Sumnmer planting started in May with the row of twelve Photinia ‘Red Robin’ being installed along the walkway. This not inconsiderable operation was led by Cathy Galbraith and assisted by a willing band of volunteers who gave up a Sunday to get the work done.
The concourse and walkway are now once again burgeoning with blossom as a new summer approaches, mainly due to the tireless efforts of head gardener Cathy and husband Stuart. but with help along the way from two volunteers from Parklea who came along and planted the Busy Lizzies in the towers.
For more news about the Station take a look at our latest Newsletter, compiled by Gregory Beecroft, accessed by clicking the link below.
Another Success Story for our Station
A new plaque has been unveiled at Wemyss Bay (Station) to mark the station winning a top rail industry award.
The iconic, A-listed Inverclyde station was named best entry at the 2017 National Railway Heritage Awards.
The award was won for a two-year, £5m renovation of the Edwardian station by owners Network Rail.
Begun in 2014 and completed in 2016 the repair programme has restored the station’s canopies and glazed roof, repainted and improved the station buildings and repaired the seawall.
The station remained in operation during the work with special scaffolding being installed to allow trains to run while engineers worked above the platforms.
( Network Rail report of the unveiling at https://www.networkrail.co.uk/
New Data Protection Laws (GDPR)
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It addresses the export of personal data outside the EU.
STATEMENT FROM FRIENDS of WEMYSS BAY STATION
To meet the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Friends of Wemyss Bay Station confirm the following:
- The only personal data we hold is members’ contact details
- This data is provided by members themselves when they renew
- Information is updated annually on renewal
- Former members’ data is deleted
- Information is held offline and in a secure place
- Information is only used for direct mailing to members, and no other purpose
Sir Simon Jenkins Visits his Favourite Station
Acclaimed author Sir Simon Jenkins recently gave a talk in Glasgow about Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations at the Mitchell Library at 7.45 pm on Friday 23 March,
Sir Simon’s book has been a best seller in the Bookshop and he particularly mentioned Wemyss Bay as being one of his favourite stations in Britain.
The next day he visited the station itself and was greeted by Committee members Sue, Gregory and Simon.
Below are a few photos of his visit, thanks to Sue Hothersall
HEROIC RESCUE CERTIFICATE UNEARTHED
As well as Duchess of Montrose, the life-saving certificate we were given was put on display in the gallery this week.
The text of the certificate reads:
At a Meeting of the Committee of the Royal National Life Boat Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck held at their Offices, London, on the 13th day of August 1903 the following Minute was ordered to be recorded on the Books of the Society and to be communicated to J A Gardiner Esq
Resolved. That the Silver Medal of the Royal National Life-Boat Institution be presented to Mr Hector Robertson for gallantly assisting to save, at the risk of his own life, two of the crew of the yacht “Valtos”, which foundered in a SW gale and a heavy sea at Wemyss Bay, on the 3rd July 1903.
Rough weather during the summer is not a recent phenomenum!
ARRIVAL OF THE DUCHESS!
We are delighted to welcome our latest, very beautiful acquisition to the gallery.
Good Bye Nancy – we will miss you!
At the beginning of this year our Founder Nancy Cameron decided to stand down from her duties in the Bookshop and around the Station Concourse where she has tirelessly worked on the floral displays since the beginning. Her presence will be sorely missed and her gardening skills will be almost impossible to match, as will her knowledge of all things related to our beautiful station.
However we are delighted to welcome her successor in the gardens, Catherine Galbraith, who has alrteady been part of the regular gardening team with Nancy. We are also very pleased that production of the regular News Letter, which Nancy used to compile, has been taken over by Gregory Beecroft and a link to his first one can be found below.
Another Enhancement for the Station, courtesy of the Station Friends
Visitors to the station arriving from the main road will now be greeted by this splendid vintage panoramic poster of the Firth of Clyde.
The project has taken several months to get to this point. The Station Friends acquired the poster last year, in not very good condition, but after restoration by a specialist company near Edinburgh, the original is carefully preserved for posterity.
What we see is a reproduction, faithfully recreated using state of the art digital technology.
Yet another way of enhancing our beautiful station with funds raised in our Bookshop.
Friends of East Kilbride Railway Station Visit
We were pleased to welcome visitors from Friends of the East Kilbride Station (FOTEKS?) organised by Mary Forsyth and Fiona Sanderson, who Sheena and Brenda met at the ACORP Awards in October. Mary and Fiona brought along a group of students on a fact-finding mission to discover what they might do with their very own patch of land, given to them by Scotrail. We were shown an initiial plan that they have already drawn up which includes raised bed “carriages” and a “locomotive” coming from a mural depicting a tunnel, which will be painted by one of their members who is a talented artist.
It was a particularly cold day, but they managed to fit in a quick hot drink before catching their return train. We hope their brief visit resulted in a few good ideas!
NEW LOOK FOR 2018
Refurbishment well under way at the Bookshop and Gallery.
More work to do, but we are making good progress.
Photos: Gregory Beecroft
BRITAIN’S 100 BEST RAILWAY STATIONS
We are pleased and proud to be featured on the front cover of a new book by Sir Simon Jenkins ‘Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations’.
This beautiful book is for sale in the Bookshop, at a discounted price
ACoRP Awards 2017 – Derby
The ACoRP awards, held in Derby last week were, as expected, a lavish and dazzling showcase of the organisation’s many facets, attended by hundreds of delegates, nearly all from English stations.
The FOWBS representatives this year were Sheena and Brenda, hoping to receive an award in the Community Art sector, after our wee statue “Bobby” was short-listed.
Although our nomination did not result in a prize, three other Scottish stations were selected and we were happy to support them and to share in the reflected glory!
Click this LINK to see a selection of photos taken on the evening
Sir Peter Hendy – Chairman of Network Rail, visits our station
Friends of Wemyss Bay Station welcomed Sir Peter and gave him a guided tour. Pictured above along with the visitors are (L to R) Sheena Inglis, Bookshop Manager, Brenda Campbell, Secretary, Simon Dell, Membership and Media, Nancy Cameron, Hon President and Gregory Beecroft who organised the visit and liaised with all to ensure that it ran smoothly.
Sir Peter was very impressed by the refurbishment of the station and the work of the Friends. There was a good discussion about potential further improvements and we remain in hope that the glass in the roof will receive attention
“All The Stations” team visits Wemyss Bay
We were excited to welcome Geoff and Vicki, a couple whose project “All the Stations” has made national headlines!
All The Stations is a project to travel to ALL 2,563 of the national railway stations in Britain over the spring and summer of 2017, and to create an online documentary film about the journey. On August 8th 2017 they visited our beautiful station and pronounced it “spectacular”!
Visit their website by clicking HERE
A Warm Welcome to “BOBBY”!
Friends of Wemyss Bay Station are grateful to all those who suggested names for the boy whose statue is on the station concourse. There were over 200 responses.
There were many good ideas, but we have decided to adopt one particularly popular name, because it is especially appropriate to Wemyss Bay.
There are several claims as to how Wemyss Bay got its name, but the one we like is that it is named after an eighteenth century fisherman who lived locally – Robert, or Bobby, Wemyss. The statue is, therefore, named after him.
It is unlikely that a small Scottish boy from the 1950s would have been known as Robert (unless, perhaps, he came from Kelvinside) so our statue is Bobby.
For more photos by Gregory Beecroft of Bobby please click HERE !
Read our Summer Newsletter
Our Summer newsletter is ready for distribution. You can read it by clicking the above link
Boy sets off on holiday – now he needs a name!
The statue was unveiled on Saturday 13 May by John Yellowlees, who was in charge of station adoption at ScotRail until his recent retirement. Over fifty local people turned up for the event, despite the wet weather.
We are looking for a name for the statue that was unveiled on Saturday and are inviting suggestions from users of the station and pier. A reason should be given as to why a proposed name is appropriate.
The suggestions will be shortlisted at the end of June. There will then be a public vote to decide which name is chosen.
Some photos showing the arrival and installation of the sculpture may be viewed by clicking this link
The statue is of a small boy going on holiday, striding towards the pier with his model yacht and fishing line, looking forward to time by the sea. It recalls the days when thousands of people made their way to the Clyde coast for summer holidays.
The sculptor is Angela Hunter, who was responsible for the statue of a girl, Annie, at Gourock. The boy at Wemyss Bay is seen as Annie’s brother. The statue has been cast by Powderhall Bronze Limited. Angela Hunter will be present at the unveiling and will be talking about her work at the Friends’ annual general meeting in the afternoon.
Members of the public are welcome at the unveiling and at the AGM, which is at Skelmorlie and Wemyss Bay Parish Church Hall, starting at 14:00.
The statue is to be unveiled by John Yellowlees, who was responsible for station adoption and community rail in Scotland until he recently retired from ScotRail. John provided the Friends of Wemyss Bay Station with considerable support and help over the years.
A Peek round the Back of the Newly Renovated Station
Lots of work went on around the back of the station, where the effects of wind and weather over the years were very evident.
Now this usually unseen part of the station has been beautifully restored with repointed brickwork and paint in the official station colour scheme. Photographed by Bren Campbell, before the gates from the main road were locked again.
For more of Bren’s pictures of the sea wall side please click here
New Postcards in the Shop
Wemyss Bay sees new train first!
Murals showing the history and features of the town were unveiled at Port Glasgow station yesterday
These have been created by RIG Arts http://www.rigarts.org/ working with local schoolchildren.
Funding came from the ScotRail Cultural and Arts Fund and from Riverside Inverclyde http://www.riversideinverclyde
The photographs below are courtesy of John Yellowlees
New Promotional Video from Caledonian MacBrayne
There is an interesting CalMac press release about the video here: https://www.calmac.co.uk/press/your-west-coast
“The train now standing at Platform One… “
Look at these photos from July 2016 of the Station, beautifully restored in all its glory
Station Restored – July 2016
See images »
Station Restored – July 2016See images »
CLICK HERE for Summer 2016 Newsletter (PDF will open)
FoWBS newsletter July 2016
CALEDONIAN RAILWAY SEAT
We are now the proud owners of an original bench from the early days of the Caledonian Railway. This vintage treasure was presented to the Friends by the National Railway Museum in York. It has now been restored to its original glory, with the CRCo monogram decorating its cast iron ends now clear for all to see.
Railway Heritage Trust visit to Wemyss Bay
To read our latest Newsletter – click below
Return of TS Queen Mary
Turbo Steamer The Queen Mary was being towed to Greenock from Tilbury Docks in London where she had been languishing after falling into disrepair after years of being a restaurant ship on the Thames.
Friends of TS Queen Mary was formed in 2012 to safeguard the future of TS Queen Mary, the Clyde’s last and Britain’s finest turbine excursion steamer. We aim to renew TS Queen Mary and return her to a new permanent berth on the River Clyde. The Clyde will give new life to TS Queen Mary and she – in return – can help give new life to the Clyde.
Help to Save the Queen Mary
This year’s AGM was held as usual in the Church Hall on Shore Road on Saturday 14th May 2016.
The Guest Speaker was from Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited, who gave a talk about the recent pier renovations.
FOWBS AGM 2016 Summary
The work on the pier is now virtually complete, although there still remains a fair bit of work to do within the station itself. Ferries started off-loading and loading on Good Friday and have only missed a few sailings since then due to bad weather.
Earlier this year the bookshop and gallery were so quiet that it was decided to close, but they are now open at the usual times: Monday – Saturday from 9.30 until 4.30. As always we are closed on Sundays.
FACT-FINDING VISIT TO KILMARNOCK
A group of bookshop volunteers enjoyed a most interesting fact finding visit to newly renovated Kilmarnock Railway Station today.
We were given an interesting insight into the station’s history and a guided tour of the completed rooms, which include an excellent coffee shop and a gift shop filled with high quality local arts and crafts as well as a well-stocked 2nd hand bookshop.
Photos: Gregory Beecroft
Celebrating 150 Years of Train Travel to Wemyss Bay
On Saturday, 16th May the Friends marked a special day in the history of Wemyss Bay Station – 150 years since the opening of the railway line from Glasgow to Wemyss Bay, as a branch from Port Glasgow, on 15th May, 1865. We were restricted in our activities because the station and the pier are in the process of major repair and renovation, but we didn’t let that stop us having a celebration.
M.V.Bute got dressed overall for the occasion, with flags flying above her decks. On board were displays of models of ferries old and new, paddle steamers to car ferries. In the station gallery Dugald Cameron had produced paintings of the 1865 station and pier in action. Souvenir cards showing these images were on sale in the bookshop, and some of Dugald’s models of early Caledonian Railway locomotives were on display for that morning.
New! Special commemorative cards available online, for details please visit these pages: