The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Monday, 26 August 2013

Doors Open Day promises a game of thrones!

A carved oak chair, once thought to have belonged to King Robert the Bruce (1274-1329), will be exhibited in Ayr as part of the annual Doors Open Day programme 2013, on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September 2013.

[Pictured: South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie with the carved oak chair, once thought to have belonged to King Robert the Bruce.]

Doors Open Day offers a chance to take a sneak peek behind the doors of 78 buildings in Ayrshire – including castles, churches, townhouses, museums, towers, libraries and Council offices – and it's all free!

The oak chair comes from the former Tam O’Shanter Museum, which was located on Ayr High Street until the 1980s and has since been in storage at Rozelle House.

Also on display will be the Provost’s Chair from the former Royal Burgh of Ayr. Made from wood taken from the Auld Brig of Ayr during its repair in 1907-10, the wood on the chair is thought to be at least 800 years old. 

It was recently uncovered by Provost Helen Moonie, who wants to make some of the more interesting items and artefacts in Council collections more widely available for public display and can be viewed at the County Buildings, South Ayrshire Council's headquarters.

The ‘Bruce chair’ was originally found near Dunfermline Abbey in 1654 and bears two brass plaques stating ‘Carved Oak Arm Chair’ and ‘Believed to have been the property of King Robert the Bruce’. Prominently within the carvings are the initials ‘RB’ although a carving of a coat of arms would have been more likely for a knight or a king at that time.

Provost Moonie said: “It’s all very intriguing, but despite some wishful thinking at the time of discovery, the design and build of the chair strongly hint that it’s Elizabethan in origin – some 300 years after Bruce’s time, although it may have been re-worked to preserve it after it was found at the Abbey.

“Those who found it genuinely believed it had been the property of Robert the Bruce because he was interred at Dunfermline Abbey’s high altar, so the discovery of a chair with his initials carved on it at this particular site is significant.”

The 2013 Doors Open Day event also includes a new attraction, with seven homes open to the public where the owners have installed eco-friendly measures such as wood biomass heating, solar panels, wind turbines air source heat pumps and solar hot water tanks, to save energy and lower fuel bills.

Homeowners will be on hand to show you round, discuss the pros and cons and answer any questions you have on sustainable energy – but you need to book your visit with Colin McLachlan of the Energy Savings Trust Green Homes Network on 0808 808 2282 by Friday 6 September 2013.

The Doors Open Day programme is available from all Ayrshire libraries and you can search for participating buildings in Ayrshire (and across Scotland) online at: 

Supporting the weekend, Ayr Townscape Heritage Initiative (ATHI) has organised a series of walks, guided tours, experiences and events around Ayr for residents and visitors keen to learn more about the town.

A series of free events and tours are again being organised by Ayr Townscape Heritage and must be booked in advance through the ATHI office by email: or by telephone: 01292 617606.

Places will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

Councillor Bill Grant (pictured above), Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure commented: “Last year, buildings in South Ayrshire welcomed nearly 1,000 people through their doors and I’m certain that Doors Open Day 2013 will be a huge success.”

He continued: “Not only can you look back to the past and marvel at the architecture and furniture from days gone by, possibly even from royalty, you can also get a glimpse into the different and innovative ways we might heat and light our own homes.

“Doors Open Day 2013 really does offer something for everyone and promises to be both fascinating and illuminating – quite literally!” 

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

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