The Prestwick South Story
In 1879 members of the United Presbyterian Church in Ayr (Cathcart and Darlington Place Churches) decided to establish a Preaching Station in Prestwick to provide for the members of the United Presbyterian Church living in the Prestwick area and the throngs of summer visitors who came to the town.
After much searching by Thomas Bone and James Andrew, the two elders appointed to oversee the project, a site was secured and building began in October 1879. Building was completed for the official opening on 25 April 1880. This building through the years has been continually renovated and now contains our present Vestry, Waiting Room, Flower Arranging Room and Session House. The original entrance is now used as the Church rear doorway, the date 1879 carved above. The cost of the building was £450.
At that time the Prestwick population was 2,800. Attendance at the new Church was initially small with around 20 at Sunday services and up to 30 at Wednesday Prayer Meetings. With the advent of summer, Services were better supported and preachers were provided from local Ministers. Rev. James Rennie, a former Moderator of the U.P. Church, resident in Prestwick, was a great help and the Misses Rennie helped with the singing and accompaniment on a harmonium presented by “Friends of the Mission Church”.
The debt on the small church was soon discharged and as this Mission Church was still under the oversight of Darlington Place Church, Ayr, it was decided to apply for status of a full Church. Permission was granted and the first minister, Rev. Mr Archibald Alison, was inducted on 4 July 1882.
At the Annual Business Meeting, in December 1882, the decision to build our present Church was taken. The completed Church, total cost £1,900, was opened on 5 June 1884.
Within a year a manse was built in St Quivox Road opposite the present Manse. That Manse was large enough to house the Minister, his wife and five sons and four daughters.
The financing of the Church building and Manse was a tremendous burden on a small congregation but by the efforts of Minister, Congregation and friends, including donations of £450 from Sir Peter Coats, £250 from the Ferguson Bequest and £32.15/- from Presbytery and £601 proceeds of a Grand Bazaar from 24 – 26 July the debt was cleared in 1894.
The first Manse was sold and replaced by 15 Southpark Avenue in 1946 and then replaced by the present Manse in St Quivox Road in 1950.
A new Church hall was built on the site of Ryefield House and grounds adjacent to the Church at a cost of £11,575 and opened by Dr. Leonard Small, Ex-Moderator of the Church of Scotland, in 1960.
In recent years many more changes have taken place, a sign of the Faith and Commitment of the Congregation. This has included a Church Garden, New Vestry, Church Hall Kitchen Extension and the New Millennium Stained Glass Window.
Further alterations and changes will be required to meet new legislation. Indeed, a Feasibility Study of Prestwick South Parish Church has recently been completed and the Property Committee are currently examining what possible changes may be required to the property to take Prestwick South forward into the 21st Century.