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 by the efforts of Minister, Congregation and friends, including donations of £450 from Sir Peter Coats, £250 from the Ferguson Bequest, £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.

For the immediate future Prestwick South has drawn up ambitious Redevelopment Plans which hopefully will ensure that the Church is able to remain a vibrant and welcoming building for the 21st Century.

In 2012 the first stage of the Plans were completed with the installation of Accessible Toilets, then in 2013 a new Welcome Area was formed with the removal of some pews.  More recently in 2015 the Chancel Area was completely transformed creating a more adaptable space in which to present Service of Worship and other events.

The redecoration of the interior of the Church took place in 2017 and ensured that the sanctuary was given a much needed make-over with a fresh brighter appearance. In the same year two new Notice Boards were erected in the Church forecourt.