fbpx skip to Main Content

New Bench Gifted to Museum

Museum visitors can now ‘follow the sun’ with new seating spot honouring long-serving volunteers Bob and his wife Jenny

Visitors to the Scottish Maritime Museum on the Harbourside can now enjoy the fascinating historic vessels and shipbuilding engineering from a new seating spot gifted in memory of two of the Museum’s longest serving volunteers, Bob and Jenny Stables.

Robert, Andrew and Iain Stables of Irvine have donated the bench to the Museum to celebrate their parents Bob and Jenny who volunteered at the Museum from the early 1980s.

Both Bob and Jenny were familiar faces at the Museum over the decades.

Arriving by bicycle each Wednesday and Saturday, ‘Bicycle Bob’ used his shipbuilding and engineering expertise to help keep MV Kyles and Spartan on the Harbourside shipshape for over 40 years before passing away at the age of 93 in July 2017.

As tour guide, Jenny brought the Museum’s 1920s tenement to life for visitors with her personal experience of life in the tenements of Glasgow.

Welcoming the family, Beverley Donaldson, Acting Curator at the Scottish Maritime Museum, said:

“The Museum would not be the wonderful attraction and resource it is without the support of volunteers like Bob and Jenny who pour their expertise, experience and enthusiasm into helping sustain the fascinating national maritime heritage collection and bring it to life.

“We are grateful to the Stables family for donating the bench which will be a lovely way for everyone, visitors and volunteers alike, to fondly remember two of our most long-serving volunteers.

”We hope Bob and Jenny spark an interest in others to volunteer at the Museum.

“Indeed, we would love to hear from anyone who might be interested in volunteering to help with an exciting programme of activities we have planned around a major art exhibition opening in June, Maritime Perspectives: Collecting Art of a Seafaring Nation.”

Gifting the bench on behalf of the Stables family, Andrew added:

Our parents moved to Irvine back in 1955 from a ‘single end’ tenement flat in the East End of Glasgow, tempted by a job advert in the Evening Citizen inviting them to ‘follow the sun to Ayrshire’. A better job and a house with a garden would be ideal for a young couple starting a family.

“They came to volunteering at the Scottish Maritime Museum as a way of constructively spending their retirement. As well as the satisfaction of volunteering, they made many good friends over the years.

“Dad had a connection to engineering and shipbuilding having served his apprenticeship as a brass turner and finisher in the Glasgow shipyards where he stayed through the war years before working for various engineering companies around Glasgow.

“Even though he gave up driving in his 70s, he kept volunteering, cycling to the Museum hence the nickname ‘Bicycle Bob’. Like many young men of his generation, cars were not an option in his teens so he was a committed cyclist back then. He had to give up the bike in his 80s though as he was too unsteady in the wind and rain.

“Mum volunteered as a tour guide in the Museum’s 1920s tenement flat where she spoke from personal experience of life in Glasgow, in those conditions.

“We decided to remember our parents in a constructive way by gifting the bench to the Museum. We hope it will be used by other volunteers who knew them and by visitors taking a moment to enjoy the surroundings and, hopefully, the Ayrshire sun.”

Volunteering with Maritime Perspectives: Collecting Art of a Seafaring Nation

Those interested in volunteering, should contact Beverley Donaldson at the Scottish Maritime Museum on 01294 278283 or bdonaldson@scotmaritime.org.uk .

Back To Top
Skip to content