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Unlocking the Tower

 18 April 2017  |  


Iconic tower in the heart of Ayr

Iconic tower in the heart of Ayr

Scotland's Urban Past is holding a free all day event to explore the unique history of St John's Tower in Ayr.

Heritage lovers from across Ayrshire and beyond are invited to attend Unlocking the Tower, a Scotland's Urban Past (SUP) event at Ayr's St John's Tower with family-friendly activities, re-enactments and tours celebrating the tower's heritage.

At this free, all-day event on Saturday 6 May 10:00-16:00, members of the public are welcome to join SUP and the Friends of St John's Tower to explore the tower's history. This will involve a range of activities for all ages, from historic graffiti to treasure hunts, from laser scanning to virtual reality.

The Tower – the oldest building in Ayr – is the surviving fragment of the original 12th century parish church and has a unique and fascinating history. Oliver Cromwell constructed a fort on the site in the 1650s, and the church was commandeered as a store, mill house and chapel with the tower as an armoury and look-out. The church was pulled down in 1726 but the tower was retained as a navigation beacon. 

Chiara Ronchini, Project Manager with SUP says: 'Unlocking the Tower is a rare opportunity for everyone to visit the tower, which is not usually open to the public. Through the diverse programme of activities on the day people will be able to unlock the fascinating secrets of the tower. I would like to thank South Ayrshire Council who manage the tower and the grounds for making the event possible.''

Friends of St John's Tower say, 'We are delighted that Scotland's Urban Past will be holding Unlocking the Tower. Lots of interesting activities are planned and we are sure it will be a great event.'

Jill Cronin, Head of Enterprise, Development and Leisure at South Ayrshire Council, said: 'The tower is an iconic building and the perfect setting for an event which celebrates Ayr's medieval roots. In the interest of preservation, we don't open the tower all that often so this is a golden opportunity to explore the grounds and the tower which has dominated Ayr's skyline for centuries.'

The event will be held at the tower itself, St John's Tower in Ayr. The entrance to the tower is on Bruce Crescent, opposite Citadel Place.

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