The Folk Scene

The Folk Scene

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The Folk Scene:

In the mid 20th century, Ayr’s folk scene was brimming with talent, welcoming Scotland’s modern ‘bard’ Billy Connolly to perform in the popular folk venue of Loudoun Hall.

Shadows of the Past Illustrated Stories

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Loudoun Hall was built around 1513 and is thought to be the oldest house in Ayr. After its renovation in 1948 by Robert Hurd, it became a popular venue for clubs to host events. One such club was The Ayr Folk Club who hosted an array of folk bands and musicians. At this time the Ayr folk scene was brimming with talent such as Tannanzie, Speedy and Ian, Pete and Heather Heywood, Dougie Bell, Pete and Peggy Seeger and Billy Connolly (who at the time was known as a member of The Humblebums) to name a few.

In 1976, Connolly performed his parody ‘If It Wisnae Fur Yer Wellies’ or ‘The Welly Boot Song’ on STV to the tune of The Clancy Brothers ‘Work of the Weavers’. Inspired by The Ayr Folk Club’s history at Loudoun Hall and one of Scotland’s best comedians, we decided to add our own lyrics to ‘The Work of the Weavers’.

Can you match the words to the tune? Go on! Have a go at singing along!

Perhaps you’ll want to try writing your own lyrics too.

Silhouette of Billy Connolly.

Loudoun Hall has been here since the 16th century
They think it may have been built in 1513
Built with rubble and slate, it’s as high as three stories
500 years it’s stood tall, Loudoun Hall

Back then there wasn’t a toilet, people shouted ‘Gardy Loo’
Into the Boat Vennel, their waste is what they threw
Be careful not to get any on your head, you better move
I’m glad they’ve got a loo inside Loudoun Hall now

There’s merchants and there’s sheriffs who lived at Loudoun Hall
The dwelling of James Tait and then Sir Hugh Campbell
There was even folk music played here an’ all
Folky folk came to listen at Loudoun Hall

It was known to host the members of The Ayr Folk Club
There were banjos and fiddles and even some drums
Back then Billy Connolly played in The Humblebums
Everyone and their mum danced at Loudoun Hall

Now the Ayr Phoenix Folk Club is on Academy St.
Risen from the ashes to nurture the folk community
But people still remember the 60s/70s scene
When they played for love and peace at Loudoun Hall

Loudoun Hall has been here since the 16th century
They think it may have been built in 1513
Built with rubble and slate, it’s as high as three stories
For many more years it’ll stand, Loudoun Hall

Map location of silhouette


Loudoun Hall has had more than its share of ups and downs over its long life, from hosting royalty and acting as a merchant’s home, to falling into disrepair and becoming a slum dwelling, before being restored and brought into public use, acting as the home of Ayr Folk Club in the 1960’s.

James Fergusson wrote an account on Loudoun Hall and its Owners.



Written by: Annaliese Rose Broughton
Audio by: Calum Blane
Illustrations by: Jazz Buchanan

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