In yesterday’s Herald I came across this offer “compromising nothing more than a derelict farm and outbuildings”:

As you can see it comes with full planning consent for demolition to become an “off-grid development site”. On reading this I thought:

I had never heard of this Gordonston but read this offer as if it’s ‘lived experience’ was of little/no importance.

Gordonston was described as a livestock farm in the 1854 Ordinance Survey book, situated a few miles short of West Lochinvar as a “farmhouse and outhouse all thatched and  in middling repair with about 490 acres attached”. It was owned by James Oswald Esq. of Auchencruive. The name Gordonston apparently returns to centuries before when a branch of the family of the Gordon’s of Lochinvar had “possessed it”.

John Gordon of Lochinvar, a Scottish nobleman, was one of the first to embark in the scheme for the establishment of colonies in America:

As to James Oswald, well even today you can still find him looking out over George Square. A Member of Parliament he died in 1855 and was buried in Glasgow Cathedral:

But history of lives-less-known is no less. Not never. So let us recall:

Here is Gordonston (not yet demolished) followed by a poem [Lament]:


Lived experience

I had heard o’ yer big brither
but nae you:
The ‘independent’ school up North that oor
future King attended.

But Archie, as the “Do-Upper-Of-The-Week”
yer toun is to be
D E M O L I S H E D –
for an Off-Grid Development Opportunity.
All consents have been granted.

But Gordonston, my wee brither:
no consents are required for remembering.

The auld map tells me ye were
L O C H I N V E R ‘ S –
the Gordon that colonized Cape Briton
and who made a fortune afore returning hame!

Centuries later yer Laird was Auchencruive
that Glasgae Merchant made good –
who still today looks over the big City:
hats aff tae the man!

But my wee brither, ye ken what:
I want to hear from you
aboot what matters maist:
lived experience.

[a poem for Private Archie Mair who was killed in action in France in October 1915]