THE stunning restoration of fire ravaged Seafield House in Ayr was finally revealed last Friday.

The former home of civil engineer Sir William Arrol was set to be lost to the nation – until architect Robin Gosht and his Econstruct Group stepped in to save it.

Through partnership working, with support from the Friends of Seafield House and South Ayrshire Council it hosts 10 unique luxury apartments, which are now on the market.

After the 2008 blaze, Seafield, for many years a maternity and children’s hospital, was reduced to a shell, roofless and with trees and vegetation growing through the floor.

Ayr Advertiser: Inside Seafield House

Applications were made by potential buyers to raze the once proud mansion to the ground.

But in 2014, Robin and his business partner, Derek Shennan, acquired the site.

The former Seafield grounds now host some splendid modern homes – but the work on Sir William’s former home didn’t begin until 2021.

The man behind the plan, Robin has a special attachment to Seafield – his father was a doctor there when the mansion was still a hospital.

And the project truly is a labour of love.

Ayr Advertiser: Robin Gosht and Derek Shennan transformed the fire ravaged building

Robin, pictured above with Derek, said at the official launch: “I was thinking last night, this is probably the first time Sir William Arrol occupied the house that there has been a gathering in it.

“This is now a home, not a hospital. But it has been a long journey getting here.

“They had applied for permission to demolish this building, but we knew something could be done here.”

The renovation is not only architecturally, but historically significant. Experts say it provides a blueprint for saving other legacy buildings in Scotland’ with a little bit of imagination and collaboration.

Ayr Advertiser: A view of the Tower from inside the restored building

It has now been painstakingly restored, creating 10 luxury apartments, including the Tower, which was originally built so Sir William could watch the horse racing at Ayr Racecourse.

Sir William was a Liberal Unionist MP for South Ayrshire, who made his name as the engineer responsible for the replacement Tay Bridge, the Forth Bridge and Tower Bridge.

He also built the foundations for the famous Finnieston Crane in Glasgow. His image can be found on the Clydesdale Bank £5 note introduced in 2015.

Seafield House was built in 1888 and is an elegant Italianate mansion with tower, conservatory and grand library.

Following Sir William’s death in 1913, Seafield was gifted to the British Red Cross and used briefly as a convalescence home for injured soldiers during World War 1.

From 1920 it operated as a maternity and children’s hospital for the next 70 years before the NHS closed it.

Ayr Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans was very impressed by the new look Seafield – and praised the team who transformed and saved the historic building.

Ayr Advertiser: Seafield had been ravaged by fireSeafield had been ravaged by fire (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

He told the Advertiser: “I have a memory that I was a patient here as a child in the early '60s. I can’t remember quite what for but I may have been getting my tonsils out.

“It was really sad in 2008 when it was essentially burned to the ground.

“I remember reading about the fire and they never found out who was responsible.

“From then I remember it being hugely derelict with trees growing out the floors and windows. Some were seeking to demolish it or raze it to the ground.

Ayr Advertiser: Inside of one of the Seafield apartments

“Eventually Robin and his partners came along and they have worked tirelessly to bring this project to where it is today.

“It is an absolutely fantastic building, demonstrating what is possible with a partnership approach and the vision displayed by Robin and his team.”