Stevenston Beach Camp - Glasgow Gangs 1937

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Stevenston Beach Camp - Glasgow Gangs 1937

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Daily Record and Mail
February 11, 1937

Glasgow Gangs In Camp - Bathing Costumes: Bottle Fights

ALLEGATIONS that the "riff-raft of Glasgow" occupied tents in a boliday camping-ground at Stevenston were made at an inquiry in Kilmarnock Sheriff Court yesterday.

Ayr County Council sought to prohibit any movable dwellings being placed on a piece of ground at Stevenston known as Frew's camping ground and to require the removal of such movable dwellings. Objections to the petition were lodged by Mr. Alexander Frew, coal merchant, Boglemart Streets Stevenston.

In the course of evidence for the petitioners it was stated that the water supply and sanitary arrangements at the camping ground were insufficient. The busiest period at the camp was during the Glasgow Pair Fortnight in July, and that at that time there were about 200 tents with an average of six persons in each tent.

Jazz Bands
A police witness stated that it was the rilf-raff of Glasgow who occupied the tents in the camp, and that they behaved in a very disorderly manner, marched about the streets in bathing costumes, and played jazz bands in the streets late at night.

Some of the Glasgow gangs went to the camp and they had in their tent such names as the Billy Boys, Govan Minks, Beehive Gang, Hell's Kitchen, and the Kelly Gang. There were skirmishes in the town with these gangs and bottles were used as weapons. There had been two outbreaks of fire at the camp and in one of them a girt lost her life.

In August last year two girls ran away from their homes in Glasgow and they were found in a tent at the camp lying with eight men from Johnstone They had been there for a week. The general opinion of the inhabitants of Stevenston was that camping at this ground should be prohibited.

Dare Not Complain
Other witnesses spoke to having seen immoral conduct among campers at this ground and also free fights. A householder in the vicinity was asked why he did not complain about this conduct to the police, and he replied that it would be as much as his life was worth to do so.
The case was adjourned until to-day.


Daily Record and Mail
February 12, 1937

Rowdy Stevenston Campers - Bottles as Weapons in Fight

EVIDENCE was concluded at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court yesterday in the inquiry into the petition by Ayr County Council to prohibit the placing of moveable dwellings on a piece of ground at Stevenston, known as Frew's Camping Ground, and to order the removal of such moveable dwellings as may be on the ground. No evidence was led for the objector and the Sheriff made avisandum.

Evidence yesterday was given for the petitioners by four Stevenston members of the Saltcoats District Council. It was stated that they objected to the camp partly because of its situation near the town, and partly because of the loose way in which it was run and the character of the occupants. They were in favour of camping in the proper place and under proper conditions, with adequate sanitary accommodation provided. They alleged that Frew was utterly unable to cope with the supervision of the camp.

Gang Fight
One of the Councillors spoke to having seen gang fight in the street in which beer bottles were used as weapons. He stated that one man, after being felled with a bottle, was kicked into insensibility while he lay on the ground. Another member of the District Council stated that he had every sympathy with poor people having a holiday as cheaply and comfortably as possible, but he objected to them usurping the whole rights of the other citizens and causing annoyance and disturbances during the night. Several witnesses said that they had been immoral conduct at the camp, and one stated that he had discovered that there were innumerable criminals in the camp.


Daily Record and Mail
February 23, 1937

Stevenston Camp To Be removed - Sheriff On Lack Of Supervision

Removal within 28 days of any moveable dwellings from Frew's camping ground, Stevenston, has been ordered by Sheriff Martin Laing, of Kilmarnock.
The Sheriff yesterday issued his judgment in a petition at the instance of the County Council of Ayr, which was the subject of a two days inquiry at Kilmarnock. The petition was opposed by the lessee, Mr. Alexander Frew, coal merchant, Boglemart Street, Stevenston.

The Sheriff finds that at certain holiday seasons over 100 dwellings are erected, the inhabitants at times exceeding 2000.

Sleeping In Relays
Many of these dwellings are overcrowded, with the result that the inhabitants in many cases have to use the sleeping accommodation in relays, taking turns of such accommodation, with the result that one part of the company sleeps while the others parade the streets at night bawling, singing, playing instruments, using obscene language loudly and disturbing the sleep of the town's residents.

Frequent brawls and fights occurred amongst the campers in which bottles and other weapons were used. Open and flagrant cases of immorality and indecencies have occurred.

Sexes Intermingled
In a note, his lordship says: Besides no proper supervision and control of the camp there was really no attempt at organisation. There was no segregation of young unmarried males and females. Sexes of all ages intermingled in the same moveable dwelling. There was no privacy available.

It is most regrettable, he adds, that such conclusion has to be arrived at, for it is most desirable that town people, and especially the very poor, should be able to get holiday in the country or at the seaside, and I fear that in many instances a cheap form of camping is all that their means permit.

The Act authorises the County Council to provide camping grounds and it is to be hoped steps will be taken to have that done so that properly equipped camps may be made available.
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