Lord Inverforth

ANDREW WEIR – A BLUE PLAQUE CANDIDATE? By Mike WaightCaptain Alistair Macnab’s recent book about Andrew Weir and The Bank Line was a real eye-opener to me, in particular the past activities and companies of this remarkable man. As a ‘simple sailor’ I was struck by just how much work and effort was put into the success of all his enterprises by all the people employed over the years, both at sea and ashore – it must run into many thousands since 1885 and all because of one entrepreneurial man from Kirkcaldy. These thousands were all gainfully employed and contributed in no small measure to the so called ‘invisible earnings’ of the country. Add to this Andrew Weir’s service to the country during and after the First World War and one can see why he earned his peerage.Since reading Alistair’s book I have managed – through the joys of being an indolent retired person – to visit (the outside) one of the homes Andrew Weir owned and occupied in London for the best part of thirty years; Inverforth House in Hampstead Heath. Subsequently I have discovered his first house in London at 57 Holland Park and his second Arnos Grove House in Southgate. These daysInverforth House has been divided into luxury apartments, Arnos Grove House is now a care homeand the Holland Park house remains a private residence.I don’t know whether any of you have been on Ships Nostalgia (SN) recently but under the Bank Line Forum there have been a number of posts regarding Alistair’s book and my research about the houses Andrew Weir lived in. Since then I’ve made a submission to English Heritage for a Blue Plaque at either Inverforth House, Arnos Grove House (Southgate) or 57 Holland Park – all houses he lived in. “Duncan112” (ex Bank Line I’m guessing) on SN has said he will make a submission too. In addition Alistair sent me a copy of his book to forward to English Heritage, which I’ve duly done.In addition to a London Blue Plaque, Alistair and I have both made submissions to Fife Council asking for their support for some form of commemoration to Andrew Weir, as a highly successful ‘son of Kirkcaldy’. If it hadn’t been for him none of us would have had the enjoyable and satisfying careers we did have. Kirkcaldy has produced some remarkable people over the years – Adam Smith (economist and philosopher), The Adams Brothers (neo-classical architects and designers), Jack Vettriano (artist), Val McDermid (crime author) to name but a few (I won’t mention the politicians). All are commemorated in one form or another in Kirkcaldy, so why not Andrew Weir?The purpose of this article is to ask members of the Bank Line Association if they would like to support the Blue Plaque and Kirkcaldy submissions by making their own submissions? Maybe pointing out that thanks to Andrew Weir many people were employed around the world in offices and ships thus generating income for the country (and obviously him!) and also his service to the country during and after the First World War for which he got the peerage.So it’s just an idea to put to you all, working on the basis that the more folk who make a submission then the better the chance of getting a result.The relevant websites are:https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/blue-plaques/propose-a-plaque/https://www.fifedirect.org.uk/topics/index.cfm?fuseaction=subject.display&subjectid=A29A03C0-91F8-4B44-8986-971EE629959Dhttps://www.shipsnostalgia.comIn case anyone’s thinking of buying an apartment in Inverforth House, after I visited the area I found one apartment for sale – 2 bedrooms – for £2.5 million; that said it did have its own garden terrace! Maybe if I won the lottery!

6 thoughts on “Lord Inverforth

  1. Very interesting! My memories are somewhat different – soogey, Casaabs,poor food, Calcutta long trips etc etc.
    Not to mention low pay £9 .17/month. Carbon black, bulk suphur, deep tanks.
    However I look back with a pang of nostalgia.
    1957 for four years (3 trips) before getting a better deal.

    Little did we know it would change forever and not for the better.
    Container terminals, wives on board,, No red light district. No drugs and no drunken parties or nurses homes.

    Have you heard the Bank Line Flag Lament?

    The blue is for the sea we sail on
    The red is for the blood we sweat
    A white streak of starvation
    That makes us all forget
    The joys are past not present
    The Woe is yet to come
    You think your a merchant seaman
    But your just a Bank Line bum.

    If you are interested, I’ve written some details of my apprenticeship!

    Best of luck.



      1. Thanks for your message, Alan.

        My writing is mainly about amusing escapades during my indentures with Andrew Weir.

        May not be entirely suitable for the Bank Line forum so it may need sanctioning.

        As a former Bank Line employee you may wish to view before it’s put on line.

        Therefore kindly forward your e mail and I will copy you direct for your approval or otherwise.

        My e mail address is jdwale@btinternet.com my name is John Wale.

        I served on the following ships.

        West Bank. Comliebank, Tielbank, Birchbank and Wavebank.

        I look forward to hearing from you.

        Best regards,




        1. Hallo John,

          Thanks for getting back. I’m sure that all views and experiences are most welcome! will send you a private message and I look forward to reading your draft. very best wishes/Alan R.


  2. Interesting article.
    My memories are £9.3s 4d per month as an apprentice 1957 – 1960
    Long trips – poor food. The Hoogley,
    Soogey , casaabs, butlers, etc etc.

    Why is it I ask myself that I look back with nostalgia?.

    I’ve written accounts of some of my exploits (nothing published) but still suffer from the effects of carbon black, bulk sulphur, cleaning deep tanks with caustic soda etc, etc.

    However, I wish you every success.
    Do you know the Bank Line anthem?


    The blue is for the sea we sail on
    The red for the blood we sweat
    The white streak of starvation that makes us all forget.
    The joys are past not present, the Wow is yet to come,
    You think your a Merchant Seaman-your just a Bank Line bum.


    1. Hi John

      Thanks for the comments and the poem. It was a new one for me!

      Don’t we remember the good things mostly, and block out the bad. It was a strange time of highs and lows I guess.
      All the very best/Alan rawlinson


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