History of Ardrossan

Ardrossan Coat of Arms

The Town’s Coat of Arms has Ardrossan Castle as its centerpiece, with crosses representing its founder, the Barclays. The Town’s motto is “ Takand care “ meaning “ Taking care “, reflecting the Earl of Eglinton’s motto “ Gardez Bien “, which has the same translation, the former from the Latin and the latter from the French. There have been some slight variations on it down the years, particularly with the colour, including one with the motto at the bottom.

Ardrossan Town Badge

Index

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History of Ardrossan
Poem by Rachel B Merrylees circa 1893 - Page 4 Chapter 1 - Introduction – about the Author - Page 5 Chapter 2 - The Castle & the Chapel on the Hill – Page 6 Chapter 3 - The Curse of the Castlehill – Page 10 Chapter 4 - Landmarks / Buildings - Graham’s Castle / Castlecraigs, McFadzean Monument, Holm Plantation, Earl’s Villa, Bath Villa, Pavilion, Town House, Montfode Castle, Horse Island, Breakwater, Cemeteries, Greasy Pole, Picture House, Masonic Lodge & First Chapel - Page 13 Chapter 5 - 1911 Royal Commission Report on the Castle – Page 29 Chapter 6 - Development of the Town since 1805 – Page 33 Chapter 7 - Railway – Page 40 Chapter 8 - Shipyard – Page 42 Chapter 9 - Shell Mex Refinery & Canning Factories – Page 48 Chapter 10 – Industry & Commerce ( Metallic Manufacturing Company, Winton Foundry, Metlox Limited, Eglinton Laundry, Lee’s Lemonade Factory, Oilskin Works, Water, Gas, Ardrossan Hospital, Shops, Housing, Ferries, Buses & Fishing ) – Page 51 Chapter 11 - HMS Dasher – Page 59 Chapter 12 - Religion - Places of Worship – Page 62 Chapter 13 - Education – Schools – Page 68 Chapter 14 – My Memories of Shops – Pubs – Clubs – Hotels – Page 72 Chapter 15 - Progress – you decide ! – Page 73

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History of Ardrossan
Chapter16 - Police / Fire Services – Page 75 Chapter 17 - Ardrossan Winton Rover’s Football Club - Page 78 Chapter 18 – Other sports – Bowling / Curling / Tennis – Page 83 Chapter 19 - War Memorials – WW1 & WW2 - Page 84 Chapter 20 – Suggested further Reading – Page 88 Appendix A – 1869 Ardrossan Business Directory – Page 92 Appendix B – Ardrossan 1929 Valuation Roll – Page 95 Preface The conception of this publication was born in a flush of enthusiasm following my inability during 2005 to ascertain a general history and development of my home town, Ardrossan. My interest was to discover why the town had established itself in this specific location and what had sustained the growth through to what it has become today. Information was available from sources such as The North Ayrshire Museum, North Ayrshire Local History Department, Ardrossan and Saltcoat’s Herald Archives, the World Wide Web and the occasional private source, but it was scattered and fragmented, a page here and a page there. It seemed at the time that it would take forever to get the “ bigger picture “ to coin a phrase. The resulting research is the consequence of my ambition to collate all these sources. For those of you with family connections to the area past or present, and even the wider diaspora with a more general interest, I hope that I have saved you the time and frustration of what I have been through these last few years ( although it has been extremely interesting ) and that you might enjoy reading this in the comfort of your own home. As for the title, I really couldn’t have called it anything else, it is what it is, the story of my home town, a “ History of Ardrossan “.

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History of Ardrossan

“ Height of the little Headland “ Ard = High – Ros = Promontory 1 See Ardrossan, from her farms, Stoop to Windward, stoop to lee; Stretching kind protecting arms Round her children of the sea. Century - seamed and battle – scarred, Still her castle keeps its rock; Ancient warrior, hoary bard, Poet, round whom poets flock. Listening to its legends dim; Seeing, as the twilight grows, Wallace’s larder – dungeon grim Full of Scotland’s ancient foes. 2 Saltcoats, old and thriving town, Has her ruddy fisher fleets; Has her “ Homes, “ a noble crown Set o’er all her busy streets. 3 Stevenston, whose furnace flames, Industry keeps well alight; Ever pray for peace, who claims All thy fiery dynamite. Mrs Rachel B Merrylees Source - Ardrossan, Saltcoats & Neighborhood – Guthrie – 1893

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History of Ardrossan
Chapter 1 – Introduction – about the Author
A brief word about myself before I launch into this concise, at least as concise as I could be about the subject matter and what I hope the reader finds to be an informative history of my home town. I, Danny Mathieson, was born at Buckreddan Maternity Hospital, Kilwinning, Ayrshire on 16/5/1953 and a few days later I would be taken home to my parent’s attic flat at 48 Kilmahew Street, Ardrossan. My father, also Danny, was born on 14/11/1923 at 33 Glasgow Street, Ardrossan, and his father, also Danny, was born at 14 Harbour Place, Ardrossan on 1/11/1902. All three addresses are within a stone’s throw of each other, and as I sit and watch the world go by in June of 2010, of a warm summer afternoon on the summer seat across the road from the old 1Bute Bar location, a few feet in front of where my Father was born at 33 Glasgow Street, it is both easy and comforting to feel the sense of belonging that it instills within me. “ My “ Mathiesons have been in Ardrossan since 1871 ( census record ), originally coming south from Dornoch, Sutherland, in search of work and a better standard of living as many did at that time following the “ Highland Clearances “, when sheep became more important than human beings. They started their journey south circa 1835 / 1840, appearing in the first published census of 1841 at Calder Street ( Lochwinnoch ), the 1851 census at Courthill Street ( Dalry ) and the 1861 census at Quay Street ( Saltcoats ), before arriving in Ardrossan to Montgomerie Lane prior to the 1871 census, again a stone’s throw from where I first conceived the idea of this research. Copyright @ December 2012, the moral right of Danny Mathieson to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patent’s Act 1988.

Internationally renowned public bar known throughout the world by merchant sailors from the many foreign ships that plied their trade at Ardrossan harbour. I will leave it to the reader’s imagination to figure what the attraction might have been. Although I never had the “ pleasure “ personally, I did witness the comings and goings on as an “ occasional and innocent customer “ of the bar in my later teenage years.

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History of Ardrossan
Chapter 2 - The Castle & the Chapel on the Hill

Painting circa 1830 – thanks to North Ayrshire Local History “ and the stately ships move on, to their haven under the hill “ – Tennyson
The Castle itself is thought to be 12th century, built by the Normans who by this time had moved north following the conquest of England by William the Conqueror in the previous century ( 1066 and all that ). The partial demolition of it can be attributed to Oliver Cromwell, of whom it is said, removed many of its stones to erect a fort at Ayr, twenty miles to the South in the 17th century. Not far from the Castle are the fragmentary remains of a pre reformation Chapel thought to be of 13th century origin. Excavation here by Council workers whilst landscaping in 1911, brought to light a beautifully carved stone coffin containing part of a skull and some fragments of leather, said to be one of the finest examples of its kind in Scotland. The ornate cross and sheathed sword carved on the lid, suggest that it contained one of the Barons ( Christian Soldier ) of the 13th or 14th centuries and can be seen in the North Ayrshire Museum, Saltcoats. Several local traditions are attached to the Castle like the previously mentioned ruination by Cromwell. 6

History of Ardrossan

Sarcophagus unearthed at Castle Hill in 1911, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History

Remains of Ardrossan’s first Chapel on the Castle Hill, photograph circa 1911, thanks to Ardrossan & Saltcoat’s Herald
The most evocative tradition relates to what we now refer to as “ Braveheart “. Legend has it that at the start of Wallace’s campaign against the occupying English Forces, he slaughtered the Garrison at Ardrossan Castle. His party set fire to the “ 1Castletoun “ and when the English soldiers emerged from the Castle to help, they were ambushed , killed, and their bodies dumped in the cellars, known to this day as “ Wallace’s Larder “ or to us locals as “ The Dungeon “. This event was recorded by Timothy Pont ( 17th century Travel Writer ) some 300 years after the event. It would have been a typical Wallace raid, and he was active in this part of Scotland at that time. Tradition also has it that later, in the year 1839, when making a cut for the new railway close by the south side of the castle, a large gilt cut
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Castle and surrounding outbuildings in the area around the foot of the hill

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History of Ardrossan
bronze 1ring with signet was found, and from the circumstance that the letter “ W “ was engraved upon it, was thought to belong to the Warrior Chief himself. All the evidence therefore points to this being more probably factual rather than mythical, and while many parts of the country claim him for themselves, I am sure that the good people of Ardrossan would wish it to be just so.

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Timothy Pont left us with this description of the castle, it is in his words of the time, circa 1608, and again reinforces the “ Wallace “ connection

“ Ardrossan Castell, so named in respecte it is situated on a suelling knope of a rocke running from a toung of land advancing from the mainland in the sea, and almost environed vith the same; for ross in the ancient Brittich tounge signifies a biland or peninsula. This castell is verry strongly and veil bulte, having in it maney roumes and a spring of frech vatter, wich makes it the more strong. In this castell ther is a touer, named the read touer, and in it a vaulte called Vallace lardner. For this castell being in the possessione of the Englische, Vallace vsed this stratagem: he set a housse hard by the castell afyre, and thesse quho keipt the castell, not suspecting aney fraud, came out to the ereskeu of the house, quhich they imagined by accident to haue taken fyre. Bot Vallace vith a veil – armed company, gifs them a verry hote uelcome, and kills them euery mother’s sone, and furthvith forces the castell and vins it. In this deep vaulte in the bottome of the reade touer flange he the careatches of thesse Englich, vich to this day gaue it the name of the Vallace lardner. Ther is one thing to be admired in the fountaine of frech vatter, vich is in a vaulte in this castell, for it, lyke to the sea, ebbs and flowes two seuerall tymes each 24 houres. The ressone is from the ebbing and flowing of the salt sea quhich enuirons the rocke quheron the castell standes, and at each surge, vith horrible repercussions, regorges the frech vatter, not letting it issew from its spring, and so makes the fountaine smell “.

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Local tradition has it that the ring was at one time in the possession of a Stevenston family but seems to have been lost to posterity. 2 Within this transcription there appear to be some spelling inconsistencies eg., housse / house & Englich / Englische, there are a few others but this is how they appeared on the document and I have transcribed verbatim.

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History of Ardrossan
Pont also tells us that there was a Richard de Barclay, who was Lord of Ardrossan in the year 1140, when he witnessed the charter granted by Sir Richard Morville, the Lord of Cunninghame, for the foundation of a Monastery at Kilwinning. Morville or de Morville was one of the Norman Barons who were granted lands in Scotland by the Conqueror, and it is supposed that the de Barclays came north with him, and were, under the feudal system, subservient to him, although having themselves the full control of large tracts of land. Thus the de Barclays were understood to have held sway over an area not much different from the present Parish of Ardrossan, but including a considerable part of the Parish of Dalry, From various documents it has been possible to compile a list of the Barons of Ardrossan. There may have been others, but the following are all that it has been possible to trace with the documents that have survived:

1140 – Richard de Barclay, Dominus de Ardrossan, witnessed the charter for the creation of Kilwinning Abbey. 1225 –Arthur de Ardrossan, witnessed the charter granting the lands of Munnoch in Dalry to Hugh Crawford. 1248 – Fergus de Ardrossan, witnessed the charter between the Bishop of Moray and Friskin de Moray. 1260 – Fergus de Ardrossan, was an arbiter in some disputes in connection with the town of Irvine. 1266 – Brice de Ardrossan, witnessed several charters. 1280 – Sir Christopher de Ardrossan, witnessed a charter by Sir Gilchrist More of Rowallan. 1296 – Godofredus de Ardrossan, subscribed the Ragman Roll and swore fealty to Edward of England. 1304 – Fergus de Ardrossan and Robinus his son, submitted to Edward at Stirling Castle.

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History of Ardrossan
1305 – Hugh de Ardrossan, was fined 3 years rent of his estates as his share of the Scots indemnity to Edward. 1315 – Sir Fergus de Ardrossan, who succeeded the preceding, was a close friend of Wallace and of Bruce. He was killed at the battle of Arscol in Ireland on January 26th, 1316. 1316 – Sir Fergus, son of the preceding, was one of the Scots Barons who, at Aberbrothock, signed the famous letter to the Pope, on 6th April, 1320. In the same year this “ well beloved and faithful “ Baron received from Bruce a charter confirming to him and his heirs the lands of Ardrossan.” With the pertinents in fee and property, in one entire free barony “, with the holdings of William de Potteconill, Richard Boyle, Laurence de More, Gilbert de Cuningburgh, and the whole land and tenement of Linn, Dalry. 1357 – Godfrey of Ardrossan, died without male issue, and the estate passed by marriage to Sir Hew Eglintoun of that ilk, whose only daughter married John Montgomerie of Eaglesham, whose son became Lord Montgomerie. The 4th Lord Montgomerie was created Earl of Eglinton in 1507.
An excellent chronology of who held the castle and the various improvements to it ( and the ills that befell it ) can be found online at “ Ardrossan Castle, Ayrshire, a preliminary account 1 “ by David H Caldwell.

Chapter 3 - The “ Curse “ of the Castlehill
The following relates the story of the “ Curse “, a verbatim transcription from “ A Sketch of Ardrossan and Saltcoats “, written by Arthur Guthrie, editor of the then Ardrossan and Saltcoat’s Herald in 1868. An account of the old Castle would be incomplete without a reference to the traditions connected with the last Barclay, Baron of Ardrossan, whose extraordinary feats of horsemanship, ascribed by the superstitious to an enchanted bridle, which it was believed he possessed in virtue of a secret compact with the devil, earned for himself the soubriquet of “ The Deil o’ Ardrossan “. In former times his unrivalled deeds were told as winter night’s

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History of Ardrossan
tales in every part of the district of Cunninghame, but with one or two exceptions the traditionary stories, several of which were in the ballad form, are not now entire, but are preserved only in a fragmentary state. As usual with all such compacts, Satan was to serve Sir Fergus by conferring upon him the power of successfully carrying out all his projects, on the condition that he in turn would become his property, body and soul, whenever there were no further works for him to do. Although noted for acts of statesmanship which brought him honour and fame, and for the construction of great works, such as building a bridge from Portpatrick to the opposite coast of Ireland, his leading passion was for horseracing, and in every court of Europe he is said to have been celebrated for the matchless swiftness of his racehorses and his wonderful feats of horsemanship. One of his contests on the turf is thus alluded to: “ The black and the white they ran nearest the dyke, But aye the grey mare she gaed foremost; The brown and the yellow they flew like the swallow, But aye the grey mare she gaed foremost “. Such an unhallowed league could not last for many years, and the rupture between the two parties is thus related: One day his Satanic majesty came to him in the form of a horse and asked if he had anything further for him to do, for if not, he to prepare to implement his part of the bargain. Sir Fergus told him to make ropes of sand. This Satan demurred to do, unless permission was given to mix the sand with bere – chaff, a request with which Sir Fergus at once declined to comply. Satan finding that his inability to perform the command freed his victim, gave a loud neigh which made the welkin ring struck his hoof into the castle, the mark of which is still shown, and disappeared for ever. From that moment his remarkable success on the turf declined. He was no longer the feared of all competitors. The enchanted bridle was transferred to the head of a rival horse, who in one of the rhymes is represented as saying: “ Keep fast by the saddle my boy, never fear, And ye ne’er will be beat by the bonny grey mare “ His final end is thus tragically related:

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History of Ardrossan
Leaving home on a distant journey, he gave strict injunctions to his lady regarding the care of his only son, a youth of tender years; in particular, that the young man should not be permitted to mount a spirited horse, of which he was exceedingly fond. During the father’s absence, however, the youth had found means to obtain the horse, and unhappily, riding out, was thrown from the animal and killed on the spot. This of course could not be concealed; and on Sir Fergus’s return home, such was the ungovernable violence of his feelings that in a paroxysm of rage, he slew the unhappy mother of his child. There is another version of the story, which says that she was not the mother of the unfortunate boy, but the second wife of his father, by whom she had an only child, a daughter and accordingly it is surmised, that desirous of the succession to the estate opening to her own offspring, she was not altogether scathless of the death of young Barclay. Whichever version is the true one, if indeed either, it is related that this domestic catastrophe bereft the miserable Sir Fergus of all happiness. He retired with a faithful servant to the opposite island of Arran, and there, in the lone tower of Kildonnan, ended his wretched days. A remarkable allusion to Ireland occurs in the story, while he sojourned here; and the manner of his death was this; he had a presentiment that, should he ever set foot on Irish ground, he should no longer live. It so happened that some Irish boats calling there had left a quantity of sods, which they had brought with them, on the beach; and the Baron chancing, as he passed by, to tread on them, inquired how they came there. Being told, he exclaimed his end had now come and giving orders regarding the disposal of his corps, he died that same night. He commanded that his body should be sewd up in a bull’s hide, and buried within the sea mark. This was punctually attended to by his faithful servant; but the sea afterwards washed off the sand, the body floated across the channel to the shores of Ardrossan, and, landing immediately under the walls of the Castle, was taken up in its cerecloth, and finally interred within the adjoining Chapel.

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History of Ardrossan

1

Satan’s hoof print on the Castlehill, thanks to L Barrie

Chapter 4 – Landmarks & Buildings ( Graham’s Castle / Castlecraigs, McFadzean Monument, Holm Plantation, Pavilion, Earl’s Villa, Bath Villa, Town House, Montfode Castle, Horse Island, Breakwater, Cemeteries, Greasy Pole, Princes Picture House, Masonic Lodge & First Chapel ) Graham’s Castle / Castlecraigs
The old building in the middle of Glasgow Street facing the entrance to Barr Street and now St John’s Place, was built in 1852 by a gentleman named Duncan Graham from the North of Scotland. In its early years it was known as Graham’s Castle and in later years it became known as “ The Castlecraigs “. It is currently owned by the local authority and has had several owners / tenants down the years including, 2Archibald Russell ( 1893 to 1920 ),
1

Fergus had owed his horsemanship to a magical gift given to him by the devil in exchange for his soul. Through trickery he managed to get his soul back and angry at this the Devil attacked the Castle leaving the hoof print. The less romantic ( if that is the right word ) view of the imprint is that it is a petrosomatoglyph, an image of a human or animal body incision in the rock. 2 Local businessman and owner of Ardrossan Sawmills

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History of Ardrossan
Ardrossan Dockyard and Shipbuilding Company Recreation Club with Gymnasium and Tennis Courts ( 1920 to 1927 ), Masonic Lodge ( 11927 to 1939 ), 2Royal Navy ( 1940 to 1945 ). After the war in 1946 it became the Town Hall and the Masonic Lodge moved from there to the corner of Princes and Harbour Streets ( the Town Hall was originally in this building ) where the Lodge remains today.

McFadzean Monument
On the highest point of the 3Cannon Hill as it is commonly called, there stands a monument to the memory of Dr Alexander McFadzean, who, before his death in 1849, had been a generous worker on behalf of the people of Ardrossan, and with whom originated the proposal to form the town into a Burgh. The Act of Parliament conferring Burgh status was given Royal Assent in 1846 and the first meeting of the new Town Council took place on the Thirteenth of November 1846. Mr John Barr was the first Provost Presiding, and he continued in office for 38 years.

Monument Inscription As a monument of their esteem for his active subservience in the exercise of his profession, united to great and untiring zeal in the promotion of those measures and institutions which had for their object the moral and religious improvement, and the welfare of the inhabitants of Ardrossan and neighbourhood. Obit 8/1/1849 Aetat ( age at ) 60

1 2

Some records say 1923 and not 1927 Requisitioned as barrack accommodation for the duration of WW2. 3 It is thought that there were four or five cannons positioned around the Castle facing the sea, it is generally thought that they had been there for around three centuries prior to their removal at the outset of World War 2, when the metal was reused for the war effort.

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History of Ardrossan

1

McFadzean Monument on the Castlehill, thanks to L Barrie

When the monument was erected just after his death, access walkways to both it and other locations of interest on the hill were established, to encourage visitors and tourists to make use of the open spaces that the forward looking 12th Earl had at his death in 1819, set aside for the public good, remaining to this day, a public space.

Holm Plantation
The 2Holm Plantation, previously the Holm Wood, and known locally as the ” Plantation “, was given to the people of Ardrossan and Saltcoats by the Earls of Eglinton, which Earl is not recorded, at least I could not establish a date but I would think around the late 1700’s or early 1800’s. The Plantation is situated adjacent to South Beach Rail Station, less than a hundred yards from the South Beach. It had previously been quite a heavily wooded area and was partially cleared as an area for walking and relaxation. A natural water spring was discovered and advantage taken of it by constructing a
1

Note the Lion in front of the monument, this is the Lion that I used to sit on as a boy, located in front of the Caley Rail Station in Montgomerie Street. 2 “ Holm “ means low flat land near to a water feature, “ plantation “ is a cultivated area of trees / plants etc

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History of Ardrossan
building around it known then as “ The Mineral Well House “. This became popular in the Victorian era when a glass of this natural spring water, conducive to health, as was thought at the time could be bought for a penny. More recently in 2002, an organization was established to clean up the area ( Friends of the Plantation ) and in 2004 obtained funding from “ Landfill Tax Credits “ to improve landscaping, lighting, drainage, CCTV and signage. More recently funds have been forthcoming from Energy Solutions, allowing further planting and maintenance to be undertaken. It remains today as the Earl had envisaged, an area set aside for walking, relaxing, picnicking etc, and although the old Mineral House is now long gone, there are plans to mark its place in history by a memorial of sorts.

Holm Plantation ( Wood ) and Mineral House circa 1917, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History 12th Earl’s Villa - Princes Street
Another prominent building in the town was a residence of the 12th Earl’s, built between 1806 - 1810 at Princes Street, this building became the first Inn / Hotel in the Town in the mid nineteenth century ( The Eglinton ), and remained an Hotel until the mid 1990’s and has only recently been demolished to make way for the new Harbourside Development, under construction as I write.

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History of Ardrossan

Eglinton Hotel circa early 1900’s, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History

Eglinton Hotel Foyer circa mid 1900’s, thanks to Crawford Photography, Ayr

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History of Ardrossan
Bath Villa
In Ardrossan’s mid 19th century heyday as a “ fashionable and favourite watering place “, Bath Villa was one of those “ very excellent houses “, affording genteel and commodious lodgings, for families of distinction who spent the summer at Ardrossan for the benefit of sea bathing ( New Statistical Account 1845 ). This building is located on the corner of Bath Square, although when the 12th Earl Hugh of Eglinton had it erected in 1816, it would have stood alone. Attached to the house was a hydropathic bathing facility ( now long demolished ) with a suite of baths. The water source is a natural spring water well located under the stair support walls. The house and facilities were for use by the Eglinton family on their visits to Ardrossan. In a reference from Pigot and Co’s New Commercial Directory of Scotland for 1825/26 it described the Baths as follows. “ Pleasantly situated on the western shore of the County of Ayr, a bathing place of rising celebrity, about one mile from the sea port town of Saltcoats. This place, though yet in a state of infancy, bids fair soon to rival, some of the longer established watering places, as it has already met with more general encouragement, and been visited by a greater number of the fashionable world, than any other of so short a standing. The conveniences for lodging, the baths, the general superiority of accommodation, and the active patronage of the noble family of Eglinton, render it superior, as a summer retreat, to most others “. One notable resident was admired local physician Doctor Alexander McFadzean, himself a strong believer in the beneficial effects of Ardrossan’s ozone laden airs. The baths had fallen in to disrepair following the death of the Earl in 1819 and in 1833 Doctor McFadzean refurbished and reopened the baths to the poor of the town free of charge. Another more recent and notable resident of the building was James McFarlane of whom I will say more later in the Education / Schools Chapter. Mr McFarlane and his family lived there from the 1940’s until 1987. But fashions change and during the twentieth century, Bath Villa outmoded as a “ bathing place “, became a domestic residence. Eventually needing repair, the villa was surveyed, plans laid, and extensive restoration

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History of Ardrossan
undertaken in 1988 / 89. Today, Bath Villa is owned by Cunninghame Housing Association ( successor to the Three Towns Housing Association ), and converted in to four residential apartments, while remaining a distinguished listed building of architectural and historic interest. The natural spring water well located under one of the stair support walls still exists but is obviously no longer in use and was made safe at the time of conversion.

Sketch of Bath Villa

The Pavilion – Earl’s Summer Residence
The Pavilion at South Beach was built in 1831 at the foot of the Castle on the ground where St Peter’s RC Chapel now stands. The Mansion was constructed as a Summer House for the then Earl of Eglinton. I was unable to find a photograph of it as it would have looked then.

Town Hall / Burgh Chambers
Ardrossan’s first Town Hall / House was built on the corner of Princes / Harbour Streets in 1858. Kilmahew House was built in 1846, and was located in Montgomerie Street, backing on to the then Montgomerie Lane ( later Kilmahew Street ). This house or mansion perhaps being a more appropriate description, was built by 1 John Barr as his home and he would go on to become the first Provost of the Town, serving for thirty seven years. The building became the Burgh Chambers in 1900 and remained the Municipal offices headquarters until it closed in 1978.
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Local businessman and owner of the shipyard prior to becoming Provost

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History of Ardrossan

Kilmahew House in Montgomerie Street, circa unknown, home of John Barr and later the Burgh Chambers, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History
John Barr of whom I mentioned earlier was one of twenty “ Provosts of Ardrossan “, and the complete chronological list is as follows: John Barr 1846 to 1884 John Hogarth 1884 to 1893 William Young 1893 to 1905 John Harvey 1905 to 1908 James Chrystie 1908 to 1920 George McKellar 1920 to 1923 Isaac Fawcet 1923 to 1929 George McKellar 1929 to 1932 David McDowall 1932 to 1935 Harry Hopperton 1935 to 1938 James Fullerton 1938 to 1941 William Harvey 1941 to 1946 Thomas Ferguson 1946 to 1946 John Cunningham 1946 to 1949 John Beggs 1949 to 1952 John Hogarth 1952 to 1958

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History of Ardrossan
James Dorrian 1958 to 1961 William Currie 1961 to 1967 James Dawes 1967 to 1970 Joseph McManus 1970 to 1973 Jackie Fitzimmons 1973 to 1974 Jackie was the last due to local government reorganization at the time abolishing Burgh status and bringing the town under the control of Cunninghame District / Strathclyde Region.

Montfode Castle
Ardrossan has another somewhat lesser known Castle to the north west of its more famous landmark, Montfode Castle today consists only of a masonry tower in the middle of a field near Dalry Road, Ardrossan. However, a painting dating to around 1830 shows it to have been twice as high as the present structure. The original castle was destroyed in 1833 to provide building material for a dam and threshing mill at Montfode Farm. It is thought that it may have replaced an earlier wooden structure, possibly 12th century, at a tree covered mound at Witches Linn. Timothy Pont, the 17th century traveler and topographer described it as a “ pretty building “ on his extensive travels of Scotland in the late 1500 and early 1600 hundreds. Another source, a 1James Paterson in the middle of the 19th century describes it as already being in ruins, with the only part remaining at that time to have been a circular tower at the north angle, and a small part of the north east wall. Paterson also stated that it had originally consisted of a large oblong square tower, demolished within living memory to build a threshing mill. The ruins of the Castle are described in various Ordnance Survey Name Books as follows. The tower stands to a height of eight metres and has an interior diameter of two metres. The south wall is about seven metres high and two metres long, with both tower and wall being of rubble masonry .7 of a metre thick. The position of the tower upon an exterior angle, suggests that the building was of a Z plan, dating from the latter half of the sixteenth century. There is also some reference to it in 2 JS Dobie’s book of 1876.
1 2

James Paterson, History of the county of Ayr, -1847 James Dobie, editor of Pont’s 1604 – 1608 “ Topography of Cunninghame “, undertaken in 1876 as a continuation and illustrative work to Pont’s original.

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History of Ardrossan
When I was a boy, a story persisted that there was an underground tunnel from the dungeons on the Castle Hill to Montfode Castle. I also remember hearing that it had been partially excavated, but that the work had been stopped due to subsidence or perhaps lack of finance, on the other hand it could be my imagination working overtime. Possibly a job for the television “ Time Team “.

Montfode Castle ( remains ), taken recently, thanks to L Barrie Horse Island
There are several local theories as to how the island got its name, involving grazing horses, shipwrecked horses, quarantine for horses and a tax scam for importing horses. Common concensus disagrees with all of these and it is thought that the island was inherited by or bequeathed to, a Philip de Horsse, son in law to Sir Richard Moruell ( Richard de Morville of Ardrossan Castle and Kilwinning Abbey connections ) and named after him. The island contains about 12 acres of low lying pasture land with a beacon tower around 16 metres tall situated on the southern edge of the island, erected in 1810 /

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History of Ardrossan
11, by Hugh, Earl of Eglinton, at the instance of Sir John Ross the famous arctic explorer and associate of his. The Tower was erected in the first instance as a navigational aid warning to sailing ships on their approach to the Harbour, also serving as shelter for anyone unfortunate enough to run aground, as many did over the years. The good Summer grazing pasture was taken advantage of by Farmers including Montfode Farm. The cows would be walked out at low tide and encouraged to swim the few hundred yards left by following a small boat, landing at a sandy bay area on the island, as most of the rest of the coastline is rocky and difficult to access /egress. Horse Island was designated as a bird sanctuary in 1963 and remains as such today, Permission should be sought from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds before visiting. Further reading on the “ Island “ can be found in John and Noreen Steele’s book, “ Whispers of Horse Island “, published by “ Argyll “, 1999.

Thanks to Stuart McMahon for this picture of the Island

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History of Ardrossan
The Breakwater
The Breakwater protecting the approach to the harbour was constructed in 1886, largely with stone that had been excavated from between the area below the Castle and above the line of the rail track, as you depart Ardrossan Town Rail Station for South Beach Rail Station. The breakwater is 1320 feet in length.

Breakwater defense wall outside the entrance to Ardrossan Harbour, thanks to Bob Jones ( Geographic.co.uk reference NS 2242 ) Ardrossan Cemeteries
The oldest burial grounds in Ardrossan are obviously on the Castlehill where the 14th century sarcophagus was discovered during the excavations of 1911. During the 19th century, particularly around the mid 1800’s, other burials occurred at the old church at Stanley Clachan. However both these sites were for the exclusive use of the “ well to do “, and in the case of Stanley, mainly of the Weir family. It was not until 1856 that land was set aside by the local Burgh council for the interment of the ordinary populace. That land, a narrow strip of previously farmed land between Sorbie Road and Park

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History of Ardrossan
View ( formerly Kirkhall Drive ) is still in use today, and is estimated to hold 25, 000 burials, including most of my ancestors. During 1983, and before weathering could deteriorate the inscriptions any further, an exercise was undertaken by the local authority to transcribe all of the headstone inscriptions. This information, in a two volume, paper form indexed by surname and area format, is available to search at the Local History Department of North Ayrshire Council, currently located at the North Ayrshire Museum in Saltcoats. For burials where there is no headstone, burial records are held at the Cemetery Office in Ardrossan Road. These can be viewed by appointment and are not listed by surname order, but chronology of death, making it a difficult undertaking if the approximate date is not known. A third way of determining who was buried when or where at Ardrossan are burial records held by the Local History Department at the North Ayrshire Museum. They hold four volumes, the first three covering the period 1874 to 1957, but again are limited by chronology of death and not surname order, and again the approximate date of death is useful. A fourth volume covers burials in common ground or what was known back then as pauper’s graves. These are not of much use as only the lair number and date of interment is given, however, if you have the exact date of death and or burial this could be of use in your search. Today, local or national government is obligated by law to meet the costs of such circumstances.

The Greasy Pole
A popular landmark in my youth was what we called “ the Greasy Pole “ situated on the North Shore, a few hundred yards north of where the Shell Mex Depot stood. It was only in my later years that I found out the history attached to it. It was here at 2.52am GMT on the 12th December 1921 that the first successful 1amateur transatlantic short wave radio transmission from the USA ( Greenwich, Connecticut ) was received.

1

Guglielmo Marconi had beaten them to it in 1901 but this was the first by amateur radio personnel, between Europe and the USA.

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History of Ardrossan
During the first twenty years following Marconi’s invention of wireless communications, all radio stations were using long wavelengths above 200 metres. In order to develop the distance range, the commercial radio stations increased the power and size of their antennas. As the radio spectrum became more crowded, the amateurs were limited to the short wavelengths below 200 metres, since none of the commercial radio stations could see any benefit from these short wavelengths. After using the new short wavelength spectrum for a few years, the amateurs, using relatively small antennas and low power around a kilowatt, noticed at times that their communication distance range was greatly increasing. Eventually, enthusiasts on the American side proposed an elaborate test to determine if short wave signals could reach across the Atlantic Ocean. An American named Paul Godley was sent to Scotland to set up a receiving station, and the location he chose was a seaweed covered field at Ardrossan’s North Shore. Without getting in to the technicalities of the apparatus, it did involve erecting ten poles with wire strung across. The Greasy Pole as the locals know it is a remnant from this, although my guess would be that it was not one of the ten temporary ones, but a more substantial piece of equipment, possible a non conductive earthing post. Attempts had been made unsuccessfully on the 2nd, 4th and 6th of December 1921. However, a series of tests started on the 8th and ending on the 17th produced the desired result on the 12th. The first transatlantic short wavelength message received at Ardrossan that day read as follows:

“ To Paul Godley, Ardrossan, Scotland Hearty Congratulations Signed, Burghard, Inman, Grinan, Armstrong, Amy, Cronkite “

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History of Ardrossan

The sketch obviously didn’t scan too clearly so I will list the stations whose message was received at Ardrossan that month, they were as follows: Burlington, Cleveland, Hartford, Ridgefield, Glenbrook, Greenwich, Yonkers, New York, Princeton, Pittsburg, Atlantic City, Brooklyn, Freeport, Babylon, Riverhead, Atlantic, Cambridge and Worcester. All of these stations are or were in Connecticut or New York states in the North Eastern corner of the USA. The importance of this successful experiment was to shed knowledge on the capabilities of short wave radio communication, and it was to lead the way to opening up the short wave spectrum for radio communication throughout the world. The source of this section is Amateur Radio, by Maurice J Grainger, published 1922.

The Princes Picture House ( later the Lyric Cinema )
The Princes Picture House in Princes Street opened its doors for the first time in 1914. Following extensive refurbishment, including an increase in seating capacity to around six hundred and fifty it reopened on 7/7/1932. The entrance prices were threepence, sixpence and one shilling. The building closed as a Cinema in 1961, reopening that year as a Bingo Hall. It closed

27

History of Ardrossan
again in 2004 and has just reopened a couple of months ago as a Wine / Tapas Bar. Many a Saturday afternoon I spent at the matinee session in the late nineteen fifties and early sixties, watching a mixture of war, adventure and cowboy films when a typical day out cost a shilling. The bus fare down from the top end of the Town was threepence return, another threepence to get in, leaving sixpence for “ sweeties “, and I can assure you that sixpence got you a lot of “ sweeties “, enough to keep you going all afternoon.

Masonic Lodge
The Masonic Lodge of St John’s Royal Arch Saltcoats – Ardrossan Number 320 was founded on 6/2/1826, following receipt of its charter from the Grand Lodge. The Lodge had several homes prior to moving in to the “ Castlecraigs “ in 1923, when it was purchased for the sum of £2,900, unfortunately earlier records were lost in a fire and little is known of this period. The coming of the Second World War saw the premises requisitioned by the Government to provide barrack accommodation for the Royal Navy ( 1940 to 1945 ). During this period the Masons met at Kilwinning – Saltcoats Neptune Lodge Number 442. After the War there was a move to premises at 1 Harbour Street, Ardrossan, this building had been in use as the Town Hall and a deal was done with the Council to exchange buildings. This building is still in use by the Masons today.

Ardrossan’s first Chapel “ Ardrossen Kirk is a goodly parochial Curch neir adioyning to ye said castell “, so said Timothy Pont ( our 17th century travel writer we met earlier ) in 1608 about the small Parish Church of Ardrossan.
This original Church which measured 64 feet by 26 feet was situated on the Graveyard about a hundred yards to the North of the Castle, although the Castle had its own small internal Chapel. The Church sited on the Graveyard on Cannon Hill was dedicated to Saint Bridget and had two altars within dedicated to Saint Peter and the Virgin Mary. The Graveyard was used by the Barons of Ardrossan and the Montfode Family as well as the ordinary people of Ardrossan. The Church was originally under the care of the Monks of Kilwinning Abbey, a right that dated back to 1226, when the Bishop of Glasgow recognized Kilwinning’s claim to a pension from it.

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History of Ardrossan
The following few pages are extracts from the 1911 Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments ( Scotland ) report by Dr Thomas Ross on Ardrossan Castle. Contained within it are quotes from other prominent historians and I have transcribed it verbatim from the source. However, where possible if the meaning of some words are unclear to the reader, as some were to myself, I have given their present day interpretation in the footnotes at the bottom of their respective pages.

Chapter 5 - 1911 Royal Commission report on Ardrossan Castle
The Keep rises to what has been a height of four floors and probably had an outside walk or allure at the roof on the top, with a projecting parapet. Two large fireplaces yet remain on the third and fourth floors, the upper being a good example of a kind to be found all over Scotland, having moulded jambs, bases and capitals, with a massive stone lintel. The lower steps of the stair have been unearthed at the inner end of the passage, and as is usually the case in strongly defended castles this stair stopped at an intermediate floor and was resumed in some other positions with the object of mystifying an enemy. The Well, of as much importance to a stronghold as bolts and bars, has also been discovered, It is entered from the courtyard by a stair leading down some steps in the dark. It is really situated outside the building, in the ditch at the side of the castle, and is carefully arched overhead in stone. The Well itself is four feet square x eight feet deep and full to the brim with clear fresh water. On the soffit of one of the covering stones over the stair leading to it there is a carving which seems to be a fragment of an early cross which was probably obtained from the neighbouring churchyard, but it may be of an earlier date than the church whose ruins are there now. It is interesting to know in connection with the foregoing remarks on the Castle that about the beginning of the 17th century or end of the 16th, Commissary Maule of St Andrews must have visited Ardrossan Castle. We learn this from a description which he wrote of the old Castle of Panmure in Forfarshire, considerable remains of which existed in his time, and the foundation of which laid bare about thirty years ago. He tells us that the Castles of Ardrossan and Kildrummie, Aberdeenshire were built on the same

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History of Ardrossan
plan as Panmure. What apparently struck him as the cognate features of Panmure and Ardrossan were, that the entrances were through a vaulted pend or “ wolt “, as he terms it, and the existence of the well within the Castle. Of Panmure he says: - The entrie of auld was on the northe quarter, quhar nows is the seller, and appeirandlie thear has boin gryt fortifications theare, as cleirlie be seine on ether half quhar the zeat ( gate ) hes beine, under the auld rowins ther wes found ane wolt, quhilk zit remains heale, now commonlie callit the Blak Wolt, quharupon it is lyklie thear hes stand some towre for defence of the Zeat. As to the well of Panmure he says: - Within the circuit of the clos, and thear quhar the draws well is, in my opinions, hes bein the donion or chief hows of the quhole castel, and has had the wel in the ground thearof within the towre, for the ground of the towre dois seime to heave compassit the sam on al sydis, efter the coustom of many of the auld strengthis in Scotland, for albeit the rest of the castel was vinings ( captured ), yet the donion mycht keipe heaving watter at command. Commissary Maule’s remarks are quite applicable to Ardrossan, we need not discuss them as regards Kildrummie. A Mr Dobie writing in 1874, after quoting Timothy Pont’s description of the Well, written about 1606, informs us that nothing in recent times has been discovered about the Well, and that the two vaults were cleared out about 1812 by order of Earl Hugh. “ But “, he says, “ there may be other vaults yet unexplored “, It is curious that the Well was not discovered in 1812. In the North West side of the courtyard the excavations hae revealed what appears to have been a Chapel, lying east and west. In the south wall there are two windows and a door towards the west, which have a decided ecclesiastical appearance, with broad aplaya on the jamba and a check on the ingoing of the window for glass, and it is significant that Commissary Maule makes reference to a Chapel at Panmure as having been within the walls. The Barony of Ardrossan appears to have belonged to the family of Barclay, referred to as “ Dominus de Ardrossan “, from before the middle of the 12th century, and Pont assumes that the existing ruins was their habitation, and this seems to have been taken for granted by Mr Dobie. As the site is in itself appears to be a strong one, it is quite possible and probable that from an early period it may have been defended by enclosing walls of which parts may survive, and from the fact that the stones of the upper part are from a different quarry from those below there seems reason for assuming this to be the case to a certain extent. But for the main portion of the Castle as we

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History of Ardrossan
now find it we must look to a later date than the time of the Barclays, when Ardrossan passed out of their hands, which appears to have been when, “ the estate was carried by the marriage of the heir female, to Sir Hugh Eglintoun of that ilk “, sometime before the last quarter of the 14th century. There is a charter by John of Moray to Sir Hugh, given under the Seal of the Granter, and the Seal of Robert Stewart of Scotland, and Earl of Stratherne, his lord at Ardrossan, dated 1361. Also there is an Indenture between Sir Hugh Eglyntoun, Knight, and Hugh of Auldistone, at Ardrossan, dated 1374, and confirmed by King Robert the 2nd at Perth in 1375. These two writings done at Ardrossan may mean that they were done in the Church and not in the Castle. In this connection it is interesting to come on a Charter by Lockhart of Barr in the shire of Are, of an annual rent “ to a chaplain for celebrating three masses in Holy Week, yearly at the altar of St Peter, in the parish church of Ardrossan, for the souls of the grantor, his wife, children, predecessors and successors, and all Christians “. “ Dated at Ardrossan 12th March 1438 “. There are many other writings done at Ardrossan, but the earliest record of the expression “ Castle of Ardrossan “ known to me, is in a Charter by Alexander, Lord Montgomery and of Gyffin, granting to his grandsone Robert Montgomery the lands Braydstayn, in the lordship and sherrifdom of Ayr “ at the Castle of Ardrossan 4th May 1468 “. Sixteen years later there is an Instrument of Revocation by Hugh, Lord Montgomery, of all grants of lands and obligations during his minority, and especially of Charters, letters and evidents granted to the deceased Hugh Montgomery, his foster – father, “ done within the Castle of Ardrossan, 11th October 1484 “. Again there is an obligation by Hugh 1st Earl, to pay his son Neil Montgomery certain sums on certain conditions, “ made at the Castle of Ardrossan on 25th August 1531 “. A few years before this last date , on the 25th January 1528 the principal messuage and manor - house of Eglinton had lately been burned down and destroyed, when all Charters and evidents of every kind perished and doubtless much relating to our subject was then lost. There is, however, a curious expression in an Indenture made at Houston on the 15th May 1438, which shows that Ardrossan Castle was then in existence, and presumably some time before that date. The Indenture is between Alexander Montgomery, Knight, Lord of Ardrossan, and Alan Stewart, Lord of Darnly for the marriage of Margaret, daughter of the former, and John son of the latter, it is agreed inter – alia that if Margaret dies before the marriage, “ as God forbid “, that, “ the forsayd Jhone

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History of Ardrossan
Stewart, son to the forsayd Alane, sall “ reducyt and brocht hame to Crukistone, and to Ardrossane to cum and repayr at the will of the forsayd lordys “. So that for his consolation he was apparently to have the run of Crookston and Ardrossan. This seems to be the earliest certain notice of the Castle, and its date may be set down with fair certainty as of the beginning of the 15th century. Another reference may be made interesting because of its mention of the will. It occurs in a contract of marriage between Hugh 3rd Earl, and Lady Jane Hamilton, daughter to the Duke of Chattellarault, of date 1544, wherein the Lady was to have the life rent of “ the eist and west Wains of Ardrossan, with the toure, fortalice, and castell thairof, togidder with ane pece of land callit the Cragis, with their partinentis, with the myln of Ardrossan and multuris thairof “, and other lands in locality such as Saltcottis, Sorby, Busbie and ?. Dr Dobie mentions a place near Saltcoats called Auchin – shangan, “ which consisted of a few cottages north from Saltcoats about a mile distant and about three hundred yards south of the new cemetery of Ardrossan. They were swept away about 1750, when Alexander 12th Earl of Eglinton, built his park wall and park house at Ardrossan Castle. What the park house was I do not know ( Dobie wrote in 1874 ). It may be that the Dove – cot belongs to the period of 1750. The Earls of Eglinton possessed the office of the Bailies of the Barony of Cunningham from the 14th century, and as such possessed peculiar and extensive powers, as an instance, this is shown by a contract of 1562 between Hugh 3rd Earl and Robert Montgomery, brother of Thomas of Skelmorly, who being incapable of managing his affairs, Robert was accepted by the Earl to be his administrator, and his friends, servants, and tenants were to obey the Earl in all his affairs of hunting, hawking and otherwise. The house of Loch Ranza in Arran, ( which apparently with Skelmorie was part of the holding of Thomas ) was to be “ patent “ to the Earl and his friends at his pleasure. Robert was also to provide such vivers as the land produced of competent price, during the Earl’s residence there. It only remains to add, that there is still some work to be done at the Castle such as pointing the walls and making them watertight along the top, as also to do any supporting of overhanging masonry and of filling in with stones at various places as required. These things and other protective measures the

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History of Ardrossan
Town Council intend gradually to accomplish under the charge and direction of Mr James Duncan, burgh Surveyor and Mr Harvey, Clerk of Works, both of whom have a most perfect understanding of the nature of the work. End of report The Commission will be glad to know that the 1stone coffin with its splendid carved lid, formerly reported on, are now carefully and advantageously housed in the large entrance hall of the Town Council Chambers.

Chapter 6 - Development of the Town since 1805
Prior to 1805, the site which would eventually become Ardrossan Town did not have a dwelling, the nearest inhabited building was at Parkhouse, adjacent to the “ Old Highway “, where Parkhouse Road is today. A ridge of rocks which ran from the Castle Hill to the sea near the Baths was popularly known as the Castlecraigs. Its deep silence would barely have been broken, save by the noise of the amphibious seal or scream of the sea mew. The character at the time made it eminently suitable for carrying on a safe contraband trade, and here as at the Port of Troon, many an anchor of brandy and gallon of rum was landed, to be hidden in the recesses of the rocks and the vaults of the old Castle ( built circa middle 12th century ). Two other early buildings would have been the Toll Houses at Ann’s Lodge on the North Shore and Eglinton Street as it was then. The location for the Eglinton Street Toll today would be the corner of Dalry and Eglinton Roads, where the shop is situated. Tolls in general were established by the Turnpike Act of 1698, and later reinforced by various Acts of Parliament to allow the Parishes to supplement their revenue to specifically improve the road situation, although I suppose to call them roads as we know them now would be stretching the imagination somewhat.

1

Presently on view at the North Ayrshire Museum in Saltcoats, known more recently as the “ Heritage Centre “.

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History of Ardrossan

Old Toll road milestone on Ardrossan’s North Shore, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History
There were of course a few farms north of Parkhouse Road, some of the larger ones being Kirkhall, Busbie, Sorbie, Stanley, Montfode, Chapelhill, although there were others and they can be found on the 1855 OS map held at the Local History Department at the North Ayrshire Museum in Saltcoats. The picture below is of a sun dial originating from the Kirkhall Farm, part of the estate of Robert 1Weir, circa 1795, and has had various homes since then, today it can be found in the grounds of the Civic Centre.

Kirkhall Sun Dial “ in situ “ circa 19th century, thanks to North Ayrshire Local history

1

I have no doubt that Weir Road and Laird Weir in the Town were named after him, as many other streets and places have of notable people in our Town’s history.

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History of Ardrossan

The Kirkhall Sun Dial circa 1795 ( a more recent picture )
Another interesting find was made on the land at Kirkhall in 1856. What has become known as the Kirkhall Cist was discovered and is today housed in the National Museum of Scotland at Edinburgh. Unfortunately no photograph is available but I will describe it as follows. The Cist consists of six stone slabs, measuring twenty four by sixteen inches and 12 inches deep. It contained some fragments of burnt bones and wooden charcoal, accompanied by a food vessel. Previous to 1769, we find from the trial of Mungo Campbell for the shooting of the then Earl of Eglinton, that he seized a horse and cart belonging to a servant of the Earls at Parkhouse, laden with 60 gallons of rum. It is to a later Earl of Eglinton that Ardrossan owes its existence today as a town, as you will see later. The number of houses erected in the early 1800’s were few and far between. By 1812 there were three villas facing the South Beach, including the Earl’s residence. One here and one there, marked out the present day sites of Montgomerie Street, ( the original ), Glasgow Street, Princes Street, Arran Place, later Paisley Street and Montgomerie Lane ( later the old part of Kilmahew Street ), and eventually the gaps would be filled to give us what is known today as Ardrossan Town. Within the memory of the inhabitants at this time, the sea would have come to within a few feet of the houses in Princes Street, in a line with Ardrossan Town Station. Boats would have been moored to iron rings in the rocks at the foot of the Castle. These rings were discovered along with coffins and skeletons at the foot of the Castle when the rock was excavated in the mid eighteen

35

History of Ardrossan
hundreds to make way for the new railway line. The remains were judged to be six hundred years old at that juncture. By the 1841 Census, the principal buildings would have been, The Pavilion ( home of the Earl which would later be demolished to make way for St Peter’s Roman Catholic Chapel in 1937 ), Graham’s Castle ( today’s Castlecraigs in Glasgow Street ), the Bank of Scotland ( corner of Princes street / Harbour Street ), the Eglinton Inn ( later Hotel – Princes Street ), the Baths ( Bath Villa where Bath Square is now ), Seafield Towers ( today known as Seafield School along the North Shore ). Also mentioned in the census is Halfway Cottage - at South Crescent and Burnside Cottage along the North Shore. The population at the beginning of the 1800’s would have been only a few hundred, it is recorded as 400 in 1820, although with the coming of the railway and by the third full census in 11861 it was already 3,000. As I have said, Ardrossan owes a great debt to the forward looking 12th Earl and his ambitious plans for the Town, not least the development of the Harbour. The 1841 Census contains the following streets, lanes, places and crescents: Paisley Street Glasgow Street Glasgow Lane Princes Street Princes Lane Montgomerie Street Montgomerie Street Lane 2 Quay Houses Bute Place Arran Place Arran Lane 3 Crescent ( South )

1

Other available population figures at Census events were, 1841 - 1686, 1851 – 2071, 1861 – 2951, 1871 – 3929, 1881 – 4009, 1891 – 5226, 1901 – 5933, 1911 – 5760, 1921 – 7214, 1931 – 6888 and 1941 – 7500 – today it is approximately 11,000. 2 Not a street as such but denoted in census as “ Quay Houses “, I mention this because several hundred people lived here in what I would imagine to have been purpose built accommodation for the harbour workers. The exact location on the harbour I could not ascertain, likely locations would have been what became Dock Road and or Winton Buildings. 3 Shown in census as “ Crescent “ but clearly referring to what we know as South Crescent

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History of Ardrossan
There were also many Farms, Cottages, Mills, Smithys and a Tile Works in the census, all in the area to the north of what became Parkhouse Road, around sixty dwellings in all. Their names and occupants are stated in the Census but I will not list them here. I should also mention that when this census was enumerated it included half of Saltcoats as Saltcoats was not a Parish in its own right, the other half was included in the Stevenston Parish, the dividing line being roughly Raise Street, Anything, including Raise Street and everything to the west of that line was in the Ardrossan Parish and to the east was included in Stevenston Parish. At the time of the 1901 census enumeration, the list had grown considerably and was as follows, once again the dividing line applied. Alpine Terrace Anderson Terrace Arran Lane Arran Place Barr Lane Barr Street Barrie Terrace Bute Place Caledonia Road Church Place Eglinton Street Glasgow Street Harbour Buildings Harbour Lane Harbour Place Harbour Square Harbour Street Harbour View Hill Place Hill Street Hogarth’s Lane Inglefield Terrace Kilmeny Terrace Montgomerie Lane

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History of Ardrossan
Montgomerie Street New Harbour Buildings North Crescent Paisley Street Park Road Princes Lane Princes Street Seton Lane Seton Street South Beach Road South Crescent Vernon Terrace Winton Buildings Winton Place Winton Street Yardborough Place Young Street

Bottom of Glasgow Street looking north at around the time of the 1901 census, Thanks to North Ayrshire Local History.
As a consequence of Irish emigration to the area, two streets, Paisley Street and later Herald Street were known as “ Wee Dublin “ and the “ 38

History of Ardrossan
Fenian Row “ respectively. Some of the farms in the 1901 census are: Parkhouse, Mill, Little Busbie, Montfode, Chapelhill, Kirkhall, Whitlees, Knockewart, Thrashley and Stanley ( on the site of the present Stanley School ), although of course there were many, many more. A detailed list can be found in the 1901 census record or in the slightly later 1910 Ordinance Survey map, both available at North Ayrshire Local History Department. At the other end of the Town this census record also gives us a flavour of how people lived and how they moved themselves and their produce / goods around, mainly by ” horse and cart “ or “ push cart “. The record lists Goodwin’s Stables, Railway Company Stables, Harbour Company Stables and the Sawmill Stables, all based around the Harbour. Towards the end of this research I have included listings of the Ardrossan Business Trade Directory for 1869 and the Town’s valuation roll of 1929, giving an indication of the number of businesses in the town at those junctures ( Appendices A & B ). Hugh, the 12th Earl of Eglinton devised plans for a Seaport for the town and an Act of Parliament was passed authorising the development of a harbour, which would be connected by canal to Glasgow. Plans were designed by none other than the world famous Civil Engineer, 1Thomas Telford. The foundation stone for the New Harbour development was laid in 1806 by Colonel Blair of Blair and work got underway. Unfortunately, Hugh died in 1819, and because of this, the work on the harbour was not completed until 1840. Hugh appears to have been a “ Town Planner “ in advance of his time, and the broad spacious streets and setting aside of the Castle Hill ( Cannon Hill ) and Holm Plantations as open spaces, are testimony to this even today. The Glasgow to Johnstone section of the canal was cut, but the project never saw fruition due to the coming of the Railway.

1

World famous Scottish civil engineer, architect and stonemason noted for building roads, bridges, canals, harbours etc ( 1757 to 1834 )

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History of Ardrossan

The original Montgomerie Street, where my Great Grandmother and some of my Great, Great Aunts and Uncles lived, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History

Chapter 7 - Railways

Barr Street, St John’s Church & The Caley Station in the background, circa of photograph unknown but the station closed in 1968, thanks to
40

History of Ardrossan
North Ayrshire Local History
The railway came to Ardrossan as a consequence of an 1827 Act of Parliament and the intention was to construct a line between Ardrossan Harbour and Johnstone to meet the newly dug canal. However the 4 feet six inch gauge line only got as far as Kilwinning. A further Act of Parliament in 1837 gave the go ahead for a four feet eight inch gauge line from Glasgow to Ayr, in effect making Kilwinning to Ardrossan a branch line with a non compatible gauge. A third Act of Parliament allowed the upgrade of the branch to the standard gauge required and also added an adjacent line making it double tracked and able to accommodate locomotives in both directions at the same time. The first rail passengers were carried between Ardrossan and Glasgow, joining the Glasgow to Ayr line at Kilwinning on the Seventeenth of August 1840 at a speed of 25mph, while there had been a single line railway from Ardrossan to Kilwinning that opened in 1832, it carried mainly coal. At one time in its history the Town could boast of 1five railway stations, but as you will see from the situation at Ardrossan, the rail companies were always in strong competition with one another, often encroaching on one another by building branch lines close to each other. The first station in Ardrossan was at the harbour and formed the terminus of one end of the Ardrossan and Johnstone Railway. Ardrossan Pier Station opened on 27/7/1840. Fourteen years later in 1854 a newly formed rail company called Glasgow and South Western Railway took it over, and on 2/6/1924 it was renamed Ardrossan Winton Pier Station. Extensions north to West Kilbride ( 1/5/1878 ), Fairlie ( 1/6/1880 ) and Largs ( 1/7/1885 ) were developed from a branch at South Beach station. South Beach Station was constructed in 1883 as an intermediate station about a mile from the harbour and continues in existence to this day. The present Ardrossan Harbour Station was opened on 19/1/1987 and continues to exist as a terminus for the Arran Ferry connection and the new Marina. A few years after South Beach station opened, another station opened halfway between the South Beach and Harbour stations.

1

Ardrossan Town, Ardrossan South Beach, Ardrossan Caledonian, Ardrossan Winton Pier & Ardrossan Eglinton Pier.

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History of Ardrossan
The new station, Ardrossan Station, was opened on 3/9/1888 by Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railways, and was renamed Ardrossan Town Station on 1/10/1906, this station although unmanned, still exists as a working station today, and although only a few hundred yards from the two other stations, it is handy for the commuter aiming to get directly into the Town itself. The fourth station that I have not yet mentioned is Ardrossan Pier Station opened by Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railways to compete with the already existing harbour station. This station opened on 30/5/1890 a few hundred yards from its competitor. Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railways would be incorporated into London Midland and Scottish Railways in 1923 and change the name of this station to Ardrossan Montgomerie Pier Station, closing to passengers in 1968 and a few years later to freight ( bitumen line to Shell Mex Refinery ). London Midland and Scottish at this point also took over Ardrossan Winton Pier Station. Prior to the coming of the Railway there was a coach service from Greenock to Ayr via Ardrossan, with connections to Glasgow and Kilmarnock.

Chapter 8 - Shipbuilding
Shipbuilding was an integral part of the Town’s economy throughout the second half of the eighteen hundreds and first half of the nineteen hundreds, peaking just after the First World War, when the South Yard alone employed two thousand three hundred personnel. Although shipbuilding was not started in earnest till 1840, small wooden boats were being built at the Harbour by a Mathew Henderson & Co from around 1825. In 1841 Barr & Shearer became established in the Harbour and would start building ships, although they would continue to be made of wood until 1888 when the first iron vessel was launched. In 1853, with the yard employing 300 men, the largest ever timber built ship on the Clyde was built and launched in 1854 ( The Contest ). Other notable events at the Harbour in the latter half of that century would be the launch of Ardrossan’s first lifeboat ( The Fair Maid of Perth ) in 1870, and the erection of the first lighthouse in 1855. The great storm of December 1900 damaged the lighthouse so severely that a new one was constructed in 1901, and situated inside the walls of the Harbour as opposed to on the rocks outside the walls,

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where the first one had been located. This is the structure that stands today.

One of the first ships to be launched at Ardrossan in 1853 “ The Contest “, Thanks to North Ayrshire Local History
The first official lifeboat affiliated to the National Association at Ardrossan saved many 1lives in its service between 1870 and 1892, and records show varying figures of between 53 and 55. Prior to 1870 there were lifeboat services of one kind or another between Ardrossan and Saltcoats from around the early eighteen hundreds. Other Ardrossan Lifeboats were, The Charles Skirrow ( 1893 to 1899 ), The James Stevens ( 1899 to 1912 ) and the James and John Young ( 1912 to 1930 ), it is recorded that over the 60 years that the service was based in the town, 132 lives were saved. The service was removed 15 miles south down the coast to Troon in 1930. The shipyard itself was taken over in 1898 by the Ardrossan Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company Limited and by 1900 the shipyard had three berths

1

New year’s day 1870 saw the rescue of the crew of the Dublin registered “ Morning Star “ as she hit the rocks at Horse Island in a south westerly gale.

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History of Ardrossan
for building and repair, a 1graving dock for vessels up to 1000 tons, and a repair slip capable of taking 400 ton vessels. Check building of Eglinton Dock and the Coffer Dam ( 400 men escape etc ) Nineteen sixteen saw the completion of the construction of the “ New South Yard “ covering 22 acres with five new berths capable of accommodating four to five hundred feet vessels up to 9000 tons. The first five ships launched from this new yard were: SS Huntstanworth, SS Glassford, SS Poljana, SS Dunkerquois and SS Skrymer. This location allowed newly built ships to be launched directly into the Firth of Clyde open water, as opposed to the harbour itself. However this part of the yard closed in 1930. Part of this land would be acquired forty years later by a local company ( McCrindle Ltd ) for the purpose of some small scale boatbuilding, however this would be short lived as well, closing around 1980.

South Yard where ships could be launched directly into open water, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History, circa unknown

1

Graving or Dry Dock, a narrow basin that can be flooded to float in a vessel and then drained so that the vessel comes to rest on the bottom, allowing work to be carried out and then reflooded to float the ship back out to sea.

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Shipyard workers leaving the yard circa 1920’s via Dock Road - the shop in the background is Goodwin Brothers ( Grocer ). Thanks to North Ayrshire Local History
During the first world war ( 1914 to 1918 ), the Admirality established a facility at the Harbour to maintain, repair and refuel submarines and Montgomerie pier was modified to accommodate this. HMS Pactolus, recently converted to a submarine depot ship in 1912, was relocated to Ardrossan at the outbreak of the war. It would remain at Ardrossan throughout the war and became home to its crew of two hundred and twenty four support staff.

Torpedo Destroyer HMS Bonetta at Ardrossan Harbour 1914, at the outbreak of WW1, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History

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History of Ardrossan
During the second world war ( 1939 to 1945 ), specifically in 1940 the harbour was again taken over by the Ministry of Defence as a Naval Base and given the name of “ HMS Fortitude “ with commercial shipping redirected through Fairlie. Between the years 1840 and 1960 more than two hundred ships of various types were built at Ardrossan Shipyard. A full list of these ships including their current status ( now mainly sunk or scrapped ) can be found at the excellent website www.clydesite.co.uk. I will list some of these ships, their purpose and year built. My father worked as a Caulker in the yard and I have selected those that he may have worked on before starting in the yard in 1938, and leaving the yard in the late 1950’s. He volunteered for the Fleet Air Arm in 1942 age 18 returning from the war to the yard in 1946. Welsh Coast 1938 – Coaster Ifon 1938 – Barge Linnet – 1938 Minelayer Dundalk 1939 – Cargo Almond 1940 – Naval Trawler Acacia 1940 – Naval Trawler Guernsey Coast 1940 – Coaster Moray Coast 1940 – Coaster Converley 1941 - Naval Trawler Cotillion 1941 – Naval Trawler Stuart Queen 1941 – Cargo Jura 1941 – Naval Trawler Baltic Coast 1947 – Coaster Pacific Coast 1947 – Coaster El Halal 1949 – Cargo Zambesia 1949 – Passenger / Cargo Lurio 1949 – Passenger / Cargo El Kerym 1950 – Cargo Loch Carron 1951 – Cargo Bucklesham 1952 – Minesweeper Maid of Cumbrae 1953 – Passenger The Lady Gwendoline 1953 – Coaster Lairds Glen 1954 – Essex Coast 1955 – Cargo

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History of Ardrossan
Marra 1955 – Cargo Tatana 1955 – Cargo Birchfield 1956 – Cargo Zulu 1957 – Coaster Osborne Queen 1957 – Coaster Glenthan 1957 – Minesweeper Bay Fisher 1958 – Cargo Lady Roslin 1958 – Cargo Dorset Coast 1958 – Coaster Ardrossan Shipyard closed for business in 1962 and the last ship to be launched was the MV Buffalo on 2/5/1961. The yard opened briefly again in 1962 for a few years, and the 750 ton barge below was one of a handful of ships built in this period, the Afpet 6 would have been one of them. Constructed for African Petroleum it was launched on 12/2/1964 and taken under tow a few weeks later to Sierra Leone. A fuller account of the launch is available from the microfiche copy of the Ardrossan and Saltcoat’s Herald dated 14/2/1964, available at North Ayrshire Local History in the North Ayrshire Museum, Saltcoats.

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The Afpet 6 Barge, on the right, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History
Alongside its shipbuilding industry the Harbour also saw a great amount of activity and employment with the introduction of containerization, Prior to this new type of moving commodities around the world imports had been in the main: iron ore, crude oil, limestone, timber and scrap metal to mention some, with exports being mainly steel, coal, petroleum products and asphalt, again to name but a few. This new system allowed a whole new range of products to be moved around the world more economically and Ardrossan was at the forefront of it through the nineteen sixties, seventies and eighties.

Chapter 9 - Shell Mex Refinery and Canning Factories
The story of the Shell Mex began during WW1 when the Admirality based its submarine depot ship HMS Pactolus at the Harbour. In 1917, three 6,000 ton fuel tanks were built to supply the submarines and Montgomerie Pier was modified as a small tanker berth. After the War the site became redundant and the Shell Oil Company acquired a long term lease on the ground. This would become an important part of the Town’s industrial heritage with the formation of the Shell Refining and Marketing Company during 1925 on 1 reclaimed land at the north side of the Harbour, adjacent to the north beach. The first ship to arrive with crude oil to be unloaded was the “ 2Emile Deutch de la Meurthe “ in 1927. The crude was unloaded by a system of pumps and flexible hoses. The Harbour itself was then extended to the north to accommodate larger oil tankers with the pier extended to 580 feet, a process that took two years and involved the removal of 12,000 tons of rock and the reclamation of 12 acres of land from the sea, permitting the arrival of crude oil from South America, North Africa and the Middle East, to be refined into petroleum products, mainly petrol / diesel for the domestic automobile market, but also aviation spirit for the expanding airline industry. Another important product
1

I recall when I was a young boy being told by an old friend of my Fathers that his Father had played football at a pitch on this ground for a team called Ardrossan Celtic, it was known locally as Celtic Park. 2 Named after the famous French aviation pioneer and philanthropist

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History of Ardrossan
manufactured at the facility was Bitumen, popular as part of the material required in road building, linoleum and other by products. The manufactured and refined products were then distributed by road, rail and sea throughout the Country. Plans had been drawn up in 1962 to develop the old canning factory to the south but local resident’s objections had not allowed these to become a reality, limiting the company’s operations. The reason given by the Council in rejecting their planning application was that the area was dependant on tourism and that this would be adversely affected. The operation at the north of the Harbour continued until 1986, with the advent of our own North Sea Oil and new and larger refineries springing up and around the UK coastline. Together with its partner Scottish Oils, also based at the North Shore refinery, it is thought to have employed around three hundred personnel at its peak in the mid nineteen fifties and was one of the main employers in Ardrossan in my lifetime. Many of my neighbours and school friend’s Fathers worked there in either a manufacturing position or that of Tanker Driver. The Company also had its own Social Club in Bute Place. Today, the land is being desensitized and plans for new private housing, office accommodation and a new hotel have just been given the green light. During World War 2, Ardrossan played its part in the war effort in many different ways, one of which was the construction of two Canning Factories in 1938 during the lead up to the war, at the 1Inches between the south end of the Harbour and the South Beach for the RAF and a smaller one at Glenfoot for the Army. Two gallon cans and forty gallon barrels were manufactured for the storage and transportation of aviation fuel for the war effort and this was distributed by road and rail to where it was needed. The facility at the Inches included lube oil tanks and spirit tanks and the incoming supply of spirit came from 13 underground storage tanks with rail sidings at Montfode. The Air Ministry took over the land and in conjunction with Shell as the operator oversaw the facility. With the end of the war the ground was given back to the Board of Trade in 1948. At its peak during the War the company employed around 1,000 personnel at all these locations. Peacetime saw the rundown of the canning factories and a new road distribution terminal at Bishopbriggs, Glasgow diverted most of Shell’s products away from Ardrossan in the 1970’s and the distribution of jet fuel
1

Rocky area at of reclaimed land known locally as the “ Inches “

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History of Ardrossan
was switched to Grangemouth. The bitumen plant remained open but this too ceased production in 1985 and the facility at North Crescent was demolished in 1991. A couple of other points of interest while I have mentioned the “ Inches “ were the location of what was called “ Battery Point “, where in the late 1800’s the Artillery Volunteers fired off their practice guns out to sea and the “ Inches “ was also the location of Christie’s Yard, where they manufactured wooden rail sleepers on a massive scale. Wood was imported in vast quantities by ship from the Baltic countries and re – manufactured in to rail supports ( sleepers ) and re - exported as railways were developing throughout the world, again by ship. A huge fire in 1913 saw the end of that particular type of business in Ardrossan.

Oil tanker at berth in Ardrossan Harbour, adjacent to the Shell Refinery, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History.

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Chapter 10 – Industry & Commerce – ( Metallic Manufacturing Company, Winton Foundry, Metlox Limited, Eglinton Laundry, Lees Lemonade Factory, Oilskin Works, Waterworks, Gasworks, Ardrossan Hospital, Shops, Housing, Ferries, Buses & Fishing ) Metallic Manufacturing Company
A notable employer in the Town was the Metallic Manufacturing Company. founded in 1906. 1At the Ardrossan Dean of Guild Court there was presented a petition from the Ardrossan Metallic Manufacturing Company for permission to erect a factory and offices on the north side of Dalry Road and being supported by the necessary consents, was granted. This company specialized in the production of metal joints, valves, gaskets, tools, jigs, templates and other engineering components. The Metallic as it was known locally also had premises at Barr Street and was a major employer in the town, it closed its doors around 1985.

Winton Foundry
The Winton Foundry was founded in 1919 to produce marine castings, centrifugal pumps, tee pipes, pipe bends and engine covers and was situated between the Gas Works at McDowall Place and Dalry Road, on the side of the railway embankment.

Metlox Ardrossan Limited
This Shipbreaking firm was founded in 1936 at the Lighthouse Pier on Ardrossan Harbour, initially breaking up coastal vessels and sending the scrap metal to nearby Glengarnock for resmelting. In 1938 it underwent a conversion to enable it to produce pre cast concrete units for the housing sector. They later expanded to manufacture paving slabs and building blocks. During the Second World War they fitted more than 100 ships with bullet proof protection slabs for bridge and gun crews. Granite was also quarried nearby at Kaim Hill, West Kilbride and adapted to help build the underground fuel tanks at close by Montfode.
1

Italicised sentence is a quote from the Ardrossan & Saltcoat’s Herald issue dated 3/8/1906

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History of Ardrossan
Eglinton Laundry Company
The Eglinton Laundry Company was founded around the turn of the century at Dalry Road, Ardrossan. During 1920 they combined with The Saltcoat’s Laundry Company becoming the Ardrossan and Saltcoat’s Laundry Company. They undertook all types of laundry work for private households, hotels, hospitals, industry and shipping.

Lees Lemonade Factory ( Haldanes )
Haldanes was founded in 1893 at Princes Lane, moving later to Kilmahew Street, by Thomas Haldane, initially to produce aerated water. The name Lee originates from his business association with his son in law, James Lee. In 1919 Haldane purchased Lawsons of Largs and put Lee in charge, James returned to Ardrossan in 1925 to assume control of the business. During the Second World War the business moved to Dalry Road under the control of the Soft Drinks Industry, reverting back to James Lee and sons in peacetime. It is not clear when the business expanded to included flavoured lemonade production but it is likely to have been after WW2.

The Ardrossan Oilskin and Waterproofing Company
Known locally as the “ Oilskin Works “, it was established in 1897 by William Savage. The company specialized in the manufacture of oilskin clothing for marine, agricultural and industrial workers as well as coloured rainwear for civilian use. Cotton cloth was passed through process proofing and drying with linseed oil, cut, machined into garments and finally cured. The company traded under the name of “ Aroilco “ throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. If my memory serves me correctly it closed during the 1970’s.

Waterworks
The first record of the Town obtaining filtered water dates to 1840, when a meeting was held in the Eglinton Hotel. The meeting was attended by Dr Alexander McFadzean ( he of monument fame ), Dr James Arthur, John and Robert Hunter of Ardrossan and George Johnston of Redburn, Irvine.

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History of Ardrossan
Agreement was reached to provide a pure water supply to the Town by raising the estimated £3,000 required from public subscription. They were advised to build a reservoir and filtration plant on the line of the Stanley Burn at Parkhouse farm. The Ardrossan Water Company was formed and the charge to the public was set at a flat rate of one shilling per £1 of rental. In 1860 a further reservoir was built at Whitlees to accommodate 11 million gallons with the Parkhouse Reservoir later extended to increase its capacity to 10 million gallons. In 1874 the Ardrossan Water Company merged with the Ardrossan Gas Company, with John Hogarth, David Ireland Mack and Alexander Fullerton as principal shareholders with assets of £9,750. The 1886 Ardrossan Gas and Water Act transferred supply undertakings to the Town Council at a cost of £11,237. Further reservoirs were constructed at Millglen in 1889 and Busbie in 1903, increasing the overall capacity to 121 million gallons storage capacity. During 1923 the existing sand filtration system was replaced by a “ Bell mechnical filter “ at Dalry Road and in 1940 a clear water tank was erected to provide an emergency supply of a full day’s supply at any given time. Proposed plans and engineering drawings produced in 1886 for both the Gas and Water supply are available to view at the National Archives of Scotland.

Gasworks
The supply of gas to the Town followed a similar pattern to that of water, originating at the 1840 meeting in the Eglinton Hotel with the initial estimate deemed to be £1,000. The first Gas Works were on the east side of Glasgow Street where the Cooperative shops were. Being so close to the Harbour meant that the system could harness the higher atmospheric pressure at sea level. Initially there were around three hundred consumers and the charge was sixpence per 1,000 cubic feet. As I have already stated, the 1874 Act enabled the merger with the Town’s water provision and later in 1887 the Town Council assumed responsibility at a cost of nearly £9,000. In 1900 it was decided to build a new plant away from Glasgow Street and Andrew Gillespie, Scotland’s leading Gas Engineer proposed two new sites at Winton Rover’s Football Park and an optional site north of Parkhouse Road, adjoining the railway line. The optional site was chosen and the new plant became operational in 1903 producing 20 million cubic feet of gas per year. This site north of Parkhouse Road and west of the present day McDowall Avenue / McDowall Place ceased manufacture in 1959, although it was not

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History of Ardrossan
totally dismantled until many years later, as I can recall playing there as a boy in the 1960’s when the infrastructure remained although no gas was present.

Ardrossan Hospital
Today, the nearest hospitals serving the area are Ayrshire Irvine Central and Crosshouse General in Kilmarnock, five and twelve miles distant, respectively. Ardrossan did have its own hospital opening in 1876 and specializing in Infectious Diseases, the photograph below is thought to have been taken around 1901, shortly before it closed down. The hospital was situated on the corner of Parkhouse and Sorbie Roads, just down from the present day Cemetery. Following the closure the responsibility for this service moved to a new building at Springvale Street, Saltcoats. This building was burned down in a fire during 1914 and a temporary building was utilised until a new building was erected in 1923. This building closed in 1929 and cover for the area was taken on by the aforementioned County hospital at Irvine.

Ardrossan Infectious Disease Hospital circa 1900, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History Ardrossan Shops
The Cooperative Society came to Ardrossan in the 1870’s and I can remember growing up as a boy in the 1960’s when they still had a number of shops in Glasgow Street including ( if my memory serves me correctly ), a Grocery shop, a Hardware shop and a Chemists, the Drapers and Bakery may

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History of Ardrossan
still have been there as well. I worked in the Hardware shop during the school holidays, having previously had a Saturday job delivering groceries or messages as we called them on the old bike with the basket on the front from the Cooperative shop in Central Avenue ( ASDA home delivery eat your heart out ). The shops at Central Avenue were built in the middle to late 1950’s and replaced the temporary wooden built shops at what is now Broadway. These wooden built shops were built on the four corners of Broadway and were replaced by pensioner’s houses with “ verandas “ on the upper section, they were unusual in that respect, for their time. The shops that were there prior to their closing in 1955 were the Cooperative, Gracie’s general provisions, Gallacher’s licensed grocers and Breckenridge’s fish and chip shop.

Part of the Cooperative shop chain in Glasgow Street, circa mid 20th century, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History Housing
The Housing and Town Planning Act of 1919 enabled local Councils to apply to the national government for funds to build council houses or social housing as

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History of Ardrossan
it referred to today. The first 32 council houses were erected at Fullerton Square and Parkhouse Road. Housing prior to this in Ardrossan was privately funded. From around 1923 more houses were built at Seton Street, Anderson Terrace, Bath Square, Young Street, Paisley Street, McDowall Avenue, McKellar Avenue, Parkhouse Road, Barrie Terrace, Hunter Avenue and Dalry Road, giving a total of 348. A further Act of 1935. By the beginning of the War the stock had risen to around 650, After the War prefabricated house were built at Kirkhall Gardens and Parkhouse Gardens, 21 and 19 respectively. The last significant social housing provision was at Chapelhill Mount ( 1968 ) where I write this today and soon after Montgomerie Street, Montgomerie Street was built on what was the old private housing of Montgomerie Street and Council housing of the original Kilmahew Street.

Ferry connections down the years
Ardrossan being a port has relied heavily on its Ferry connections down the years and the most enduring has been the Arran Ferry, which started in 1833 continuing to this day. There was also a sea connection to Belfast, with the first sailing in 1844 by R. Henderson & Son. The first crossing by paddle steamer was during 1859 by the “ Adela “ and the crossing time was five and a quarter hours. A more regular sailing started in 1884 and the name of the ship was the “ Glowworm “ and in 1892 a new daylight service was introduced. The crossing continued in one form or another until 1976, when the M.V Lion sailed for the last time between the two ports. The Lion had plied its trade since 1968 and after it left Ardrossan, worked for a while out of Weymouth in Dorset and the Channel Isles, before being eventually scrapped in Greece. A cargo ferry connection continued on this route until the late 1990’s but even this has now ceased, moving south to Troon. Another popular holiday route was the Isle of Man which started in 1892 and continued until it was axed in 1985 when it moved to Stranraer. There were also sea connections between Ardrossan and Ayr, Glasgow, Liverpool, Silloth, Fleetwood, Dublin, Dundalk, Newry, Portrush and Derry at one time or other during the history of the Harbour.

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History of Ardrossan
Buses Over the years the Town has been served by various bus services culminating recently in a single service provided by a company named “ Stagecoach “. It was not always so, 1791 saw the introduction of a daily “ 1 stagecoach “ service from Glasgow via Paisley and Beith alongside another to Kilmarnock via Irvine. After the arrival of the railway in the 1840’s the need for this service declined. There was still a requirement for “ local “ road transport and horse drawn wagons known locally as “ Here ye ars “ operated between Ardrossan and Saltcoats. The first regular bus service in the area was provided by R Johnstone of Fenwick when his existing Irvine – Kilmarnock route was extended to Ardrossan, Ayr and Glasgow via Kilwinning. Other smaller companies operated in the area around this time such as Murray Brothers of Saltcoats, James Jarvie of Ardrossan and James Murray of Ardrossan and by 1924 there were at least 40 operators providing one kind of service or another on the Ardrossan – Kilmarnock line. Two of the larger of these were the Scottish General Transport Company ( SGTC ) and the Midland Bus Company who both started services in the area in 1925. The SGTC ran from the Eglinton Hotel, Ardrossan to Kilmarnock and also ran a summer service from Saltcoats War Memorial to Largs. The smaller operators realizing that they would not survive against the major players got together to form the Ayrshire Bus Owners Association ( A1 Services ). This service started in January 1926 comprising around a dozen members increasing to around sixty over the next few years. In these formative years members were only allowed to run two buses with an exception being made for William Dodds of Troon who joined in 1929 and had three. During the same year that “ Dodds “ joined, a group of operators broke away from the Association to form the Clyde Coast Service ( CCS ) concentrating on the Larg’s route. Another group left the following year in protest against William being given preferential treatment to form the Ayrshire Bus Owner’s Association AA Service to work the Ardrossan to Ayr route. In 1931 this company was registered as AA Motor Services Ltd. Also during 1931 the Ayrshire Bus Owner’s Association A1 Service became a limited company incorporated under the title Ayrshire Bus Owner’s ( A1 Service ) Limited. At this time they also extended their service from
1

Not to be confused with today’s provider, this stagecoach obviously had more in common with the American Cowboy films than today’s high tech transport

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History of Ardrossan
Ardrossan – Stevenston to Ardrossan – Kilmarnock. In 1932 the Scottish Transport Company and the Midland Bus Company merged to form the Western Scottish Motor Transport Company with its headquarters at Kilmarnock. Thus from the 1930’s Ardrossan had four independent bus companies each with their distinctive livery. The A1 was blue and white, the AA was Green, CCS was dark Blue and the Western was Red. Kilwinning business man John Bennett started a new service from Ardrossan to Glasgow in 1983 in an attempt to compete with the Railway and others followed in his lead. However in 1985 the national operator company “ Stagecoach “ bought over Bennett’s Glasgow Service together with buying Western Scottish. Ten years later in 1995, “ Stagecoach “ took over the A1 company and with the demise of the AA and CCS services in the area, “ Stagecoach “ has become the main operator in the area providing an extensive and comprehensive service connecting Ardrossan with Kilmarnock Ayr, Glasgow, Largs and the Garnock Valley.

One of the first buses to serve the Town, circa 1920’s, Thanks to North Ayrshire Local History / Ardrossan and Saltcoat’s Herald

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History of Ardrossan
Fishing
Fishing was also prominent particularly in the early 1900’s, peaking in the 1920’s, and the catch would have been predominately herring. The Admirality commandeered these vessels at the outbreak of the second war, and in 1945 the fishermen were offered their boats back or a cash sum, many took the money as the home market was diminishing by then due to a change in peoples tastes, the main export market which had been to Germany was obviously gone as well. My own personal memory of fish being landed at Ardrossan are of a few occasions during the early 1960’s, when I was a young boy, fishing off the end of Winton or Eglinton piers, or sometimes the lighthouse, and on the way home being thrown a few fish on to the quayside by the boat workers. Although you may see the occasional angler at the Harbour now, not much is caught due to the overfishing of our waters around the coast, a fishing boat landing a catch at Ardrossan today would be a rare sight indeed.

Chapter 11 - HMS Dasher
The 27th of March, Nineteen forty three, saw the 1second biggest ( footnote Royal Oak ) loss of life from a ship in British waters during WW2 when the Aircraft Carrier, HMS Dasher, sank off Ardrossan. Three hundred and seventy nine from a crew of five hundred and twenty eight sailors were lost. The Dasher had been taken over in July 1942 by the Royal Navy, having formerly been a ship of the American Navy. After refitting on the Clyde, with modifications to allow it to carry 15 aircraft, the Dasher was about to start the second of its patrols guarding merchant Atlantic convoys when it met with its fate, halfway between Ardrossan and Brodick ( more or less on the present day Calmac crossing route ) as she headed due south. There are various theories about what happened, one of them that a plane returning to her deck crashed on landing and sparked some aviation fuel that had leaked from its tanks, while another claims that it was a friendly fire incident ( of which we hear so much about in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent times ) from a British submarine torpedo. Despite a swift response from the authorities including ships from Ardrossan, Brodick, Greenock and the surrounding area, most of the sailors died of hypothermia or burns from fuel igniting on the
1

Largest was the Royal Oak at Scapa Flow in 1939 with the loss of 833 from a crew of around 1400

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History of Ardrossan
surface of the water. My Mother, who was 15 at the time and lived at 113 Glasgow Street recalled to me when I was younger, of that day when the injured were brought up Glasgow Street to the Castle Craigs ( Ardrossan Civic Centre ) which had been turned into a temporary first aid station. At the time, it was kept quiet about the huge loss of life, with the government not wishing to give the enemy a propaganda boost. It has also been suggested that the government did not wish to criticize or embarrass the Americans as they had built and maintained the ship prior to it being brought into the UK fleet. Most of the bodies were buried in a mass grave and only after a campaign by the relatives were some bodies released for individual burial. Most of these bodies were then interred at Ardrossan or Greenock, but even then the relatives of the dead and the survivors themselves were ordered not to talk about what had happened. Parts of the flight deck were washed up with the tide at Ardrossan in 1999 and can be seen in the North Ayrshire Museum at Saltcoats. There has also been recent speculation that a corpse from the incident had been used by British Military Intelligence in Operation Mincemeat. Operation Mincemeat was a plan devised in 1943 to make the Germans think that the Allied forces would invade Greece / Sardinia and not Sicily as was the real intention. Military intelligence needed a corpse to make it look as though it had been washed ashore on a Spanish beach, false plans for the Greece / Sardinia invasion were attached to the corpse to throw the Germans off the scent. In 1950 this scenario formed the plot of a novel called “ Operation Heartbreak “, and again in 1953 with another book, later a film in 1955 called “ The Man who never was “. Some sources connected with Dasher have even gone so far as to name the dead sailor, however the official line is that it was a Welshman unconnected with the tragedy. What is not in doubt is that the plan was successful. It is only in recent years that the truth has emerged about the Dasher, initially in 1973 with the opening of government papers under the 30 year rule, and later with the publication of a book by local authors John and Noreen Steel ( The Secrets of HMS Dasher – 2002 ) and even more recently the new documentary video ( The Tragedy of HMS Dasher – 2003 ) by Peter Rowlands. Memorials to the tragedy have recently been erected at Ardrossan and Brodick and commemorations are now held every year. The ship herself lies intact in an upright position in a water depth of 555 feet, at

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a distance 5 to 6 miles due west of Ardrossan. The speculation about the identity of the corpse continues. A Memorial to those who died has been erected at the sunken gardens opposite Arran Place at the Town’s South Beach and a remembrance service is commemorated annually.

Dasher Memorial at the South Beach, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History

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HMS Dasher, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History

Chapter 12 - Religion - Places of Worship
Following the Reformation of 1560, the Parish had to provide its own Ministers and several have been recorded in ancient documents. The first known was Porterfield, mentioned in a letter dated 1569, and other early Ministers were William Montgomerie, Alexander Dunlop and Ralph Rogers. The old pre reformation Church on the Castlehill, thought to be as old as the Castle itself, was destroyed by a storm in 1695 and a new one erected in 1697 on the North Bank of the Stanley Burn at a place called “ Stanley Clachan “ ( where the play area is situated today at Stanley Road / St Andrew’s Road / St Margaret’s Road ). This building at Stanley Clachan was dismantled in 1744 and another built in Saltcoats next to the Chapel Well. The reason that it was built in Saltcoats was that Saltcoats was not a Parish then but did have more of a population than Ardrossan. This building, the Ardrossan Parish Church in turn was damaged by a storm in 1773 and was rebuilt and survived ( as a working Church ) until 1908. Today it is the home of the North Ayrshire Museum, recently renamed the Heritage Centre incorporating North Ayrshire Local History Department.

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History of Ardrossan

Early sketch of Ardrossan Parish Church ( Saltcoats ), now the home of the North Ayrshire Museum ( Heritage Centre ), Thanks to North Ayrshire Local History
The New Ardrossan Parish Church was built in 1844 at the corner of Princes Street / Arran Place, and later in 1929, at the time of the union within the Church of Scotland became known as the Barony Church. 1843 saw the year of disruption within the Church of Scotland and the introduction in 1845 of the first Free Church in Ardrossan at the rear of 38 Glasgow Street, this building, at the back of the Cooperative shops was later used as a warehouse until it was demolished in 1988, to make way for the modernization of Glasgow Street. The formation of the Free Church came about as a consequence of the 1843 split from the Church of Scotland. Twelve town men got together, their main objection was to the then common system of patronage, whereby the state or a superior could install a Kirk Minister against the wishes of the congregation. The Free Church moved to a new building at the corner of Barr Street / Montgomerie Street in 1857. The year 1900 saw the union of the Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church and this Church became St John’s United Free Church. In 1929 following the union within the Church of Scotland, it was renamed St John’s Church of Scotland. 1981 saw the merger of St Johns with the Barony 63

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Church becoming Barony St Johns. The Church at the corner of Barr and Montgomerie Streets was demolished in 1991. Barony St Johns is still there today on its original site.

South Beach, with Arran Place and the then “ New Ardrossan Parish Church “ ( built 1844 ) in the background, prior to the Promenade being constructed ( picture circa 1905 ), thanks to North Ayrshire Local History.
Another building of outstanding architecture in the Town is the Evangelical Union Congregational Church in Glasgow Street. The EU Congregational Church has been in Ardrossan in one form or another since 1838. First meetings were held in a hall in Princes Street next to Ardrossan Town Rail Station. Later in 1842 they moved to an upper floor flat at 52 Glasgow Street, Ardrossan and later again in 1860 to a purpose built Church at Bute Place. The present day Church was built in 1903 on the site of the playground of the old Ardrossan Infant School. The Church Hall was originally the site of the old school.

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Glasgow Street circa early 1900’s with the Evangelical Union Congregational Church in the left foreground, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History
The Foundation stone of the Park Parish Church at the corner of Stanley Road / Dalry Road was laid on 14/6/1958 and formally opened for worship on 26/9/1959 where it remains on this present site today. This Church has its origins in a meeting of 15 men in a shop of Arthur Guthrie ( probably Princes Street and the then Ardrossan and Saltcoat’s Herald Newspaper proprietor ) on 9/1/1857. The first service was held on 8/3/1857 in a building in Glasgow Street. A Church was then built in 27/12/1857, also in Glasgow Street, on the site of the present Church of the Nazarene. In 1900 the congregation assented to union with the Free Church of Scotland and thus became the Park United Free Church of Scotland. 1920 saw an agreement to union with the Church of Scotland and it became known as the Park Church of Scotland. The Church was named after James Park ( 1808 to 1850 ), a local Schoolmaster. The Church of Nazarene took over the building in Glasgow Street that the Park Church had vacated in 1959. Prior to this the Nazarenes who had formed in 1895 in Ardrossan, and had become a denomination on 5/10/1908, had met in a premises in Bute Place. They remain in the Glasgow Street building today.

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Last but not least of the Protestant Churches of Ardrossan is St Andrew’s Episcopalian Church at South Crescent. The foundation stone for this building was laid on St Andrew’s Day 1874 by the Countess of Eglinton, opening for worship on 28/11/1875. The layout of this Church is traditional Gothic in the pre reformation style. This Episcopalian Church, although an independent Scottish Church, is similar to the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. The Episcopalian Church can trace its history back to the reformation and beyond to the Celtic Church of the likes of Columba and Kentigern. After the Reformation of 1560, Roman Catholic religious offices such as Mass were outlawed, and Priests were forced to convert to Protestantism, go into hiding or escape to the Continent. Virtually everyone in Scotland converted to Protestantism and it was not until the mid 19th century when large numbers of men and women fleeing from the Potato Famine in Ireland arrived in Scotland, would the necessity for a Catholic Church in Ayrshire arise. The Irish would continue to come in search of work and a better way of life, as my Mother’s Father’s people did in the 1850’s ( Newtonbutler, County Fermanagh to Glasgow and then Ardrossan ) and later her Mother’s people during the 1890’s ( Portaferry, County Down to Glasgow and then Ardrossan ). It was with this wave of immigration that the need for Catholic Churches was again recognized. The first post reformation Catholic places of worship in the locality were Chapels at Paisley 1825, and Ayr 1826. Occasionally, the Priest from St Margarets at Ayr, Father William Thompson would hold Mass in Saltcoats, arriving on horseback. Then in 1848 a Chapel was built in Dalry to meet the needs of Catholics in North Ayrshire. In 1853 services were being held in the Stable Loft of the Queen’s Hotel in Bradshaw Street, Saltcoats, now the Masonic club. The Earl of Eglinton provided land in Ardrossan Road, Saltcoats, and the construction of a new Chapel began in 1855. Our Lady, Star of the Sea, opened on the Thirteenth of April 1856. A larger Chapel was soon required for the area, and a section of land in Moorpark Road West, Stevenston was obtained. The new building opened on the Second of July 1905. It was called Saint Johns, and was unique in that the Chapel was on the upper floor, and a school on the lower level. During the 1920’s there was a requirement again for another Chapel, and the Earl of Eglinton’s Summer House “ The Pavilion “ came on the market. Between 1926 and 1938 Mass was said in Ardrossan at a building in Bute

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Place known as the Assembly Rooms ( later the Winton Rovers Social Club ). This property was owned by Harry Kemp, a local businessman who would later become a major benefactor of the new St Peters. The Pavilion was purchased by the Archdiocese of Glasgow on the Thirtieth of January 1924 for £4500. Later, during the 1930’s the Pavilion was demolished and after some “ serious fundraising “ an amount of £10,000 was raised, and on the same site, Saint Peter in Chains opened ( Second of October 1938, architect Jack Coia ). Finally during 1945, Ardrossan became a separate Catholic Parish. It is recorded that the Chapel was built on Irish soil, whether specifically imported at the time of construction is debatable. One source claims this to be so, while another source claims that although built on Irish soil, it may have been imported much earlier to strengthen the ground around it as the land was reclaimed from the sea. The name derived from the 14th century Chapel on the Castlehill less than 200 yards away, which as I stated earlier had two altars dedicated to Saint Peter and the Virgin Mary.

St Peter in Chains RC Chapel, Ardrossan, possibly circa 1940’s,not long after opening,thanks to North Ayrshire Local History

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Doctor Jack Coia, principal architect and artist’s impression of St Peter in Chains circa 1937, St Peters was one of twelve Chapels designed by Doctor Coia, who died in 1981, thanks to St Peter’s Parish website.

Chapter 13 - Education - Schools

Glasgow Street ( top half ) looking north towards Ardrossan’s first Public School ( The Eglinton - opened 1876 ) photograph circa 1910
Education was first provided in North Ayrshire by the Monks at Kilwinning Abbey. The first Parochial School for Ardrossan was held in 1692 at a 68

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rented house near Auchenshangan, situated between Kirkhall and Parkhouse, near the crossroads, South of the Cemetery. During the middle of the 18th century it transferred to an old Farmhouse called the “ Green “ on the Parish Boundary. The opening of the first school in the town was 1807. In that year a Mr John Harkness commenced teaching in a house near the top of Glasgow Street, the property at that time of a Mr James Anderson. Mr Harkness was a young man, the son of a labourer, who had come from Old Cumnock, but the school did not succeed with him, and he afterwards became a house painter. He was succeeded in 1808 by a Mr John Gall. A schoolroom was then acquired at the premises occupied by Mr Gemmill in Princes Lane and the pupils numbered from forty to fifty, several of whom came from the country. Mr Charles Lindsay then succeeded Mr Gall in 1809, followed by a Mr Fleck in 1810. About the year 1813, the then Earl of Eglinton repaired an old house which had been in use as a smithy, near to Barr’s Square, and allowed it to be used for educational purposes. At that time there was ample place for a play ground. Not far off was the quarry, and there were but few houses in Glasgow and Montgomerie Streets. The first teacher in it was Mr Thomson in 1814, who was succeeded by the Rev Thomas Blair in 1817, Mr Duncan McPherson in 1819 or 1820, Mr James Ballantine in 1824 and again Mr McPherson in 1827. About the year 1820, Mr James Blair, son of the Rev Thomas Blair, kept a school in Glasgow Street, and the other gentlemen who kept private schools were Mr Miller from Paisley about 1827 and Mr Alexander Paterson in 1834 or 1835. The 1Public or Parochial School of Ardrossan was built in 1837, mainly through the exertions of the Rev Mr Bryce. A grant was made from the treasury of £150 towards the building fund on 1/4/1838. There being no church of any denomination at the time, it was used as a preaching station, up to the date of the erection of the new church. The first who taught in it was a Mr Gilmour, who was succeeded in it by Mr Ferguson in 1839, and by Mr Baillie in 1841, who was a teacher in it for eight years. Messrs Hutchison, Robertson and Sharp, then filled the post of teacher for brief periods, and
1

The site of this school is thought to have been at the Church Hall adjacent to the present EU Church in Glasgow Street.

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were succeeded by Mr Brown in November 1852, Mr Leitch February 1854, Mr Findlay October 1857, Mr Lumsden March 1860, Mr Cameron April 1863 and Mr Hislop February 1867. Around this time also there were privately run schools in Glasgow Street ( Miss Graham ), Montgomerie Street ( Misses Wallace ), Arran Place ( Misses Cruickshanks ) and Princes Lane ( Mr Gemmell ) and South Crescent ( Misses Hendersons ). With the view of promoting education amongst girls in general and children of the poor in particular, the “ Female School of Industry “ was built in 1846, located at 1102 Glasgow Street, although the name was misleading, as both boys and girls attended. Some of the teachers were Miss Pearson, Miss Graham, Miss Mitchell, Miss Agnew, ( another ) Miss Agnew, Miss Johnstone and Miss Wellwood. With the advent of the 1872 Education Act, two new schools were planned for the area. The Public School at the top of Glasgow Street / Eglinton Road and the Public School, Saltcoats, opened their doors in 1876. The Eglinton was initially a Protestant School but in years to come would also be used by the Catholics of the Town ( at various times ). The Eglinton closed in 1963 although used again by pupils from St Peter’s Primary from 1967 to 1970 and was eventually demolished in 1972. In 1882 the first Ardrossan Academy ( Protestant school ) was built at South Crescent. In 1899 the Winton School in Anderson Terrace opened as a non denominational Primary school. This first Ardrossan Academy built at South Crescent in 1882 later became the Catholic school for the Town and was renamed the Ardrossan Central School ( out of use when pupils transferred to the newly built St Andrews opened in 1971 but not demolished until 2004 ). A second Ardrossan Academy was built in 1934 at Sorbie Road and is still in existence today. St Andrews itself closed in 2007 and was demolished to make way for the newly built St Mathew’s Academy on the same location.

1

Formerly the old Gospel Hall of the 1970’s

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Winton School circa 1905, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History
The Senior Secondary Catholic School for a more expansive catchment area ( including Ardrossan ) was Saint Michael’s College, Irvine, for those who passed the old eleven plus, prior to the advent of comprehensive education. With the increase in school leaving age from 14 to 15 in 1946 it became necessary to increase the size of the Primary element at South Crescent, and the “ Annexe “ was built at Ailsa Gardens, Ardrossan. In 1955 it was renamed Saint Peter’s Roman Catholic Junior Secondary School. With a rising Catholic population the accommodation at South Crescent and Ailsa Gardens was becoming inadequate. In 1963 seven classrooms at the former Saltcoats Public School in Argyle Road were taken over when that school was transferred to a new building in Jacks Road, Saltcoats. Pupils from Ardrossan continued to travel to Saltcoats until 1967 when classrooms in the Eglinton School in Ardrossan became available following its move to Stanley School, Ardrossan at the corner of Stanley / Dalry Road ( Stanley opened in 1965 ). In 1971 Saint Peter’s Annexe closed and in August of the same year with the introduction of comprehensive education, pupils from Saint Peters were transferred to Saint Andrew’s Academy at the High Road in Saltcoats. Saint Michael’s College in Irvine was destroyed by fire and a new Saint Michael’s College built in Kilwinning. I was a pupil attending first year in 1965 when it opened its doors for the first time. As I look out the window here in Chapelhill Mount today I can see the children in the playground of the

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current Saint Peter’s Primary School which opened in 1995. More recently again in 2007, the new Stanley Primary School was opened in the grounds of the old school that had closed and was demolished the same year, at the corner of Stanley and Dalry Roads. The James McFarlane school for special needs children opened in Dalry Road, Ardrossan in 1988. Previously this facility had been located in Saltcoats at Campbell Avenue, initially as a day care centre and later a special needs school. Both facilities were and are non denominational and covered the catchment area for the whole of North Ayrshire. The present school provides education for children with severe, complex, and profound learning difficulties, including intellectual impairment, physical disability, challenging behaviour and autistic spectrum disorder. The gentleman whom the school was named after was well known in the area for his devotion to this cause. James McFarlane was born at Mossblown, Ayrshire in 1910, was a graduate of Glasgow University and later a teacher at St Peters in Ardrossan. I cannot close this chapter on education without mentioning Seafield School ( Seafield House or Seafield Towers ) as it has also been known down the years, at the North Shore in Ardrossan. First built in 1820 and later substantially rebuilt to the Scottish Baronial style in 1858, with a tower added to the rear in 1881. This is a part residential / part day school for children aged 6 to 17, who have complex emotional, family and behavioural needs. The school is currently operated by Quarriers on a non denominational basis for both boys and girls and does excellent work throughout the West of Scotland catchment area.

Chapter 14 - My memories of shops - pubs - clubs - hotels
Not so far back in time and to create an impression of how busy Ardrossan was even when I was growing up, I will give the reader an insight. It is said in some circles that the success of a town or area can be measured by the amount of small businesses that it can sustain. Ardrossan in the nineteen sixties and seventies had a wealth of them. Without mentioning in detail the shops in Princess St / Glasgow Street areas, and not even counting the shops in Central Avenue, Lawson Drive and Rowanside Terrace, it would be safe to say that the town had around forty to fifty shops where you could get more

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or less anything you wanted. As for licensed premises you were spoilt for choice. I will list the pubs, clubs and hotels that were around in the late sixties and seventies to the best of my memory and they were as follows, coming along from South Beach into the town. I will state in brackets if the premises had more than one 1name during that time. The Commodore Hotel ( the Blair Lodge Hotel ), the Lauriston Hotel, the Ingeldene Hotel, the Kilmeny Hotel, the Outdoor Bowling Club, the Hunterston Club, the Railway Club ( Garryowen Club ), the Unionist Club, The Clyde Estuary Hotel, the Hunterston Club ( Winton Rover’s Club ) , the Railway Club ( the Garry Owen Club, the Orange Club ), the Winton Bar, the Masonic Club, Nicol’s Bar, the Docker’s Club, the Eglinton Hotel, the old Docker’s Club, the Princes Bar, Mac’s Bar, the Horseshoe Bar, the Castlehill Vaults, the Bute Bar, Jock’s Lodge, the Central Bar, the Crescent Bar, the RAF Club, the Reaper Bar, and the High Tide Hotel. The Principal employers around that time were the Harbour itself, and although the Shipbuilding Industry was in its death throws, it remained busy for the Dockers as a fair amount of cargo still came and went through the port. The Shell Mex Refinery ( 1920 to 1986 ) was still doing good business and the Metallic Manufacturing Company ( 1906 to 1985 ) was still operating at its Barr Road and Dalry Road premises. The shops, pubs, clubs, hotels, restaurants etc also provided hundreds of jobs. Farming, although in decline was still providing some employment. Tourism, in the form of day trippers to South Beach brought an income to the town, as well as holidaymakers arriving and returning for their connections to Arran, the Isle of Man and Belfast.

Chapter 15 - Progress – you decide !
Sir Walter Scott in a letter to the Duke of Buccleugh in 1817 wrote the following, “From Largs, where the Scotch gave the Northmen a dribbing, to Ardrossan whose Harbour cost many a shilling “. He was of course referring to the Battle of Largs and the would be Viking invaders in 1263, as for the Harbour at Ardrossan, it must have many stories to tell. During 1863, one thousand nine hundred and sixty three boats / ships used its facilities and by 1900, one million tons of material were being imported / exported through there per annum. It is depressing to walk around now and has been since I was a teenager, indeed the best they can come up with is a Marina
1

These are the names of the pubs, clubs, hotels during the 1960’s and 70’s, some of them may have had other names before or after that era.

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for people who generally do not belong to the town, private housing developments everywhere mainly being bought by commuters from outside the town and not a decent shop in sight unless you’re hungry that is, then you can have a choice of around a dozen or so hot food, sit down or takeaway outlets within a few hundred yards of each other in the town centre. It is not just Ardrossan, there are many other towns in Scotland that can tell the same story. They say that what you never had you never miss and to some extent this is true, but Ardrossan did have the jobs and the businesses and they are missed. I should qualify this by stating that if any outsider were to criticize my hometown I wouldn’t be too happy although I don’t see any problem with my fellow “ Ardrossanites “ doing so.

Ardrossan Marina – recently taken, thanks to Callum - Copyright “ Callum Black ” and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons License. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/978308
Ardrossan’s “ 1heyday “ was probably the mid 19th to mid 20th centuries, as I say it has been sad to watch and live through the demise of a busy Harbour and the associated industry and tourism that once made it the “ Jewel in the Crown “ of the Earl’s Estate here in North Ayrshire.

1

Quote from Trade Directory on the Ardrossan Shipbuilding site

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Chapter 16 - Police – Fire Services Police Service
Policing in Scotland came into being around 1800 and that creation was linked closely with the development of local government, especially at Burgh level. The Ayrshire Constabulary was formed in 1839, covering policing for all areas within the then County boundaries, including Ardrossan. Ardrossan Burgh, which had achieved Burgh status in 1846, formed its own Burgh Police force in 1859, being reabsorbed back into the Ayrshire Constabulary at some point in the late 1800’s, although the exact year does not appear to have been documented. During 1975, all County and Burgh constabularies were amalgamated into eight regional authorities and that is still the position today. Ardrossan Police Station has been closed since the early 1970’s, opened in 1889, the location between 1859 and 1889 was across the road in a flat adjacent to what is now the Masonic Lodge and is currently served from Saltcoats, as is Stevenston, under the auspice of the Strathclyde Regional Force. As I write, the old building at Ardrossan is about to be demolished ( or perhaps I should say refurbished as the building is of listed status ), to make way for a new dual purpose, two storey, medical / dental health facility, replacing the surgery at South Crescent.

Ardrossan Police Station ( recent photograph ) prior to refurbishment, built 1889 and closed in the 1970’s

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Fire Service
The police and Improvement ( Scotland ) Act of 1862 gave powers to commissioners to provide and maintain appliances and brigades for the extinguishment of fires, superseded in 1892 by the Burgh Police Act ( Scotland ). The Local Government Scotland Act of 1908 extended that power to County Councils ( in this case Ayr ). In 1865 the Town Council fitted fire plugs to the new water main being laid in Glasgow Street. When the first fire appliance came to Ardrossan it was based at the Harbour. Later, it would remove to premises at Harbour Street together with a second appliance procured by the Burgh in 1869. The 1869 appliance, built by the “ Shand Mason “ Company of London, was difficult to maneuver and required 22 men to push it from the station to the scene of the fire. This appliance is currently on display at the Heritage Centre, Manse Street, Saltcoats. As members of the service did not “ live in “ at this time a system was introduced by running wires to each member’s house where upon an alarm would be activated. A new appliance was procured in 1928 and initially based in the burgh yard at Kilmahew Street. In 1933 ( opened 1934 ) a new station was constructed on the present site at the corner of Barr Street / Montgomerie Street with space for two appliances and accommodation for ten personnel, leading to much faster response times. In 1935 a second appliance was obtained. At this juncture Ardrossan was one of only three stations in Ayrshire, the other two being at Ayr and Kilmarnock, twenty and twelve miles away respectively. During 1956 improvements were made to the building, both in garaging facilities and live in accommodation, but more importantly, changes in layout allowing the appliances to exit directly on to Montgomerie Street, previously the doors facing on to Barr Street were too narrow to allow access / egress and a reversing maneuver had to be performed into the yard at Kilmahew Street, losing valuable response time.

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Early fire fighting vehicle outside the fire station at Barr Street, possible circa 1930’s, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History

Ardrossan’s first team of full time firemen, photographed in the grounds of Kilmahew House ( Montgomerie Street ) in 1932. The Burgh acquired its first fire appliance in 1869, although it was worked by a hand pump and despite having a team of 22 to operate it, gave poor water pressure and was too tiring to operate !, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History.

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Chapter 17 - Winton Rovers FC
Ardrossan Winton Rovers FC were formed around 1900, initially having been known as “ The Winton “. The present day “ Winton Park “ was purchased from Lord Eglinton in 1923 for £160. The dimensions of the ground purchased at that time limited the shape of the park to run from East to West, in later years adjacent land was bought for £50, allowing the layout to be rearranged to a North / South format. The playing area is a rectangle of 66 x 110 feet and the small grandstand was built in 1956. The crowd capacity is around 3,000 and the club colours are black and white. From the table below we can see that the Club’s most successful seasons were the three years when they reached the Scottish Junior Cup Final, 1910 / 1911, 1933 / 1934 & 1969 / 1970. Other notable periods in their history were 1910 to 1913 & 1931 to 1936. The Ardrossan and Saltcoat’s Herald of 6/9/1901 included the match report of 31/8/1901 for Ardrossan Winton Rovers first competitive match in the newly formed “ Juvenile League “. The Rovers played in blue and not their traditional black and white that I have been accustomed to ( occasionally now it has to be said ) watching them in since I was a boy. Their opponents on that day were local rivals “ Ardrossan Celtic “ and the score was 4 – 1 for the 1Celtic. By all accounts it was a rough and tumble game with the Winton ending up with eight men on the park, and a bit of crowd involvement thrown in for good measure. The other teams that constituted the league then were, Ardeer Thistle, Ardeer Wanderers, Auchenharvie, Dalry Thistle ( replacing Saltcoats Seaside Rangers ), Irvine St Andrews, Kilwinning Rangers, Largs Neva and West Kilbride.

Ayrshire Consolation Cup Ayrshire Cup Ayrshire District Cup Cunningham Cup Irvine and District League
1

1912 / 1913, 1919 / 1920, 1922 / 1923, 1948 / 1949 1926 / 1927, 1933 / 1934, 1950 / 1951, 1951 / 1952 1911 / 1912, 1919 / 1920, 1926 / 1927, 1935 / 1936, 1978 / 1979 1989 / 1990, 1990 / 1991, 1992 / 1993 1909 / 1910, 1911 / 1912

Ardrossan Celtic were in existence from 1901 to 1913 and played at North Crescent Park situated on ground that later became the Shell Mex.

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Irvine Herald Cup Kilmarnock and District League Land o’ Burns Cup Moore Trophy North Ayrshire Cup Scottish Cup Semi Finals St Vincent De Paul Trophy Super Cup Vernon Trophy West of Scotland Consolation Cup West of Scotland Cup Western League Western League Cup Western League Division 2 1911 / 1912, 1931 / 1932 1907 / 1908 1951 / 1952, 1956 / 1957 1930 / 1931, 1931 / 1932 2006 / 2007, 2007 / 2008, 2008 / 2009 1911 / 1912, 1933 / 1934, 1969 / 1970 1935 / 1936 1990 / 1991 1948 / 1949 1935 / 1936 1934 / 1935 1919 / 1920, 1933 / 1934 1935 / 1936 1978 / 1979, 1988 / 1989, 1997 / 1998

The table was taken from the “ Wikipedia “ website, but the 1911/12 Scottish Cup reference according to the Ardrossan & Saltcoat’s Herald was achieved in the previous season 1910/11. The following is an extract from the Ardrossan Community Newspaper “ ECSTRA “ of November 1979 referring to the Club’s history. The “ Winton “ turned junior ( as opposed to juvenile when they had played their games on the shore front at South Beach ) in 1903. In their early years they shared the limelight with Ardrossan Celtic and when the Celtic went defunct in 1913, the Winton alone carried the flag for the town. Former players included Willie Cunningham, the Irish internationalist who went on to become the Manager of Saint Mirren, Bobby Watson who signed for Glasgow Rangers and his fellow Goalkeepers, McKellar now playing in England and Ian Dick ex Saint Mirren and Kilmarnock. The latest Winton player to hit the headlines is Paul Clarke ( Kilmarnock ) who is tipped to be a big money transfer to England. End of extract I have extracted the following details from the Ardrossan & Saltcoat’s Heralds of the time, for perhaps the three most important moments in the Club’s 112 year old history.

Scottish Junior Cup Semi Final 1910 / 1911

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Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Petershill
This game was played on Saturday, 8/4/1911 at Love Street, Paisley, the home of St Mirren FC. The crowd was estimated to be eight thousand and it ended in a 1 – 1 draw. A comprehensive match report is available on the microfilm archive of the Ardrossan & Saltcoat’s Herald dated 14/4/1911, held at the North Ayrshire Local History Department in the North Ayrshire Museum at Saltcoats. The team selection was not stated. The replay took place on Saturday 22/4/1911 at the same venue and also ended in a draw. The crowd on this occasion was around ten thousand and the match report is available in the same format at the same location ( Ardrossan & Saltcoat’s Herald dated 28/4/1911. The second replay was played on Saturday 6/5/1911 at the same venue and again finished level at 2 – 2, the crowd increased again and is said to have been around twelve thousand. The match report again is available at the same source in the Herald dated 12/5/1911. The starting eleven was given on this occasion and was as follows. Pringle, Ferguson, Bennett, Bannatyne, McCreadie, Steel, Mess, Goodwin, Gibson, McAsh and McIntosh. The fourth and decisive match took place on Tuesday 9/5/1911 at the same venue. The starting eleven was the same as in the previous game except for M. Orr replacing Mess. Unfortunately for the Rovers they lost by the odd goal 1 – 0. Again, a full match report is available from the Herald dated 12/5/1911. That particular issue of the Herald contained a photograph of the players and officials, although it did not scan very well I have included it here. They were as follows:

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1911 players and officials, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History
Back Row - left to right - W. Simm, Jas. Barbour, Fred Whyte, Chas. Price, Ron. Bannatyne, Fred. McGregor, Thos. Pringle, Robt. Smith, Alex. Ferguson, Gavin Love, Robt. McCreadie, Donald Flockhart, Alex. Gibson, Hugh Braniff, Jas. Templeton, David Orr, Duncan McLeish, Bailie McKellar, Front Row - H. McLachlan, Thos. Vance, Robt Mess, John Goodwin, James Steel, John Bennett, Wm. McIntosh, John McAsh and John Armstrong.
1

The Captain ( Jimmy Steel ) was my Great ( Step ) Grandfather.

Scottish Junior Cup Semi Final 1933 / 1934 Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Benburb
This game was played on Saturday 28/4/1934 at Firhill Park, Glasgow, home of Partick Thistle. The crowd was estimated to be around eighteen thousand and the game ended in a 3 – 1 victory for Benburb. A full match report is available in the Herald of 4/5/1934. The starting line up was as follows. Thom, Mack, Gilmour, Bolton, McKenzie, Gemmell, Mason, Paterson, Patrick, McLaughlan and Adair.

Scottish Junior Cup Semi Final 1969 / 1970 Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Blantyre Victoria
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Several of my friends and relations played for them down the years and I have vivid memories as a boy of watching the games from the comfort of the VIP lounge. The VIP lounge or Director’s Box as I liked to call it was a table situated at the rear window of an attic flat in Winton Street, two “ closes “ down from the park, the only snag was that you could only see half the park.

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This game was played on Monday 13/4/1970 at Ibrox Park, Glasgow, home of Glasgow Rangers and resulted in a 2 – 0 victory for Blantyre Victoria. Once again a full report is available in the Herald dated 17/4/1970. The starting line up was as follows. Watson, Robertson, McGarrity, Lee, Young, Welsh, Innes, Gemmell, Sneddon, Conway and Hill.

Ardrossan Winton Rovers circa 1905 / 1906, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History ( on the reverse of this photograph, someone, possibly the donor, has scribbled the names of the players and officials, I will attempt a partial transcription from the difficult to read handwriting. Back Row – Gavin Love, Jas Wilson, J McIntyre, ? Burgess and ? Burgess Middle Row – J McCulloch, ? McMurray, D Findlay, W Blair and J Anderson Front Row – C Nicol, J Dunlop & J Cook Officials and others are also given but in no particular order as follows, T Glover, G McKellar, W Simm, Chas Price, J McEwan, W Montgomery ( Trainer ) & D Barclay. Chapter 18 - Bowling - Curling - Tennis

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The first mention of organized sport in the town is the formation of the Ardrossan Bowling, Curling and Lawn Tennis Club in 1842. A record of this appears in a document held by North Ayrshire Local History Department at the North Ayrshire Museum in Saltcoats. The document was written in 1901 by Thomas Guthrie of Ardrossan and Saltcoat’s Herald fame. The Outdoor Bowling Club at the rear of South Crescent was formed in 1851, at the same time a curling rink was established adjacent to the bowling green. There are various accounts of the use of the rink throughout the 19th century, mainly in match reports from the Ardrossan and Saltcoat’s Heralds of the day, Tennis was played there in the Summer. The club who played on this rink was the Alma Curling Club, but Ardrossan had another Curling Club called the Ardrossan Castle who played on the Mill Farm Pond to the north of the Town. As most of the players lived at the bottom end of the town, both players and stones were conveyed to their games by horse and cart. It is thought that Ardrossan Castle Curling Club was formed around 1830 and more information regarding this and other facts relating to the area’s curling history can be found online at www.royalcaledoniancurling. Bowling continues to be popular in the area and Ardrossan can now boast of an Indoor bowling facility as well as the original Outdoor greens.

Curling at the Mill Glen pond, circa early 1900’s, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History, it would appear that a prerequisite for membership was a hairy upper lip

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Chapter 19 - War Memorials – WW1 & WW2 World War Two
Ardrossan’s Memorial to those who gave their lives for their country during WW2 is located within the Garden of Remembrance at Glasgow Street, Ardrossan. The Unveiling Ceremony took place on Sunday 1/6/1947 and the honour of unveiling it was given to my Great Grandfather, William McCubbin, due to the fact that he had three sons named on the Memorial. My three Great Uncles were David, James and John McCubbin, and all three were in the Merchant Navy, as their Father had been prior to the War. My own Father also served in the Navy within the Fleet Air Arm during WW2.

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Having researched the circumstances of the three deaths, and having found it fairly time consuming, I decided to look into the circumstances surrounding the fate, or at least the whereabouts, of any burial or commemoration other than Glasgow Street, for all 93 names on the memorial, in the hope that it might assist others who have family or friends on the Memorial. On completion of this research I had found burials and / or commemorations in 17 countries, Bangladesh, Belgium, Burma ( Myanmar ), England, France, Germany, Holland, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Malta, Pakistan, Scotland, Tunisia, USA and Wales. Approximately half of the research was carried out examining microfilm copies of the Ardrossan & Saltcoat’s Herald in the Local History Department of the Library in Princes Street, Ardrossan ( since relocated to the North Ayrshire Museum at Saltcoats ), and the other half online examining the information available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. While carrying out the research it became evident that other’s from the town had given their lives but were not acknowledged on the memorial. It would be an impossible task to determine how many but I have come across a couple of dozen at least while putting this project together. What criteria was used by the Local Council / Ministry of Defence / War Office etc to determine their inclusion or exclusion I could not establish. The more detailed research article on the “ 93 “ can be found on the web hosting site “ scripd “ under “ Ardrossan WW2 Garden of Remembrance “

World War One
Ardrossan’s World War One Memorial to those who gave their lives is located at South Beach ( South Crescent ),Ardrossan. The 150 names inscribed upon it are as follows: Adams, John Adamson, George Addis Adamson, Rbt Thorburn Alexander, Archibald C Guthrie, William Hamilton, James Hamilton, James Smith Harvey, John 85 McIntyre, William McKirdy, John McLachlan, Duncan McLean, John

History of Ardrossan
Anderson, David Shanks Anderson, George Ashton, John Becket, James Ranald Bell, Lawrence Blackwood, John Boa, H William Boyd, David Boyd, John Breckenridge, George Breckenridge, William Brennen, Hugh Bruce, Robert Andrew Cairns, William Caldwell, Duncan Caldwell, Thomas Carpenter, George Cartner, George Christie, James Alex Clinton, Thomas Conn, William Galloway Cook, Donald McQueen Cook, William Cranston, Thomas Crawford, David Cullen, Hugh Cullen, John Curlett, John Currie, Rbt Breckenridge Dick, William Docherty, John Docherty, Patrick Donnachie, William Douglas, Gilbert Dow, Dugald Fleming, John Fleming, William Fleming, William Robert Gardiner, Duncan Gates, Thomas Gibb, James Shirra Gibson, Daniel M Goodwin, Mathew Deane Gray, James Green, Robert McI Houston, James Hunter, James Irvine, Thomas Young Irvine, William Johnstone, John Jones, Alfred Kean, Andrew Kerr, John Peter Kerr, Robert Killin, Duncan Laughland, Raymond Leitch, John Leonard, William Linton, Henry McEwan Logan, Peter Lynch, Hugh Mackay, George Douglas Martin, Alexander Melvin, William Miller, John Orr Morton, James McLaren Muir, Alexander Muir, James Munn, Francis Munn, John William Munro, Archie Murphy, John Murray, Andrew S McArthur, Dugald McCafferty, Hugh P McCallum, Daniel McCallum, James McAskill, Alexander McCreadie, Robert McDonald, Archibald McDonald, David McDowall, John McEwan, David McEwan, Duncan McFarlane, John McGill, Daniel McGillivray, John McGillivray, William McGrattan, Thomas McIlroy, James 86 McLeish, Thomas McMillan, J Mathieson McMillan, John McMillan, William McNamee, Patrick McNicol, Angus Nolan, Peter Nolan, William Craig Norwood, James A Ogden, Charles Fraser Pearson, Maxwell C Phinn, William Radcliffe, James Radcliffe, William Ramsay, George Rankin. John Ritchie, Robert Roche, Patrick Rodger, William C Rodman, Arthur Mathieson Roxburgh, James Cook Roxburgh, John Hampton Skillen, Robert Smith, Angus Ross Smith, Charles Smith, James Ritchie Smith, Matthew Patterson Smith, Thomas Howie Smyth, William Stairs, Robert S Stevens, J Bright Stevenson, George Arthur Tait, William Taylor, Andrew Taylor, George Walker Taylor, John Thomson, Thomas Travers, Andrew Tummilty, Charles Urquhart, Ian S Walker, Arch Kennedy Wallace, Tom Wallace, William H Watt, Edwin H Whitehead, James

History of Ardrossan
Grierson, John McInnes, William Wright, William

World War 1 Memorial at South Beach Ardrossan, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History

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Ardrossan Volunteers, “ drilling “ in Hill Street, Ardrossan, circa 1910 -14, thanks to North Ayrshire Local History • Chapter 20 – Suggested further reading

Patrick O’Connor was born during 1920, in an attic flat, at 9 Harbour Place, Ardrossan, and is the author of two excellent books about Ardrossan. “ Down the Bath Rocks “ was published in 1971 by Gill and McMillan Limited, Dublin, and is set in the Ardrossan of the 1920’s. Patrick’s second book, “ In a Marmalade Saloon “, was published in 1974 by Hutchinson and Company Limited, London, ( both books later reproduced by Pan Books ), and again set in Ardrossan, but of the following decade. Both books are accounts of the author growing up and seen through his own eyes. If you want a true flavour of what life in Ardrossan was really like all those years ago, then you must read these two books. The two paper books are no longer available in the library, but are available on a reference only basis from the local history department of North Ayrshire Council, situated in the North Ayrshire Museum at Saltcoats. The books have been out of print for some time but they are available from time to time on Amazon, in both paper and hardback,
1
1

Patrick was born in Ardrossan and his parents in Belfast

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where I recently obtained second hand paperback copies for a couple of pounds each. To give you a taste of Patrick’s first book “ Down the Bath Rocks “, here is a verbatim transcription of the publisher’s review from the back cover. “ The scene is the Ardrossan slums of the 1920’s, the days of the horse drawn cabs and Baker’s carts, of serge suits and satin drawers. The cast, Patrick O’Connor and his large Irish immigrant family, who, like his friends live crowded together in a miserable attic, dependent for survival on the occasional labour and the Pawn shop. Through the boy’s eyes we see the dimensions of his world slowly expanding and his observations hardening as he grows older. The centre of his curiosity gradually shifts from the strange and ever present rituals of death, school and religion, to the terrifying mystery of sex and the nightmare of confession. Through his eyes we also see with extraordinary and affectionate clarity, the numerous characters that people his world and the desperately deprived environment in which they live – but by which they are never defeated “. While the first book covers the authors school years, Patrick’s second book, “ In a Marmalade Saloon “ is set a decade later, and is a follow on from his first publication, covering the author’s teen years from aged sixteen up to around the outbreak of World War 2. I personally knew some of the people in the book, some of them are relations, and one in particular, a close friend of the author called Charlie Hands, who became a good friend of my Fathers, all being around the same age. The back page cover reviews for this one are as follows. “ Patrick is growing up in the Clydeside of the 1930’s, in a world where everyone lives cheek – by – jowl; neighbours and families eat, sleep and wash together; outside in the yard or the street, even whispers carry. Unable to find work, Patrick attends the Unemployment School, and finds escape in the billiards room, the cinema and in jazz. But his elder brother John brings disgrace on the family when he is blamed for the pregnancy of a local protestant girl, and they become the focal point in a violent vendetta between Catholics and Protestants “.

“ Witty, touching and nostalgic “ ( Glasgow Sunday Mail )

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“ Sensitive and genuine “ ( Glasgow Evening Times ) “ There have been many novels about growing up poor in Glasgow, but I have not read one so rich, vigorous, funny and poignant “ ( The Times )
Trust the Times to think that Ardrossan was part of Glasgow, but we know what they mean. Other books that have been written about the town and in my opinion worth a read are:

“ Old Ardrossan “ by R & M McSherry ( 1996 ) – a pictorial booklet of old photographs of the town ( available at North Ayrshire Local History on a reference only basis ) “ Ardrossan Memories “ by Tom Wallace ( photocopy available in Ardrossan Library on a reference only basis ) “ Whispers of Horse Island “ by John and Noreen Steele ( 1999 - Argyle Publishing ) “ The Tragedy of HMS Dasher “ by John Steele – foreword by Brian Wilson ( 1995 – Argyle Publishing ) “ They were never told “ by John and Noreen Steele ( 1997 – Argyle Publishing ) “ Burning Ships “ by John and Noreen Steele ( 1997 – Argyle Publishing ) “ The Secrets of HMS Dasher “ by John and Noreen Steele ( 2002 – Argyle Publishing ) “ Ardrossan Shipyard – struggle for survival “ by Catriona Levy ( 1984 publisher - Workers Educational Association ) “ Ardrossan Harbour 1805 – 1870 “ by Catriona Levy ( 1988 - publisher Worker’s Educational Association )

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“ Ardrossan – the Key to the Clyde “ by William Kenetick ( 1993 – publisher - Library Services – a case study of the 1912 / 13 National Dock Strike ) “ Ardrossan Castle, Ayrshire, a preliminary account 1 “ – an excellent online detailed account of the Castle’s keepers and important milestones down the centuries by David H Caldwell.
This research is attributable to various sources, mainly from reference books and files held by North Ayrshire Local History Department, Ardrossan and Saltcoat’s Herald Archives ( microfilm ) and the World Wide Web. Wherever possible I have sought copyright permission for text where applicable and for photographs I have quoted the source and given credit where appropriate under the use of the “ Creative Commons License “. I would also like to credit our local newspaper, first published in 1853 as a monthly news sheet, due to some conflict with the prevailing Stamp Laws of the time. However, in 1855 it started appearing as a weekly and although not printed in Ardrossan now, it is still prepared in Ardrossan, less than one hundred yards from where it all began in Princes Street one hundred and sixty years ago next year. A full set of the newspapers on microfilm is available to reference ( and or copy ) at the Local History Department of North Ayrshire Council, whose current home is at the North Ayrshire Museum in Saltcoats ( recently renamed the Heritage Centre ). Without being able to access these records this research could not have been possible. Ardrossan, Ayrshire may have been the first Ardrossan, but there are others. There is an Ardrossan in South Australia, another in Alberta, Canada and an estate of that name outside Philadelphia, USA. This estate was once owned by Robert Leaming Montgomery whose daughter Helen Hope Montgomery Scott was the inspiration for Tracy Lord, the heroine of the movie, “ The Philadelphia Story “. It is my intention to review and if worthwhile update this research on an annual basis, any corrections or input from readers would be particularly welcome including any old photographs that might enhance the work. My

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preferred method of communication for this would be to my email address at the end of the book.

Appendix A – 1869 Ardrossan Business Directory
Architect Baker ( 5 shops ) Bank Bank Bank Baths Boat Hirer ( 2 shops ) Bonded & Free Storekeeper ( 2 shops ) Booksellers / Stationer ( 2 shops ) Boot & Shoemaker ( 6 shops) Cabinet / Upholsterer maker ( 2 shops ) China, Glass & Earthenware Dealer ( 2 shops ) Civil Engineers Clothier ( 7 shops ) Coach / Horse Hirer ( 2 shops ) Coal Master Coal Merchant ( 3 shops ) Coffee House ( 2 shops ) Consular Agent Consular Agent Consular Agent Contractor / Builder ( 3 shops ) Cooper Draper / Milliner ( 8 shops ) Dressmaker ( 3 shops ) Dairy ( 2 shops ) Dyer Agent ( 3 shops ) Engineer Engineer Fire Clay & Terracotta Manufacturer ( 4 shops ) Fish Merchant

Bank of Scotland Royal Bank of Scotland City of Glasgow Bank

Princes Street Princes Street Princes Street Princes Street / Arran Place

Princes Street

Portugese Consulate Italian Consulate Swedish / Norwegian Consulate

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Flesher ( 3 shops ) Founder Fruiterer Fruiterer Family Grocer / Wine & Spirit Merchant Family Grocer / Wine & Spirit Merchant ( 8 other shops ) Grocer Provision Merchant & Dealer in Ship’s stores ( 7 shops ) Greengrocer ( 3 shops ) Hairdresser & Perfumer Ham Curer Horse Shoeing Forge Hotel Hotel Hotel House Factor ( 6 offices ) Insurance Agent ( 11 businesses ) Investment & Stockbroker Ironmonger Ironmonger Ironmonger Manufacturer of Aerated Water Joiner ( 4 shops ) Mathematical Instrument Maker Medical Practitioner ( 2 surgeries ) Monumental Sculptor / Marble & Stone Engraver ( 2 businesses ) Newspaper Proprietor Newspaper Proprietor Painter & Paper Hanger ( 2 businesses ) Pavement Merchant Pharmaceutical Chemist ( 2 shops ) Photographic Artist ( 2 shops )

Nicol’s

Harbour Street

Eglinton Hotel Railway Hotel Temperance Hotel

Princes Street Princes Street Princes Street

A & S Herald Ayrshire Weekly News

Princes Street

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History of Ardrossan
McDermaids Plumber ( 3 businesses ) Restaurant Rope Manufacturer Saddler Sailmaker ( 4 businesses ) Saw Mill Seaman’s Outfitter - 2 shops Seedsman Shipbuilder Shipbuilder Ship Chandlers ( 7 shops ) Ship Broker & Commission Agents ( 12 offices ) Slate Merchant Slater ( 2 businesses ) Teacher ( Private ) ( 6 businesses ) Tinsmith ( 2 shops ) Tobacconist Toy, Fancy & Furnishing Shop ( 2 shops ) Veterinary Surgeon Watchmaker & Jeweller ( 2 shops ) Wood Merchant ( 2 businesses ) Writers & Notaries Public ( 4 offices ) Other Institutions listed in this directory are: Gas Light Company Water Company Library Reading Room Postmaster Glasgow & South Western Railway Ardrossan Cemetery Company Princes Street

Barr & Shearer P Barclay & Son

Harbour Harbour

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Ardrossan Coursing Club Bowling Green Horticultural Society

Appendix B – 1929 Ardrossan Valuation Roll
6 Glasgow Street 8 10 14 16 18 24 26 / 28 32 34 38 40 46A 48 50 54 56 58 60 64 66 68 70 74 76 78 / 80 82 84 5 Glasgow Street 7 11 13 17 19 23 25 Butcher Grocer Dairy Jeweller Bakery Pub – Horseshoe Bar Pub – Bute Bar Sweets / Ice Cream Butcher Vegetables Ironmonger Bakers Drapers Grocer Vegetables Fish Chemist Grocer Draper Butcher Dairy Ironmonger Shoes Bakers Drapers Grocers Dairy Shoemaker Barber Shoes Draper Shoes Newsagents Pork Butcher Fish & Chips Pub – The Auld Hoose Thomas S Guthrie David Cameron Buttercup Hugh Nairn Jean Bell James A Reid Frederick Thomson Alphonso Agostini James M Russell Miss Catherine Thomson James Fullerton & Son Mary A Andrews Edward Laird William Boyce Mrs Agnes Murray Mrs Glen Stewart J & D Russell Lipton Ltd John Sutter Cooperative Society Cooperative Society Cooperative Society Cooperative Society Cooperative Society Cooperative Society Cooperative Society Mrs Jane Neil James Haining William Leugering William Gillespie & Sons Mrs Agnes Dunn Greenlee & Sons Miss Elizabeth Stark Robert Shedden Charles Coyle Mrs R Crawford

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27 29 31 35 37 39 43 45 49 51 55 57 59 59A 61 63 71 73 77 81 83A 85 91 93 95 97 99 101 103 105 111 125 3 Princes Street 5 7 13 15 17A 19 23 25 29 31 Upholsterers Dairy Butchers Fish Pub – Jock’s Lodge Fruit Shop Grocer Stationer Barber Sweets Sadler Baker Draper Butcher Sweets Painter Paint Store EU Church Newsagents Medical Doctor Watchmaker Plumber Grocer Dealer Pub – Hole in the Wa’ Licensed Grocer Ice Cream Pork Butcher Tailor Sweets Grocer Grocer Merchant Butcher Bicycles Pub – Dock Bar Tailor Caterer Barber Baker Shoes Billiard Saloon Milliner Kerr & Co Danish Dairy Co British Argentine Meat Co Alexander Baird Andrew S Smith Mrs Jane McNamara Joseph Pendleton Andrew McCarroll Thomas Ferguson Walter Griffen Mrs Jessie Edgecombe Hugh Davidson James D Bell Mrs Jane McMillan Andrew Strain Misses A & J Kean Alex Allan Alex Allan Mrs Eunice Colville John T McLauchlan James Lynn John Lambert Mrs Margaret Mathie Henry McGhee R Hogarth Robert Hogarth Cesira Marroni Emilio Marroni James McDonald Mrs Jean Kirk McNamara Mrs Jane Roy William Hunter Lothian Brothers Mrs Frank Crondale William Lennon Peter A Merrilees Spinella Pisani Bertie Miller Thomas Conn Mrs Margaret Currie James Gunn possibly Munn Mrs Mary Wilkie

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35 37 39 41 43 47 51 53 57 59 63 65 67 69 83 2 2 Dairyman Pub – Mac’s Bar Grocer Chemist Writer Chemist Post Office Barber Ice Cream Princes Picture House Tobacconist Vegetables Pub – Winton Bar Temperance Hotel Office – Bill Posting Railway Station Automobile Engineer Plumber / Electrician Eglinton Arms Hotel Bank of Scotland Drapers Newsagents Grocer Baker Painter & Decorator Clydesdale Bank Draper Draper Sweets Bookshop Grocer Milliner Restaurateur Union Bank Commercial Hotel Railway Crossing John S Muir Miss Mary McKirdy David Gowan Gordon Smart John Emslie Guthrie Hugh Gemmell David Dick Dario Agostini Mrs Mary Barbour Miss Janet Rutherford Mrs Mary Rae David Allan & Son Angus McDonald Charles Price

42 44 46 48 52 54 56 58 62 64 66 68 72 76

E Currie & Co James A Crawford C Murchie & Co C Murchie & Co Charles Robertson Miss Helen Anderson Miss Helen Anderson Misses Isa / May Robertson Arthur Guthrie & Sons Ltd Andrew Smith Miss Mary Cameron James Jarvie

Dedication
Having given it some serious consideration, there are only two people I can logically dedicate this research to and they are my “ Mathieson “ Great, Great, Great Grandparents, Donald and Christy Math(i)eson nee Ross. Donald

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Matheson was born on 14/3/1806 at Dornoch, Sutherland, and Christy Ross on 22/5/1801 at Rogart, Sutherland. Had they not undertaken the long and arduous journey south from Sutherland following the “ Clearances “, then there wouldn’t be any of “ my “ Mathiesons in the Ardrossan area today and so this book could not have been written, not by myself at least. My Sutherland ancestors are interred in Ardrossan Cemetery at Sorbie Road as most of my other more recent ancestors are. The name Donald is synonymous with Daniel and it is to Donald that I owe my own given name, as it appears consistently throughout my ancestry down these last two centuries.

Mathieson Clan Crest “ Do and Hope “ Well, having “ done it ”, here’s “ hoping “ that someone appreciates it ! Seriously, I hope that you find it as informative and interesting to read as I have found it to be in the researching of it. Author: Danny Mathieson, 56 Chapelhill Mount, Ardrossan, Ayrshire, KA22 7LU. Email danny.mathieson2@googlemail.com

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