BEITH - 1837 - Ayrshire Directory by Pigot and Co

Beith is a market and post town, in the parish of its name and district of Cunningham; 62 miles w by s of Edinburgh, 191/2 sw of Glasgow, 11 sw of Paisley, 5 n by e of Dalry, 12 n by e of Saltcoats and 8 s by w of Johnstone. It is situate near the confines of Renfrewshire, on an eminence commanding a fine and extensive view of the beautifully diversified country around, of which the Loch of Kilburnie, at a distance of about a mile, forms a prominent feature.

The town which contains many excellent houses, but is very irregularly built, is of modern date, comprising at the commencement of the last century only a very few humble habitations; it is now a place of respectable trade, and its neighbourhood is the residence of many opulent families. Beith has long been noted for its manufacture of linen thread, of which great quantities are made both for home consumption and exportation. The manufacture of silk goods was formerly extensive, but it has been almost entirely superseded by that of cotton, in which the majority of inhabitants are employed by the manufacturers of Paisley and Glasgow. The principal branches of trade, in addition to those already mentioned, are the manufacture of starch (for which there is a respectable establishment), lime burning and the making of ropes, twine, bricks and tiles.

The whole of the parish of Beith is enclosed and subdivided, and is almost all arable; the farms are small, and the tenants of this and the neighbouring parish of Dunlop may be said universally to make cheese, known by the name "Dunlop cheese" which is held in as high estimation in Scotland as the cheese of Cheshire and Gloucestershire in England. The value of this commodity sent annually to market from this parish has been calculated at upwards of £4,000.

In the town are three branch banks, viz., the Commercial Bank of Scotland, the Glasgow Union Bank and the Paisley Union; and there is an excellent Inn, the "Saracen's Head", in Whang street. In 1807, a very handsome church of the establishment, with a tower, was erected in the most elevated part of the town; its site is 343 feet above the level of the sea. The town-house was built by subscription in 1817, to the erection of which the late W.Wilson of Cumnock was a liberal contributor: the upper part of the building contains a court room and other offices: the lower part consists of shops, the rents of which are applied to purposes of public benefit. The town is lighted with gas. The Ladies Benevolent Society is worthy of particular commendation, and there is an excellent parochial school.

At Giffen, a short distance from the town, is the stately ruined castle of the Montgomeries: there is also another ruin at Hazelhead; and at the top of Cuffs-hill, a considerable eminence, is a druidical remain, known by the name of "Rocking stone".

The neighbourhood of Beith produces coal, and abundance of lime stone. The weekly market of the town is held on Friday; and there are annual fairs on the first Friday in January and February (old style) and the 30th of August.

POST OFFICE:

Main street - Catherine Arnott, post mistress - Letters from Paisley &c arrive every morning at eight, and again (except Edinburgh letters) at seven in the evening, and are despatched every morning at half past seven and at six in the evening. - Letters from Dalry arrive every evening at half past five, and are despatched every morning at half past eight - Letters from Kikbirnie arrive (by penny post) every evening at five, and are despatched every morning at half past eight.

GENTRY AND CLERGY: (Marked * are Justices of the Peace)
Anderson Rev James Head st * Brown Hugh Esq of Broadstone
Colville Rev George Mains Hill Dobie James Esq of Cumnock
Dobie Mrs Janet Grange vale * Houston Robt Esq Mains Hamilton
Love John Esq of Threepwood Meikle Rev James Head st
* Patrick Robert Esq MD of Trearne * Patrick William Esq of Roughwood
* Reid Capt. Charles Hope RN Grangehill Shedden Alexander Esq of Morris Hill.
 
ACADEMIES & SCHOOLS:
Blair, John Gateside Fleming, Mrs New st
Gillian, David Newton Glasgow, Robert School Wynd
Harvie, David Bracken hills Parochial School, Braehead Jas Reid, master and session cleck
Kerr, Bryce Hazelhead Miller, John Giffen
Reid, Mary Whang st Wyllie, Robert Head St.
 
AGENTS TO MANUFACTURERS
Craig, Margaret Reform st Lymburn, John Cumnock
Maitland, James Head st Stevenson, Hugh Reform st
Stewart, William Newton  
 
AUCTIONEERS:
Clark, John Gateside Kerr, George Braehead
 
BAKERS:
Dunlop, Marion Main st Gibson, Gavin (and grain dealer) Main st
Gillies, Robert Cross McKerrow, James Whang st
Shedden, Matthew Main st Wilson, Andrew Main st
 
BANKERS:
Commercial Bank of Scotland (branch of), Braehead,- (Draws on the Commercial Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh, & Jones & Co, London) - Wm King - agent
Glasgow Union (branch of), Strand, - (Draws on the Glasgow Union Bank,
Edinburgh & Jones, Lloyd & Co, London) - James Dobie - agent
Paisley Union (branch of), Whang head, (Draws on Sir William Forbes & Co, Edinburgh and Sir Richard Carr Glyn & Co, London) - Robert Spier - agent
 
BLACKSMITHS:
Baird, Hugh Green hills Holmes, William Burn house
Kerr, William New st/ Kirkwood, William Whang st
Reid, David Gateside Waterson, Andrew Whang st
 
BLEACHERS:
Stevenson, Hugh (linen) Threepwood Stevenson, John (cotton) Threepwood
 
BOOKSELLERS & STATIONERS:
Arnot, Agnes Main st Arnot, Catherine Main st
Smith, John (and printer, library & church treasurer) Whang st
 
BOOT AND SHOE MAKERS:
Anderson, Robert - Newton/ Barr, William - Cross
Crawford, William - Newton Cunningham, William - Whanghead/
Edgar, Charles Main st Fulton, Robert - Newton
Hunter, Andrew - Burn's wynd Hunter, David - Braehead
Love, Hugh New st McCallum, William Main st
Mathie, James Main st Smith, James Reform st
Stevenson, James Head st Stewart, William Whang st
Thorburn, Thomas Whang st  
 
BRICK & TILE MAKERS:
Parker, Hugh - Woodside Wilson, William - Thirdpart
 
CABINET MAKERS:
Dale, James - Whang st Love, James - Townhead
 
CARPENTERS AND CARTWRIGHTS:
Crawford, James Hall of Caldwell Gilmour, Allan Braehead
King, James Burn house Robertson, John Head st
Rodger, Robert Whang st Steel, James Whang st
Thomson, Henry Newton Wilson, John Gateside
 
CHEESE DEALERS:
Findlay, James Easter Highgate Wylie, John Highgate
 
COAL MASTERS:
Smith, William Caldwell Templeton, Thomas Coal burn
 
COOPERS:
Barr, John & David Crummock st/ McLaughlin, Mark Strand
 
CORK CUTTERS:
Gilmour, John Head st Stewart, Thos ( & Spirit dealer) Main st
 
COTTON MANUFACTURER,
Stevenson, James Knows  
 
CURRIERS AND TANNERS:
Muir & Ramsey (& leather dressers) Reform st and Bath lane
 
FIRE & OFFICE AGENTS:
Caledonian, Rbt. Faulds - Braehead Edinburgh Friendly Insurance Society, James Dobie - Strand
Insurance Company of Scotland, Robert Spiers - Whanghead Scottish Union, William King - Braehead
 
FLAX DRESSERS:
Caldwell, Thomas Rose bank Crawford, James Barr mill
 
FLESHERS AND SPIRIT DEALERS  
Barbour, Robert Main st/ Crawford, John Main st
Gibson, Andrew Newton/ Miller, William Whang st
Miller, William jnr Main st  
 
GLASS CHINA & EARTHENWARE DEALERS:
McDonald, John Reform st White, Matthew New st
 
GROCERS AND SPIRIT DEALERS:
Barr, James Main st Barr, Robert Main st
Gilbraith, James Main st Gibson, Andrew New st & Newton
Gibson, Andrew Main st Gillies, Duncan Main st
Kerr, James Strand Jamieson, James Whang st
Kirkwood, Andrew Whang st Millar, James (grocer) Cross
Munro, Daniel (grocer) School wynd Robertson, William Main st
Shedden, Elizabeth Cross Smith, John Whang st
Stevenson, James Whang st Swan, Mary Main st
Wilson, John School wynd  
 
HAIR DRESSERS:
Crawford, John Cross Wright, John Main st
 
HORSE DEALERS:
Robertson, John Brownhills Stevenson, David Shitterflat
Stevenson, Robert Shitterflat  
 
INN AND POSTING HOUSE:
Saracen's Head (commercial) Robt Paton, Whang st
 
IRONMONGERS:
Muir, John Main st White, Matthew Main st/
Wilson, Robert Newton Wilson, Robert jnr Main st
 
LAND SURVEYORS:
Aitken, Robert New st Miller, John Giffin
Stewart, John Newton  
 
LIME BURNERS:
Craig, Robert Broad stones Gibson, John Broad stones
 
LINEN & WOOLLEN DRAPERS:
Clark, William & Co Whanghead and at Main st Largs Craig, Andrew Main st
Crawford, Hugh Whang st/ Downie, John Strand
Giffin, Adam Cross Kirkwood, James Cross
Love, Robert (and wool merchant) Whang st  
 
MILLINERS AND DRESS MAKERS:
Arnot, Catherine Main st Dunlop, Elizabeth Main st
Morris, Elizabeth Main st  
 
ROPE MAKERS:
Rae, John (twine) Townhead Wyllie, John Whang st
 
SADDLERS:
Banks, John Whang st Calderwood, John Main st
 
SEEDSMEN:
Boyd, William Newton Kirkwood, Andrew Whang st
Kirkwood, James Cross Love, Robert Whang st
Stevenson, Robert Main st Wardrop, Robert Head st
 
STARCH MANUFACTURER:
Caldwell, James Clark's bridge  
 
STOCKING MAKERS:
Biggart, David Main st Biggart, William Main st
 
STRAW HAT MAKERS:
Arnot, Jane Main st Craig, Janet Main st
Rodger, Martha Whang st Stevenson, Janet Main st
 
SURGEONS & DRUGGISTS:
Houston, John Whang st/ Mathias, Joseph Cross
Miller, Thomas New st Spiers, Alexander Whang st
 
TAILORS:
Hunter, Robert Whang st Lees, John Whang st
Love, Andrew Main st/ Love, Robert Main st
McRaith, John Main st Stewart, James Whang st
Stewart, William Whang st  
 
TALLOW CHANDLERS
Barr, Robert Main st Galbraith, Thomas Main st
 
TEA DEALERS - WHOLESALE:
Crawford & King, Whang st Faulds, James & Co Strand
Faulds, Robert & Co Braehead Kirkwood, Andrew Whang st
Wardrop, Robert Main st  
 
THREAD MANUFACTURERS:
Brown, Hugh Head st/ Caldwell, Thomas Roebank
Crawford & King (and smallware dealers) Strand Crawford, Hugh Whang st
Crawford, James Whang st Crawford, John Whang st
Faulds, James & Co (and smallware dealers) Braehead Faulds, Robert & Co (and smallware dealers) Braehead
 
VINTERS:
Allan, Annabella Main st Borland, John (& brewer) New st
Boyd, John Gateside Crawford, Agnes Gateside
Kennedy, James Newton Kerr, James Strand
Landers, James (and card cutter and flower lasher) New st Logan, Robert Burn house
Love, James Newton Love, Margaret Main st
McGregor, Donald (Star Inn) Main st Paton, James (& grocer) Whang st
Robertson, John Head of New st Shaw, Samuel (& grocer) Whang st
White, Margaret Cross Wilson, David Whang st
Wilson, John Gateside Wilson, William Burn house
Wyllie, Margaret (& grocer) Cross  
 
WATCH & CLOCK MAKERS:
Gibson, John New st Wilson, David (& jeweller) Whang st
 
WRITERS (i.e. lawyers):
Dobie, James (& fiscal) Strand Kerr, Daniel Whang st
King and Faulds, Braehead/ Spier and Love, Whanghead
 
MISCELLANEOUS:
Anderson, John flower lasher Newton Barbour, William messenger Main st
Barr(?), Robert hat and shoe dealer Strand Cowan (?), William painter Main st
Crawford, Robert Card cutter New st Galbraith, John nail maker Whang st
Gas Works, Reform st: James Dobie esq. treasurer and clerk; - David Young, manager
Kirkwood, Thos flax dresser Townhead Mitchell, John bookbinder New st
Rigg, Benjamin turner Old Lea Stamp Office, Whanghead - Robert Spier, distributor
Thomson, Robert Veterinary surgeon, Whang st Warden, James tinsmith Main st
Whyte, Mary stationer Whanghead/ Wilson,David stone mason Whang st

PLACES OF WORSHIP:

Established Church, Rev George Colville.

Relief, Rev James Anderson.

United Associate , Rev James Meikle.

COACHES

To Glasgow and Paisley: the "Fair Trader" (from Saltcoats), calls at the Saracen's Head Inn, every morning at nine, and an evening coach every night at half past eight.

To Saltcoats: the "Fair Trader" (from Glasgow) calls at the Saracen's Head Inn, every evening at half past six; goes through Dalry, Kilwinning and Stevenson.

To Saltcoats and Ardrossan: a coach (from Glasgow) calls at the Saracen's Head Inn, every morning at eight; goes through Dalry, Kilwinning and Stevenson.

CARRIERS

To Glasgow: William Kennedy, from Newton, and James Boyd from School wynd, every Tuesday and Saturday.

To Greenock: Robert Shedden, from Head street, and James Love, from Newton, every Tuesday.

To Kilmarnock and Stewarton: James Love, from Newton, every Friday, and Robert Shedden, from Head street, every Tuesday and Friday.

To Largs: James Lauchland, from Reform street, every Tuesday, and Walter Weir, from Reform Street, every Saturday.

To Paisley: James Howie, from New street, and Robert Thomson, from Commercial square, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

To Saltcoats: James Wark, from School Wynd, every Tues and Sat.

This transcript was kindly provided by Keith Muirhead from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.

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