National Gazetteer, 1868


Ardrossan - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868


"ARDROSSAN, a parish and seaport town in the Cunningham district of the county of Ayr, Scotland 8 miles to the N.W. of Irvine, and 31½ miles S.W. of Glasgow. It is situated on an accessible point of the coast of the Firth of Clyde, opposite to Brodick Bay, Island of Arran, and is a station on a branch of the Glasgow and Ayr railway. It has grown up, under the auspices of the Earls of Eglintoun, from a small village to a considerable town, busy seaport, and favourite watering-place. The parish includes the greater part of the town of Saltcoats, which is 1 mile S.E. of Ardrossan. The district is dry and healthy, and the soil fertile. The ground rises to the height of 700 feet at the hill of Knockegeorgan. Coal and limestone are obtained. The town is regularly laid out, the streets are broad and straight, and well lighted with gas. Hotels, lodging-houses, and baths, have been erected for the accommodation of summer visitors. There is a post-office, stamp-office, branches of the banks of Ayrshire and Scotland, a savings-bank, 8 insurance offices, and a water company. The harbour, which was commenced in 1806, is one of the largest and best on the coast. There are a good dock, two piers, one 450 feet, and the other 900 feet in length, and two lighthouses, which were erected in 1840, and have been lately rebuilt. There is constant steam communication with Ireland, the Isle of Arran, Glasgow, Ayr, and Fleetwood. The living, value £261, is in the presbytery of Irvine, in the patronage of the Earl of Eglintoun. The new parish church has a handsome appearance. There is also a district church at Ardrossan, besides the Free church, United Presbyterian church, and a chapel belonging to the Independents. The Pavilion, a modern mansion, is the marine residence of the Earl of Eglintoun. Ardrossan Castle, the old seat of that family, is a ruin. On the rocks in front of the town is a battery recently erected for the artillery volunteers. Fairs are held here on the Tuesday before the July fair at Ayr, and on the fourth Thursday in November. The parish has an area of about 18 square miles."

"SALTCOATS, a seaport town in the parishes of Ardrossan and Stevenston, county Ayr, Scotland, 7 miles W. of Irvine, and 1 mile S.E. of Ardrossan. It has a station on the Ardrossan branch of the Glasgow and South. Western railway. It is a subport to Irvine, and a bathing place on the Firth of Clyde. It was created a burgh of barony by James II., but having become decayed was refounded in 1684 by Sir R. Cunningham, who also built the harbour. The salt trade is still carried on, but not to its former magnitude. The site of the town is low, and its appearance unattractive. During the French war it was the seat of an extensive trade, and shipbuilding was carried on with great spirit, but its commerce is now nearly confined to the importation of timber and the exportation of coals to Ireland. A large portion of the inhabitants are employed in cotton weaving, and there are extensive chemical works. The townhall, surmounted by a steeple, is a prominent object when approaching the town. There are a savings-bank, and a branch office of the Ayrshire bank. The places of worship comprise an Established church, a Free church, three churches for the United Presbyterians, and a Baptist meeting-house. There are Free, parochial, and Sabbath schools, also several benefit societies. A fair for cattle is held the last Thursday in May."

Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003