Alloway and Southern Ayrshire FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY Robert Burns Cottage, Alloway, Ayr
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Thursday, 20 May 2010

19 May 2010 - "Lost Ayrshire"

At our final, well attended meeting for the session, local author Dane Love gave a most interesting, illustrated talk based on his book "Lost Ayrshire". (For more information, see here) This concentrated on the local Architectural heritage which has disappeared. The buildings sometimes underwent a change of use or suffered convenient "fires" before being demolished. Castles abandoned by their owners such as Hessilhead near Beith were sometimes blown up by the army as practice targets. Others such as the old Culzean Castle were demolished by the owners and rebuilt in a more modern style. While some became ruins, many sites were cleared and used for residential building such as Pinmore Castle which suffered 2 fires or, as with the old Newton Castle, which was damaged in a storm in 1701, is now under the TK-Max car park.

The changing needs for churches has caused many to disappear. The site of St John's church, Ardrossan, demolished in 1991, is now occupied by flats. The Perceton and Dreghorn Church fared somewhat better as it was removed in 1977 to the grounds of a hotel in Japan where it now functions as a wedding chapel.

Many villages, such as Annbank Station, Craigbank and Cronberry disappeared when the mines or other industry they served closed. Glenbuck, which at one time had a population of 1,750, is now the site of open cast mining.

Many grand houses have also been lost. Cambusdoon, previously the home of James Baird, Iron Master, was used as a school for a while before being demolished after a fire in 1970. Public buildings also suffered. The swimming pools in Troon and Prestwick were lost and schools such as Kilmarnock Academy were converted to other use before being finally demolished.

Many Industrial Buildings which provided employment for a huge number of people such as the Catrine Mill or the Maybole Tannery have disappeared. A number of fine buildings in Duke Street, Kilmarnock have been replaced with modern ones.

The speed with which buildings are replaced and our architectural heritage lost seems to be increasing even today...
This evening brought home to us the vital role that a recorder of the past has in passing on to this and future generations a factual account of an ever-changing locality. Long may Dane continue his Ayrshire researches.

A reprint of Lost Ayrshire will be available in June/July.

Patricia Weston

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