Alloway and Southern Ayrshire FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY Robert Burns Cottage, Alloway, Ayr
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Sunday, 1 May 2011

26 Apr 2011 - "A Glimpse of Ayr past"

Sheena Andrew treated us to a fascinating glimpse of the Ayr of the past thanks to her ability to take photographs of things just before they caught fire, were demolished or otherwise disappeared. This, coupled with reprints of drawings, paintings and knowledge acquired as a Librarian, meant we saw pictures of people, areas, buildings and whole streets that have now vanished or metamorphosed into modern day Ayr. This was accompanied by a fund of interesting background stories which brought them to life. 

A slide of Longhill Avenue as a country lane with the Miss Craigs of Cunning Park in a pony and trap circa 1890 contrasted with the more modern one showing the building of the nearby Glenalla Crescent.

Photographs of the town centre in the early 20th century gave a vivid picture of how much industry, such as a saw mill and hide works, once stood where retail outlets and housing now stand.  As late as 1969 three bridges could still be seen across the river—the third being the railway bridge extending the track to the South harbour from Ayr’s first railway station located on the North Harbour.  The remnants of these piers can still be seen in the river.

Photographs of Loudon Hall, where Mary Queen of Scots stayed in 1563, were shown before and after the restoration took place which made it the well-loved and well-used building it has become thanks to the dedication of its Trustees.

Many other old buildings and open places were shown but these weren’t so successful in avoiding the usual demolition favoured by the Council.  It seems they are continuing this practice even today!

Patricia Weston

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