|Scottish Gaelic: Àird Rosain|
Ardrossan shown within North Ayrshire
|Population||10,952  (2001 census)
est. 10,520 (2006),
|OS grid reference|
|Council area||North Ayrshire|
|Lieutenancy area||Ayrshire and Arran|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||North Ayrshire and Arran|
|Scottish Parliament||Cunninghame North|
Ardrossan (Gaelic: Àird Rosain) is a town on the North Ayrshire coast in south-western Scotland. The name "Ardrossan" describes its physical position — 'ard' from the Gaelic àird meaning headland, 'ros' a promontory and the diminutive suffix '-an' - headland of the little promontory. Ardrossan is becoming an affluent commuter town with a population of roughly 11,000 and is in a three-towns corroboration act[clarification needed] with the nearby towns of Saltcoats and Stevenston.
- 1 History
- 2 Transport
- 3 Education
- 4 Environment
- 5 Energy
- 6 Religion
- 7 Politics and Government
- 8 Culture
- 9 Castlehill
- 10 Notable citizens and alumni
- 11 Other places with the same name
- 12 Amenities
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
Ardrossan's roots can be traced back to the construction of its castle 'Cannon Hill', thought to be in around 1140, by Simon de Morville. The castle and estate passed onto the Barclay family (also known as Craig) and it passed through successive heirs until the 14th century. Then it passed onto the Eglinton family on the death of Godfrey Barclay de Ardrossan, who died without leaving an heir. Sir Fergus Barclay, Baron of Ardrossan was said to be in league with the Devil and in one of his dealings, he set the task for the Devil to make ropes from sand; upon failing to do so, Satan kicked the castle with his hoof in frustration and left a petrosomatoglyph hoofprint.
The castle stood until 1648, when Oliver Cromwell's troops had it destroyed, taking much of the stonework to Ayr to build the fort there. The ruins still stand, but are overgrown and in a dangerous condition.
Ardrossan developed quickly during the 18th and 19th centuries thanks to its position on the coast. Exports of coal and pig iron to Europe and North America were the main trade from the town's port, which became a centre for shipbuilding. Fishing vessels and small cargo boats were the mainstay of the shipyard until the 1950s, when the yard all but ceased to exist as a result of foreign competition. A smaller yard, McCrindle's, operated until the 1980s before it ceased trading.
Passenger services from Ardrossan harbour to Brodick on the Isle of Arran started in 1834, and services to Belfast in Ireland (later Northern Ireland) and the Isle of Man followed in 1884 and 1892 respectively. Clyde sailings were operated initially by the Glasgow and South Western Railway Company from Winton Pier and the Caledonian Railway from Montgomerie Pier. The Earl of Eglinton's ambitious plan for a canal link to Glasgow was never realised.
Between 1841 and 1848 Ardrossan was a part of the "West Coast Main Line" equivalent of its time. The fastest route from London to Glasgow was by train to Fleetwood, and thence by packet boat to Ardrossan. After 1848 the entire journey could be made by rail, avoiding Ardrossan. The link to the Isle of Man no longer operates, having first been moved to Stranraer, then all Scottish services terminated altogether. Shell-Mex developed an oil refinery in Ardrossan from a World War II aviation-fuel canning factory, and the harbour was expanded for the company's tanker ships to berth. Local residents blocked plans in the 1960s for further expansion of the refinery, limiting the operations that could be carried out there. Operations at Shell-Mex ceased in 1986.
Ardrossan was one of the last towns in Scotland to be made a Burgh, in 1846, with a Provost, magistrates and commissioners. Its Burgh status was lost in 1974 on the formation of Strathclyde Regional Council, whereupon it came under Cunninghame District. It is now part of North Ayrshire, created as a unitary authority in 1996.
Since 2006 Ardrossan has been part of a regeneration area, overseen by the Irvine Bay Regeneration Company. Their vision for Ardrossan is as a gateway to Arran and a good place to live and relax next to the sea in a regenerated town centre serving the existing and incoming community. This has started to be achieved through renewal of the town centre, which includes A derelict office in Princes Street which has been turned into two modern shops. The former Jack Miller's Hotel building at 78 Princes Street has been redeveloped and the refurbished building was completed in autumn 2010 and has been let out and is now open as an art gallery and artists studio space called Phoenix  The Studio displays Scottish Art as well as holding art classes and demonstrations. The old pumphouse has also been transformed into a popular contemporary Italian restaurant cecchinis . The future development of the harbourside in a co-ordinated and overall plan. The Ardrossan North Shore project is now taking shape, which includes the redevelopment of the oil refinery site and the extension of the marina.
There are three railway stations in Ardrossan: Ardrossan South Beach, close to the boundary with Saltcoats; Ardrossan Town, in the centre of town, closed 1968 and reopened 1987; and Ardrossan Harbour, which is near the port for the Arran ferry. Ardrossan South Beach station is located at a junction on the Ayrshire Coast Line, where the lines to Ardrossan Harbour and Largs diverge. There is two trains per hour that head eastbound from Ardrossan South Beach to Glasgow Central, of which one comes from Ardrossan Harbour, calling also at Ardrossan Town, and the other comes from Largs. All rail services from Ardrossan are operated by First ScotRail.
There are also two closed railway stations in the town. Ardrossan North was located adjacent to Montgomerie Street, and the platform remains can still be seen to this day, although the redevelopment of the former Shell Bitumen Plant site edges ever closer to the station remains. Ardrossan Montgomerie Pier was located further down the line from Ardrossan North, but the building of the harbourside apartments removed the last remains of the platforms and no evidence remains that a railway station once stood there. The last train ran through both these stations around 1968, although by that time they served summer boat train services only, with regular passenger traffic ceasing back in 1932.
Roads and bus services
Ardrossan is linked to Glasgow via the A737 road and to Ayr via the A78 road. The A78 Three Towns Bypass was opened in December 2004 and has provided an improvement to local transport links, reducing local travelling times significantly. The bypass has also helped to divert a significant amount of heavier traffic from the Three Towns. Bus services are available to the town and are operated primarily by Stagecoach West Scotland.
A regular ferry service from Ardrossan to Brodick on the Isle of Arran has run since 1834. Today, a ferry to Brodick departs every two hours and 45 minutes Monday–Saturday with each journey lasting 55 minutes.
Starting 23rd May 2013 a ferry service to Campbeltown starts 
In the past Ardrossan also ran regular ferry services to Belfast, and the Isle of Man (summer only). The Belfast run was operated by the Burns & Laird Line with the last scheduled service in 1976. The last ship to sail this route was the MV Lion, which is still the largest car ferry to operate from Ardrossan. The Isle of Man run was operated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company during the summer holiday season with the last service in 1985, although Caledonian MacBrayne later experimented with a smaller vessel to the Isle of Man for a couple of seasons, which ran one return service per week.
Ardrossan is served by three primary schools and one secondary school.
- Ardrossan Academy - A non-denominational school opened in 1882 which has a school roll of approximately 1,050 people, coming from Ardrossan, Saltcoats, West Kilbride and Seamill.
St Matthews Academy, in nearby Saltcoats serves as the Secondary School for Roman Catholic pupils from Ardrossan.
- St Peter's Primary School
- Stanley Primary School
- Winton Primary School
While being an exemplar of post-industrial Scotland's socio-economic malaise, Ardrossan is located on the edge of an area of exceptional natural beauty. The towering peaks of the Isle of Arran are starkly visible on a cold sunny day. Beyond, one can see the Paps of Jura and the Mull of Kintyre.
Offshore from Ardrossan is the small Horse Isle, an RSPB reserve and home to nationally important populations of herring gulls and lesser black backed gulls. The Holm Plantation area dividing Ardrossan and Saltcoats is a popular area for alternative walks to the seaside. The current regeneration of the area has led to the plantation receiving many new amenities such as lighting and landscaped flower areas.
Ardrossan is located near two nuclear power stations, Hunterston A nuclear power station (currently being decommissioned) and Hunterston B nuclear power station. A 24 Mega-Watt (MW) windfarm which opened in 2004 overlooks the town.
In Ardrossan, there are five churches. St.Peter-in-chains is a Roman Catholic church. Barony St. Johns and the Park Church are Church of Scotland. There is also the EU Congregational Church and the Church of the Nazarene.
Politics and Government
Ardrossan is in the Ayrshire North & Arran constituency in the House of Commons and Cunninghame North constituency in the Scottish Parliament. The Westminster seat is held by the Labour Party, and the Holyrood seat was gained by the Scottish National Party from Labour in the May 2007 election by a mere 48 votes.
Historically, Ardrossan has been part of the UK parliament constituencies North Ayrshire (1868–1918), Bute and Northern Ayrshire (1918–1983) and Cunninghame North (1983–2005). These constituencies traditionally returned Conservative or Unionist MPs until 1987, when the constituency was won by the Labour Party.
Ardrossan has a Unionist Club on Princes Street, which was established in 1901 and a Labour Social Club is present in the neighbouring town of Saltcoats.
In North Ayrshire council, Ardrossan is represented by two Independent councillors, one Labour councillor and one SNP councillor. The results were:
|North Ayrshire council election, 2007: Ardrossan and Arran|
|Scottish Socialist||Nigel Hunter||144|
Ardrossan has some notable buildings, for example Barony St John's Church and St Peter-in-Chains Roman Catholic Church. St Peter's is of modern construction in an all-brick, Swedish style. Its architects were the notable Gillespie, Kidd & Coia. Barony St John's dates from the mid-nineteenth century. Both buildings are on the South Crescent, overlooking South Beach and Irvine Bay. The crescent is lined by large villas dating from the 19th century, many of which have been converted into multiple residences.
Also known as 'Cannon Hill' by locals, it is a great place to visit, including a swing park. An historic ancient burial place on Castle Hill was vandalized in the 1950s. One tomb was taken to the Barony Church on South Crescent for safekeeping.
A prehistoric shell-mound, measuring 102 ft by 16 ft, on the side of Cannon Hill, close to Ardrossan Town railway station, was excavated by the Ayrshire historian John Smith in the 1890s. Its length was mostly overhung by a few feet, by the rock face, which had formed a rock-shelter, which the excavation showed had been occupied at intervals over a considerable period of time. The railway workings had cut a longitudinal section in the mound, which overlay a 1 ft layer of raised beach sand.
The mound was composed of seashells, mainly periwinkle and limpet, and animal bones. Relics found included a stone 'anchor' with a groove cut round it for a rope, a possible stone sinker, fragments of very coarse, hammer stone, hand-made pottery, also pieces of wheel-turned, glazed pottery, a bone chisel, two bone needles, etc. No sign of the mound is visible today.
Notable citizens and alumni
Arguably the town's most notable son was physicist John Kerr. He discovered the quadratic electro-optic effect, a change in the refractive index of a material in response to an electric field, now known as the Kerr effect.
Former pupil of Ardrossan Academy David T. Denver is Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Lancaster. Professor Denver is a frequent media commentator on Scottish political issues and voting patterns and has published several books in the field of statistical analyses of voting patterns.
Roy Aitken, who was born and raised in the town, went on to become one of the great captains of Celtic Football Club in the 1980s, and also captained the Scotland International Team. Roy also played for Newcastle United, Aberdeen and St Mirren, and managed Aberdeen to their last trophy success when they won the Scottish League Cup in 1996. Roy was given his Celtic first team debut at the age of 16 while he was still attending St Andrew's Academy in neighbouring Saltcoats. His manager at the time was Jock Stein.
Bobby Ferguson, who was born and raised in the town, won seven Scotland caps while goalkeeper for Kilmarnock in the 1960s. Bobby was transferred to east London club West Ham United for a fee of £65,000 in 1967, which at the time was a world record fee for a goalkeeper. He made his West Ham debut against Sheffield Wednesday on 19 August 1967, the first game of the 1967–68 season.
W.B. Young who holds one of the records for longest Scottish rugby career was also from Ardrossan.
Campbell Martin, journalist and former Independent Member of the Scottish Parliament for West of Scotland, now editor of the3towns.com, an online local newspaper covering Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston.
From the core of its now-gone industrial workers, Ardrossan has produced a number of people of individual note. Ardrossan Academy has produced several former pupils that hold US and international patents for their scientific work.
The town also featured on Series 1, Episode 3 of hit BBC comedy Gary: Tank Commander, during which "The General" wanted to trace the footsteps of his ancestors, the MacBadgers, who had originally hailed from the town.
Dugald and Peter Drummond. Dugald, born 1840, was C.M.E. with the Caledonian Railway among others and was buried at Brookwood Cemetery, Woking. Considering his fame, there is believed to be only one street named after him. (Portsmouth). His brother, Peter, was C.M.E. for the Glasgow and South Western Railway. They were brought up in Montgomerie Street, Ardrossan.
Other places with the same name
The name Ardrossan has also been given to places elsewhere in the world:
- Ardrossan, South Australia
- Ardrossan, Alberta
- Ardrossan is the name of a large estate outside Philadelphia, owned by Robert Leaming Montgomery. His daughter, Helen Hope Montgomery Scott, was the inspiration for Tracy Lord, heroine of The Philadelphia Story.
- Eglinton Country Park is linked to Ardrossan by the Sustrans Cyclepath.
- "Comparative Population Profile: Ardrossan Locality". Scotland's Census Results Online. 2001-04-29. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
- Ardrossan & Neighbourhood. Guide. 1920s. pp 29-30.
- Greville, M.D. and Holt, G.O. (1960) PDF, Railway Magazine, vol 106, February 1960 no 706, p.96
- Welch, M.S. (2004) Lancashire Steam Finale, Runpast Publishing, Cheltenham, ISBN 1-870754-61-1, p.28
- Suggitt, G. (2003, revised 2004) Lost Railways of Lancashire, Countryside Books, Newbury, ISBN 1-85306-801-2, p.36
- Irvine Bay Regeneration
- "Consular Representation Outside London" (PDF). Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 2008-09-27.[dead link]
- Smith, John (1894). The Ardrossan Shell-mound. Arch Hist Coll Ayr & Gall. V. VII. pp. 62 - 74.
- Robert Steele (2004). Kerr, John (1824–1907). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
- "Professor David Denver". Lancaster University. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
- "Campbell Martin". Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
- "Citations For RAF Holders Of The Victoria Cross". Vickers VC10. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
- Diane Mastrull (2007-09-16). "Scott has a plan for storied estate". Philadelphia Inquirer. p. A01. and Art Carey (2007-05-06). "Society in its highest sense". Philadelphia Inquirer. p. A19.
- McSherry, R&M (1996) Old Ardrossan
- Barony St John's Church
- Irvine Bay Regeneration
- Ardrossan Cricket Club
- News on a crackdown on derelict properties
- Ardrossan Academy's prize-winning website
- Photographs of every street in Ardrossan