||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (July 2012)|
|Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Àir |
Clockwise from top-left: Place De Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Robert Burns statue, Wellington Square Gardens, The Wallace Tower and Burns Statue Square.
Ayr shown within South Ayrshire
|Population||46,050 (est. 2006), excluding Prestwick|
|OS grid reference|
|Council area||South Ayrshire|
|Lieutenancy area||Ayrshire and Arran|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock|
Ayr (Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Àir: Mouth of the River Ayr) is a former Royal Burgh in Ayrshire, Scotland. Ayr was the county town of the wider county of Ayrshire until 1975. Ayr is now the administrative centre of South Ayrshire council area, which is the unitary local authority.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2008)|
On April 26, 1315, the first Parliament of Scotland was held in Ayr by Robert The Bruce at St.John's Tower by the sea. It was once known as 'Inverair/Inverayr' and this usage is still retained in the Scottish Gaelic form of the name Inbhir Air.
Later, during Cromwellian times, the town was used as a base and fortress for some of his men. Cromwell built a huge wall around certain areas of the town, most of which can still be seen today. St John's Tower, in that area, was originally part of a massive church, but the church was knocked down, and the tower was used to practise on, and is now protected by the "Friends Of Saint Johns Tower" (FROST) residents of the "Fort Area" nearby.
The Westminster constituency of Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock is currently held by the Labour Party's Sandra Osborne who has been the Member of Parliament since the 5 May 2005 general election. From 1950 to 1997 the former Westminster constituency of Ayr was a Conservative seat. The Member of Parliament for most of this period was George Younger, who represented the constituency from 1964 to 1992.[chronology citation needed]
In the Scottish Parliament, Ayr still exists as a constituency and has been represented by Conservative MSP John Scott since 2000. Regional MSPs that represent the South of Scotland (including Ayr) are Claudia Beamish (Labour), Chic Brodie (Scottish National Party), Jim Hume (Liberal Democrats), Joan McAlpine (Scottish National Party), Aileen McLeod (Scottish National Party), Graeme Pearson (Labour) and Paul Wheelhouse (Scottish National Party).
The elected Councillors representing Ayr on South Ayrshire Council are as follows:
|List of Ayr Councillors|
|Ayr North||Ayr East||Ayr West|
|Douglas Campbell (SNP)||Ian Douglas (SNP)||Kirsty Darwent (Labour)|
|Ian Cavana (Labour)||Mary Kilpatrick (Conservative)||Allan Dorans JP (SNP)|
|John Hampton (Conservative)||Brian McGinley (Labour)||Bill Grant (Conservative)|
|Rita Miller (Labour)||Corri Wilson (SNP)||Robin Reid (Conservative)|
As a former Royal Burgh, Ayr had a Provost as chief magistrate of the burgh council and the earliest recorded provost is Nicholas de Fynvyk. The title of provost was retained by Kyle and Carrick District Council and South Ayrshire council for their civic heads. The role of provost is now apolitical and carries a number of duties including chairing meetings of the council, acting as civic head representing South Ayrshire Council, promotion of South Ayrshire Council and networking with various organisations such as local businesses.
A chain and robes are worn by the provost while undertaking their ceremonial duties. The provost's chain was donated in June 1897 by James McLennan who was a Glasgow wine and spirit merchant who was born in Coylton and lived in Ayr. The official provost's robes have been provided by the council since 11 June 1923. In addition, South Ayrshire Council erects lamp posts with the Royal Burgh Coat of Arms emblazoned on the diffusers outside the official resident of the provost - this has been undertaken since 1854.
Each newly elected provost enters their name into a Bible at the‘Kirkin ‘O The Council’ service at Ayr Auld Kirk after each council election. The Bible in which the names are entered was acquired by the Kirk during the Provostship of Hugh Miller (1841-1855). The names of the provosts entered into the Bible are as follows:-
|List of Ayr provosts|
|1841 – 1855||Hugh Miller|
|1855 – 1861||Primrose William Kennedy|
|1861 – 1864||Andrew Paterson|
|1864 – 1873||John MacNeillie|
|1873 – 1876||Robert Goudie|
|1876 – 1882||Thomas Steele|
|1882 – 1888||William Kilpatrick|
|1888 – 1891||James Murray Ferguson|
|1891 – 1894||Robert Shankland|
|1894 – 1897||Hugh Douglas Hillock|
|1897 – 1903||Thomas Templeton|
|1903 – 1909||William Allan|
|1909 – 1912||James Shaw Hunter|
|1912 – 1918||John Mitchell|
|1918 – 1922||I M Mathie-Morton|
|1922 – 1924||Donald McDonald|
|1924 – 1927||James Robertson Gould|
|1927 – 1930||John S Stewart|
|1930 – 1933||Thomas Watson|
|1933 – 1936||Thomas Galloway|
|1936 – 1940||James Wills|
|1940 – 1943||Robert Bowman|
|1943 – 1949||Thomas Murray|
|1949 – 1952||James Smith|
|1952 – 1955||Adam Hart|
|1955 – 1958||William Anderson|
|1958 – 1961||William Sidney Lanham|
|1961 – 1964||William Cowan|
|1964 – 1967||Charles O’Halloran|
|1967 – 1970||Alexander S Handyside|
|1970 – 1973||Donald McLean|
|1973 – 1975||A Howie|
|1975 – 1978||Alexander Paton|
|1978 – 1980||Charles O’Halloran|
|1980 – 1984||James Boyle|
|1984 – 1988||Gibson T Macdonald|
|1988 – 1992||Daniel MacNeill|
|1992 – 1996||Gibson T Macdonald|
|1996 – 1998||Robert Campbell|
|1998 – 2003||Elizabeth A Foulkes|
|2003 – 2006||Gordon S McKenzie|
|2006 - 2012||Winifred D Sloan|
The current provost is Labour Councillor Helen Moonie.
Ayr is a coastal town which lies on the mouth of the River Ayr. The river then flows out into the larger Firth of Clyde estuary. From the coast the Isle of Arran can be seen, and on a very clear day, the northern tip of Nova Scotia. It is within the region of Strathclyde. Much of the land in and around this area is very flat and low lying, used for rearing dairy cattle. Towards the south of Ayr however the land is higher than most areas in the county of Ayrshire, with e.g. the Brown Carrick Hill situated due South of Doonfoot. Ayr lies approximately 1,000,000 miles southwest of Glasgow.
||Firth of Clyde||Prestwick, Troon||Kilmarnock, Glasgow|
|Firth of Clyde||Auchinleck, Cumnock|
|Maybole, Girvan, Stranraer||Newton Stewart||Dalmellington, Castle Douglas|
Areas of Ayr 
The nearest official Met Office weather station to Ayr is Auchincruive, about 3 miles to the north-east of Ayr town centre.
|Climate data for Auchincruive 48m asl, 1971-2000, Extremes 1960-|
|Record high °C (°F)||14.4
|Average high °C (°F)||6.7
|Average low °C (°F)||1.6
|Record low °C (°F)||−11.7
|Precipitation mm (inches)||97.3
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||44.3||66.1||91.5||143.7||198.4||178.5||167.4||152.8||118.2||86.2||57.3||37.8||1,342.2|
|Source #1: MetOffice|
|Source #2: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute/KNMI|
The area experiences very cool summers and somewhat mild winters. The air is cooler during the summer due to its proximity to the sea as water has a major cooling effect on summer temperatures. During the winter months the reverse happens and the sea air has a major warming effect on the climate. The area rarely ever sees extremes due to the effects of sea air. Rainfall is generally plentiful throughout the year due to Atlantic weather systems sweeping in from the west. Compared with the rest of Scotland, the area rarely sees much mist and fog. This is because the land is relatively flat and low lying and with the wind blowing across the flatter land, this generally hinders fog from developing widely. This has made Glasgow Prestwick International Airport particularly well known as one of the less fog-prone airports in Scotland. Snowfall is rare in this part of Scotland because of the mild sea air.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2008)|
Ayr's industry has flourished over the years mainly because of the River Ayr. Ships that were built on the mouth of the River Ayr in the eighteenth century improved Ayr's economy. From 1883 to 1901, 143 ships and barges were built on the Ayr by Samuel B Knight and the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company. Repair work on the Ayr ceased in 1960 when Ailsa moved its operations to Troon.
The North side of Ayr Harbour still operates as a commercial port today, mainly exporting coal, and extensive railway sidings still lead down from the main railway line near Newton-on-Ayr station.
Manufacturing of textiles such as carpets and lining was important to Ayr's economy until the factories closed in the 1970s. This caused mass unemployment in Ayr. Many of the old factories are still standing and can be seen on McCalls Avenue and Walker Road in Lochside, North Ayr, though many are derelict and unsafe. There was a large factory engaged in the production of fertilisers and other agricultural products. This has since closed, but parts of the old complex are sublet by local businesses.
Ayr has always been a hub for shopping in South Scotland with the first department store, Hourstons, opening in 1896. In the 1970s, Ayr flourished further with the opening of further stores including Marks and Spencers and Ayr's first shopping centre, the Kyle Centre (1988). Heathfield Retail park, an out-of-town retail park, opened in 1993 with shops such as Halfords and Homebase. Ayr Central Shopping Centre opened in March 2006 with shops such as Debenhams and H&M and underparking for 500 cars.
During the 19th and 20th centuries Ayr became a popular holiday resort. This was due to its fine sandy beach and its popularity was increased by the building of the rail link to Glasgow in 1840.
Ayr has three main roads serving the town:
- A79 — main road running through Ayr and linking Ayr with Prestwick and its airport.
- A77 (M77) — Ayr by-pass stretching from Glasgow to Stranraer. It was built in 1971.
- A70 — running from Ayr to Edinburgh.
Ayr railway station has services to Glasgow Central station with a half-hourly service except on Sundays. There are regular services to Stranraer, Girvan, Kilmarnock and Newcastle. These services are operated by SPT/First ScotRail.
The town also has bus connections serving all of the town and Prestwick. These services are operated by Stagecoach West Scotland. The town has eight local services. There are express coaches to Glasgow Buchanan Street every 30–60 minutes. Ulsterbus operate bus services to Belfast via Stranraer Ferry service on Stena Line.
Although the town does not have any ferry services from its harbour, it has good access to ferry services mainly to Northern Ireland. Troon, 5 miles north of Ayr, has a seasonal service to Larne onboard P&O. Troon can also be reached by train with trains every 30 minutes, or by bus. Stranraer, 60 miles south of Ayr, has up to eight daily departures to Belfast.
The Church of Scotland is the main denomination in Ayr with nine churches spread throughout the town. The Roman Catholic Church has two churches and a Cathedral - previously located at the Good Shepherd Cathedral which has been demolished.
|This section requires expansion. (November 2008)|
At the United Kingdom Census 2001, Ayr had a population of 46,431, a fall of -3.2% on 1991. Mid-2008 population estimates placed the total resident population at 46,070 making Ayr the 12th largest urban area in Scotland.
|UK Census 2001||Ayr||Ayr & Prestwick||Scotland|
|Population growth 1991–2001||-3.19%||-0.07%||1.3%|
|Under 16 years old||17.2%||17.4%||19.2%|
|Over 65 years old||20.4%||20.5%||16.0%|
Nursery schools 
Ayr has two nursery schools:
- Cherry Tree Nursery
- Wallacetown Nursery
There are also several partnership centres and nursery classes held within primary schools within Ayr.
Primary schools 
Ayr is served by fifteen primary schools:
- Alloway Primary School
- Annbank Primary School
- Braehead Primary School
- Dalmilling Primary School
- Doonfoot Primary School
- Forehill Primary School
- Good Shepherd Primary School
- Grammar Primary School
- Heathfield Primary School
- Holmston Primary School
- Kincaidston Primary School
- Newton Primary School
- St. John's Primary School (denominational)
- Whitletts Primary School
- St. Ann's Primary School
Special needs schools 
Ayr has one special needs school:
- Southcraig Campus
Secondary schools 
Ayr is served by four secondary schools:
Prestwick Academy is located within the neighbouring town of Prestwick and provides education to pupils who are resident within Ayr but fall within its catchment area. Mainholm Academy was a former secondary school located within Ayr and was closed due to safety concerns.
Independent schools 
Further education 
Ayr has four further education establishments:
- Ayr College
- University of the West of Scotland
- Scotland's Rural University College
- Adult Learning Centre
Culture and community 
To the north of Ayr is the adjoining town of Prestwick, which is famous for its golf and its aviation industry thanks to the presence of Glasgow Prestwick International Airport. Only 5 miles north of Ayr is Troon, also famous for its golf and for hosting the Open Championship. Ayr has three golf courses in Bellisle, Seafield and Dalmilling, as well as a private one called St Cuthberts.
Other neighbouring places include Alloway, known for its associations with the poet Robert Burns. To the south is Craig Tara, a Haven (formerly Butlins) holiday park, and the fishing village of Dunure, where there is a ruined castle formerly owned by the Kennedy family.
Ayr has three libraries plus a mobile library. These are:
- Alloway Library
- Carnegie Library (main library)
- Forehill Library
Horse racing 
Ayr Racecourse is a well-known racecourse in Scotland and hosts both National Hunt and flat racing. It has the largest capacity in Scotland for horse racing. Notable events include the Scottish Grand National (April) and Ayr Gold Cup (September) as well as several night meetings. It was recently put up for sale by the owners and included the Western House Hotel as part of the potential sale.
Ayr has a senior football team, Ayr United F.C., who play at Somerset Park in Division 2. They reached the final of the 2001-2002 Scottish League Cup competition. The club was formed in 1910 with the merger of Ayr F.C. (who were formed in 1879 by the merger of Ayr Thistle and Ayr Academical football clubs) and Ayr Parkhouse F.C..
Ice hockey 
The town has a strong history of Ice Hockey up to professional standard. The most recent being the Ayr Scottish Eagles who played in the British Superleague between 1996 and 2002. During this time they have success most famously their grand slam season in 1997-8 winning all 4 titles available and becoming British Champions. The following season seen them compete in the European Hockey league with famous victories home and away to Russian champions AK Bars Kazan. Eagles finished 3rd in a group also containing clubs from Germany and Czech Republic. The Centrum closed in 2003 and was demolished in 2009 for a Sainsbury supermarket. The Centrum was actually based in Prestwick just over the border from Ayr but was a facility enjoyed by many in South Ayrshire.
The first ice rink in Ayr was opened in 1939 at Beresford terrace and was demolished in 1972. In 1974 a new ice rink based in Limekiln Road opened and remains open today but due to ageing facilities is not deemed appropriate to host ice hockey beyond rec hockey. Ayr Bruins (established under the name Ayr Raiders played in both these rinks between 1939 and 1992. In the final season the club name reverted to Ayr Raiders. The only ice hockey teams now representing Ayr are at recreational level. The Ayr Jets and Ayr Lions both play home matches at Limekiln road. Elsewhere in Ayrshire there are clubs from Kilmarnock (East Ayrshire) and Stevenston, (North Ayrshire) at amateur level in the Scottish National League. The nearest Professional club are the Braehead based just outside of Glasgow who have a strong contingent of fans who travel from Ayr and nearby town to home matches. There has been campaigning to get a modern ice rink built in South Ayrshire by Friends of Eagles Hockey and more recently by Think Rink. With the Centrum now gone combined with the poor economic climate it may be some time before Ayr has a facility of hosting ice hockey beyond recreation and junior levels.
Ayr's rugby union team, Ayr RFC, play at Millbrae and are reigning Scottish Cup Champions and Scottish Premiership Champions 2012/2013, and won the 2008/09 Scottish Hydro Premiership. Ayr RFC have twice competed in the British and Irish cup involving clubs from Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland.
A rugby league team, Ayr Knights ARLFC, play at Auchincruive.
Other sports 
Ayr only has one leisure centre, this being the Citadel, which opened in 1997, located at the mouth of the River Ayr and at the seafront at the South Harbour area. Its facilities include a main hall measuring 34 m × 27 m (112 ft × 89 ft). This hall can accommodate various sports including 5-a-side football, basketball, volleyball, netball, indoor hockey, indoor cricket practise, badminton and short tennis. As well as individual sports, sporting events and competitions, the hall has hosted exhibitions, concerts, trade fairs, election counts and awards ceremonies. The Citadel is an expansion of the Ayr swimming pool, which opened in 1972. The Citadel features a Dance Studio approx 124 m2 (1,330 sq ft). It is predominantly used for dance or exercise classes but also accommodates martial arts groups and drama workshops and two glass backed squash courts. The Citadel Leisure Centre in Ayr is home to South Ayrshire Volleyball Club as well as being the town's only public swimming pool and diving pool. The leisure centre has squash courts, a gymnasium, dance studio, cafeteria and adjacent salons and youth club. The Citadel Leisure Centre is adjacent to the site of the old Ayr Citadel, a fort built to defend the old town. An Ayrshire basketball team, the Troon Tornadoes, play their national league matches at the Citadel, despite not being an Ayr team. Additionally, Ayr has a Strathclyde league basketball team, Ayr Storm.
Ayr is also home to Scottish Bowling. The greens at Northfield host the SBA and SWBA finals each year as well as the Hamilton Trophy final.
Speedway was staged at Dam Park in 1937, when two meetings, organised by Maurice and Roland Stobbart from Cumbria took place, featuring riders who raced in the north of England, at venues such as Workington and Hyde Road in Manchester.
Ayr has a sandy beach with an esplanade. This is very popular with joggers and day-trippers. Whitletts Activity Centre also serves the town of Ayr. It has an 11-a side outdoor soccer pitch and an indoor 5-a-side football pitch. Near Whitletts Activity Centre there is also a 5-a-side football complex called "Goals".
Public services 
The NHS Ayrshire and Arran Health Board serves South, East and North Ayrshire - a part of Ayrshire and Arran's departmental headquarters is located in Ayr. Ayr is also the regional headquarters of the Scottish Ambulance Service for south-west Scotland that is located in Heathfield, next to the site of the old Heathfield Hospital.
Ayr previously had four hospitals: Heathfield Hospital (originally a fever hospital, but latterly medical and ophthalmic), Seafield Hospital (a children's hospital), Ayr County (originally a voluntary hospital, and latterly confined to surgery) and Ailsa Hospital (a psychiatric hospital). Ayr Hospital was built in 1993 which replaced all but Ailsa Hospital which is still open.
Ayr currently has three hospitals, these are:
- Ayr Hospital (general hospital with accident and emergency)
- Ailsa Hospital (mental health hospital)
- The Abbey Carrick Glen Hospital (private hospital)
Hollybush House on the outskirts of Ayr is used by a charity for the mental health welfare of ex-members of the UK Armed Forces.
Notable people 
- William D. Brackenridge, (1810–1893), born in Ayr, botanist
- Robert Burns, (1759–1796), Scotland's national bard, poet and writer of songs; born in Alloway
- Gavin Gordon, (1901-1970), composer and singer
- Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, born 1930 as Ian Dallas
- Rikki Chamberlain, actor
- William Dalrymple, (1723–1814) minister and moderator
- Sydney Devine, singer
- Dave Dawson, noted sailor
- Drew McIntyre (real name Andrew 'Drew' Galloway), born in Ayr, is a WWE Superstar
- Kirsty Hume, model and face of Chanel
- William Maclure, (1763–1840), born in Ayr, noted geologist, drew the first geological map of the United States and was a president of the American Geological Society
- Rhona Martin, skip of the Olympic gold curling team
- John Loudon McAdam, (1756–1836), inventor of Tarmacadam road surface
- Alan McInally, former footballer and now TV pundit
- Thomas McIlwraith, 19th century Premier of Queensland, Australia
- Lee McKenzie, BBC Formula 1 pit lane reporter
- Glen Michael, children's TV presenter, Cartoon Cavalcade, often attends Ayr United matches
- Stuart Murdoch, singer-songwriter, Belle & Sebastian
- Sir David Murray, former Rangers F.C. chairman
- Simon Neil, guitarist and lead singer of Biffy Clyro
- Neil Oliver, BBC presenter of Coast and A History of Scotland
- Alan Reid, MP for the Liberal Democrats
- Mike Scott, Lead Singer/Songwriter of The Waterboys
- Sir John Wallace of Craigie, Sheriff of Ayr and hero of the Battle of Sark
- Donald Gray of The Donald Gray Show
- Stephen Jnr Miller, Author of many books about Spelling, Punctuation and Mathematics. Also noted as being a Mason.
Twin towns 
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- "Census 2001". South-ayrshire.gov.uk. 2009-04-06. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
- "Nuersery Schools - Pre Schools in South Ayrshire". South Ayrshire Council. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Primary Schools". South Ayrshire Council. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Southcraig Campus". South Ayrshire Council. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Secondary Schools in South Ayrshire". South Ayrshire Council. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Catchment area". South Ayrshire Council. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Mainholm Academy Closure". South Ayrshire council.
- "Welcome to Wellington School". Wellington School. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Independent Schools in South Ayrshire". South Ayrshire Council. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Libraries in South Ayrshire". South Ayrshire Council. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "Contact us | 96.7 West FM". WEST SOUND RADIO LIMITED. Retrieved 31 December 2012. Text " More Hits" ignored (help)
- "Contact the Ayrshire Post". Ayrshire Post. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "South Ayrshire Volleyball Club". Southayrshirevolleyball.org. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
- Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1967.
- "Accueil". Jumelagestgermainayr.fr. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
- "Ayr Town Twinning Association". South Ayrshire Unitary Authority. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
Further reading 
- Close, R (2005) Ayr A History & Celebration
- Kennedy, R&J (1992) Old Ayr
- Love, D (2003) Ayr Past and Present
- Love, D (2000) Ayr Stories
- Love, D (1995) Pictorial History of Ayr
- Reid, D & Andrew K (2001) Ayr Remembered
- Young, A & Reid, D. T. (2011) Ayr as it was, and as it is now. Stenlake Publishing: ISBN 9781840335644
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