Glengarnock (Gaelic: Gleann Gairneig) is a small village in North Ayrshire that lies near the west coast of Scotland. It forms part of the Garnock Valley area and is approximately 25 miles away for Glasgow, the nearest city. The River Garnock flows through the village, but the name Glen Garnock applies more specifically to the ravine at Glengarnock Castle, some 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to the north of the village.
The village's main features are Glengarnock railway station, industrial estate and business park, amateur boxing club, primary school, church, YMCA and church hall hosting various groups, hairdresser, public house, medical health centre, pharmacy, post office, bait/cycle shop and convenience stores. Aside from this, the local towns of Kilbirnie, Beith and Dalry provide other amenities including supermarkets, swimming pool, fitness centre, dentists, opticians and libraries.
Originally known as Kilbirnie Ironworks village, Glengarnock was the title chosen by the community when it became large enough to warrant its own identity. The original Glengarnock was a medieval castle whose ruins are still visible some 3 miles upstream and north of Kilbirnie. The community consisted of a number of migrant workers from Ireland and Lithuania who were brought in to man the works and housed in the "raws", i.e., rows of terraced cottages. A significant community existed with a number of local shops and facilities but these slowly dwindled when the community moved to better housing in Kilbirnie itself and by the 1970s had declined to only a small number of local shops. When the steelworks closed in the 1980s Glengarnock as a village consisted of two pubs, a hairdresser's and a post office.
One of the first libraries in North Ayrshire was formed by Mr William Rabey who opened a Reading room at the Steel Works.
The main employment in the village came, historically, from the steelworks which existed on the shores of nearby Kilbirnie Loch. This, however, has been closed and the site is now home to various small businesses. During the course of its life, the Iron Works there were owned by Merry and Cunninghame, Colvilles, and British Steel, finally closing in the early nineteen-eighties. In 1892 Merry and Cunninghame's interest in Glengarnock had finished and Glengarnock Iron and Steel Co. was formed. From 1900 to 1914 there were periods of trade depression and when war was declared in 1914 the plant was idle. The Ministry of Munitions instructed them to produce munitions for the war. David Colville purchased the plant in 1916. Perhaps the 1930s was the first time people started to leave; economic depression and the means test which had been newly introduced left a lot of people poor, so they moved in the hope of better lives elsewhere. Riots were breaking out at that time. In 1978 the works, by then owned by the British Steel Corporation, employed just 200 people. Staff magazines from the entire period have been preserved and are held by the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. These throws an interesting light on the period. Ironically some of the buildings of the old steel works still lie empty on the site and one of them even has the Steel Works War Memorial still on the wall with names of the fallen during the two great wars, who were employees of the steel works.
Various industries and businesses are situated today at the Lochshore Industrial Estate and Glengarnock Business Park in Caledonian Road, and in the village itself.
At one stage the village was highly populated with a number of "rows", small houses built for employees of the steel works and miners. These have all since been demolished. The only thing which remains of the old village are the houses in the Main Street and "Longbar", a local council housing estate now partially demolished. The name comes from the name "lambert" which existed close by.
The original building had a number of shops, grocer, shoe cobbler dairy and butcher. The bottom part of it is now a Jehovah's Witness meeting place and above are various flats.
The River Garnock and Kilbirnie Loch
The River Garnock runs through the village. It flows from the base of the Hill of Stake in a southery direction, traversing Kilbirnie and Glengarnock, and making its way to Irvine Harbour where it enters the sea. The source of the River Garnock is in the Muirsheil Hills and is known as "Jacobs Well".
Kilbirnie Loch is situated nearby, however the River Garnock does not flow into it, although in the past it has been known to flood into it.
The town has a local primary school with around 200 children. The bulk of Children coming from Kilbirnie.
Originally schooling was carried out in wooden huts near the Caledonian Railway Line "the caley" a line long since closed. In 1830 there were 230 children on the roll. In 1870 Robert Grey took over and the "grey School" (Glengarnock Primary) was built in 1877 then the top part of it built in 1903 (demolished in 1992). The colour of the place was also Grey which also helped for it to earn this nickname.
The new Glengarnock Primary school was opened in 1984. The new school has a capacity for 330 pupils. For secondary education pupils go to Garnock Academy in Kilbirnie.
Glengarnock Church has now been closed and demolished although the Manse remains as a private residence. A memorial to the Church in the form of the preserved steeple has been erected in the village main street. It was formed in 1870 composed of people from Kilbirnie Beith Dalry and of course the local folk. It was original United Presbyterian becoming United Free and eventually Glengarnock Parish Church. When it closed a time capsule was dug up, containing items of the time. It is held by the Auld Kirk of Kilbirnie.
Glengarnock also has a Jehovah's Witness meeting room as well as the "Hebron Hall" Plymouth Brethren assembly.
The Hebron Hall Plymouth Brethren Assembly was opened in 1921. Previously "Duffield's Building" had been used, a building across from the old Glengarnock School. Then as the Assembly was formed, they met in the Orange Lodge Hall before the present hall.
- Glengarnock Ironworks Bowling Club
- Garnock Rugby Football Club
- Garnock Choral Society
- Garnock Burns Club
- Kyle Water Ski Club
- Trout fishing
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