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Troon

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Troon (Cymric trwyn, ' a nose or promontory '), a seaport town and watering-place in Dundonald parish, Ayrshire, at the terminus of the Troon and Kilmarnock branch (1812) of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway and ¾ mile W of its Ayr and Irvine section (1837). By road it is 6 miles S of Irvine, 6 N by W of Ayr, and 31 SW by S of Glasgow, whilst by rail it is 9 ½ miles SW of Kilmarnock, 73 ½ NNE of Portpatrick, and 8 S by E of Kilwinning Junction. It takes its name from a low rocky promontory, curving 1¼ mile westward and north-westward at the middle of the Bay of Ayr, and measuring ¼ mile in mean breadth. In its natural state this headland was covered with rich pasture towards the land, but became naked rock towards the extreme narrowing point. A continuation of it extends a short distance beneath the sea, so as to be concealed even at low water. The embayed marine space embraced by it is by far the best natural harbour in Ayrshire, affording safe anchorage-ground from every quarter except the NW; and, at half a cable's length from the rock, it has, at half-flood, a depth of 3 fathoms. The Glasgow merchants, aware of its advantages, made a vain effort to purchase the circumjacent property for the erection of a seaport; and, in consequence of the repulse they met, were obliged to select the very inferior site of Port-Glasgow (1668). After the lapse of 140 years, the third Duke of Portland, who had- purchased the Fullarton estate in 1805, commenced in 1808 a series of vigorous operations to render the - place fully available for commerce. He first built a pier 500 feet long, nearly at right angles with the rock, where the depth is 19 feet at low water, and he afterwards constructed a fine wet dock with floodgates, two gravingdocks, a lighthouse, and large storehouses. Due encouragements were offered to render Troon a resort of trade and a seat of population, and they were rapidly followed by success, so that a town arose where before had been only some saltpans and an old smuggling inn. After the disastrous storm of Jan. 1839, when 22 ships were driven from their moorings, and some of them totally wrecked, a breakwater was erected, 3000 feet long. The total length of quayage is now 5300 feet; and the cost of the harbour works, from first to last, has exceeded half a million. Troon ranked as a creek of Irvine till 1863, when it was constituted a head port. The total tonnage of vessels belonging to it has dwindled from 5380 in 1873 to 2870 in 1878, and 2539 in 1884, viz., 9 sailing ships of 2389 tons, and 2 steamers of 150. And a decrease is likewise shown in the following table, which gives the tonnage of vessels that entered and cleared from and to foreign countries and coastwise, with cargoes and in ballast:—

Entered Cleared.
Year. British. Foreign. Total. British. Foreign. Total.
1873 291,715 58,545 350,260 285,988 57,714 343,702
1879 309,620 20,449 330,069 294,323 19,842 314,165
1883 106, 551 2,016 108,567 105,985 2,015 108,000

Shipbuilding is carried on to some extent, 6 vessels, of 182 tons each on an average, having been built here during the five years 1879-83.

Sweeping in a graceful curve from the central height of the peninsula across the isthmus, and stretching for a considerable extent along the South Beach, the town is a scattered and healthy place, with dry soil and bracing atmosphere, and with beautiful views of Arran, Ailsa Craig, and all the Ayrshire coast from Turnberry Castle to Ardrossan. It has a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, branches of the British Linen Co. and Union Banks, 13 insurance agencies, 2 hotels, a gas company, a custom house, a reading room, a hospital, a lifeboat (1871), etc. Places of worship are a quoad sacra parochial church (1838; 900 sittings), a handsome Gothic Free church (1857; 600), a U.P. church (1843; 500), and St Patrick's Roman Catholic chapel-school (1883). Troon Academy (1840) is rented by the School Board; and the Fullarton and Portland public schools have respective accommodation for 180 and 160 children. The former was built in 1867 as a Free Church school, and the latter in 1875 at a cost of £2700. Troon is a favourite resort of summer visitors, having good seabathing, and a splendid reach of sands on both its northern and its southern shore. In 1878 part of its links, here known as ` knowes,' was laid off as a golfing ground, and a golf club started. The quoad sacra parish is in the presbytery of Ayr and the synod of Glasgow and Ayr; the living is worth £340. Pop. of q. s. parish (1881) 2587; of town (1836) 1088, (1841) 1409, (1851) 2404, (1861) 2427, (1871) 2790, (1881) 2383, of whom 1278 were females. Houses (1881) 409 inhabited, 37 vacant.—Ord. Sur., sh. 22, 1865. See the Rev. J. Kirkwood's Troon and Dundonald (Kilmarnock, 1875; 3d ed. 1881).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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