Irvine Harbourside

Linthouse Vennel, Irvine
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Linthouse Vennel, Irvine

A district of Irvine in North Ayrshire, the Harbourside lies to the southwest of the town centre and Irvine Railway Station, behind Irvine Beach Park, and represents a former industrial area and site of the town's once-busy harbour. Significant redevelopment was undertaken by the Irvine Development Corporation from the 1980s, including the construction of new homes in the vernacular style and the restoration of original properties. The most spectacular new-build examples lie on Linthouse Vennel and Gottries Road, built 1995-96 and representing a mix of Scottish vernacular, Neo-Georgian and grand Classical mansions. While criticised by some as a pastiche, the resulting streets are quite remarkable and provide a particularly pleasant living environment. A plaque commemorating the harbourside regeneration was unveiled by HRH The Duke of Gloucester on 18th November 1996. The Scottish Maritime Museum, Harbour Arts Centre and Courtyard Studios are located here. The Ship Inn is the oldest Public house in the town, built in 1596.

Despite being one of the busiest ports in Scotland in the 16th C., Irvine no longer has a commercial harbour, although moorings for pleasure craft remain. The town's harbour had progressively moved west from its original site at Seagatefoot in response to the demands of larger ships and silting of the river. The growth of Glasgow as a port in the later 18th and 19th centuries brought a decline in Irvine, although it was sustained by exporting Ayrshire coal. There was a ship-building yard just to the east at Fullarton, and several iron and chemical works located immediately to the south. By the 20th C., the largest user of the harbour was the Nobel's explosive factory, located on the opposite side of the Irvine Estuary, on the Ardeer Peninsula.

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