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Beith


North Ayrshire

The small residential town of Beith is situated 19 miles (31 km) southwest of Glasgow and to the east of Kilbirnie Loch, North Ayrshire. Associated with St. Inan, who is said to have preached here, it once occupied an important position on the route between Glasgow and Ayrshire and was noted for the production of textiles. Today, the town benefits from a good number of shops on Eglinton Street and Main Street, a small supermarket, a library, fire station, post office, community centre, community garden, bowling club, several churches and a primary school. It once had two secondary schools (Spier's School and Beith Academy) but these closed in the early 1970s when Garnock Academy opened in nearby Kilbirnie. Notable buildings include the Auld Kirk (1593; dedicated to St. Inan), Beith High Church (1807) and the Town House (1817). Nearby is Woodside Castle. There is a football ground at Bellsdale Park.

Its other industries have included the manufacture of golf clubs, furniture, fishing nets, thread and plastics. Dairy farming, engineering, coal-mining and quarrying have also been important industries. Chivas Brothers operate a vast complex of bonded whisky warehouses at Willowyard in Beith.

The town was once had two railway stations. Beith Town opened in 1873 as the terminus of the 5-mile (8-km) branch of the Glasgow, Barrhead and Kilmarnock Joint Railway that came from Lugton, but the station closed with this branch in 1962. Beith North opened in 1840 on the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway but closed in 1951. The line remains open, known as the Ayrshire Coast Line, with the nearest stations now at Glengarnock and Lochwinnoch. DM Beith is a Royal Navy armaments depot lying 1¼ miles (2 km) to the south.

Rev. John Witherspoon (1723-94), who helped frame the US Declaration of Independence was the Minister here between 1745 and 1757, while Dr. Henry Faulds (1843 - 1930), who was a pioneer of finger-print identification, was born in Beith.

The town holds an annual gala day in June known as St. Inan's Fete.


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