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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Ardeer, a desolate tract of sand hills, and a seat of extensive industry in Stevenston parish, Ayrshire. The tract lies on the coast between a sinuous line of ancient sea-beach and the present shore, extends from within 1¼ mile of Saltcoats to the mouth of Irvine Water, comprises an area of about 1200 acres, is all low and dismal, and lies upon rocks of the Carboniferous formation. Twelve separate seams of coal are beneath it, the uppermost 26 fathoms, the lowermost 129 fathoms, below the surface; and they have, more or less, been mined since about the year 1675. The seat of industry originated in the leasing of the mines about the year 1851; is situated in the south-western part of the tract, 2 miles E of Saltcoats; and has a branch railway, upwards of ½ mile long, going into junction with the Kilwinning and Ardrossan section of the Glasgow and South-Western system. Ironworks were erected; several spacious squares of workmen's houses were built near the furnaces; the mining operations were largely extended; chemical works, employing about 200 men and boys, were established; and in the very first years of the enterprise, so many as 850 men, besides a great number of boys, were employed aggregately on the works. The iron-works at once produced between 900 and 1000 tons of pig-iron per week, and at an early date were greatly extended; but in 1878 only 2 of their 5 furnaces were in blast. The output of coal, in one of the first years, was 130,000 tons. The chemical works proved to be uncompensating, and were relinquished; but a dynamite factory has been recently established- A schoolhouse was built for the children of the workmen; and a missionary, supported by some members of the Established Church, was engaged for the colliers and furnacemen. The entire seat of industry is called Ardeer Works; and its population, at the census of 1871, was 915. An extensive sandstone quarry, one of the most valuable in the West of Scotland, is in Ardeer. The stone abounds in vegetable organic remains; is of a grey tint, susceptible of a fine polish, and very durable; can be raised in blocks of large size; snits well for ornamental portions of public buildings; and is often shipped to Ireland and other distant places. The post-town of Ardeer is Stevenston.

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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