Contact Us

Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions on any of our pages, as we would love to hear from you.

Local and family history at Carnegie Library, Ayr

The Scottish and Local History Library is located on the first floor of the Carnegie Library in Ayr. The department houses a unique collection of books, pamphlets, directories, maps, plans, local newspapers and photographs. Disabled access is at the rear of the building and there is a lift to the first floor.

Local and Family History Enquiries

Tel: 01292 272231

Members of the public who wish to conduct their own research are welcome to visit the library and use the resources. The most frequently used items are available on open access, for readers to browse through and select for themselves, but some of the stock is stored ‘behind the scenes’ and is obtainable on request. Staff will help identify appropriate sources and give guidance on using the collection. The material is available for reference use only. We welcome visitors and our friendly staff are happy to assist customers with their enquiries.

36 thoughts on “Contact Us

  1. just found you blog and its certainly a very good reference point, I am trying to find some way of tracing my fathers mother and her family as I didnt have the pleasure of meeting them and they were all from Troon. My great grandfather (Andrew Bell) died on the golf course in Troon whilst playing for the first time. I wonder if the local newspapers ever ran this a story.

    Dont suppose you could point me in the right direction please?

  2. A small painting of the tower of St. John has come into my possession and it would appear quite old. It appears to be in oil and is in a circular shape. There is no artist name on the painting and I’m am curious to get some information as to whether it is the tower mentioned on your site. I can send you a photo. I live in Northern Ireland so I’m interested to see how it ended up here

  3. My family, William Wilson, lived in Castlehill House in the early 1900s I would like to know something about the history of the house and see a photo of it from the front. Thank you.

  4. LAGGAN HOUSE: Ballantrae

    Help! I am researching the use of Laggan House from 1940 – 1953. If anyone has memories or information on who owned/rented this property between 1940 – 1953 an the uses the property was put to I would appreciate hearing form you.
    I would also like to date the fire that destroyed the majority of the house.
    Thank you.
    Andrew Pyle

    1. Hello Andrew,
      My father was stationed (army) at Laggan House during the war; my mother and I were billeted in nearby hamlet of Heronsford; I attended the local primary school which I walked to and from daily. I do not know what my father’s role there was but later believed it to be to do with intelligence. I have read somewhere that Winston Churchill occasionally visited Laggan.

    2. Hello, have you had much luck researching Laggan House? My father was stationed there during the war. it was all top secret apparently as they were training for D-Day. Happy to share the little bit of info I have from my Father. Let me know if you are still researching. Many thanks Alison

      1. Hi Alison,
        Thank you for your reply.
        My interest is in the Laggan fire which destroyed the wing of the building and the dates and the School which occupied the building on dates between 1940 and 1950. Your fathers dates might help me to pin this info down. And any other info is appreciated.

        Thank you.

        Andrew Pyle

      2. Thanks for the quick reply. Is there an email address I can send to please?

      3. My father, Capt. Norman H Le May, was stationed at Laggan during the war; he, my mother, and I were bitteted in Herensford and I went to the local school.

  5. Hi
    Can you tell me if Tom Barclay, still does talk on Smugglers of Troon, I’m one of the Warden at Logan Drive And We were think of Inviting Tom Along to do a talk with or tenant.Can you help
    Kind Regard

  6. I think that it is really sad that the Council have not commemorated this 700 year anniversary or the holding of parliament is St John’s Tower in a meaningful way. That we are a Tourist Town makes that even more pathetic. The board of the Ulser – Scots is good and I have see that many times and glad that someone has done something. Just sad that it was not from Ayr or Ayrshire.

  7. Ii is a source of great pride to me that my new book, Medville Matters, is now available from your library.
    This follows a recent article in the Ayrshire Post, explaining my long relationship with the town.
    A friend sent me some photos of the library for publicity purposes.
    One shows a leaded glass doorway with a Latin inscription which says ‘Sigillum Regalis Burgi de Ayr 1202’.
    Is the crest behind it the Ayr coat of arms?
    And where is the door in the library?
    I have to further confess a long-term connection with the library itself.
    As a teenager I was a compulsive reader and, throughout my teens, I read widely from your shelves.
    I also used it as a place to study for O levels and Highers at Ayr Academy.
    Last question, honestly!
    Are the photos on your website copyright, or can I use them, properly attributed, of course, on my Blog and social media sites to promote both my book and your library.
    I can assure you that you will get nothing but the highest praise.
    I grew up loving the ‘Carnegie’, and I still do.
    Thank you for your time.

      1. The Latin inscription you refer to is in the central pane of the large stained glass window in the library’s stairwell. The window is an original feature of the 1893 building, and is by Stephen Adam & Co. of Glasgow, one of the most accomplished firms producing such work. The inscription translates as ‘the seal of regality of the burgh of Ayr’. It surrounds the burgh seal, used to validate documents issued by the burgh council – the earliest surviving example dates back to the fourteenth century. In the centre is the royal castle of Ayr, of which nothing now survives. On the right of it is a platter holding the head of St John the Baptist – the patron saint of Ayr. On the left is the holy lamb associated with St John. The burgh’s foundation charter, granted by William the Lion, King of Scots, still exists but does not give the year it was issued. The only clues to this are the witnesses to the charter and the offices they held at the time. In 1893, 1202 was thought to be the most likely year, but recent studies have indicated that 1205 is more likely. The Royal Burgh of Ayr never had a proper heraldic coat of arms – in Scotland, these have to be approved by the Lyon Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms – and just used the burgh seal as its emblem.

        We are happy for you to use any of the images featured on our blog as long as you credit us. I hope this answers your questions.

      2. Thank you, this is a magnificent reply. I will take time to absorb this information before writing a piece for my blog. At that point I will come back to you if I have any more questions. In any case I will send you a link to the published piece when I release it. Thank you again.

  8. Hello,

    I am trying to find any information that can help me find photos or documents talking about my grandfather, James ‘Jim’ Brown and his brothers, Tom and John ‘Jock’; all from Troon around 1939 – 1940. They worked for their uncle, Tom ‘Tam’ Bell Clark(e), I believe. I don’t know the name of the companies that built ships apart from Ailsa Shipbuilding Company. I’d love to find any photos taken back then because they were riveters building WWII ships. Also, James Brown took up a riveting apprenticeship between the ages of 13 – 18, so in 1921 – ’26, or so at the Troon shipyard.

    Thank you

  9. We are in Castlemaine, Central Victoria Australia and in our 70’s are finding it difficult to find our way around sites – I’m hoping this will find someone that can help us.
    We are researching the family of Neill (sometimes written as Smith-Neill) from Barnwell which I believe is in this vicinity. Some occasions there are writings using the titles of Colonel and Major Neill of Barnwell and we are sure they are the right family.
    We are researching General John Martin Bladen Neill who served in Australia.
    We have a newspaper report showing a letter written by his mother asking if a statue could be erected of her son in Ayr.
    Also from the ‘London Ladys Newspaper And Pictorial Times – London, Middlesex – Oct 29 1859 states…
    “…, from the meeting at the inauguration of the statue at Ayr of her son, General Neill, their deep sympathy in her grief for the loss of her son, Colonel John Martin Bladen Neill, ….etc etc
    We wish to know where this statue is and if we could obtain a photo of it.
    Hope you can help and wish you all the best.
    Marilyn Bennet & Ian Braybrook

  10. Hello,
    I saw your picture of HMS Loch Tarbert. I am a hobbyist building remote controlled ships and I have a project to build a Loch class frigate. I already have a 1/72 scale fibreglass hull but I am struggling to find photos to help supplement the plans I have. Would it be possible to obtain some close up photos of your model? Also is it possible to make contact with the builder of your model?

    1. Hi Cameron,

      I have passed your enquiry on to our local history team. The model you are referring to is on display at The Walker Halls in Troon, Ayrshire and is available for members of the public to view and photograph – are you local? We will try and find out more details about the model builder and if there is a way to put you in conact with them. Kind regards.

  11. Your blog opened up a great deal of history that we were searching for especially the statue of General Bladen Neill. We are on the verge of getting our book printed BUT have not been able to get any photos of John Bladen Neill and his wife Sarah (nee Ralph) who were married in Ayr in the 1850’s. Photos of any of of the Neill or Smith Neill family would be really valuable and make our story real. Any ideas where to contact. Marilyn & Ian

  12. looking for information on the prison at 6 bath place. would that be the current town hall buildings? or was there something else there

    1. Hi Teresa, our local history librarian discovered the information below. I hope this answers your question. Many thanks.

      In 1822 the new Sheriff Courthouse, County Hall and County Gaol (jail) in Ayr were completed. The Sheriff Courthouse faced east, fronting onto Wellington Square, and the prison extended from its rear westward towards the sea, flanked on the north by Bath Place. A high perimeter wall enclosed cell blocks. This prison replaced the old prison in the Sandgate Tolbooth, which was soon demolished. Near the site of the Tolbooth the Town Buildings, completed in 1830, were erected. During 1878-1881 Town Council chambers, a concert hall and a police station with cells were added, and the Town Buildings came to be known as the Town Hall, but the County Gaol at Bath Place continued to be the place of imprisonment. In 1930 the prison was closed and demolished. During the next year work started on constructing the new County Buildings on the site, in a style which blended with the old Sheriff Courthouse.

  13. We have recently published the book ‘Sarah’s Search – A Silk Odyssey’ which includes history of your districts. Sarah’s husband was John Martin Bladen Neill of Swindridgemuir, Ayr. Their parents and family lived in this home. His brother, James George Smith Neill’s statue is situated in the Wellington Square Gardens, Ayr. Sarah and John were married in Ayr and settled in London before they left for Australia in 1855. She set up the Victorian Ladies Serriculture Company here and frequently visited the UK and Europe to learn about Silk culture.
    Your column was a great help to us with some of our research and links. We would love it it we could show this book as some in the area maybe interested in it. It retails in Australia at $25 and i am not sure of the postage. If anyone would like a copy please email us. I still enjoy reading the blog. I will put something on your facebook page too including a picture of the book. Regards to all Marilyn Bennet co-Author.

  14. My Father was stationed at Laggon House and was in a special unit (60th special coy RE .
    ) from Feb 42 till Apparently Jan 43. The unit was embarked for North Africa and then on to Italy. The unit did secret deception duties making the Germans think that the army was moving tank and other equipment across North Africa and up through Italy when the main army forces were else where. Hope this is help full to you. I am wanting information about the unit myself so could you help me in my quest to find out more about Laggon House . I await your kind reply. Richard.

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