Posts Tagged ‘history’

Explore over 200 years of history and access hundreds of historic newspapers from all over Britain and Ireland – FREE through your library.

This exciting archive can support users researching a wide variety of topics – from family histories to worldwide diplomatic relations! Whether you’re a history buff, genealogist or sports fan, there are resources to cover all interests.

To access The British Newspaper Archive you will need to register (don’t worry it’s free) from a South Ayrshire Library computer. To find out more about this fantastic resource visit your local library.


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Tuesday 26 September – Tuesday 31 October 2017

A special exhibition in Ayr Carnegie Library’s non-fiction lending area showcasing the original source material which has informed the professional archaeologists, as they prepare to dig deeper, and investigate what lies at the heart of Auld Toun. The Riverside Block on Ayr’s High Street occupies part of the earliest core of the Royal Burgh as laid out after the grant of its charter in 1205. Sitting between the late C15th Auld Bridge, and the C18th New Bridge, the original C13th plots were laid out falling from the High Street to the River Ayr. Representing Ayr’s commercial past, and the epitome of its 20th century development, this plot was never expected to become available as a site of interest.

Visit the Carnegie’s Local History department to see the maps, photographs and books which helped the Archaeologists understand the history of the site over 800 years, and, provide the clues as to what the dig might reveal!

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Arrangements for our 2017 South Ayrshire History & Family History Fair on Saturday 3rd June are well underway with an exciting line-up of speakers.

Whether you’re interested in exploring your family roots or wanting to take a more specialised look at a particular topic, the History Fair – and the guest speakers – will help bring your interest to life.

The tomb effigy at Dunkeld Cathedral of Alexander Stewart, the Wolf of Badenoch, son of the first Stewart king Robert II (who died at Dundonald Castle) and Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan.

Our Speakers for the day are:

Thomas Rees, Rathmell Archaeology –  Demolition work for the Riverside Development in Ayr will include an archaeological investigation of a significant area of the historic town centre. Thomas will explain the project’s potential to uncover new evidence about the Royal Burgh’s medieval origins.

Tom Barclay, Local Studies Librarian, South Ayrshire Council – King Robert the Bruce is arguably the most important figure in the shaping of Scotland’s later medieval history. Tom will look at Bruce’s many connections with Ayrshire, and the traditions and sites associated with him in the county.

Professor Steve Boardman of the University of Edinburgh – Ayrshire’s Kyle district was an important power-base for the Stewarts in their rise to occupy the Scottish throne. Professor Boardman will speak about the career of one of the most notorious of the family, Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, better known as ‘the Wolf of Badenoch’.

Neil Fraser, The Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network (SCRAN) – SCRAN is an online treasure-house of images covering all aspects of Scottish history and culture, which is constantly being added to. Neil will give a presentation on the site’s resources which will highlight its extensive and fascinating Ayrshire content.


In addition to a full programme of informative talks featuring respected guest speakers, stallholders from various groups will be offering advice and guidance on family history, tracing your roots, and exploring local and national history between 9am and 4.30pm. There will also be a specialist Scottish bookshop. Admission to the stalls is free.

Location and Cost

As usual, the Fair will be held in the Walker Halls, Troon, from 10am until 4pm. The cost of the full day conference is £10, £5 for half a day.  Tickets for individual talks are priced at £3 each or £2.50 for 2 or more and will be available from Troon and Carnegie Library during the month prior to the fair.  Tickets will also be available to purchase on the day.

History Fair Enquiries

If you have any enquiries about the History Fair or would like to make a booking please don’t hesitate to contact us. Tel: 01292 559318 or 272231  Fax: (01292) 616301 or email: localhistory@south-ayrshire.gov.uk.

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Saturday 26 November, 6pm at Ayr’s Carnegie Library

Join us as we celebrate Book Week Scotland with a visit from Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews, Rab Houston. Rab will be talking about how an independent Scottish nation emerged in the Middle Ages, how it was irrevocably altered by Reformation, links with England and economic change, and how Scotland influenced the development of the modern world.

This event will be a concise, lively, and at times opinionated account of Scottish history, politics, society, religion, and culture – both past and present.

Carnegie Library, 12 Main Street, Ayr KA8 8EB Tel: 01292 286385
Free event, but booking required

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Saturday 25 June, 2.30pm – 3.30pm
Cyber Centre, Carnegie Library, Ayr, KA8 8EB

Urban Detectives research Scotland’s towns and cities, discover hidden stories of everyday places and contribute this ‘missing history’ to the National Record of the Historic Environment.

This free event is suitable for heritage newcomers.  Booking in advance is essential.

For more information and to book visit:


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History Fair

Fascinated by the past and wanting to learn more? Looking for something different to do at the weekend? Join us at this year’s South Ayrshire’s History Fair on Saturday 4 June 2016 at the Walker Halls in Troon.

We have a full programme of informative talks featuring respected guest speakers. Tickets start at just £3 per talk up to £10 for the whole day and are available from Carnegie LibraryTroon Library or at the Walker Halls on the day.

Our speakers for the day are

Frances Wilkins, Lecturer and scholar, author of 30 titles on Scottish smuggling and the Scottish slave trade

Tom Barclay, Local Studies Librarian, South Ayrshire Council

Chris Whatley, Emeritus Professor of Scottish History, University of Dundee

Thomas Rees, Rathmell Archaeology Ltd.


9.00am – Registration

9.45am – Councillor Bill Grant

Chairman – Dauvit Broun

10.00am  “The Smuggling Coast from Stranraer to Girvan” Frances Wilkins

11.00am  “Ayrshire before history: a personal view of early sites and their archaeology”  Tom Barclay


2.00pm  “Men at War: securing Burns’ memory in the West of Scotland, c 1859-c1896 (the race between the towns of the region to have a statue of Robert Burns)” Chris Whatley

3.00pm  “A Founder’s Workshop from the Bronze Age? Excavations from the shadow of Hunterston”  Thomas Rees

Booking Forms
Booking forms are available online to print off and post to us.

Download and print our History Fair Leaflet (pdf)


In addition to the talks, between 9am and 4.30pm a number of stalls will also be attending offering advice and guidance on family history, tracing your roots, exploring local and national history as well as a specialist Scottish bookshop. Admission to the stalls is free.

History Fair Enquiries
If you have any enquiries about the History Fair or would like to make a booking, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Jean Inness
South Ayrshire History Fair,
Library HQ, John Pollock Centre, Mainholm Road,
Ayr KA8 0QD
Tel: 01292 559318 or 272231 Fax: 01292 616301
Email: localhistory@south-ayrshire.gov.uk or jean.inness@south-ayrshire.gov.uk

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This exhibition, on display at Rozelle House from 25th March to 23rd May, provides a glimpse into sport in Ayrshire, now and in the past. How did these sports start? Who played and where?

Why were these sports chosen? The exhibition team chose these five based on prior contacts and knowledge. Each to us seems to be particularly Scottish and they are strong locally. They appear on the international scene and in the consciousness of Scotland. We could have chosen others.

The five sports are curling, football, golf, ice hockey and rugby. The exhibition team have worked with individuals, organisations and sport clubs to be able to show this unique and diverse group of artefacts and images. Our grateful thanks to everyone who helped and loaned artefacts.


Curling’s origins are not well understood. Stones, channel stanes and ‘loofies’ exist from the early 16th Century and it is recorded throughout the 17th Century. From the 18th Century onwards it is a popular and flourishing sport. In Ayrshire, Robert Burns creates an image in verse of curling which is readily recognisable today.


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Ayr & Alloway Curlers at Rozelle Curling Pond


The game has changed a great deal, though. In the past, the vanquished often provided the dinner and drinks after the match.

In curling players meet as equals on the ice in a spirit of boisterous yet sociable competition, often lubricated by a generous tot of whisky. In an agrarian society it was played during the fallow season when Scotland’s farmers and shepherds were free to pursue it at will.

From the mid-19th Century, the birth of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club and a growth in dedicated curling ponds, such as at Rozelle, began the process of regularising curling and transforming it into the sport we know today.


The two senior Ayrshire football clubs are Ayr United FC and Kilmarnock FC. Many interesting and intriguing artefacts and photographs are on show here. The Kilmarnock Charity Cup is here reunited with its plinth for the first time in 100 years!


Spot the ball!

Ayr United or ‘The Honest Men’ play at Somerset Park. Probably Ayr’s most famous manager is Ally MacLeod who took charge in 1966. He guided Ayr back to the top division and took them to a Scottish and a league cup semi-final. He moved to Aberdeen FC in 1975 and appointed manager of the national team in 1977.

Kilmarnock Football Club, the oldest professional club in Scotland, were Scottish League Division 1 champions in 1964/65, Scottish Cup winners 1919/1920 and 1997 and League Cup winners in 2012. Commonly known as ‘Killie’, they play home games at Rugby Park.

Along with the two professional clubs in Ayrshire there are 24 Junior football clubs who compete in their own leagues and play for the Scottish Junior Cup every year.


Golf is known to have been played in Scotland since at least 1457, when golf and football were banned as distractions from archery practice.

The earliest known equipment was long-nosed woods, crude irons and featherie balls. Play was often on common land, especially seaside links. These have evolved, and the rules with them, to the high tech equipment used today. Examples of historical equipment, some associated with key players, are on show.

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Girvan Golf Club

Within South Ayrshire are three Open Championship courses. Prestwick Golf Club founded the Open Championship and ran it until 1870. Prestwick no longer hosts the Open, but remains a major golfing venue. Troon hosted its first Open Championship in 1923 and Turnberry in 1977.

The rise of the railways in Britain was key to the growth of golf. In 1910 the route from Glasgow to Ayr was dubbed ‘The Golfers’ Line’ by Rail and Travel Monthly – it served 14 links courses.

Ice Hockey

An exclusive pastime of the wealthy in the 19th Century, British ice hockey became an extremely popular spectator sport through the 1930s and 1950s. In Britain, the sport has had several periods of boom and bust. Glory days were triggered by the national team’s Olympic triumph in 1936. Bust came in the early 1960s, when the sport almost died. There was a period of struggle, before regaining popular appeal over the last 40 years in an era of new arenas and European competition.

The story of ice hockey in Ayr is equally varied. Ice Hockey’s sense of community is important. Still a minority sport in the UK, it is very much a major sport in localised areas, like Ayr.

The first Ayrshire team was Doonside, with their first match at Crossmyloof in 1929. Ayr’s first ice rink opened in 1939. It closed in 1972, but the sport continued at the Limekiln Road Rink. In 1996 ‘The Centrum’ rink opened to a capacity crowd, but this was not to last. The Ayr Scottish Eagles relocated to Glasgow’s Braehead Arena in 2002, leaving Ayr without a hockey team. Sadly ‘The Centrum’ closed in 2004 and now the sport is kept alive in Ayr by the commitment of the junior and recreational players back at the Limekiln Road Rink.


Ayr Rugby F.C. began on the evening of Wednesday 22nd September 1897, at a meeting in the Kings Arms Hotel, High Street, Ayr. A Secretary, Treasurer and Captain were appointed, along with a Selection Committee. Northfield Park was settled on as the playing fields.

The inaugural match took place on Monday 27th September 1897 versus Glasgow Second XV of Clydesdale. The final score of 0-8 to the visitors was deemed ‘a satisfactory start’.

The sport became quickly established and just 4 weeks later a Second XV was formed.

From that site, and from that time of only 162 members, the Club has grown in both strength and accolades. They were League Winners 2008 – 2009, 2012 – 2013, Cup Winners 2010, 2011 & 2013 and Bill McLaren Shield Winners 2013.

Since 2011 they have offered a Rugby Academy, which works to support and develop the talent within the youth teams. Ayr Ladies was formed in 2012 and now competes in the BT Women’s National League Division 1.

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