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Staff at the Scottish and Local History Library, Carnegie Library, Ayr welcomed Ayrshire Bed & Breakfast Association members (and some of their guests!) on a special tour through their local and family history resources – maps, newspapers, printed books and photos, to mention a few. Designed to inform B&B owners on the sources we hold, so they can pass this onto their guests, we were delighted by their enthusiasm and interest!

“A wonderful resource on our doorstep”

The Scottish and Local History Library is located on the first floor of the Carnegie Library in Ayr. We hold a wealth of free resources for anyone who is researching their family tree or studying the local history of the area. We have dedicated, friendly, experienced staff who are happy to assist and give advice on all aspects of your research. We aim to help customers bring family names, dates and places to life.

The department currently has two PCs connected to the Internet available for Local and Family History research.  Customers can also access online Births, Marriages and Deaths Archive Search from the Ayr Advertiser: 1803-1835Ancestry Library Edition and Find My Past free. Customers can also use their own devices by taking advantage of our unlimited free Wi-Fi access.

If you have any questions or would like further information please contact us localhistory@south-ayrshire.gov.uk or tel: 01292 272231.

 

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If you are on our mailing list you should shortly be receiving our booking leaflet, if you are not on the list you can either request to be added by emailing us at localhistory@south-ayrshire.gov.uk or downloading the form online to book your talk or stall.

Stalls confirmed so far

Tickets

Tickets for the speaker’s programme start at just £3 per talk up to £10 for the whole day. Tickets are available from Carnegie Library, Troon Library or at Walker Halls on the day.

For the full programme of the days events or further information please visit the History Fair 2013 page of this website.

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Arrangements for our 2013 South Ayrshire History & Family History Fair on Saturday 1st June are well underway with three of the four speakers already booked.

They are:

Professor Dauvit Brown of the University of Glasgow, whose talk will feature new information about William Wallace, and a previously unknown letter of Robert the Bruce which he found just before Christmas in the British Library.

Tom Barclay, our local history librarian, who will be speaking about the 1263 war with Norway which culminated in the Battle of Largs, and its significance for Ayrshire and Scottish history. (This year is the 750th anniversary.)

Chris Paton, the well known and respected genealogist, who will be explaining how to research Irish Family History on the Internet. His new book on this matter will be published in March.

As usual, the Fair will be held in the Walker Halls, Troon, from 10am until 4pm. Further details will be appearing on the Blog in due course.

History Fair Enquiries

If you have any enquiries that you have 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) 294320 or 294303 Fax: (01292) 619019

Email: localhistory@south-ayrshire.gov.uk or jean.inness@south-ayrshire.gov.uk

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The burgh of Ayr has had a library for many years. The Ayr Library Society was founded in 1762, but it took until 1870 before Ayr ‘s first Public Library was established, inheriting the book stock of other local libraries to its collection. Like its predecessors, the Public Library was privately organised, and financed by subscription: the Public Libraries Act had empowered local authorities to provide a free library service from public funds, provided the ratepayers voted in favour, but in Ayr no such consent was forthcoming. To keep down the subscription fees, money was raised from public lectures and in 1890, the library committee invited the Scottish-American steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (then residing at Cluny Castle near Kingussie) to be one of their speakers. Mr Carnegie declined due to prior commitments, but further correspondence led to an offer from him of £10,000 for a new building if the town would adopt the Public Libraries Act. Posters and handbills urging acceptance were printed, and this time a majority voted for the Act and the plans were made for a new library building.

One of the designs submitted for the new library.

One of the designs submitted for the new library.

This design was submitted by Messrs Morris and Hunter

This design was submitted by Messrs Morris and Hunter

The images above were submitted as part of a competition to design the new library, but the designs were considered too elaborate.

The winning design for Carnegie Library came from the firm of Campbell, Douglas and Morrison of Glasgow.

The winning design for Carnegie Library came from the firm of Campbell Douglas and Morrison of Glasgow.

Built in 1893, the original two-storey building fronting on to Main Street is of red sandstone in late Victorian Renaissance style. If you look closely you can see the front of the building has changed.  The left of the building was originally home to the Carnegie Librarian.  This was closed in 1925 and the exterior was brought into harmony with the rest of the building. It is now home to our computer department.

Until the 1970s' the Local and Family History Library at Carnegie was used as an Art Gallery

Until the 1970s’ the Local and Family History Library at Carnegie was used as an Art Gallery

Garden Street, before the rear library extension.

Garden Street, before the rear library extension.

The downstairs lending area was extended rearwards to Garden Street in 1932, and a further extension at the rear accommodating a spacious lecture room/reference library was designed by the distinguished Ayr firm of James Kennedy Hunter (Hunter himself had died in 1929). This was opened on 22 January 1934 by Flight Lieutenant David McIntyre, who spoke about his pioneer flight over Everest the previous year. (McIntyre would later take a leading role in establishing Prestwick Airport.)

The Librarian and staff of the Carnegie Library in July 1904. Left to right: Miss Gordon; Miss McIIwraith (Senior Assistant); David Duff; Miss Morton and Miss Briggs

The Librarian and staff of the Carnegie Library in July 1904. Left to right: Miss Gordon; Miss McIIwraith (Senior Assistant); David Duff; Miss Morton and Miss Briggs

Mr James Nicol Walker, was well know in Ayr as a photographer. He was frequently seen in the Carnegie Library browsing through a book or scanning newspapers or periodicals.

Mr James Nicol Walker, was well know in Ayr as a photographer. He was frequently seen in the Carnegie Library browsing through a book or scanning newspapers or periodicals.

Do you have any memories about visiting the Carnegie Library in Ayr? If you do we would love to hear from you. Just send us an email: localhistory@south-ayrshire.gov.uk

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Carnegie Library Local History department having a good clean

The staff from the Carnegie Library’s Local History Department have been very busy cleaning and preserving the newspaper archive which is extensive to say the least. This is an ongoing project which will take quite a few months if not well into next year to complete. The papers have to be cleaned and then boxed up and labelled in order to better preserve the original copies. Protective clothing and masks have been worn when dealing with the older bound volumes which have mould and dust on the bindings. The basement area below the Non-Fiction lending department is also being cleaned and shelving rearranged to accommodate the newspapers once they have been boxed.

The local newspapers are available to view on microfilm/fiche in the Local History Library with the earliest paper dating back to 1803.

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A fascinating snapshot of Scotland during the First World War and a major new family history resource

A detailed picture of wartime Scotland is revealed with the release of details from the Valuation Rolls for the year 1915-16, via the ScotlandsPeople website.

The rolls have been made searchable online for the first time, allowing genealogists, local historians and other researchers to view images of entries in the rolls, fully searchable by name or address.

Available from the Local History Library at Carnegie

ScotlandsPeople Vouchers 

  • Starter vouchers £7.00 for 60 credits
  • Top ups £5.60 for 30 credits

These vouchers can be used in the library and at home and enables users to access records for the whole of Scotland online.

FindMyPast.co.uk – Free access to Scottish Census at Carnegie

New! Scottish Census 1841 – 1891 available free in the Local History Library at Carnegie, Ayr.  Please ask staff for free access to Find My Past.

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