While looking through old documents, it is almost inevitable that the reader's attention will be drawn from the intended target to other articles. The reports below were found in old Ardrossan and Saltcoats Heralds. Although they have no football content, they may be of interest.

A new year incident of an amusing character has just come to light. It appears that a well-know citizen residing in Princes Street (shown below in the mid 1910s) had just honoured the hoary custom of sitting 'the auld year oot and the new year in' and having seen a guest to bed was himself about to retire when he was alarmed by the sound of pattering feet above. Fearing that the noise came from the guest and apprehensive of the cause, the host sought the bed-chamber of the visitor where he found everything right but still the noise continued. I came from above. Down the chimney came the wail "Where am I? I'm wan'ered.". Host and visitor had recourse to a garret window whence they beheld a man on the top of the house. The police were called in but when Sergeant Allan arrived, the nocturnal roof-walker had somehow managed to reach the ground and made off down the garden which abuts on Princes Lane.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 10 January 1896

The Glasgow and South Western Railway employees at Ardrossan hold their annual gathering on Friday 14 February.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 31 January 1896

On Friday evening last (24 January 1896), a number of townsmen sat down to supper in Mrs Fleming's, spirit merchant, Glasgow Street, Ardrossan in commemoration of the birthday of the poet Burns and also the centenary of his death. An excellent supper was purveyed by Mrs Fleming in grand style, the tables being decorated with plants and the Scotch haggis was introduced 'reekin'' with all pomp and splendour. Song and sentiment followed, The Immortal Memory being accepted with all honours. A very happy and pleasant evening was spent, the company separating when few were standing at the corner to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. We are pleased to note that an interest in such meetings is taken even though it be by but a few. Nevertheless, this should not be the case, especially with people living in such an important town as Ardrossan and a town in the county where the poet was born. A properly constituted Burns Club would add not a little to the credit of the town.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 31 January 1896
There were references to Ardrossan Burns Club and Burns Suppers in the Heralds of 27 January 1877, 5 January 1878, 2 February 1878, 4 February 1882, 10 February 1893, 21 January 1898 and 15 February 1901.

On Saturday (8 February 1896), a seal was captured in the Eglinton Dock. It was first observed in the morning and an exciting chase was kept up all forenoon. About two o'clock, it was shot by Captain Thomas Aguirre of the Spanish steamer Elena, then lying in the dock. When hauled on board, it was found that the seal had sustained three bullet wounds on the head. It measured four feet three inches from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail and two feet six inches in girth at the thickest part. It weighed sixty pounds.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 14 February 1896

The Ardrossan Bowling Club (shown below in 2010) is on the lookout for a new greenkeeper.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 21 February 1896

In Ardrossan Evangelical Union Church (shown below as the building on the left with the red door in 1974) on Sabbath evening (16 February 1896), the Reverend Mr Macgill preached a temperance sermon to young men.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 21 February 1896

Parish Councillor Harvey, Ardrossan, thinks there ought to be an office in Ardrossan for the transaction of the Parish Council business. Most Ardrossan folks think so too. To the aged poor, Saltcoats seems a good bit away.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 21 February 1896

The congregation of Ardrossan Independent Church, at a meeting held on Wednesday evening (4 March 1896), agreed to purchase one of the cottages in course of erection in Eglinton Street (now Eglinton Road and shown below in the early 1900s) by Mr Henry Wallace, joiner, to be used as a manse.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 6 March 1896

The above-named squads again journeyed to Saint Enoch's on Saturday last (29 February 1896) to decide this contest. The time appointed for beginning operations four o'clock. Both teams were forward in good time and on the names being read over, they proceeded a little before time to the respective rooms, Greenock to the oral room and Ardrossan to the practical room. Here they spent half an hour unravelling doctors' puzzles. They then changed rooms and when time was up they retired, discussing the chances of success. When recalled, they were informed that Ardrossan held the honours by one and half points, having scored 158 while Greenock had 156 and a half. The teams then shook hands with one another and Professor Clark congratulated Mr Nisbet, captain of the winning team on his ability as an ambulance student. We understand that a concert is likely to take place in the Assembly Rooms on Thursday next when the cup will be handed over for the year.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 6 March 1896


            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 13 March 1896

Mr William Milne, Ardrossan, was one of the successful candidates at a shorthand teachers' examination held in London in January by the National Phonographic Society, the results of which were published in the Phonetic Journal of Saturday last (7 March 1896).
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 13 March 1896

Who is responsible for South Beach Road (shown below in 2011)? Surely it is not intended it should be left in its miserable condition. Neither street nor the unfinished footpaths are by any means favourable for vehicles or pedestrians, particularly in wet weather and for the credit of the Burgh, something ought to be done to improve matters and to give this road the appearance at least of being passable in all weathers.
11 March 1896

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 13 March 1896

Important alterations and extensions have been begun on Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church (shown below in 2002) which involved the completion of the chancel. Only the choir of the chancel was built when the church was erected and the choir has hitherto been used as the Sacrarium. An addition of seventeen feet will be made to the chancel and a new organ is to be erected in the present organ chamber. The contractors are - Mr Caldwell, Saltcoats, mason; Mr Henry Wallace, Ardrossan, joiner; Messrs John Hogarth, Ardrossan, slaters and plumbers; Mr Stobie, Irvine, plasterer and Mr Coombe, Glasgow, heating. The work is expected to be completed and the church reopened towards the end of June or the beginning of July.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 20 March 1896

At the Justice of the Peace Court in Ardrossan on Monday (16 March 1896), three vagrants were charged with having slept in a bothy at Auchenharvie Colliery without permission. Their defence was that they wanted a 'doss' and they emptied an eight ton waggon or dross to enjoy this luxury. They were convicted and fined ten shillings or seven days. They went to prison.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 20 March 1896

Ardrossan Free Church (shown below as Saint John's Church in 1913) congregation contemplate the introduction of a pipe organ. At present, they have only an American organ but a considerable degree of piping was done on Wednesday night (25 March 1896) notwithstanding.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 27 March 1896

On Monday morning (30 March 1896), while workmen were engaged in the formation of a drain at Seton Street, Ardrossan (shown below in 2002), the embankment at one side gave way falling on one of the men. He, at the time, was making an excavation in the side near the bottom, this being the cause of the accident. He was severely bruised about the lower limbs and had to be conveyed home to Kilwinning in a cab.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 3 April 1896

Mr William Green, Scottish champion and a Glasgow gentleman, an amateur, gave a billiard entertainment in the Conservative Club, Ardrossan, on the evening of Thursday (27 March 1896) of last week. The game was 600 up all in, the amateur receiving 300 points. There was a large attendance of members of the club and friends from Kilwinning, Stevenston, Saltcoats and Ardrossan. The game lasted a little over and hour and a half. The amateur led with breaks of 54, 40 and several 20s carefully played. It looked that Mr Green was having his work out out for him. The Scottish champion, however, was determined not to be the loser so he pulled himself together with the result that a magnificent display of science was witnessed by the onlookers. Mr Green's breaks finished at 583, his opponent being some points short of that score. The amateur then took charge of the balls and ran out the game. During the game, Mr Green's facility with 'nursery cannons' was frequently applauded as well as the amateur's scoring from the spot. Mr Robb, president of the club, proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Green and his friend for their great kindness to the club and expressed the hope that they might have the pleasure of a similar exhibition at a not far distant date. The vote of thanks was cordially responded to.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 3 April 1896

At the annual meeting of the above Club, the following office bearers were elected - honorary president, Thomas Cochrane, member of parliament (shown below in about 1900); president, Mr J Stevens; vice-president, Mr H Gemmell; captain, J Stirrat; sub-captain, J Baird and bugler, George Granger. The first run of the season took place on Wednesday evening (8 April 1896) to Kilwinning, passing off successfully. This year a strong effort is being made to augment the club and we hope all cyclists in the district will unite in giving it their support.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 10 April 1896

Ardrossan Bowling Club subscription has been fixed at 17s 6d for this season - an advance of half a crown.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 17 April 1896

Seats have been provided along the banking between the Caledonian Railway and the North Shore, Ardrossan (shown below in the early 1910s and 2004). They are innocent of backs. The locals or the visiting swain my now sit here and tell his tale in the ear of his listening fair one in full view as such eminently inspiring things as outlets to drainage pipes and one of the ugliest bits of wasteland on the Caledonian system. Can't the Commissioners work the Railway Company or the Harbour Company or both combined? It's years past time something should be done.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 17 April 1896

A newsboy, going on board the steamer Duke of Portland in Ardrossan Harbour (shown below in the early 1900s) on Saturday morning (25 April 1896) fell from the gangway into the water. He was fished out with a rope, inverted for a few minutes, then let loose again.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 1 May 1896

On Wednesday afternoon (28 April 1896), a horse belonging to the Caledonian Railway Company bolted in Barr Street, Ardrossan (shown below in the mid 1910s), breaking the shaft of the lorry to which it was yoked. There was nothing in the lorry but pigs at the time and the pigs were dead.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 1 May 1896

The other Sabbath day (28 April 1896), a football match was carried on in the public park and if the gamins - for real arabs they were if dress is the criterion - did not know the rules of the Sabbath, they knew most of the rules of football. Last Sunday (3 May 1896), there was another case of Sabbath-breaking which took the form of swinging. The exhibition was not calculated to create the impression that the participants were making the best suit of the day of rest.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 8 May 1896

On Monday evening (11 May 1896), in the hall of Ardrossan New Parish Church, Mr Hugh Littlejohn (shown right), well-known and esteemed as a townsman and valued in the congregation in the new Parish Church as a neighbour and genial secretary and treasurer was presented with a handsome gold watch and chain and also with a beautiful silver teaset for Mrs Littlejohn. Mr Littlejohn leaves Ardrossan for Troon. The presentation took place at a meeting held in the church hall early in the evening at which ex-Bailie Macdonald, South Crescent, presided. Notwithstanding the early hour - five o'clock - there was a good attendance, the ladies of the congregation and also gentlemen who had been associated with Mr Littlejohn in his work being present in goodly number.
This is the opening paragraph of a longer report.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 15 May 1896

The 5 am train, Ardrossan to Glasgow, is to be stopped at Johnstone for the convenience of the workmen.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 15 May 1896

Building round the old quarry, Ardrossan, proceeds briskly. Mr Boyd, builder, has taken off feus between the quarry (shown below as disused ground in the early 1900s) and the houses already built in Eglinton Street. Mr H Wallace contemplates building nine cottages similar the very handsome buildings he has already erected on the opposite side of Eglinton Street. Smith Brothers are rapidly populating the new street in the same neighbourhood. Could not one of the builders not literally run the quarry to earth by building upon it provided it is first filled up?

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 22 May 1896

Towards the end of last week, a horse employed in the unloading of a boat in Ardrossan Harbour backed over the quay wall. After being expeditiously relieved of the carts to which it was yoked, the animal swam across the dock to a pile of sleepers and was lifted ashore none the worse.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 22 May 1896

It was at the examination of an ambulance class in Ardrossan. Examiner to student - "Now, suppose you formed one of a party in the heart of Africa with no medical attendant within thousands of miles and a member of the party got his leg broken, what would you do?". Student, promptly - "Send for Doctor Jameson.".
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 22 May 1896

There was a baby fire in the Ardrossan Foundry on Saturday afternoon (16 May 1896).
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 22 May 1896

The Ardrossan Volunteers had their annual drink of May milk last Saturday (16 May 1896).
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 22 May 1896

There is a boom in the cycle trade in Birmingham just now. Ardrossan has contributed largely to that boom.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 22 May 1896

Compared with the corresponding period of last year, Ardrossan Harbour shows for the period of this year to date, an increase in tonnage equal to twenty-five percent.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 22 May 1896

The motion lying before the School Board of Ardrossan in the name of Mr Shearer ought to commend itself to the thoughtful consideration of the Board. It proposes the institution of a central truant school. This question of defaulters is the most serious and perplexing which School Boards have at present to face. It is quite common to see half a dozen boys disappear up country and after return an irate parent with one of the culprits by the ear heading the procession. It makes one contemplate the future of those boys with serious apprehension and think more kindly of the fathers some of us have known, who with a familiar text on their lips, a stout birch in one hand and a squirming boy in the other discharged the duties of outraged fatherhood with a solemn yet forceful dignity that left an impression both on the body and on the memory.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 29 May 1896

On Tuesday evening (26 May 1896), Doctor Macdonald, Ardrossan, was waited upon at his residence by a deputation of students in the Ambulance Class recently closed at Ardrossan Caledonian station. The deputation consisted of Mr Hepburn, captain of the Ambulance Corps; Mr George Steel and Mr George Nicol, coal agent. Mr Hepburn, in the name of the Corps, presented Doctor Macdonald with six volumes of well-known recent and valuable books on medicine. Mr Hepburn accompanied the gifts with an eloquent expression of Doctor Macdonald's popularity with the class. Doctor Macdonald, replying, said he had expressly stipulated at the beginning of the session that no presentation should mark its close but gratefully acknowledged the gift.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 29 May 1896

Ardrossan gas is likely to be reduced in price probably by five pence per thousand feet.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 5 June 1896

Mr William Comrie, Ardrossan, is the winner of the second prize - £5 5s - in connection with the essay competition held under the auspices of the Institute of Bankers in Scotland.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 5 June 1896
William Comrie also had success in the 1897 competition.

Constable Malcolm Hendry of the Central Division, Glasgow, is an Ardrossan man and is considered a decided acquisition to the athleticism of the force. He is an all-round athlete of unusual strength and dexterity.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 12 June 1896

There is a reasonable prospect of the open quarry at Eglinton Street, Ardrossan, being filled up but the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway company does not consider that the waste ground to the north of the railway station is suitable for a promenade. Perhaps it is too much to expect a railway company to see that ground on which they purpose laying down rails is suitable for any other purpose whatever.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 12 June 1896

Captain Peter Sharp of Ardrossan forms one of the portraits in a new number of the Strand magazine in connection with an article on heroes of the Albert Medal. The story of the rescue effected by Captain Sharp and John McIntosh is well-known to our readers.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 12 June 1896

Mr C J Shearer, Ardrossan, contributes a complete story entitled Death In The Alps to the July number of a Blackwood's magazine.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 19 June 1896

On Saturday last (13 June 1896), there were 2000 Bridgeton Cooperators and 1050 Paisley Sabbath Schoolchildren on holiday in Ardrossan.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 19 June 1896

Pure water is much sought after in the lower reaches of the town of Ardrossan. Two cases are reported in which the liquid presently supplied was so thick as to choke the delivery pipes.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 26 June 1896

One of the oddest midnight scenes Ardrossan has furnished for a long time was witnessed by a solitary pedestrian on Sunday night (21 June 1896). A long line of tramps - eleven men - nearly the same number of women and a big batch of children - with an occasional policeman, three in all, sandwiched in between fell slowly down Glasgow Street. The eleven men appeared at the Burgh Court on Monday morning where it transpired that they had been lodging in a cattle-shed at Chapelhill Farm (shown below in 1974) without permission. They were each sentenced to pay a fine of seven shillings and sixpence or go to prison for five days.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 26 June 1896

When the Reverend Donald Craig made his first appearance at the Ardrossan Presbytery on Tuesday last (30 June 1896), his entrance was signalled by a hearty round of applause from his fellow presbyters.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 3 July 1896

In addition to the entrance by the gate which continues to be left open at the quarry hole, Ardrossan, there is now a gap in the fence wide enough to admit half-a-dozen urchins abreast.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 3 July 1896

Preparations are being made for electricity for lighting the whole of Ardrossan Harbour by electricity.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 10 July 1896

Visitors should know that Ardrossan possesses a bathing house for gentlemen and also one for ladies. The boats for hire at The Inches (shown below in 2003) are excellent.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 10 July 1896

Glasgow Street, Ardrossan (shown below in the early 1900s), is improving its appearance. The new premises, the better pavements, the freshening of the United Presbyterian Church and plants on certain window-sills have a brightening effect. If the last-named feature were more frequent, the monotony of the street would be somewhat diversified.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 10 July 1896

At Ardrossan Burgh Court on Friday (3 July 1896), a man was fined thirty shillings or twenty-one days for assaulting a lodging-house keeper and her daughter. At the same court, on the same day, the same man was fined five guineas with an alternative of two months imprisonment for assaulting a policeman by hitting him on the nose.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 10 July 1896

A driver in the employment of Ardrossan Cooperative Society was at Monday's (20 July 1896) Burgh Court convicted on a charge of furious driving and fined ten shillings and sixpence.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 24 July 1896

The decision of Ardrossan Commissioners to extend the drainage pipe at Montgomerie Pier is meeting with the approval it deserves. The extension follows naturally and necessarily upon the abolition of ashpits and the adoption of water closets in the town.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 24 July 1896

On Tuesday night (21 July 1896), about ten o'clock, a seaman fell from a steamer coming into the dock. A shipmate jumped in after him to render assistance. Pilot Melvin was at hand with a buoy and both men were picked up.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 24 July 1896

A conversation by telephone was engaged in the other day between Ardrossan and London. The atmospheric conditions were good and the messages were agreeably distinct.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 31 July 1896

At Ardrossan Burgh Court on Monday (27 July 1896), a labourer employed by a Saltcoats hirer was convicted under the 381st section, sub-section I of the Burgh Police Act 1892 of plying a horse for hire on South Beach, Ardrossan (shown below in the early 1900s), without having first obtained permission of the magistrates. He was admonished.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 31 July 1896

Wednesday last (29 July 1896) was a holiday among merchants in many parts of the country. On the run from Ardrossan to Stranraer and back, the Glen Sannox was crowded with local merchants and their friends.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7 August 1896

A motion has been tabled in Lodge Neptune Kilwinning Ardrossan number 442 which asks the members to agree to official enquiry being made of their brethren in Lodge Saltcoats and Ardrossan Saint John's Royal Arch number 320 as to whether they feel disposed to consider the question of amalgamation.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7 August 1896

The attention of the Ardrossan authorities is directed to the condition of the road leading from the main road to the bridge which spans the Stanley Burn. It is rough in the extreme and contrasts unfavourably with the portion of the same road under the jurisdiction of the Saltcoats Burgh.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7 August 1896

Commissioner Gray turned on the water at the new filter at Mill Glen, Ardrossan, on Tuesday forenoon (4 August 1896). The new filter doubles the supply from Mill Glen and rids the town of the objectionable necessity of drawing the supply direct from the reservoir when cleaning or repairing has to be performed. Commissioner Gray has been very active in this work.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7 August 1896

Gas in Ardrossan has been reduced by ten pence per thousand feet. The Commissioners deserve hearty commendations.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7 August 1896

A reader reminds us this week that though the administration of Ardrossan Gasworks by the Commissioners has in the past led to the reduction just effected in the price of gas, this would have been impossible but for the able, careful and conscientious management of Mr Galbraith.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 14 August 1896

The Ardrossan Hospital comedy seems likely to end tamely after all. The last act - let us hope it may have few scenes - is a sham fight in which the combatants are four lawyers.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 14 August 1896

The Italian ice-cream man who carries on business in Princes Street, Ardrossan, was fined at Monday's (10 August 1896) Burgh Court for keeping his premises open until 12:20 on Sunday morning.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 14 August 1896

The Marquis of Bute has agreed to become Provost of Rothesay. Ardrossan should make overtures to Lord Eglinton.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 21 August 1896

On Tuesday (18 August 1896), a Kilmaurs lassie accompanied by a male relative from Ardrossan and another friend visited the Horse Island (shown below in 2011). The voyage proved eventful. The fair visitor stumbled, breaking her leg at the ankle. The Ardrossan relative. being an ambulance man, set the injured limb to rights and on the return to civilisation, medical aid was called in.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 21 August 1896

The Ardrossan Cycling Club, which has a membership of twenty-six, is desirous of promoting a time race to Gourock and back, a distance of fifty-four miles. A few prizes would be most acceptable.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 28 August 1896

The colossal machine being erected on The Inches, Ardrossan (shown below in 2003) by Messrs Christie is termed a transporter. It will be used in connection with the piling of sleepers. Possibly its main advantage is that it admits of sleepers being piled to a greater height that usual and with less danger than by the ordinary method.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 28 August 1896

Saltcoats and Ardrossan Burghs are now united and some day will be under one jurisdiction. One larger area will cost less in proportion to govern than two smaller separate areas. Gas could be supplied cheaper. The permanent officials would be reduced in number and water should also be cheaper. That the two Burghs will be one at no very distant date is a reasonable view to take and not all that Utopian. One difficulty to be faced is the duplicating of the names of streets. At the present moment, this is leading to confusion and annoyance. There is a Caledonia Road off North Crescent, Ardrossan and a Caledonia Road, Saltcoats. Saltcoats Caledonia Road now runs into Ardrossan Burgh and unless this portion is named by the Ardrossan Commissioners, say Sorbie Road, which they are entitled to do, confusion might be worse confounded. The Town Clerks might consult each other when new streets are named. Might I draw the attention of the Ardrossan Burgh Commissioners to the state of the road under their charge leading from South Crescent to Montgomerie Crescent. Their part has not been made up to anything but a credit to them. A stone crossing would also be an advantage.
Yours truly
Alexander Wood
3 September 1896

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 4 September 1896

An address upon mission work among seamen will, as announced, be given in Ardrossan United Presbyterian Church Hall tonight (11 September 1896). We bespeak for the Reverend T S Hatfield, association secretary, a large attendance.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 September 1896

Montgomerie Street, Ardrossan (shown below in 2003), as far up as Barr Lane, is closed against vehicular traffic just now in consequence of the new pipe drain which is about tot replace the old built one. The change has not come too soon.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 September 1896

For the success of Ardrossan Dog Show last Saturday (12 September 1896), much credit is due to the committee and office bearers of the society. Courtesy and good temper failed no-one during the exceedingly trying time.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 September 1896

The extensive dairy and sheep farms of Boghead and Welltress on the Auchinleck house estate have been let on lease to Mr Andrew Bickett, Knockrivoch, Ardrossan.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 2 October 1896

The classes in technical education were opened in Ardrossan Academy (shown below as the ruins of Saint Peter's School in 2002) on Tuesday (15 September 1896). The attendance was not so large as it might have been. Every young mechanic in the district should make a point to join the class. There is still plenty of time.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 2 October 1896

Sergeant David Allan and two policemen made a raid on an alleged shebeen in Princes Lane, Ardrossan, on Monday morning last (5 October 1896). The raid was completely successful. The accused will appear at a special Justice of the Peace Court today (9 October 1896).
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 9 October 1896

Last night (8 October 1896), Mr James Watson, grocer's assistant, Ardrossan was entertained to supper by a number of friends and presented a meerschaum pipe, tobacco pouch and cigar case on the occasion of his approaching marriage. Captain John Kerr, wine and spirit merchant, made the presentation. In the course of a humorous and cordial speech, Captain Kerr commended Mr Watson on the pluck and prudence he displayed in taking the step he contemplated. In handing over the gifts, he said that he had no doubt the fragrant weed had no doubt beguiled the lonely hours of Mr Watson's bachelorhood and he had as little doubt that it would be the solace to which he would have recourse after the occasional, very occasional, breezes that were believed to lend variety to married bliss. He concluded by expressing all good wishes to Mr Watson and his future partner in life. Mr Watson made an eminently suitable reply.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 9 October 1896

Now is the season for cross-county runners and in connection with the recently-formed Ardrossan Football Club, we understand that a Harriers' Club has been organised. This latter venture in new to the district but we see no reason why it should not find favour with some of our local athletes. The Club has several members enrolled and as these cross-country youths have got into harness. One or two short runs have already been made. During the season the members of the club might arrange for an inter-run with some neighbouring club. An impetus might thereby be given to this kind of sport and who knows that some of those cross-country runners might yet earn distinction on the racing path. We understand the promoters of the above clubs purpose holding a concert on an early date.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 16 October 1896

Constable Smith of Ardrossan has been removed to Largs and his place taken by Constable Macpherson.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 16 October 1896

The Parish Council office and rooms at 55 Glasgow Street, Ardrossan will shortly be opened for the transaction of business. It is said there is to be a 'house-heating'.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 16 October 1896

In a table giving the speed of trains, the run between Ardrossan and Paisley stands second highest at 58.2 miles per hour, a speed only exceeded by the run between Perth and Forfar which is 60.9 miles per hour.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 16 October 1896


            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 23 October 1896

In South Crescent, Ardrossan (shown below in the early 1900s) on Monday evening (19 October 1896), two girls were observed in the enjoyment of a social whiff at a cigarette. A correspondent requests that we should commend the modest clay pipe as both healthier and cheaper.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 23 October 1896

Four years ago in 1892, when the New Eglinton Dock was opened for traffic, as sketch was given of the origin of the town and growth of the harbour. The data then embodied need not be repeated. Ten years hence, the hundredth year will no doubt be celebrated with becoming honours. Today, we celebrate the jubilee of the Burgh! The proposal to erect 'the town or village of Ardrossan and places adjacent in the county of Ayr into a Burgh of Barony for paving, lighting and cleansing the same, for establishing a police therein, and for other purposes relating thereto' originated with Doctor McFadzean whose portrait hands in the Town Hall (shown below in the early 1890s) and a monument (shown below as MacFadzean's Monument in 2006) to whose memory stands on the Cannon Hill. He had come to reside in the place and when he died on 8 January 1849, aged sixty, the poor of Ardrossan and neighbourhood mourned the loss of a friend who had professionally visited their sick and dying and the whole community a resident who had shown undaunting zeal in the promotion of those measures and institutions which had for their object the moral and religious welfare of the inhabitants of the town of his adoption. He was associated with the promoters - indeed was the principal promoter - in the erection in 1844 of the New Parish Church of Ardrossan and to Mrs McFadzean, the town was indebted for the Female School of Industry, erected in 1846 in Glasgow Street 'with the view of promoting education amongst girls and young boys, children of the poor in the town of Ardrossan'. The proposal to erect the town into a Burgh was opposed, as all such proposals are still unfortunately, opposed on the pleas that rates would be levied and local burdens increased. The leader of the opposition was John Barr, afterwards Provost Barr, who being a large employer of labour, was able to evoke a great deal of public feeling but the promoters made out a good case before the Parliamentary Committee and having the support of the Earl of Eglinton, the Act sought for received the royal assent on 16 July 1846. The Act was limited to thirty-one years form its passing so far as related to police purposes and when these lapsed in 1877, the provisions of the Police and Improvement Act were adopted. In this connection, it is of interest to note that Ardrossan was, so far as we know, the first place that had for Municipal purposes, a household franchise. An extract from Clause four is 'that the right of electing and being elected Members of Council in the said Burgh shall be vested in all Persons who are Tenants and Occupiers or Owners or Life Renters either in their own Right or in the Right of their wives of Heritable Subjects within the limits of this Act, liable to be assessed under the provisions of this Act of a Yearly Rent or Value of Five Pounds or upwards'. When the extension of the Franchise for Parliamentary elections was being discussed, Mr Craufurd of Auchenames, Member of Parliament for the Ayr Burghs, called attention to the clause and the powers it gave and was told that it was passed by an overlook, the Municipal qualification being always the same as that for the election of Members of Parliament. Defeated in Parliament, the opposing party determined on capturing the Commission Board, an easy matter when it is considered that shipbuilding was the chief industry in the place . The first election took place on the first Tuesday of November 1846 and the voting placed the following at the head of the poll - John Barr, James Willock, William Fullerton, Adam Barrie, Peter Barclay, William Ford junior, Archibald Russell, John King and James Shearer - all good men for the office. Clause six of the Act provided that the Sheriff should be the returning officer at the election and also the declaration of acceptance or declinature of office should be given on the second lawful day thereafter. At a meeting on 6 November 1846, the following were elected to Municipal offices: John Barr -Provost, James Willock and William Fullerton - Senior and Junior Bailies, Adam Barrie - Treasurer and James O Mack -Town Clerk.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

It is interesting at this landmark in the history of the Burgh to recall the steps taken by the first Council to organise its business and as showing the subjects which engaged the attention of the 'Fathers' till 1858, when the foundation stone was laid of the Townhouse, we give a few notes as gleaned from the Council's minute book. The first minute in the Burgh records bears date 5 November 1846 when the newly-elected Councillors were sworn in by the Sheriff. On the day following, there was a meeting when, as a matter of course, the appointment of officials, committees, etc was the chief business transacted. Afterwards, the Town Clerk was instructed to draw up a short memorial and queries in reference to points connected with the Act and submit these to a Glasgow writer of some standing for his opinion. John Gourlay, Gas Manager, was appointed Surveyor of the Burgh and instructed to proceed forthwith 'to make up a rental of the Burgh'. James Willock, Adam Barrie, Archibald Russell, Peter Barclay and William Fullerton were appointed a Standing Committee. In addition to other things, 'the Standing Committee were requested to survey the Burgh and ascertain the state of the pavements, lanes and thoroughfares and to report the same to next meeting'. Pavements then, as now, seem to have been a burning question. Amongst the first acts the Commissioners performed was to take over the street lighting and an offer from the Gas Company to light the street lamps, charging at the rate of seven shillings per lamp was accepted. At a very early stage also, the Burgh authorities insisted on kerb-stones being put down as 'boundaries of pavements in lanes'. From minute of that meeting held on 7 December 1846, it appears that the Clerk had issued notices to proprietors in terms of the report of the Standing Committee. From subsequent minutes, it appears that one proprietor refused compliance whereupon the Commissioners, after due exhortation to which he appears to have paid no heed, had the work done at his expense. The taxed accounts of the expenses connected with the procuring of the Burgh Act appears in a minute of this period to have amounted to £1128 9s 5d. To meet this, a loan was negotiated with the Bank of Scotland (whose Ardrossan branch is shown right as the Community Education Office in 2003), Lord Eglinton giving his personal obligation to the bond in addition to that of the Magistrates and Council. At a meeting on 4 January 1847, 'the Clerk produced subscription lists for building at courthouse and Town Hall and the meeting appointed the Provost to wait upon Lord Eglinton with said list and to request his support to the proposed scheme'. At the following meeting, the Clerk was instructed to 'prepare lists of the proprietors with the rents of their properties, showing the subscription payable by each, being one-fourth of a year's rent' and at the meeting immediately following this one, the Clerk stated that the gross amount of the rental was '£4214 14s and supposing each proprietor were to subscribe a fourth of the year's rent, the sum of £1050 8s would be raised in aid of the funds for building the proposed Town Hall and Courthouse'. At a meeting held on 15 September 1847, 9d per £ was fixed as the rate of assessment to be levied for the year from Whitsunday previous to Whitsunday following. At the same meeting, Mr John Hogarth was appointed auditor of accounts. At a meeting held on 11 May 1848, the Commissioners authorised the payment of the first expenses incurred by them in the law courts which amounted to £11. At a meeting held on 3 June of the same year, it was agreed to memorialise the Belfast Chamber of Commerce in favour of a proposal to change the Mail Packet stations from Portpatrick and Donaghadee to Belfast and Ardrossan. At a meeting on 2 October 1848, the Clerk produced and read to the meeting a copy of minutes of meeting of sub-commitee and subscribers to Ardrossan New Parish Church (shown left as Barony Saint John's Church in 2009) from which it appeared that, according to an agreement come to at a meeting in Saltcoats, a statement was prepared 'showing the least amount of territory which would be required for the new parish that would afford the stipend for the minister (128 6s 8d) inclusive of the sum allowed for communion elements'. Mr Fullerton suggested that, in order to do away with all opposition from the heritors and to save delay and expenses, 'the proposed parish should be a Burghal parish which proposal the Town Council could effect by granting a bond to the Court of Session for the stipend and that Lord Eglinton could grant the necessary bond in favour of the Town Council to relieve them of the stipend in all time coming'. The report also bore that Lord Eglinton had agreed to grant the Bond of Relief to the Town Council in the matter above-mentioned. The meeting did not come to any decision on the report. The entry regarding the New Parish Church is under date 27 November when Provost Barr moved that a meeting of electors be called to consider if the Council should grant a bond for the minister's stipend. The motion was agreed to. In the minutes of the meeting held on 14 June 1849, appears the following entry. 'The Clerk read to the meeting a letter from Mr Johnstone, Lord Eglinton's factor to Provost Barr in reference to the plot of ground acquired by the Magistrates and Council from Mr A Russell.'. The plot of ground referred to was that on which the Town Hall and offices are now built. The letter recalled the Commissioners to the fact that nothing had been done in the matter and requested the Commissioners to inform Lord Eglinton whether they still adhered to their original intention or had abandoned it altogether. As a result of this letter, it was agreed to instruct the Clerk to write to Mr Johnstone requesting him to fix a day of meeting the purpose of getting the plot of ground laid off. 'The meeting agreed that the plot of ground should be forty-five feet.'. With reference to the Cannon Hill (shown below right in 2006), the following entry appears in the minutes of the meeting held on 16 August 1849. 'Provost Barr stated that he had called the present meeting in consequence of a conversation he had had with Lord Eglinton at which meeting his lordship had stated his regret that the strangers in Ardrossan this summer had been so few and expressed his willingness to make public walks about the Cannon Hill and other places in the neighbourhood at his lordship's expense provided the Commissioners agree to pay a rent to him for the Cannon Hill. The meeting having taken the Provost's statement into consideration authorised him to arrange with Lord Eglinton in reference to the matter in the best way he could and to report to a future meeting.'. The history of the negotiations preceding the handing over the Cannon Hill to the town are doubtless within the knowledge of many of our local readers. Hugh Chalmers, tenant of Parkhouse, offered to give up the hill on condition that he should retain a right of road through it to his adjoining field and that he should receive the same rent as he paid to Lord Eglinton with the addition of £3 per annum during the remainder of his lease but he afterwards claimed that, in addition to the rent of the curling pond and the right-of-way across the lower part of the park, the sum to be paid to him should be settled by arbitration. The record runs that 'The meeting authorised the Provost to meet with Mr Chalmers and arrange with him.'. There the matter appeared to have rested for some time. The principle of at least partial prohibition in regard to licences seems to have been accepted by the Commissioners. Under date 17 April 1850 occurs the following entry 'The Provost proposed that he and certain other parties should visit the public houses within the Burgh with a view, if possible, to diminish their number and restrict the hours during which they should be kept open to which the meeting agreed.'. What was done in the matter does not appear but in a subsequent minute it is recorded the Provost brought under the notice of the Commissioners 'the propriety of warning the innkeepers and other retailers of spirits and other liquors within the Burgh' against supplying liquor to lunatics, one of whom is specially mentioned by name, or persons under age. When the late Joseph McCulloch was the only officer, it was the custom to call him in and request him to report on the how the public houses were conducted. One of the functions of the Commissioners which now belongs to the Magistrates appears in the following entry - the first of the kind - under date 14 May 1850. 'It was stated to the meeting that it had been called in consequence of a breach of the peace which had been committed in the Burgh last night. After some discussion, the meeting agreed to watch the proceedings of parties who may commit a breach of the peace tonight and thereafter to take steps to get the special constables organised.' Concerning what further happened, no record is left to posterity. About the same time, complaint began to be made about the number of beggars in the Burgh. No notice was taken of the matter until 8 January 1851 under which date the following entry appears. 'The Clerk was instructed to answer said letter and to state that under existing circumstances it was impossible to remedy the evil complained of until lock-up houses be erected.' and in the meantime the Commissioners hoped the writer of the letter would not press the matter. Rigorous orders against trespassers on the 'public' walks on the Castle Hill were issued and a hint was conveyed to the watchman in the following terms 'The Clerk was instructed to inform the watchman that unless he reported trespassers, his services would be dispensed with'. Further, 'The Committee of Commissioners were instructed to shift the door into the Castle Hill from the Cannon Hill or to put up a fence to said door and the Clerk was instructed to give notice by handbill that no-one was to be allowed to dry or spread clothes on the Castle Hill or walks and that all parties found trespassing on said walks would be prosecuted, the same notice as to trespassing to be sent through Saltcoats.'. At a meeting held on 27 September 1858, offers for the erection of the proposed Town House were opened and examined and the Clerk was instructed to send same to Mr Gairdner, Lord Eglinton's factor, for his remarks previous to fixing upon the contractors. The plans seem to have been considered satisfactory and on 30 October, the foundation stone was laid with Masonic honours by George Johnstone esquire of Redburn, Mr D C Love, G A, Ardrossan placing the coins of the realm and the usual documents in the cavity which was afterwards covered with a brass plate bearing the following inscription 'This stone laid on 30 October 1858 by the Mother Lodge of Free Masons, Kilwinning. George Johnstone P G M, Hugh Conn D G M, Robert Boyd S G M, Charles Breckenridge S P W, James Hendrie Past P W'. We need not quote further from the minutes. In the minutes of 19 December 1850, appears the following entry from which date the proceeding have been reported 'The Clerk read the following letter from Mr Arthur Guthrie, publisher of the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald. Representation having been made to me, as publisher as publisher of the local paper that reports of the meetings of Town council would be acceptable. I take the liberty of requesting permission for my reporter being present for that purpose.'. The Clerk was instructed to intimate to Mr Guthrie that the Commissioners had no objection to his attending the four statutory quarterly meetings appointed to be held annually under the Act. This permission was later extended to all monthly meetings. Until the death of Provost Barr in 1884, the only important developments of the Burgh which we can recall after 1858 are the formation of the artillery corps in 1859, the organisation of the United Presbyterian Church in 1857, the Episcopal Church in 1873 and the acquisition of the old Bute Place by the Glasgow and South West Railway Company for the erection of their new offices in 1874. Like the New Parish Church, the Independent Church and the Free Church were organised before the Burgh Act was passed, the former in 1837 and the latter in 1844. For some years, there was something of a stand-still and it was not until there was a talk of an extension of the harbour and the introduction of a new railway that the breadth of a new life began to be felt.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

The choice of John Barr (shown right in 1878) as Provost was a happy one, Born in Lochwinnoch in 1798, he was a self-made man and one other illustration of the kind of men who at the beginning of this century were reared under a weaver's roof and inherited from worthy parents that grit and strength of character which has made healthy Scotchmen famous all over the world. Leaving the loom on which he worked as a boy, he became a contractor and it was the railway hence to Kilwinning which brought him to Ardrossan in the year 1828. He afterwards contracted the deepening of the old harbour and the building of the sea-wall in front of Montgomerie Street, the space intervening once a green esplanade now covered with lines of rails, being filled in by the soil taken out of the harbour. In 1842, in company with the late James Shearer, he entered on the business of shipbuilding. In association with Mr Shearer, he thus became a large employer of labour for shipbuilding flourished and with the development of that and other branches of industry such as the Engineering Works if Provost Young, the Foundry of the Messrs Goodwin and the 'wee yaird' of Mr Peter Barclay, the population of the town rapidly increased. To such an extent did Provost Barr meet the demands for shop and house accommodation that possibly at one time one-fifth of the town, if not more, belonged to him. He was a Justice of the Peace, chairman for many years of the Gas and Water Company of which he was an active promoter, first Chairman of the School Board and a trustee of the New Parish Church. To be Provost of the Burgh for thirty-eight years was in itself a striking testimony of the high estimate placed upon his value as a citizen. His life and the life of the town has been closely interwoven during these years. In a very true sense, he was one of its 'Makers' and pleasing evidence of the general recognition of this fact was furnished when in 1878, he was presented with his portrait, painted by Norman Macbeth, ARS, and which now hangs in the Town Hall, the presentation being made by Sir James Fergusson at a meeting presided over by the Earl of Eglinton.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

John Hogarth, (shown left around the 1870s), who had been elected to the Town Council in 1851, had been treasurer from 1852 to 1858 and Bailie from 1859, succeeded to the Provostship on the death of Provost Barr in 1884. A native of Stevenston, in early life he was apprenticed to Messrs Fullerton, ironmongers, Saltcoats and in 1842, represented them in Ardrossan. After being a short time in Glasgow, he returned to Ardrossan as partner with the late William Fullerton who retired in 1851, the year Mr Hogarth entered the Town Council. His election to the office of Chief magistrate was at a time when his intimate knowledge of every department of the town's affairs was invaluable. In 1884, the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway Act was passed and four years later was opened for traffic. At the same time, a Bill was passed for the extension of the harbour under a company which was completed and opened in 1892. The gas and water supply which had been in the hands of an amalgamated company from 1874 and of which the Provost had been a director and latterly chairman, was in 1886 purchased by the town. In 1882, he was added to the Commissioners of the Peace. In 1883, he represented the Burgh on the Irvine District Roads Board. In 1885, he was enrolled a Commissioner of Supply and in 1888 was elected a member of the County Roads Board. The experience thus acquired was of great service when, as representative of Ardrossan on the County Council, he succeeded in getting the roads, which had been taken over by that authority in 1891, placed under the management of the Town Council. It is no small matter to give forty-years service to the public and ex-Provost Hogarth's term of office is not only memorable because embracing some of the most progressive events in the history of the Burgh, but for the practical sagacity and the wide experience and ability which he brought to bear on the business. He was in office when the breath of new life referred to was beginning to be felt and he worthily represented the Burgh before Parliamentary Committee and at the inauguration of the extension of the harbour and the opening of the new railway.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

On the retiral of Provost Hogarth in 1893, the choice of the Commissioners fell upon Mr William Young (shown left around the 1880s). A native of Cupar, Fifeshire, he came to Ardrossan as far back as 1856 to take charge of the engineering department of the harbour under the late Mr John Moffat and form 1865 has managed a large engineering business on his own account. He was first elected to the Council Board under the old Act but was only a few months in office. He entered the Council again in 1887 when his practical ability could be turned to good account. The Gas and Water had been acquired by the town and great improvements were begun of contemplated. Within Provost Young's term of service as Councillor and Provost, the new reservoir was made, two new filters introduced, the drainage of the town improved by the old built drains being replaced by pipe drains, the bucket system of daily cleansing adopted which has done much for the sanitary welfare of the town and at his recommendation, a reconstruction of the Gas Works by adapting it for the oil enrichment process with the result that the cost of gas to the consumers has been reduced from 4s 2d to 3s 4d for 1000 feet. At the present time, new crossings are being laid and the pavement question, however it may be settled, is certain to result in a greatly improved town. Provost Young is a Justice of the Peace and represents Ardrossan on the Technical Education Committee of the County Council. It was also due to his initiative that the grant-in-aid for these two years past has been devoted by the Commission to the promotion of Technical Education classes.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

It is doubtless due to the length of Provost Barr's term of office that there have been only three Provosts during the fifty years of the history of the Burgh but it is notable that there have been only two Town Clerks in business - Mr James O Mack already mentioned and Mr James Cook who was associated with Mr Mack and subsequently received the appointment . The office of Procurator Fiscal was first held by Mr Thomas Kirkhope then in 1863 by Mr Alexander Emslie and on his death in 1865 the office was conferred on Mr John Emslie at the time Collector for the Burgh in succession to Mr Alexander Young. The Burgh Collector is now Mr John Adams.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

List of Members of Ardrossan Town Council from passing of Burgh Act in 1846 till 1896

John Barr 1846-83
James Willock 1846-69
William Fullerton 1846-51, 1853-56
Adam Barrie 1846-49
Peter Barclay 1846-48
William Ford junior 1846-51
Archibald Russell 1846-47, 1850-53
John King 1846-47
James Shearer 1846-65
Robert Templeton 1847-50
Alexander Bain 1847-53
Robert Drape 1848-51, 1853-59, 1861-64
Robert Young 1849-52
Robert Crawford 1851- 57
David Barrie 1851-1860, 1863-65
John Hogarth 1851-1892
James Tyre 1852-60
John Jackson 1856-59
Archibald Currie 1857-78
Archibald Steel 1859-61
William Duncan 1859-62, 1863-64
William Gibson 1860-1866
Duncan Stewart 1860-62
John Smith 1860-71
Joseph Russell 1862 resigned
Thomas Gilfillan 1864-1891
John Boyd, builder 1865-90
Lewis Fullarton 1865-71, 1872-77
James Goodwin 1865-75
Thomas Wallace 1866-72, 1875-76
John Logan 1871-75
Athur Guthrie 1872-75
John Craig 1875-1890
J McLean 1876-78
William Young 1877, 1887-92
John Boyd, shoemaker 1878-86, 1887-89, 1895-96
John Anderson 1878-81, 1890-96
R Dunwoodie 1878-91
James Goodwin 1878 died
Peter McCarroll 1879-85, 1892-95
Alexander McMillan 1881-87
Thomas Kirkhope 1884-87, 1891-96
George Barrie 1885-90, 1891-96
James Harvey 1886-91
Archibald Gray junior 1890-96
Henry Wallace 1891-94
William Walls 1892-94
John Harvey 1894-96
F A P Bennett 1894-96
William Smith 1895-96
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

The growth of the municipality, as indicated in the Burgh records, is very interesting. What an odd comparison may be instituted, for instance, between the Post Office as we know it today and the conditions under which postal work was carried on in 1859 when we perceived that on 28 December of that year, it was resolved to memorialise the Treasury to have a stamp distributor appointed in Ardrossan. Till then, stamp distributing was confined to Saltcoats.
Civic rulers of those days occasionally manifested a spirit which would seem to have been engendered by anticipation of the important developments the Burgh was destined to undergo. In the minutes of an early meeting occurs the following entry 'The Clerk read a letter he had received form Mr John McMurtrie, writer in Ayr, wishing payment of the fees payable to the Sheriff and Sheriff Clerks attending the first election of Councillors of the Burgh. The meeting instructed the Clerk to acknowledge receipt of said letter and to inform Mr McMurtrie that they would settle their accounts in their own way and would not be guided by him in such matters as they did not recognise him as their agent.'. It is soothing to learn further that 'The meeting authorised Clerk, in the meantime to remit the Sheriff and Sheriff Clerk's fees.'. Some curious claims fell to be considered by the Commissioners. At a meeting thirty-five years ago (in 1862), the Clerk read a claim of £4 by a boat-owner for a boat burned by some persons on Lord Eglinton's birth night. The Commissioners did not choose to entertain the claim, however, but requested the claimant to formulate a charge against an individual and entrust the matter to the Fiscal.

A correspondent, JM, referring to the jubilee asks the question 'How is Ardrossan to flourish in the future even more than she has done in the past?' Government aid in the construction of graving docks on the Clyde has been much talked of during the past year. To my mind, Ardrossan is the best point on the lower reaches of the river for the construction of a graving dock large enough to admit war vessels. It is quite certain that the harbour system will never be complete without one. It is more that a pity that the Burgh of Ardrossan has no tangible interest in the harbour. Even although the ratepayers were liable to be taxed for harbour purposes, in cases of emergency, it would be preferable to have a harbour run by people who are virtually outsiders. The same correspondent has something to say regarding the union of the two Burghs. 'Ardrossan and Saltcoats are geographically one and ought to be under one control. It is a great pity that the sensible people of both towns do not 'reason together' on this important subject. Unity is strength and the union of the towns would conduce to general prosperity.'.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

    by A. Optimist
It was on a lovely afternoon of July 1896 that I set sail from Ardrossan in the good ship Peeweep for New York. My father was the captain of the vessel and very proud was I, at the age of ten, to take this my first voyage with him. In fact, we voyaged en famille for it had been determined to set up house on the other side of the Atlantic. My career in the new country, I need not recount. Enough that, having secured a comfortable competency for life, I now find myself once again in Ardrossan in this year of grace, 1946. Fifty years have come and gone since the Peeweep dropped down by Arran that summer day in the end of the nineteenth century and I cannot tell you how often in the interval I was beset with a deep longing to revisit the little town on the Ayrshire coast where the dry winds were always piping and the railway engines always shunting. Gradually, my resolve grew more definitive, that in my declining years I would settle down in Ardrossan and here is my ambition realised. They tell me it is now exactly a century since Ardrossan was constituted a Burgh with a town council , a provost and bailies. Foraging, by the editor's kind permission, in the files of the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, I came the other day on a sketch of the town's progress, published on the occasion of the municipal jubilee. Now that the centenary has come round, I fall involuntarily into a comparison of what the place is now in contrast to what it was in my boyhood's days. Glasgow Street, of which I have a dreary memory as of a long unlovely street, is today of the same length and breadth and is made up, for the most part, of the same houses as formerly but a number of improvements have been carried out with the result that the street is now a handsome and beautiful thoroughfare. The surface which used to be macadamised like a turnpike road, is now causewayed with smooth close-fitting stones. The pavements are of uniform breadth and material and in the best of repair. A line of trees on either side has, in spite of the gale that still may sweep the street, grown into tolerable height and foliage and suggests a delightful boulevard air. At night, when it is lit, like the entire town, with the electric light, it presents the appearance of an illuminated vista. The gas works, for gas is not likely to be superseded, no longer stands in Glasgow Street, having been removed to the outskirts. The long high red wall that used to stand with prison-like aspect below the United Presbyterian Church (shown right as the Church of the Nazarene in 2002) has disappeared and you look instead clean away up to the Cannon Hill. The trees which were planted around the United Presbyterian Church just before I left the town have grown up into surprising luxuriance. Several new handsome building now enhance the street. Certain old houses, near what used to be the Infant's School, have been taken down and on their site stands the Free Public Library and Reading Room which a number of generous citizens united in bestowing on the community. At the top of the street, opposite the school, a fountain of wrought-iron plays while at the Princes Street end, there is a statue to the good Queen Victoria of blessed memory. The public houses have disappeared but in some four or five street, there is a large airy restaurant managed on a modification of the Scandinavian system. In some of these places of refreshment no alcoholic beverages can be obtained while in others there is no restriction but in these latter, the liquor sold is certified free form adulteration, The officials are well-paid, responsible men whose interest it is to encourage temperance and I must confess that one does not nowadays see a drunken man with a fraction of the frequency of my young days. In Princes Street, there are new municipal buildings of imposing architecture with a spacious hall for public meetings and entertainments and they tell me much more interest is now taken in municipal elections, the Commissioners' Board being composed of the ablest and most reputable citizens. Opposite the Police Station stand the Public Baths with salt and fresh water where the poorest may perform weekly or daily ablutions and attached to the Baths are a gymnasium and recreation hall. The lanes of the town are things of the past. Quarry Lane (shown below upper right as disused ground around the 1930s) has disappeared and others have been renovated beyond recognition. The classes that used to crowd the lanes now live in streets like Winton Street (shown right in 2002) which now extends to South Beach Station (shown below upper centre in 1986) or Seton Street and Park Road (shown below upper right in 2002) which have greatly extended while numbers who, in my early days, would have resided in these streets now occupy tidy cottages toward the north end of the town. Eglinton Street exhibits an unbroken row of cottages as far as Seafield while behind that row, another runs parallel. In each row, there is a pleasing variety of style of buildings - some of red, some of yellow, some of whiter sandstone. What used to be the high road to Saltcoats from the head of Glasgow Street round by the Hospital is now a continuation of cottages and villas, the Hospital having been removed further inland and being much more in use for all kinds of infectious cases than formerly. I was surprised to find that the Cemetery had not extended since my departure but I learned the explanation when, close beside it and edifice of sober, pleasing architecture was pointed out to me as the crematorium. Some fields in the neighbourhood of the Cemetery have been rented as a golf course, the presence of which has increased the attractiveness of our town as a seaside resort. The same result is augmented by the fact of the grassy Esplanade railed off from the Caledonian line at the North Crescent and by the reclamation of ground at the South Beach where what used to be sandy beach is now a green recreation ground defended from the encroachment of the waves by a solid wall. On both these promenades stands a picturesque shelter for the band, the town now possessing a Burgh orchestra which performs frequently in the open air in summer and in the public hall in the winter. This band is made up of mechanics and tradesmen who are encouraged to the acquirement of musical ability by a subsidy disbursed from the town's exchequer. Montgomerie Street has been improved by a well-chisled stone wall mounted with an iron railing in good design with shrubs for a background, shutting off from the view of foot-passengers the waggons that still shunt up and down. There is no smoke now, steam having been replaced by electricity. On the notice board of the Free Church, as on that of the United Presbyterian and Established Church, I observed the legend 'Church of Scotland' reminding me how, in my absence, the divisions of Presbyterianism had been healed and the church reconstructed on a purely spiritual basis and indeed I remember the excitement and enthusiasm throughout the old country when it was published abroad that the Established Church had, by unanimous action of its General Assembly, renounced its secular connection with the State and the concomitant emoluments in the interest of a reunited Presbyterianism and how the country, through its Parliament, insisted on the church retaining these sources of revenue so long consecrated to religious use.
Looking out on the Firth from the Caledonian Bridge, one notices vast changes in the outline of the harbour. The old breakwater has disappeared and instead a wall of a similar kind stretches from the Horse Island to the rocks that run out from Burnfoot, thus forming a kind of lagoon which has been dredged and rendered deep enough to accommodate large vessels. The sudden increase of the prosperity of the town dates from the period when this change was carried out, Ardrossan being now one of the most thriving shipping places of the west. The large house which at one time was the residence of Provost Barr and which I remember as the Caledonian Hotel (shown below lower left as the disused Burgh Chambers in 1976) has been purchased by the School Board and converted into and infant school. The grounds are once more nicely laid out and are an adornment to the street. The spirit of memory is upon me as I wander up the Castle Hill, there to sit down and overlook the town and all its changes. The seat which I choose is one within view of three imposing bronze statues. One of the figures is warrior-like, the outstretched sword pointing to the ruins of Ardrossan Castle (shown below lower right in the early 1900s). Of the second, the face is rugged but noble as he stands there with his Geneva gown. Of the third, the subject is meditative, the hand shading the eyes that gaze away towards auld Ayr. The one is Wallace, the second Knox and the third Burns. After fifty years, I do not find that my country men have lost their patriotism, their religion or their sentiment.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

Ardrossan United Presbyterian Church on Sabbath last (25 October 1896) contributed £3 15s 11d to the Armenian Distress Fund.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

The special collection in the New Parish Church, Ardrossan on Sabbath (25 October 1896) on behalf of the Western Infirmary amounted to £9.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

Mr William Wallace has succeeded to the business of chemist and druggist so long and successfully carried out in Ardrossan by Mr Andrew McInnes. Mr Wallace has had considerable experience in his profession both in Edinburgh and in England.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

There are two amateur minstrel troupes in Ardrossan. The first in the field was that known by the distinctive title of Snowball and we understand the public will have the opportunity of judging of there capabilities as entertainers on an early occasion. Meanwhile, they are practicing hard so that they will may have no occasion to blush under their temporary swarthy complexions.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

A big lot of Saltcoats boys beautifully observed Hallowe'en on Friday night (31 October 1896). Young Ardrossan trooped in from the country with an imposing load of turnips. The demand for fruit was unusually great.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 6 November 1896

There need be no scarcity of apples in Ardrossan for ducking purposes. At the fruit market in Glasgow Street, there are no fewer than that seventy-three barrels to select from. For some time past, the energetic proprietors have been disposing of fifty barrels per week.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 October 1896

The select quadrille class under Mr Haldane in Ardrossan is said to have had a successful inauguration last Saturday (7 November 1896).
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 13 November 1896

Emulation is a fruitful source of activity. The Ardrossan Caledonian Railway Ambulance team have been studying doggedly and manfully for some time past and they go to Glasgow tomorrow (7 November 1896) strong in the determination to carry off the Caledonian Cup. May success be in their train and training!
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 6 November 1896

In the contest for the Caledonian Cup last Saturday (7 November 1896) made a most creditable appearance gaining fourth place. They just beat Hamilton. The figures were theory - 95 per cent, practice - 74 per cent. For theory, they were second. The cup went to Polmadie. The Buchanan Street team, who were the cup holders, had to be content with second place. From Aberdeen to Carlisle is a wide area to draw upon and the Ardrossan team may be forgiven if they have carried themselves somewhat jauntily this week. Doctor Macdonald deserves hearty congratulation.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 13 November 1896

Mr William Jamieson, cycle agent, well-known in Beith and also in Ardrossan, died at his residence, Princes Street, Ardrossan on Monday night (23 November 1896). Mr Jamieson was a native of Kilmarnock but was connected with Beith for over forty years, carrying on business as a photographer for thirty-eight years. He early turned his attention to the cycling trade and was among the first makers of bicycles the country produced. He was twenty-five years in the cycle trade in Beith and started business in Ardrossan three summers ago. He enjoyed considerable distinction locally as a road racer.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 27 November 1896

Honesty is among the shining virtues of Ardrossan. Here is something like a full and accurate list of articles found and delivered at the Police Station (shown below in 2002) since May last - four £1 notes, two half sovereigns, £1 11s, watch and chain value £1 10s, gold watch valued £7 10s, gold watch and chain value £16, gold ring, gold bracelet value £5 and a silver badge with gold centre, In the majority of cases, finds have been made by people belonging to labouring classes - adults and children. The curious thing is that the money is very seldom reclaimed. After the lapse of a certain time fixed by the law, it becomes the property of the finder.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 4 December 1896

On Friday evening last (4 December 1896), the above combination made their first appearance in the Assembly Hall, Ardrossan (shown below as the Winton Rovers' Club in 1974). Eight o'clock was the advertised hour of starting but long before that time, the hall was filled in every part and latecomers had to content themselves with standing room while a good amount of money was refused at the door. The large attendance was no doubt due to the Minstrels being, with one or two exceptions, local gentlemen. The overture and opening chorus were given in good style though taking into consideration the large chorus, the volume of sound was somewhat weak. This may have been attributable to the occasion being their debut before the public and is more than likely to be remedied in the future. The songs and choruses in the first part of the programme, with one or two exceptions, were well rendered. Someday I'll Wander Back Again by Mr Alexander, Meet Me At The Golden Gate by Mr Sam Crowe and My Old Kentucky Home Goodnight with banjo accompaniment by Mr J Seph prevailed musical talent of first-rate quality. Mr Hurst's make-up for his song, I'm In Love With A Dandy-Coloured Coon, provoked considerable laughter and song and chorus went well. Mr A Kay's singing of Say Au Revoir was a splendid effort and he was deservedly encored. The patter, which was in every case entirely free from vulgarity, was nearly always of the lively order while the local allusions - the pavement question, of course - came in for a due share of attention, were evidently relished by the audience. The second part of the programme was of a varied character, the early numbers demanding frequent encores. These embraced a Humorous Duet, a Stump Speech and a Humorous Interlude by members of the Dennistoun Amateur Minstrels and the confidence which the two gentlemen showed when before the footlights testified to what may be looked for from the Snowflake Minstrels in due course. The Coon Trio gave a deservedly appreciated banjo selection and Mr S Shields sang with expression and good taste a Tyrolean song in character. The entertainment concluded with a humorous travesty - The Theatrical Agency - the work of a member of the company and this afforded a good deal of amusement in the audience. The parts were not however well-balanced and the conclusion was decidedly tame and ineffective. We would recommend the Minstrels to adopt a shorter piece and, unless it is contrary to Minstrel laws, conclude their performance with a spirited plantation memory. Mr Hannah and his band rendered good service as orchestra, Mr Stanley Slater acting as accompanist most satisfactorily. The baton was wielded by Mr Craig and it is probably owing to this fact that the time all-round was good. Taken all together, the Snowflake Minstrels have no reason to be ashamed of their first appearance. Keeping in view that they are purely an amateur combination, they did exceedingly well and with a little attention to the strengthening of the weak parts, they should be able to overcome the trifling difficulties which presented themselves on Friday night. The committee regret the disappointment to some thick-holders through their inability to get seats and request us to say that the price of their tickets will be refunded on presenting same at the shop of Messrs A Guthrie and Son.

            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 December 1896

Major Hogarth, Ardrossan, will be presented with a long-service medal in the Drill Hall on Wednesday evening (16 December 1896). Colonel Sturrock will make the presentation. Friends will be welcome on the occasion.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 December 1896