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Latitude: 55.4685 / 55°28'6"N
Longitude: -4.6404 / 4°38'25"W
OS Eastings: 233186
OS Northings: 622579
OS Grid: NS331225
Mapcode National: GBR 39.XG6C
Mapcode Global: WH2PP.PTH4
Plus Code: 9C7QF995+CR
Entry Name: Compass Pier, Ayr Harbour
Listing Name: Ayr Harbour Including North, South and Compass Piers, North Breakwater, Harbour Walls, Griffin Dock and Lighthouses
Listing Date: 5 February 1971
Last Amended: 10 January 1981
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 356972
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB21592
Building Class: Cultural
County: South Ayrshire
Electoral Ward: Ayr West
Traditional County: Ayrshire
Tagged with: Architectural structure
Ratton Quays on either side of the river, rebuilt in 1713, 1724-30, later alterations. Wet Dock, J I McDerment, 1873, Slip Dock, John Strain, 1883. Lighthouse, Robert Paton, 1841, cottage addition circa 1863.
NORTH, SOUTH AND COMPASS PIERS: curved, coursed and squared stone piers (Compass pier much smaller). Internal construction not seen.
NORTH BREAKWATER: rectangular-plan breakwater located at harbour entrance.
HARBOUR WALLS: mass concrete built quays with granite copings on either side of the River Ayr (North and South Harbour Streets) to New Bridge.
GRIFFIN DOCK: near rectangular-plan wet dock.
LIGHTHOUSES: 2-cast iron lighthouses, circa 1880 (Griffin Dock constructed 1874-1881) at terminus of South Pier and at entrance to Griffin Dock. South Pier lighthouse (white): abbreviated cylindrical tower; triangular-pane lantern; later angled iron stays. Griffin Dock lighthouse (red and white): concrete base; railed stair; tapering conical tower; triangular-pane lantern; steep conical roof. 4-stage 1841 Paton lighthouse to S of Griffin Dock (3rd stage opening modified); coursed sandstone tapering circular tower; corbelled and railed parapet; domed circular lantern; square-pane light. Attached cottage circa 1850; sandstone (squared in part); grey slate roof; stone skew; coped stack; circular can.
For centuries, Ayr has been a premier trading port on the west coast of Scotland (for example, in 1733 Ayr was re-affirmed as a nominated port to the exclusive British tobacco trade). Following the period of Cromwellian occupation, the town initiated an intensive programme of harbour renewal. Extensive repairs to the harbour continued into the 18th and 19th centuries, with the construction of the first harbour light in 1718 (Turner, p8). An Act of Parliament in 1772, dramatically increased trade by offering the prospect of accommodation for more ships, "An Act for deepening, clearing, scouring, preserving, and maintaining the Harbour of Ayr; for enlarging and improving the Quays and Piers; for erecting Docks, Breasts, Jettees, and Piers; and for regulating ships, lighters and other vessels, trading into and going out of the said harbour; and for other purposes therein mentioned." (Graham, p22). This Act, provided the foundation of the modern development of the harbour, in the next great trade, the exporting of coal to the Irish market (the port's principal trade is still coal exports, from nearby opencast sites). The Act bestowed on a body of trustees, the legal authority to extend beyond the quayside, with the authority to acquire and build across common or town land whatever roads they deemed essential for improving harbour access (Graham, p21). The railway viaduct as noted by Groome was 3 furlongs above the Auld Brig, 26 ft wide, with 4 arches (each 60 ft span), with a footpath outside the parapet (circular-plan supports remain). Dry Dock now disused, with numerous 20th century alterations.
DATES OF LISTING:
Ratton Quay 5.2.71
Harbour Walls 10.7.92
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