Saltcoats is a sea-port, partly in the parish of Stevenston and partly
in that of Ardrossan; 74 miles wsw from Edinburgh, 30 sw from Glasgow,
19 n from Ayr, 14 w by n from Kilmarnock, and one from Ardrossan: eligibly situate on the
Firth of Clyde, near to its northern extremity.
The general appearance of this town is far from prepossessing, but its
proximity to Ardrossan, the arrival and departure of the trading
vessels, and the passing and repassing of the different steam-packets
and railway carriages, all contribute to give life to this ancient
place; a spirit of improvement is becoming manifest with the
inhabitants; and the town, it is expected, will be lighted with gas
before this work is published.
About 170 years ago, Salt-cots (then so called) consisted only of a
small number of
cots or cottages, the inhabitants of which obtained a livelyhood by
making salt in kettles; but at the beginning of the last century, a
harbour being constructed for the convenience of shipments of coal, the
produce of the mines in this neighbourhood, the little hamlet began to
assume the semblance of a village; it is but in recent years, however,
that it has risen to any note.
During the late war this place possessed an extensive trade, and
ship-building was carried on with great spirit; but since the peace its
commerce has been much reduced, and it is now nearly confined to the
importation of timber, and the exportation of coals to Ireland, in which
trade there are sometimes about forty vessels employed. The manufacture
of salt here is considerable, and a great number of looms are employed
in the weaving of muslins, &c. for the Glasgow and Paisley markets.
A branch of the Irvine custom-house transacts the revenue business, and
the proprietors of the Ayrshire bank have a branch here; the house in
which the business of the latter is transacted, and which is also the
residence of the manager Mr. W.B.Orr, is a very handsome building, and
an ornamentto Raise st in which it stands. Both at the east and west of
the town are extensive chymical works, belonging to Messrs Burns and
Son, who manufacture magnesia and epsom salts The principal Inns are the
"Saracen's Head", in Harbour street, and the "King's
Arms", in Bradshaw street, the former a good posting- house. The
Town-house, the foundation of which was laid in 1825, consists of a
spacious hall, with two smaller apartments adjoining, and a lock-up for prisoners: the ediface, which is surmounted by a steeple, is a
prominent and effective object when approaching the town. A justice
court, for the recovery of small debts, sits in this town once a month.
The places of worship are a church of the establishment, two others for
seccessional body, one for the relief synod, a Gaelic church, and a
Baptist meeting- house. The children of the town have the advantage of free,
parocial and Sabbath schools, and a library of religious and moral
works.There are several benefit societies, which alleviate the suffering
and relieve the necessities of the poor; and one of those establishments
that must ever aid the impulse of industry and prudence - a savings
bank. An annual fair is held on the last Thursday in May. Stevenston is
a village in the parish of its name and district of Cunningham - situate
one mile north-east of Saltcoats, and two south-west from Kilwinning. It
consists chiefly of one street, half a mile in length; and derives its
name from Stephen, or "Steven", the son of Richard, who
obtained a grant of lands from Richard Morville, constable of Scotland;
the latter, then a very celebrated man, died in 1189; under this grant Steven settled here, and gave his patronimic designation to the place.
The parish abounds with coal and freestone, of which large quantities
are annually shipped.
The dairy and agricultural produce, comprising cheese, butter, wheat,
oats, and potatoes, is likewise of considerable value. A great portion
of the inhabitants of the village are employed in weaving, and through
the agents here the works of their looms are conveyed to the Glasgow
houses. The present church is a neat and handsome building, of modern
erection. The old church belonged formerly to the monks of Kilwinning.
Yearly fairs are held on the second Friday in August and the 31st of
October. Post Office, Quay street, Saltcoats, William Snodgrass, Post
Master - The Kilmarnock, Irvine and Edinburgh mails arrive every morning
at eight, and are despatched every afternoon at four. Post Office,
Stevenston, Robert Forrest Scott, Post Master - the Irvine and
Kilmarnock mails arrive every morning at eight, and are despatched every
afternoon at half-past four.
PLACES OF WORSHIP
Established Church, Stevenston - Rev. David Landsborough
Established Church of Ardrossan and Saltcoats - Rev john Bryce
Relief Church, Rev Jas. Giffen
Secession Church, Rev David Ronald
Secession Church, Rev James Ellis
Baptist, Rev James Blair
To Glasgow, the "Fair Trader", from the Saracen's Head,
Saltcoats, every morning (Sunday excepted) at seven; and the "Herald" at six in
both go thru' Kilwinning, Dalry, Beith, and Paisley.
To Irvine and Kilmarnock, the "Time Keeper", from the
Saracen's Head, every
morning (Sun excepted) at eight; and the "Ayrshire Lass" at
six in the evening; and an Omnibus, from the King's Arms, every morning (Sunday
excepted) at eight.
To Ardrossan and Eglingtoun, Carriages six times a day
To Ardrossan, Thomas Graham and James Harra, daily
To Glasgow, Thomas Willock, every Monday, and Alexander and John Cunningham, every Monday and Thursday
To Irvine, John McBride and James Harra daily
To Kilbride, Andrew Clark, daily
To Kilmarnock, John Barr, every Tuesday and Friday
CONVEYANCE BY WATER
To Lamlash and Brodick, sailing vessels daily.