Irvine - Encyclopedia




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IRVINE, a royal, municipal and police burgh, and seaport of Ayrshire, Scotland. Pop. (1901) 9607. It is situated on the north bank of the estuary of the Irvine, 291 m. S.W. of Glasgow by the Caledonian railway, with a station also on the Glasgow & South Western railway. It is connected with the suburb of Fullarton on the south side of the river by a stone bridge, which was built in 1746 and widened in 1827. Alexander II. granted it a charter, which was confirmed by Robert Bruce. Towards the end of the 17th century it was reckoned the third shipping port in Scotland (Port Glasgow and Leith being the leaders), and though its importance in this respect declined owing to the partial silting-up of the harbour, its water-borne trade revived after 1875, the sandy bar having been removed and the wharfage extended and improved. The public buildings include the town hall, academy (1814) and fever hospital. The principal historical remains are the square tower of Stanecastle and the ancient Seagate Castle, which contains some good specimens of Norman architecture. The industries include enginemaking, shipbuilding, ironand brass-founding, the manufacture of chemicals, brewing and soap-making. Irvine unites with Ayr, Campbeltown, Inveraray and Oban in sending one member to parliament. The exports consist principally of coal, iron and chemical products, and the imports of grain, timber, limestone, ores and general produce. At Dreghorn, 2 M. to the S.E. (pop. 1155) coal and iron are worked.

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