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Residents in Mauchline may have seen the "BLUE CIRCLES" appear in the last couple of weeks. Thanks to Jimmy Davidson for the list of the sites relating to Burns that now have the blue circles. This is a particularly good idea, showing the various places around Mauchline with Burns connections.

1. Nanse Tinnock's - The Sma' Inn - (Castle Street, Mauchline)
2. Doctor McKenzie's 2nd house and Surgery - (Castle Street, Mauchline)
3. 1st Home of Burns and Jean Armour - (Castle Street, Mauchline)
4. Site of Ronald's Ballroom (1st meeting of Burns and Jean Armour) (Kirkyard Wall, Castle Street)
5. Site of Morton's Inn (home of Christina, a Mauchline Belle) (Church Hall, Castle Street)
6. Abbot Hunter's Tower (A Cistercian Foundation) (Mauchline Castle)
7. Bleaching Green (Second meeting place of Burns and Jean Armour) (Castle Street)
8. Site of Brownlea House (Home of Mary Morison) (Castle Street)
9. Site of Elbow Tavern (meeting place of Burns and "Highland Mary Campbell' (The Knowe)
10. Doctor McKenzie's 1st house and surgery - (The Cross)

11. Home of Miss Markland (A Mauchline Belle) - (The Cross)
12. Site of The Earl of Elgin's Property "The Place'. (Library - The Cross)
13. In 1685, 5 Covenantors are said to have been hanged from the upper floor. (1 Kilmarnock Road)
14. Site of James Smith's shop (whose sister was a Mauchline Belle). (Gable of 1 High Street)
15. Home of John Richmond (Lawyer and friend of Robert Burns) (3 High Street)
16. Site of Armour home and birthplace of Jean. (Cowgate/Curlingstone Place)
17. Home of Robert Morrison, Cabinet Maker. Address to 'The Haggis' begun here. (Beechgrove Cottage)
18. Site of Ann Orr's Ale House. (Youngs men's society meeting place) (Princes street /Cowgate)
19. Site of The Sun Inn (Miss Miller a Mauchline Belle) (Gable 1 Loudoun Street)
20. Site of Holy Fair. (Parish Church Gate, Loudoun Street)
21. Poosie Nansie's (Scene of The Jolly Beggar's Cantata). (21 Loudoun Street)
22. Whiteford Arms / Johnny Doo's Tavern, meeting place of The Court of Equity (Loudoun Street)
23. Home of Gavin Hamilton (Lawyer, Landlord and friend of Robert Burns) (Loudoun Street)
24. Mc Clelland's Inn. (Venue of Burn's reading society). (Loudoun Inn / Fairburn, Loudoun Street)



UPDATE: See the link for a detailed response from the AOF Heritage Society.

Can anyone help identify the banner on this Newmilns page?




There may seem like there has been no updates here for a considerable time, but there is an almighty amount of scanning going on in the background. I have been scanning the old Muirkirk Advertisers, starting from 1907 onwards. It is a long, but very worthwhile project. The paper is thin and faded in many instances, and the issues are badly in need of scanning for preservation.

I still have some material from Jimmy Davidson, and Auchencloigh Rural to add soon, as well as some interesting old Sorn Angling Club tickets. Bear with me.



The Ayrshire Live Music / Gig Guide is now linked via "other" in the main menu system. The gig guide should really read "Rock Bands" that play their music live. The dates will NOT be filled up with endless Karaoke bars, although maybe one or two local venues will be included if they get in touch. I can hardly refuse my local pubs!!



ThE main menu system will be updated on many of the other pages on this site in the future. Many of the pages were made 10 years ago or more, and are in need of modernisation. Time Time Time. The material on the pages will not change, only the menu structure, to assist navigation.

Some pages look out of sorts on some of the widescreen laptops. This will also be sorted out at the same time. So much to do and so little time.




Jimmy Taylor of Muirkirk has once again excelled himself with his latest production, CAIRNTABLE RECOLLECTIONS. It is available through this site as an e-book only this time around. Jimmy, printer (retired) and publisher of the Muirkirk Advertiser. Anyone who does read this and enjoys the content, should send an e mail of appreciation to Jimmy, e mail address via the contact button.



Maybe this is the first time since the National Burns Memorial was built, that work has at last progressed to make the building watertight. Not that it is not many many years over due. The scaffold has gone up in the last couple of weeks. It is sad that in their wisdom, the authorities of the day did nothing to keep the toilet block working. There is NO connection to a new water pipe that was laid many years ago. It is not rocket science to know that a building needs a water supply to keep it fit for the visiting public. No comment.

We can all remember for sure, when another Burns Tower in the Kay Park, Kilmarnock mysteriously caught fire some years ago?? Let's hope that this empty building is at least saved from that fate.




Nothing what so ever to do with ayrshirehsitory.com or anything, but I have heard a number of folks recently talking about that bright star that comes up in the Eastern sky at night. (What is that? A bird, a plane.. LOL) Is it a SUPENOVA!!! (A genuine comment..lol). I was rubbished a couple of times lately when announcing that it was "only" Jupiter. It was as bright last winter, like a beacon in the evening sky. The same happened then, with disbelievers etc.

I took a photo of Jupiter and it's moons on the night of 28th September. I will try on a few other nights and observe the different results, and positions of the moons.

UPDATE: Image on the right is the following night, 29th September. Note the different positions of the moons.

The photo below will blow up to full size if clicked on. The image was not taken through a telescope or anything. It was made using a NIKON COOLPIX 8800 at max zoom and infinite depth of field. (If that is the correct terminology) I don't profess to be an expert astronomer, but I do know the planet that is bright in the Eastern sky after nine or ten at night, depending where you are... I'm in a valley, so to see the planet higher in the sky, I had a look out around midnight.

Remember this is made with a camera, not a telescope, hence the limited success, but not bad for a camera.

Late 28th Sept 2011
Late 29th Sept 2011
6th Oct 2011 (date unconfirmed)
18th Oct 2011






THE ROYAL BAR, St Germain St, Catrine has again opened it's doors for business. The pub, still affectionately known as SMITH'S to some locals, has reopened after many months of refurbishment. They even had traffic lights outside the building while the skip was in the street. There has been a name change, and the pub is now called THE CORNER BAR. At the time of writing, I have not been in, but no doubt that will change in the coming weeks!!



Jimmy Taylor of Muirkirk has produced a mountain of material for this site, relating to old Muirkirk and Glenbuck. He has been working on his latest book, Cairntable Memories, which will be available on these pages very soon as a downloadable PDF. This 379 page labour of love begins with Jimmy's memories as a young lad in Muirkirk in the 1930s, and the changes he has seen. Jimmy has an excellent pen, and the book will no doubt generate as much interest as his Cairntable Echos book, physically published in 2002, and also available as now as an ebook on this web site, seeing as all the hard copies are sold.



I was shown a glimpse of another new and very interesting book the other day, which will soon be available. This limited edition publication I am proud to say, uses a few of the images from the collections of ayrshirehistory.com. Watch this space....



There has been no updates during the mid summer months of any note. Many updates are in the pipeline, including a few contributions from Jimmy Davidson. (In fact Jimmy has been instrumental in hounding me back to work..lol) Jimmy has written a short memorial on his Uncle Alex, and some info on the Mauchline War Memorial. including the names of the fallen.

Alex Wilson the Mauchline Ware expert has also added a contribution.

Jimmy Taylor of Muirkirk has also produced another book with memories and nostalgia of old Muirkirk. This has been no small task!!

There are also quite a number of photos to upload from the archives of ayrshirehistory.com as well. Bear with me please as we prepare the updates.



There have been some strange disappearances of images from ayrshirehistory.com recently. I have noticed this a few times with Auchinleck, Mauchline, and Kilmarnock images. I am unaware of this being any oddity during updating the site. My only explanation really is perhaps the hosting company replaced a current version with an older back up version?? Please report any missing images via e mail. Perhaps a reload of the whole site wouldn't go wrong. Another possibility was that during uploading, my connection was not what it should have been, and perhaps dropped??


While this is never going to be a complete obituary column, I feel that mention should be made to the following recent deaths.


Bill McGlaughlin of Catrine Road, Sorn
Tom McGarr of Ladeside, Sorn


Bob Ramsay of Mauchline Burns Club
Bill Bee of Mauchline Burns Club
Douglas Hall of The Loudoun Spoot Society
Alex Wylie of Mossgiel, Mauchline (Where Burn's wrote much of his best work)


Bert Collington, ayrshirehistory.com contributor and railway enthusiast


As a footnote to the above, the Mauchline Burns Club I visited a few years ago, to give a slide show of Auld Mauchline has changed somewhat. The last slideshow would have been with the late Willie Lyle, whose images of old Mauchline were second to none. There was also an earlier slide show and demonstration of photo manipulation by Big Sandy McFadzean.

During these evenings we were made welcome by late Cronie's such as Fergie McCartney, Ian Hall, Campbell Wallace, Kenny Blair, Bill Bee, Sir Claude Alexander, Bill Anderson.


JULY 2011



A group of local mountaineers have recently completed the gruelling THREE PEAK CHALLENGE in aid of MS. Their punishing exercise took place over the course of 14th - 15th July. The "challenge" was to climb the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales all within a 24 hour period. Below are some images of their successful ascent of Ben Nevis, Skafell Pike, and Snowdon.






JUNE 2011


In the early hours of the 24th June, Barskimming Mill again caught fire. It was last burned in 1892..!!! But last time, the Mauchline Fire service only had not much more than a barra!! The high res slideshow includes a couple of images discovered in the collection of Willie Lyle in 2002 of the fire service and the mill building.



Full details on the rebuilding were published in the Ayrshire Post on 7th September 1893, after reconstruction. It will be with great interest to see if the old Mill is going to be demolished or saved. The reason I make mention, is that it would be a great interest to the community to see what is in the time capsule, buried as per the story, at the laying of the foundation stane. Let's hope the time capsule will find it's way to the Burns House Museum, along with that which was found when the Abbey Kirk was demolished in 1968.



Sometimes we report here the closure of the traditional public house. It has never been reported that a new house is opening up I don't think. Supermarkets and their cut prices have killed many traditional pubs, especially in todays financial climate. Many have called time forever, and are now converted into dwelling houses, or in the case of Catrine, demolished or ruined. Public houses in which people would gather of an evening for a wee dram, or a blether, or simply to get "oot the hoose for an hour" are simply gone. Names mentioned come from memory. There will be more. I have not mentioned the clubs here.


Greyhound (Dwelling house)


Burns (dwelling houses on site),
Red Lion / Old Mill Inn (ruined and roof open),
Volunteer Arms / Honky (demolished),
Royal Bar / Smith's Closed but reopened as Corner Bar


Cross Keys


Number 10 Bar,
Dalespark Tavern
McLean Arms
Half Way Hotel
Letterbox / Box 2 - Now a shop

(There are others in the toon that may or may not reopen, but the Dalespark and Number 10 as well as McLean Arms are demolished!!




Covenantors (Dwelling house)
Bridge End Bar





Village Inn (Dwelling house)




But it seems the pub in Catrine we reported as closing it's doors for the last time in 2009, is to be reopened!! The Royal is being done up again. Maybe the traditional pub is not dying off after all.

The Dumfries Arms in Cumnock is also in the proccess of being refurbished.

It is when the traditional public house change hands, and the so called "new broom" comes in, that sometimes changes made seem to be not for the better. There are examples locally and no doubt across the country. The traditional village pub side is gone for example from the Sorn Inn, and apparantley Craigie, both are now more of an "a la carte resturant". Not that there is anything wrong with fine dining. But after generations of tradition, major change is often disappointing to customers who are quite obviously no longer welcome.




It is with the above in mind, and with some sadness we have to report that in mid summer 2011, Marion Young stepped down from Poosie Nansie's Inn, Mauchline. Marion and her late husband, Harry have been part of Mauchline for around 15 years. Her retirement party was on Saturday 18th June. Marion and Harry Young were host to all the Holy Fairs, Millennium Celebrations, Gala Days, various Burns events. The pub even made a Television appearance in 2009, for the 250th celebrations of the birth of Burns.

The Young's were host also to "many a guid nicht" in a traditional bar room atmosphere.

Because of the Burns connections, it is Poosie Nansie's that Burns enthusiasts the world over visit, during their travels around The Land O' Burns. Let us hope the tradition can continue.

So here's tae ye Marion, and "cheers for the years".

From a personal point of view, there is a wee tune that always makes me think of Poosie's. Click the link below for a youtube video of the song some of the customers have affectionately called "Harry's Bar". This song is really by Gordon Haskell, and a track called "How Wonderful You Are", from the Album "Harry's Bar".

Click here for a youtube video. NB Youtube material has a habit of vanishing over time, and we have no control over this external link.

KB.. June 2011



Added a page about John McAtee, and The Jolly Beggar's Cantata. John of Mauchline was instrumental in assisting with some music the night the BBC were in Poosie Nansie's, filming for the anniversary of Burns in 2009.


These blog pages are now split into years. I began regularly updating this latest news section in 2009, therefore pre 2009, the previous entry had been 2006! But anyway, it makes this page easier to load and to handle.


One thing I have often thought when walking on the road between Kingencleugh Roadend and the Kennels on the Auchinleck / Howford Road, is that the milestone is somehow out of step with the road. I often wonder if it has somehow found it's way down from the Burns Memorial Tower to the spot it stands on today.

Photo: Library and Information service, EAC

Photo: Library and Information service, EAC
Photo - ayrshirehistory.com

Unfortunately the shot of the milestone at the monument shows only the Tarbolton direction. The right side is kind of obscured. Even on the main image, the location of the stone is kind of obscured, as though it was never sat there to begin with. But surely where it sits today bears no significance?? Where is the road to the left to Tarbolton?? And I read it as Mauchline and Cumnock in the same direction. Mauchline from the stone's current location is in the wrong direction.


I have noticed a few broken links in the on line version of this site. I have no idea how long they were broken, or why. But anyone finding any other broken links, don't hesitate to report them. Thank You.


Work is progressing on tidying up some aspects of the site, including the desire to have the full menu system available on every page, replace clumsy extracts of reproduced books by pdf files, and adding long required text to the high res Mauchline slide show. Progress varies from efficient to dead slow / stop, depending on the weather. This June up to the 10th at least has been poor for the time of year, and feels like autumn. The winter clothes are on again, when it should be weather for shorts. But this type of weatrher allows time to add to this archive.


There are finally some photos on line of the traction engine at Mauchline Holy Fair 2011, a week or so delayed. There are also on going additions to add for the Millennium celebrations page.

There are more photos on Mauchline Burns Club web pages, although I don't include a web link here. The site loads about 80 meg when you bring up the Holy fair page, and is exceptionally slow to load, for a simple task like viewing photos. I am not sure why this is designed like this.


MAY 2011



A rare appearance of an authentic steam traction engine will take pride of place at Mauchline's Holy Fair this coming weekend, 28th May. If anyone wishes to see the engine chuffing through the village, it will hopefully come over the hill on the Kilmarnock Road and pull in at the Burns Tower for a photo session around 10am. From there it will be "full reek up the lum" and on to Poosie Nansie's for another photo session, before pulling into the show area in the Loudoun Car Park. The engine is the property of Andrew Cook & Sons, Public Works Contractors, Leven, Fife.


The engine that sticks out in the memory of most was perhaps that which belonged to Fred Dibnah, which came to Mauchline in the year 2000 to help with the celebrations at the Loudoun Spoot day / Gala day. Fred's traction engine is photographed on the right, "doon the park". Image courtesy Lynette Stewart.


Steam enthusiast Jimmy Davidson writes the following:

I thought I would send this picture and explain the significance it has to Mauchline. Therefore after i'm gone the story is not lost for ever. The location is a marquee erected for corporate hospitality (thats a booze up for posh folks) in the grounds of the former Star Lane Bleach Works in Horwich near Bolton. The date is 5th Decemember 1999. Fred has just demoilshed the 200ft chimney on the site. I played a small part in the demolition.

During our refreshment break I asked Fred if he could come to Mauchline in the year 2000 and open our newly refurbished Loudoun Spout. After consulting his fileofax (a threepenny jotter with no batters) he agreed to come on 24th June 2000 and as they say,the rest is history.

So thats how Fred came to Mauchline with Betsy his engine and his wife Sheila.

Jimmy Davidson, 2011




Click above for a pdf of Fred's wedding invitation. I just love the old worldly style graphics on this. Similar style graphics can be seen on some of the old bill heads, elsewhere on this site, usually under the banner of "traders".



This rare old image came from a collection of lantern slides via R.L. in 2002.




While searching for further photos of Fred Dibnah's visit to Mauchline, I came across an old advert I was alerted to from a Church of Scotland magazine from April 2001. Some well meaning individual attempted to give this web site some publicity. The address is shown below. Click on the image for the full advert. The address should have read:


The address for the Muirkirk site is also wildly wrong, though not quite so much as our own site!! But 10/10 for the well meaning behind the publicity.





It has come to our attention that copies of our FREE ayrshirehistory.com DVD called "MAUCHLINE AT WORK" are being sold for profit in the Mauchline area by unscrupulous characters.

WARNING: If you have been a victim, you are paying for something that is already a free download You are being well and truly ripped off, and perhaps even funding organized crime. Anyone selling the DVD is not authorized to do so.

The movie was produced in memory of Willie Lyle of Mauchline, who's glass negatives and slides feature on the production, though not exclusively. The original production features images from many sources, and thus could not be sold for profit, without a lot of extra work on copyright. Therefore it was decided that in memory of Willie, this would be distributed, copied, shared and made available for download to all. Distribution is encouraged. Reselling is strictly forbidden, and the work of compiling the DVD Mauchline at Work remains the intellectual property of ayrshirehistory.com.

Plans were at an advanced stage to sell the production at Mauchline Holy Fair 2011, with proceeds going towards the MS charity that some local people are currently raising funds for. A local group plan to climb "The Three Peaks" (Ben Nevis, Skafel Pike, and Snowdon) in the summer. The DVDs will not now be included in this fund raising.

This is not the first time that someone has ripped off ayrshirehistory.com. Not long after the appearance of Willie's unique glass negative of Mauchline Boxworks, one character e-mailed the image to a dubious Canadian web outfit, who published the image with credit given NOT to Willie Lyle and ayrshirehistory.com, but to himself!! They never even managed to change the file name, nor check if the image was already on line. It's amazing what google turns up!!

It has been said that "imitation is the highest form of flattery", but I have not spent years of work on this site, and related video projects to fill someone elses pockets for free!!!! This would be like me reproducing John Taylor Gibb's book of Mauchline for resale, and changing the author name to my own!! How clever does that make me look!!!




A few months ago we published an images that was published in the Mauchlineware Collectors publication, see below. From looking at the publications after the April 2010 issue, I see no correction to their error. I also received no response to an e mail correcting them, and showing them a real photo of the Mauchline ware factory. So does this mean that they have members who still believe this image is of a fire at Mauchline Boxworks?? Another example of someone deciding to change history. (Like the modern day HISTORIC SCOTLAND book that claims Burns lived out the latter part of his life in Mauchline)

In this weeks Cumnock Chronicle, yet another photo of "MAUCHLINE BOXWORKS" was published. Yet again, this is a completely different location, and is a photo of Cumnock.


Catrine Mill on fire. A much clearer view of the same image has been on this site for about 10 years.


To view further images of Catrine Mill on fire, click here.


This is how the Mauchline Ware factory really looked, pre 1899.


APRIL 2011



Some old memories of 1970's wrappers for crisps, sweets and ice lollies have been added. More will be added during May hopefully. There have been a large number of hits since the pages were publicised in a memories blog. Isn't it amazing what people will collect!!!





UPDATE - The ICE DAM has gone. I am not sure how it went, but on a field trip to Ayr on Tuesday night, 4th January, all the ice, bar a few large chunks scattered around the edges, was gone. There was nothing even in the harbour area. Did anyone manage to see the movement of all that ice through the town?? It must have been awesome!!

I have decided that many of the photos of the River Ayr Walk that have been planned for this site, should at least have an index page that individual sets of photos can be gradually added. So in OTHER, there is now a RIVER AYR entry in the pop up menu.

We have had a surprising amount of hits on this site since these photos went up. Someone has added links to various fishing blog sites and message boards. Thank you guys, whoever you are. All publicity is more than welcome.

The video of the ice breaking up in Sorn is also particularly worth while watching.



I saw for the first time on 5th January that the old Volunteer Arms in Catrine, after some time in a rough state of disrepair, has finally been demolished. It is always sad to see another Public House go. These places in their lifetime were frequented by many many people through the years. The place is pictured below on 26th November 2010.


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