The first buildings by the harbour were scattered along the river front - from the time of moving the harbour from Marressfoot to its new location in 1677, Irvine Town Council had possession of land along the left (south) bank of the river. In Wood's Town Plan of 1819, there are a few buildings on the shore, but still very few buildings in the area behind the quay and shore.
The 1819 plan shows the "road from Troon", which later became Peter St, and the short road section later called Guthrie's Rd, now all Gottries Rd. This old coast road (with dangerous quicksands at the Pow Burn at Prestwick), was replaced c.1767 by the new turnpike road (now Ayr Rd), but was still used by those evading the new tolls.
The first buildings away from the harbour were in the area named Boatstobs (or Boatstabs), presumably taking its name from mooring poles (stobs) for boats - until 1839, this area would be convenient for hauling boats from the water. The 1851 Directory (published by the Ayr Advertiser, available online) shows only a very few residents in this area - named in the footnote. The 1896 Directory identifies Boatstobs as #2-30 (even nos. only) of Peter Street (top, north side) - also named below.
The lands to the south were part of the Shewalton estate, owned by Lord Justice Boyle. A long-standing dispute with Irvine Town Council over its precise boundaries in the harbour area was amicably settled in 1874. Boyle had previously assisted (in 1839-42) by draining the pond which lay behind Harbour Street, so as to encourage development of the port. He now made available extensive feus for new industrial undertakings, such as Henderson's chemical works (1871).
The name of Peter Street, parallel to what is now Harbour Street, from the bend at Guthrie's Road towards the sea, appears on the OS 1856 map, which names neither Guthrie's Road nor John Street.
The name of John Street, which linked Harbour Street to Peter Street, prior to 1856, is named on the 1896 map. Today it is no longer a vehicular throughway, though pedestrian access remains.
The name Guthrie's Road, not shown on the OS 1896 map, appears on the 1908 one. Can you tell us whether it was named from a local business or person or whether Guthrie's is a later corruption of some earlier name with some other meaning?
The Council assumed responsibility for the maintenance of John Street and Peter Street in 1881.
Controversy in 1890: "The inhabitants of John Street and Peter Street have entered upon a crusade against the dirty condition of these streets." ('Irvine Herald', 10/1/90)
In 1922 it decided to merge Guthrie's Road, Boatstobs and Peter Street into the single address Gottries Road, as it remains today. Most of the housing on Gottries Road is modern.
Benthill Terrace (one block) is the older block at the top (east side) of Gottries Road.
We are also wondering about the location of Hutchison Square (or Lindsay Square) - the 1888 GPO Index shows Hutchinson Square as the home of eight families, and the brother of the great-grandfather of our informant (Melvyn Abercrombie) lived there in 1890, but the Index, being alphabetical, does not indicate the location of the Square.
Bimson Place needs to be added to our info - the locals had a football field opposite.
As Gottries Road was at the centre of industrial activity, the Works listed in the 1925 Valuation Rolls (under Gailes Road) may be of interest (with the valuations reflecting their respective scale):
The Gas Residual Products Coy Ltd, 121 St Vincent St., Glasgow (owners & occupiers) £130
The Standard Chemical Products Co Ltd., 116 West Regent St., Glasgow (owners & occupiers) £130
The Portland Glass Company Ltd, Irvine (owners & occupiers) £500
British Phenoloids Coy Ltd, Irvine (owners & occupiers) £135
(on land owned by the Duke of Portland:) Standard Chemical Products Co (tenants) £24.8/-
(empty ground owned by:) H M Disposal of Liquidation Commission per Treasury Valuer - occupied section £280 and empty section £1542
Alex Walker & Co Ltd, Manufacturers (owners & occupiers) - occupied section £500 and empty section £250
<name unclear> Coy Ltd, 58 St Vincent St., Glasgow (owners & occupiers) - section used by selves £443.17/8 and section used by ... Fertilizers Co. £150
Kyle Chemical Coy Ltd, 58 St Vincent St., Glasgow (owners & occupiers) £1907.11/6
United Alkali Coy Ltd., Glasgow - empty £313.18/9
Please tell us of any stories/information you wish us to include (see contact page) and we'll add it to the notes on this page.
1851 residents at Boatstabs
Charles Cousar, carter, Mrs Lusk, Mrs Muir, John Stevenson, farmer and fisherman, and Mrs Margaret Stevenson
1896 residents at Boatstobs,
these numbers being elsewhere shown as Peter Street
Archibald Green, blockmaker, Blockwork Cottage
James Cousar, contractor, #4
James Cousar, junr., carter, #4
Mrs John Cousar, #6-8 - address in 1935 of James Cousar, jr., carter
William Abercrombie, labourer, #10
Mrs B [or R] Cousar, contractor, #12
William Cousar, contractor, #14 - address in 1935 of Agnes Cousar
William Brown, chemical worker, #16
Charles Scullion, timekeeper, [no. unclear]
Mrs Adam, #16
Samuel Brown, labourer, #18
James Weir, surfaceman, #20
Charles McGillivray, [presumably #22]
Miss Mary Reid, laundress, #24
Captain Charles Wotherspoon, #28
William Laird, contractor, #30 [also dairy keeper]
The back gardens of two great-grandparents of one of our research team adjoined each other in the Boatstobs area - the Dooles at the first cottage (#2) and the Browns at #14 Harbour Street
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