In This Year

Published stories from each town's past.
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MAY 1970

Labour made a clean sweep in Ardrossan and Kilwinning in the vmunicipal elections. Labour candidates also had convincing majorities in Saltcoats and in Stevenston.

Mr Joseph McManus was unanimously appointed Provost of Ardrossan.

Production in the detonator department at Ardeer Factory was held up because of an unofficial strike by 500 young women dissatisfied with wages increase.

Mr Robert Lambie, Saltcoats, received a presentation for 60 years service to the trade union movement.

JUNE 1970

Ardchoille Park bought by Stevenston Town Council.

The " Caledonia " made its maiden run to Arran.

Saltcoats Town Council Dean of Guild, Mr Alex Robb, resigned.

The former harbourmaster's house at Saltcoats Harbour became a museum.

Ardrossan Round Table held a " Donkey Derby " at Laighdykes.

Kerelaw Approved School, Stevenston, opened by Viscount Muirshiel.

Mr David Lambie, Saltcoats, was elected MP for Central Ayrshire and Sir Fitzroy Maclean returned for Bute and North Ayrshire at the general election.



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JULY 1970

County council rates went up by 1/10d in the £.

The Rev John Kyle was inducted to Saltcoats EU Congregational Church.

Mr Eric Russell was co-opted to Saltcoats Town Council.

A native of Beith, Mr Will Mearns, was appointed Ayrshire's first Reporter of Children's Panels by Ayr County Council.

There was a record entry for the annual gymkhana horse show on Arran.

AUGUST 1970

Mr R P Gray, Ardrossan head postmaster, retired, and Mr Henry Campbell from Campbeltown took over as Ardrossan postmaster.

Kilwinning Town Council treasurer, Mr James Kerr, died suddenly at his home.

Seventy-three sheep were killed when a truck on the Ardrossan-Arran car ferry toppled over.

Attempts were made twice in 24 hours to set two churches in Stevenston and Ardrossan on fire. [/i ]

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SEPTEMBER 1970

Saltcoats angler Mr Robin McPherson broke the world common skate record , catching a 226 1/2 lb monster.

Bailie Edward Norwood was elected treasurer of Kilwinning Town Council.

Two men died on the West Kilbride- Dalry road on the way to work when their car and a bus collided.

Rates rise of 3/6d in the £ at Saltcoats Town Council budget meeting.

Ardrossan rates rose 2/- in the £.

Saltcoats Scouts opened a new Scout hut at Lamlash.

OCTOBER 1970

The Secretary of State gave approval to plans for a comprehensive development area in Ardrossan, to cost £1,429,000.

The Rev Stanley Carr, Largs, was installed as moderator of the Presbytery of Ardrossan.

Stevenston rates rose by 2/9d in the £.

A new church hall costing £30,000 was formally opened at St Cuthbert South Beach Church, Saltcoats.

A new fire station was opened on the Stevenston-Kilwinning road.


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NOVEMBER 1970

Ardrossan Town Council decided not to contribute to the swimming pool to be built by Saltcoats and Stevenston councils at Auchenharvie.

Councillor Hamish Fraser's plea for a public inquiry into the rents situation in Saltcoats was rejected by the town council.

MP for Central Ayrshire, Mr David Lambie, and Ayr County Council hit out at the Secretary of State's delay in reaching a decision on the Hunterston development.

A crowd of thousands attended the bonfire and fireworks display held by Ardrossan Round Table.

Saltcoats Sea Angling Association refuted claims that the White Horse competition rules were " bent " after the winners of the competition were announced.

Merger between Irvine and KIlwinning Co-ops cancelled.

Bread strike hit local shops.

DECEMBER 1970

Modified approval given by the Secretary of State for the Hunterston-Portencross development - go-ahead for a deep-water port and steelworks given but oil refinery decision delayed.

Stevenston Town Council had heated discussion on the controversial allocation of a council house to councillor's son.

Electrical blackouts - Ardrossan largely unaffected while Stevenston, Saltcoats and Kilwinning stumbled in the dark.

Long queues at bakers' shops and many people baked their own bread, as the strike of bread delivery vanmen continued.


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1971 IN RETROSPECT

JANUARY 1971

The Clyde Port Authority announced a ten-year plan to improve Ardrossan Harbour which included filling in the old harbour and dry-dock.

Several local appeals were launched to raise money for the Ibrox Disaster Fund , which happened on Saturday January 2nd.

Vandals seemed to be unaffected by the goodwill holiday spirit over the Ne'erday weekend. They ran amok in Stevenston High School and caused over £500 worth of damage.

The Arran car ferry, mv Caledonia, came under fire again from Arran District Council who were worried about the " worsening situation regarding the steamer service to Arran " .

Saltcoats Town Council discussed a circular from the Secretary of State giving council tenants the chance to buy their houses. On a finance committee recommendation the council decided not to offer houses for sale.

Post Office workers went on strike on January 19.

Parents of Ardrossan St Peter's Primary schoolchildren formed an association to campaign for a new school and for renovation of the present St Peter's School buildings.

The Caledonian Steam Packet Company issued a statement saying that the only practical method of improving the ferry service to Arran would be to build a new berth for the mv Caledonia at Fairlie - at a cost of £250,000.

FEBRUARY 1971

Unsubsidised ratepayers in Saltcoats joined forces with the local SSHA Tenants' Association to protest to the Secretary of State for Scotland about the town council's low rent policy. The town council reviewed the rent situation, but decided to leave them unchanged.

February saw the change over from LSD to decimal coinage. At the time there seemed to be a lot of uncertainty and opposition to the new system.

Captain Ian Campbell. the 68-year-old Ardrossan man who sailed to the Bahamas with his wife's uncle, Mr Robert Munro, of Aberdeen, in the yacht " Pajova " , arrived back in Ardrossan. Captain Campbell flew home four days after arriving in the Bahamas.


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MARCH 1971

The Rev Jean Thomson of Ardrossan EU Congregational Church celebrated her semi-jubilee in the ministry.

ICI, the largest employers in the district, announced that the two divisions working at Ardeer would disappear in a rearrangement of managerial control.

St Peter's Primary School, Ardrossan, Parents' Association were asked to choose whether they wanted a " split " or " unified " school after being told that there was no chance of an RC primary school being built in the next four or five years. The parents unanimously agreed that a " unified " school was preferable.

Residents of Ardrossan, Fairlie and West Kilbride gathered in Ardrossan for a debate on the pros and cons of developing Hunterston. Many of the residents were in favour of a steel complex, and an equal number were against.

APRIL 1971

Ayr County Council invited the British Steel Corporation to build an integral steelworks at Hunterston to enable them to meet the long-term growth in the demand for steel products.

The Secretary of State expressed concern that Saltcoats Town Council had decided to make no change in municipal house rents, and said that the decision suggested that the council did not have a proper appreciation of the situation and had failed to consider the interests of the community generally.

Mr A J Seggie, principal teacher of technical subjects at Ardrossan Academy retired after 38 years without a day's illness.

District clerk, Mr Andrew Bryson retired after 28 years at Saltcoats and Mr William Swan was appointed as his successor.

A new hotel in Ardrossan, the High Tide, was opened by Provost J McManus.

Captain Ian Campbell was honoured by Ardrossan Town Council.

Arran District Council agreed that Ardrossan Harbour was the best terminal for the ferry Caledonia.


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MAY 1971

Labour candidates in North Ayrshire, in common with those in other parts of the country, scored convincing successes in the municipal elections. In Ardrossan Labour won control by taking all three vacant seats. Labour also strengthened their hold on the town councils of Saltcoats, Stevenston and Kilwinning and had spectacular gains in Irvine and Troon.

Householders in Saltcoats, Stevenston, Kilwinning and Irvine were troubled by a peculiar taste in the water supply. Tests showed the water to be free of impurities and the cause of the complaints remained a mystery.

A Round Table, consisting of over 160 members, was formed in Kilwinning.

Large numbers of ratepayers throughout Ayrshire showed distress over the county assessor's revaluation of their property. The rateable value in Ardrossan was increased from £257,464 to £ 431,966; Saltcoats, £281,949 to £502,496; Stevenston, £205,618 to £364,182 and Kilwinning, £160,446 to £ 284,446.

Mr Gordon Campbell, Secretary of State for Scotland, turned down applications to re-zone land at Portencross for Chevron Oil's plans to build an oil refinery, but earmarked land at Hunterston for industrial purposes.

JUNE 1971

The Caledonian Steam Packet Company announced fare increases on all their routes. Arran residents, in particular, were strongly against the increased rates.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress and the Confederation of British Industry strongly criticised the Secretary of State's decision not to allow a refinery in the Hunterston-Portencross area.

A public inquiry was held at Saltcoats into objections to the town council's proposal to build houses at the old North Station .

Ardrossan Air Training Corps retained the Scottish Drill Shield for the fifth time.

Captain D McCormick of mv Lion retired after 48 years with Burns Laird Lines and was honoured by the town council.


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JULY 1971

Labour members of Ayrshire Education Committee said they were willing to go to jail rather than pay any surcharge the government might impose on them if they continued to provide free school milk for primary pupils in the county, in defiance of government legislation.

Local councils agreed to a proposal that the coastal area from Stevenston to Skelmorlie, should with Arran and Cumbrae form a separate local authority when local government is reformed. The proposal was put to the Scottish Development Department.

Over four thousand people in North Ayrshire were unemployed. In the northern part of the county the worst affected area was Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston.

ICI announced that re-organisation of their Ardeer plant would mean 350 staff redundancies, but much of the reduction has already been effected through retirements, resignations and redeployment.

AUGUST 1971

Allegations that Saltcoats Labour Party had established political power in the town council, by creating the cheapest council house rents in the country were made in a 36-page pamphlet written, printed and published by Hamish Fraser, Saltcoats town councillor. The pamphlet called on the Secretary of State to hold a public enquiry into the question of housing in Saltcoats.

Kilwinning Town Council came out in direct opposition to Ayr County Council's campaign against the proposals for the reform of local government.

Parents of children attending St Peter's RC Primary School threatened to keep their children away from the school until improvements to the building were carried out to their satisfaction.


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SEPTEMBER 1971

A consortium of prominent Scottish businessmen formed Hunterston Development Corporation Ltd to study the prospects of establishing a major industrial complex at Hunterston to comprise industries associated with a large scale port. The chairman was Mr Hugh Stenhouse and the authorised capital was £500,000.

Kilwinning rates came down as a result of revaluation - the domestic rate by 13p to 65p in the £ and the commercial rate by 19p to 76p in the £. The domestic water rate was reduced by 1p to become 6p in the £.

The domestic rate in Ardrossan was fixed at 72p - a reduction of 41p from the previous year. the rate on other properties was 83p, a decrease of 47p. Both figures included 7p water rate.

Ardrossan councillors angrily criticised delays by the county council in beginning work on the town's comprehensive development plan and other important projects in the burgh.

Ayr County Council launched an appeal for all city, burgh and county authorities in Scotland to join in a mass lobbying of MPs to get government action to reduce unemployment.

More than £10,000 worth of damage was caused when fire swept through the chalet area of the Maple Leaf Hotel, Canal Street, Saltcoats.

OCTOBER 1971

The Ardrossan laundry, Munro Cleaners, were forced to close down when 36 of their staff refused to sign a new contract of employment. The company had agreed to pay a new wage increase but intimated they would be unable to continue with their bonus scheme. After this the firm were left with only five members of staff.

A sergeant and two constables of Ayrshire police appeared at the High Court in Ayr charged with perverting the course of justice and were found not guilty.

The Deputy Chief Inspector of HM Coastguard revealed that Ardrossan Coastguard station is to be the main station on the Clyde Coast and possibly on the west coast of Scotland, to cover the sea area from Barra, in the Outer Hebrides, to St George's Channel, between the coast of Southern Wales and Southern Ireland.


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NOVEMBER 1971

The new Auchenharvie Academy, catering for senior secondary pupils from Stevenston and Saltcoats, was officially opened by Treasurer Robert Lambie of Saltcoats Town Council.

Because of lack of support Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston Merchants' Association considered disbanding their association, but were invited to form a branch of the Chamber of Trade.

Ardrossan Town Council considered renovating Castlecraigs and turning it into a multi-purpose centre to be enjoyed by the community for social and recreational purposes.

Although plans to hold an annual civic week in Ardrossan were dropped this year. the town council agreed to encourage the launching of Civic Week 1972.

Councillor John McAllister resigned from Saltcoats Town Council.

Ardrossan Town Council celebrated the 125th anniversary of the formation of the burgh.

DECEMBER 1971

Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston Merchants' Association held a special meeting to discuss the question of disbandment. Although only 16 members turned up the association decided to continue.

Several local schools had to be evacuated when hoaxers called saying that bombs had been planted in the school buildings.

Captain Ian Campbell, who earlier in the year was honoured by Ardrossan Town Council for his voyage to the Bahamas, died at his home.

Parents of Saltcoats Catholic schoolchildren were told by Mr Thomas McIntyre, the chairman of Ayrshire Education Committee, that a site for a new primary school had been chosen.

Mr T D Lindsay was co-opted to Saltcoats Town Council, but Councillor Hamish Fraser resigned at the same meeting.

The Caledonian Steam Packet Company announced increased ferry services on the Clyde for next season.


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1972 IN RETROSPECT

JANUARY 1972

In an explosion at Ardeer Factory, three men were injured; one , from Irvine, died later.

The management at Ardeer Factory announced that there would be no redundancies in the foreseeable future.

Troon lifeboat made an emergency dash to Ardrossan Harbour after a crew member complained of feeling ill during a search operation.

FEBRUARY 1972

The Government gave the go-ahead for an iron ore terminal to be built at Hunterston.

Many roads were blocked when blizzards swept the county.

Emergency services were alerted when it was reported that a bomb had been planted on a Dutch tanker, the Ameland, in Ardrossan harbour. It was found to be a hoax.

Ardrossan Town Council decided that Castlecraigs Town Hall should be completely renovated at a cost of £190,000.

There were 2000 people out of work in the area covered by the Saltcoats office of the Department of Employment.


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MARCH 1972

Ardrossan Academicals celebrated their golden jubilee.

An Ardrossan youth was sentenced to life imprisonment at the High Court in Ayr for the murder of a 20-year-old but was later released after an appeal.

The area around Hunterston was evacuated when it was reported that a bomb had been planted. Police investigations found nothing.

Ardrossan was becoming a "ghost town ", said Bailie Barbour at a meeting of the town council.

APRIL 1972

Stevenston Town Council suggested filling in Ardeer quarry with the old Caledonia Railway embankment.

Saltcoats Town Council agreed that council houses would not be offered for sale to sitting tenants, Ardrossan Town Council had made the same decision in March.

There was a drop of 300,000 tons in oil imports to Ardrossan in 1971, said Mr M A G McCrae, chairman of the Clyde Port Authority.


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