No expense spared to produce town hall for royal burgh

Well, last week we covered the history of Girvan’s Stumpy, a building worthy of note despite there being little action from South Ayrshire Council in repairing the clock.

It seems pointless to have a magnificent steeple complete with clock if it does not function. But, there you are, everything is too expensive these days.

However, I now turn my attention to one of Ayr’s iconic buildings the Town Hall built in 1827 at a cost of £10,000. This must have been an enormous sum in those days, but no expense was spared to produce a building in the classical style which was the fashion at the time.

The Town Hall stands at the corner of High Street and New Bridge Street, with a steeple rising to 225 feet dominating the skyline of the Royal Burgh of Ayr. Mind you, the building was not without its troubles. In 1836, the steeple was damaged by lightning; in 1897, the extensions that were completed in 1881 were damaged by fire, but funds were always available and the interior was rebuilt by JK Hunter.

One of the finest examples of a Lewis Pipe organ was installed in 1903 and completely restored and refurbished in 2007, as was the rest of the building.

Ayr, of course, was a Royal Burgh, home to some very successful businessmen and, therefore, only the best was ever considered, and why not?

The inhabitants were very proud of their town, which, at that time, had no responsibility for the rest of Ayrshire.

One can only presume that, with so many canny businessmen at its helm, the council would be well insured. I wonder if that is still the case today.

It is interesting to note that The Royal Burgh of Ayr came into being in 1205 and flourished for many years until 1975 when it came under the auspices of Kyle & Carrick District Council, broadening its horizons but only for a short spell. In 1996, it was superceded by South Ayrshire Council with even greater responsibility for a far larger area.

Ayr Town Hall is a magnificent building and I am sure that most towns have similar edifices of which they are very proud. These buildings are well worth maintaining in an age when one does not look too far ahead and the less expensive solution is invariably adopted. Hopefully, we have prudent businessmen or women in authority who would, I am sure, make provision to see that these delightful buildings our forebears have bequeathed to us are properly maintained. See you next week.