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ARDROSSAN, a seaport, burgh of barony, and police burgh of Ayrshire, Scotland, 32 m. from Glasgow by the Glasgow & South-Western railway, and 29 m. by the Lanarkshire & Ayrshire branch of the Caledonian railway. Pop. (1901) 6077. The rise of Ardrossan was due to the enterprise of Hugh, 12th earl of Eglinton, who began the construction of the present town and harbour in 1806. The harbour was intended to be in connexion with a canal from Glasgow to Ardrossan, but this was only completed as far as Johnstone. Owing to the costliness of the undertaking, and the death of the earl in 1819, the works were suspended after an outlay of £100,000, but his successor completed the scheme on a reduced scale at an expense of another £100,000. The dock accommodation has since been considerably extended, and the town enjoys great prosperity. Steamers run every week-day to Arran and Belfast, and during summer there is a service also to Douglas in the Isle of Man. The exports consist principally of coal and iron from collieries and ironworks in the neighbourhood; and the imports of timber, ores and general goods. Shipbuilding thrives and the fisheries are important. The town is governed by a provost and council.

Saltcoats (pop. 8120), a mile to the south, is a popular seaside resort, with a brisk trade, due to its proximity to Ardrossan and Stevenston; the making of salt, once a leading industry, has ceased.

Ardrossan dates from an early period. The name Arthur of Ardrossan is found in connexion with a charter dated 1226; and Sir Fergus of Ardrossan accompanied Edward Bruce in his Irish expedition in 1316, and in 1320 signed the appeal to the pope, made by the barons of Scotland, against the aggressions of England. The family of Ardrossan is now merged, by marriage, in that of the earl of Eglinton and Winton. The castle where Wallace surprised the English garrison and threw their corpses into the dungeon, grimly styled "Wallace's Larder," was finally destroyed by Cromwell, who is said to have used part of its masonry for the construction of the fort at Ayr; but its ruins still exist.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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