In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Irvine like this:
Irvine, parl. and royal burgh, market and seaport town, and par., Ayrshire, near mouth of river Irvine, 7 miles W. of Kilmarnock and 390 NW. of London by rail - par., 3930 ac., pop. 6013; royal burgh, pop. 4508; parl. bor., pop. 8498; town, pop. 8517; P.O., T.O., 4 Banks, 3 newspapers. Market-day, Monday. ...
The parl. burgh and town include the large suburb of Fullarton, in Dundonald par. The industries of Irvine include shipbuilding, engine-making, iron-founding, and the mfr. of chemicals. Irvine was formerly the third port in Scotland; it is now merely a sub-port of Troon, but since the harbour improvements of 1873 trade has revived. The principal exports are coal, iron, and chemical products. Irvine was made a royal burgh by Alexander II. (1214-1249). It was the seat of a monastery of White Friars, founded in the 14th century by the Fullartons. It contains interesting ruins of an old mansion (Seagate Castle), said to have been a town residence of the Earls of Eglinton. James Montgomery (1771-1854), the poet, and John Galt (1779-1839), the novelist, were natives. Irvine is one of the Ayr District of Parliamentary Burghs, which returns 1 member.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Irvine in North Ayrshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 26th April 2017
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