Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
South Ayrshire
Planning Authority
South Ayrshire
NS 32930 22754
232930, 622754


Ratton Quays on either side of the river, rebuilt in 1713, 1724-30, later alterations. Wet Dock, J I McDerment, 1873, Slip Dock, John Strain, 1883. Lighthouse, Robert Paton, 1841, cottage addition circa 1863.

NORTH, SOUTH AND COMPASS PIERS: curved, coursed and squared stone piers (Compass pier much smaller). Internal construction not seen.

NORTH BREAKWATER: rectangular-plan breakwater located at harbour entrance.

HARBOUR WALLS: mass concrete built quays with granite copings on either side of the River Ayr (North and South Harbour Streets) to New Bridge.

GRIFFIN DOCK: near rectangular-plan wet dock.

LIGHTHOUSES: 2-cast iron lighthouses, circa 1880 (Griffin Dock constructed 1874-1881) at terminus of South Pier and at entrance to Griffin Dock. South Pier lighthouse (white): abbreviated cylindrical tower; triangular-pane lantern; later angled iron stays. Griffin Dock lighthouse (red and white): concrete base; railed stair; tapering conical tower; triangular-pane lantern; steep conical roof. 4-stage 1841 Paton lighthouse to S of Griffin Dock (3rd stage opening modified); coursed sandstone tapering circular tower; corbelled and railed parapet; domed circular lantern; square-pane light. Attached cottage circa 1850; sandstone (squared in part); grey slate roof; stone skew; coped stack; circular can.

Statement of Special Interest

For centuries, Ayr has been a premier trading port on the west coast of Scotland (for example, in 1733 Ayr was re-affirmed as a nominated port to the exclusive British tobacco trade). Following the period of Cromwellian occupation, the town initiated an intensive programme of harbour renewal. Extensive repairs to the harbour continued into the 18th and 19th centuries, with the construction of the first harbour light in 1718 (Turner, p8). An Act of Parliament in 1772, dramatically increased trade by offering the prospect of accommodation for more ships, "An Act for deepening, clearing, scouring, preserving, and maintaining the Harbour of Ayr; for enlarging and improving the Quays and Piers; for erecting Docks, Breasts, Jettees, and Piers; and for regulating ships, lighters and other vessels, trading into and going out of the said harbour; and for other purposes therein mentioned." (Graham, p22). This Act, provided the foundation of the modern development of the harbour, in the next great trade, the exporting of coal to the Irish market (the port's principal trade is still coal exports, from nearby opencast sites). The Act bestowed on a body of trustees, the legal authority to extend beyond the quayside, with the authority to acquire and build across common or town land whatever roads they deemed essential for improving harbour access (Graham, p21). The railway viaduct as noted by Groome was 3 furlongs above the Auld Brig, 26 ft wide, with 4 arches (each 60 ft span), with a footpath outside the parapet (circular-plan supports remain). Dry Dock now disused, with numerous 20th century alterations.


Ratton Quay 5.2.71

Lighthouse 10.1.81

Harbour Walls 10.7.92



John Wood's Plan of Ayr, 1818 (evident); FH Groome ORDNANCE GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND, Vol 1 (1882), pp98-100; Hugh McGhee "The Old Harbour of Ayr Before the Union of the Crowns" in AYRSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND NATURAL HISTORY COLLECTIONS, Vol 1 (1947-1949), pp75-87; THE THIRD STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND: AYRSHIRE (1951), p541-3; Ronald Brash and Allan Leach ROUND OLD AYR (1972), (unmarked pages); William Dodd "Ayr: A Study of Urban Growth" in AYRSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND NATURAL HISTORY COLLECTIONS, Vol 10 (1972), pp330, 346, 351-2, 359; Robert Gourlay and Anne Turner HISTORIC AYR: THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF DEVELOPMENT (1977), p8; ASSOCIATED BRITISH PORTS GUIDE TO THE NINETEEN PORTS (1983); Ross MacKenzie AYR'S EXPORT TRADE AT THE END OF THE 16TH CENTURY (1988); John Strawhorn and Ken Andrew DISCOVERING AYRSHIRE (1988), p103; Eric J Graham THE SHIPPING TRADE OF AYRSHIRE 1689-1791 (1991); Rob Close AYRSHIRE AND ARRAN (1992), pp30-1; R & J Kennedy OLD AYR (1992), pp3, 16; Dane Love PICTORIAL HISTORY OF AYR (1995), pp9,12,19,53, 66, 67; Associated British Ports Handbook (1997), pp8-11; Eric J Graham THE PORT OF AYR 1727-1780 (1995); John Hume HARBOUR LIGHTS (1997), pp2, 4, 11, 12; NMRS Photographic Archive (AY 1335, AY 1337).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 02/12/2022 09:26