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
Local Authority
South Ayrshire
Planning Authority
South Ayrshire
NS 33835 22273
233835, 622273


Campbell Douglas and Morrison, 1893, with later alterations. 2-storey and basement, 7-bay (grouped 1-5-1) Renaissance Freestyle library. Ground and 1st floor cill courses; dividing corniced string course; eaves course; cornice; part-balustraded parapet.

W (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: central entrance to recessed 5-bay section; pilastered, architraved doorpiece; dentilled cornice; decorative iron keystoned fanlight above; 2-leaf timber door; single window aligned above at 1st floor; 2 bipartite windows at basement to left; timber door at basement to right, infilled window openings; regular fenestration to remaining bays at ground and 1st floor; circular flower roundels to aprons of 1st floor windows; semi-octagonal piers dividing bays at ground floor, carry Doric columns dividing bays at 1st floor; upper arcade of elliptical arches; inscription panels read 'History', 'Science', 'Poetry', 'Travel', 'Fiction'; 'Carnegie Public Library' to parapet above, balustrades flanking. Advanced bays to outer left and right; 2-leaf timber basement opening to outer right; 3 single windows at ground floor; tripartite windows at 1st floor; keystoned elliptical-arched tympanums read 'Theology' to left, 'Philosophy' to right; flower roundels flanking; segmental-headed detail to dies at outer sections of parapet aligned above.

Timber windows. Grey slate roof; wallhead stacks; circular cans.

INTERIOR: tiled entrance porch. Corniced ceiling; composite order columns to entrance lobby and reading rooms; timber staircase; stained glass stair window by Stephen Adam & Co of Glasgow.

RAILINGS, GATES AND BOUNDARY WALL: stepped boundary wall to entrance elevation; ironwork between enclosing basement; iron gates to outer right and left.

Statement of Special Interest

Invited as a speaker in the library lecture programme of 1890, Mr Carnegie, the American millionaire, wrote in reply that whilst he could not attend,

"if the town were now disposed to adopt the Free Libraries Act, I should like very much to help it get a suitable library building". (Leach, p80). Following correspondence, Mr Carnegie's offer became a firm one of contributing ?10,000 for a building, with the Act adopted. The design of the building was the subject of a competition, for which ten sets of plans were lodged. Sent to Mr Carnegie for final approval, Campbell Douglas and Morrison's plans were accepted, with the addendum ... it might be an improvement if the little tower on top of the building were done away with." (Leach, p81). It was, and the building opened on the 2 September 1893, with the first librarian being George Phillips, librarian of the Public Library, for the previous three years.



Ordnance Survey map, 1858 (earlier structure evident), Ordnance Survey map, 1896 (evident); AYR ADVERTISER, 31.7.1890 (information courtesy of Robert Close); FH Groome ORDNANCE GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND (1882), p99; THE THIRD STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND: AYRSHIRE (1951); pp549-550, 552; AYR, PRESTWICK AND DISTRICT HISTORICAL GUIDE (1967), p13; William Dodd "Ayr: A Study of Urban Growth" in AYRSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND NATURAL HISTORY COLLECTIONS, Vol 10 (1972), pp350, 359; Allan Leach "Libraries in Ayr 1762-1975" in AYRSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND NATURAL HISTORY COLLECTIONS, Vol 11 (1973-1976) pp69-84; John Strawhorn and Ken Andrew DISCOVERING AYRSHIRE (1988), p102; Rob Close AYRSHIRE AND ARRAN (1992), p30; R & J Kennedy OLD AYR (1992), p52; Dane Love PICTORIAL HISTORY OF AYR (1995), pp10, 73; M Glendinning, R MacInnes and A MacKechnie A HISTORY OF SCOTTISH ARCHITECTURE (1996), p564; NMRS Photographic Archive (A5681).

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.

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