Glengarnock (Gaelic: "Gleann Gairneig") is a small village in North Ayrshire that lies near the west coast of Scotland. It forms part of the Garnock Valley area and is approximately 25 miles away for Glasgow, the nearest city.


The village's main features are Glengarnock railway station, a small post office and a public house. Aside from this, the local towns of Kilbirnie, Beith and Dalry provide other (limited) amenities.

Social History

The history of Glengarnock is a rather tragic one, it grew up around the Steel works which, even before 1840 had a presence on the site. Once closed in the eighties, Glengarnock almost died, now having a small fraction of the population which once existed. On looking at the town now, a stranger would assume Glengarnock was a suburb of Beith or Kilbirnie but the truth is it had a large population and a very thriving community at one stage.

One of the first Libraries in North Ayrshire was formed by Mr William Rabey who formed a Reading room at the Steel Works.


The main employment in the village came, historically, from the steelworks which existed on the shores of the Loch. This, however, has been closed and the site is now home to various small businesses. During the course of its life, the Iron Works there were owned by Colvilles, Merry and Cunningham and British Steel, finally closing in the early eighties. In 1890 Merry and Cunninghame's interest in Glengarnock had finished and Glengarnock Iron and Steele was formed. From 1900 to 1914 there were periods of trade depression and when war was declared in 1914 the plant was idle. The ministry of Munitions instructed them to produce munition for the war. David Colville purchased the Plant in 1916. Perhaps the 1930s was the first time people started to leave, Economic Depression and the Means test which had been newly introduced left a lot of people poor so they moved in the hope of lives elsewhere. Riots were breaking out at that time. In 1978 they employed just 200 people. Staff magazines from the entire period have been preserved and are held by the Mitchell reference Library in Glasgow. This throws an interesting light in the period. Ironically some of the buildings of the old steel works still lie empty on the site and one of them even has the Steel work War Memorial still on the wall with names of the fallen during the two great wars, who were employees of the Steel works.


At one stage the village was highly populated with a number of "rows", small houses built for employees of the steel works and miners. These have all since been demolished. The only thing which remains of the old village are the houses in the Main Street and "Longbar", a local council housing estate now partially demolished. The name comes from the name "lambert" which existed close by.

Co-op Buildings

The original building had a number of shops, grocer, shoe cobbler dairy and butcher. The bottom part of it is now a Jehovah's Witness meeting place and above are various flats.

River Garnock

The River Garnock runs through the village. It flows from the base of the Hill of Stake in a southery direction, traversing Kilbirnie and Glengarnock, and making its way to Irvine Harbour where it enters the sea. The source of the River Garnock is somewhere in the hills and is known as "Jacobs Well".

Garnock Castle

At one point is Glengarnock Castle. In the 12th and 13th Century the land was owned by the De Morville Family, the Riddels and then Cunninghams. Mary Queen of Scots visited in 1563.


The town has a local primary school with around 200 children. The bulk of Children coming from Kilbirnie.

Originally schooling was carried out in wooden huts near the Caledonian Railway Line "the caley" a line long since closed. In 1830 there were 230 children on the roll. In 1870 Robert Grey took over and the "grey School" (Glengarnock Primary) was built in 1877 then the top part of it built in 1903 (demolished in 1992). The colour of the place was also Grey which also helped for it to earn this nick name.

The new Glengarnock Primary school was opened in 1992. The new school has a capacity for 330 pupils. For secondary education pupils will go either to Garnock Academy Kilbirnie or else St Michaels Roman Catholic School Kilwinning.


Glengarnock Church has now been closed and demolished although the Manse remains as a private residence. A memorial to the Church in the form of the preserved steeple has been erected in the village main street. It was formed in 1870 comprising of people from Kilbirnie Beith Dalry and of course the local folk. It was original United Prebyterian becoming United Free and eventually Glengarnock Parish Church. When it closed a time capsule was dug up, containing items of the time. It is held by the Auld Kirk of Kilbirnie.

Glengarnock also has a Jehovah's Witness meeting room as well as the "Hebron Hall" Plymouth Brethren assembly.

The Hebron Hall Plymouth Brethren Assembly was opened in 1921. Previously "Duffield's Building" had been used, a building across from the old Glengarnock School. Then as the Assembly was formed, they met in the Orange Lodge Hall before the present hall.

Sports & Pastimes

*Glengarnock Ironworks Bowling Club
*Garnock Rugby Football Club
*Garnock Choral Society
*Garnock Burns Club


* [History and Photographs of Scottish Steel Industry, including Glengarnock]

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