Local history 

Local History has relocated to the Irvine Townhouse.

Delve into the fascinating history of North Ayrshire, which comprises of Skelmorlie, Largs, Fairlie, West Kilbride, Ardrossan, Saltcoats, Stevenston, Irvine, Dreghorn, Kilwinning, Dalry, Kilbirnie, Beith and the Isles of Arran and Cumbrae.

We hold an extensive collection of books, maps, photographs, newspapers and archives. If you're planning a research visit, we advise that you book in advance so that we can arrange resources for you and ensure they are available when you visit. Resources are available to view free of charge.

If you are unable to visit in person, our resource service may be able to help.

Special collections

Full catalogues are available.

Alexander Wood Memorial Library

Bequeathed to the people of Ardrossan in 1912, this collection consists of approximately 4,000 volumes relating to Ayrshire or written by people from Ayrshire. With volumes from the 18th and 19th centuries, it includes an extensive Burns collection.

The Cunninghames of Auchenharvie Estate Papers

Major landowner's in Stevenston, the Cunninghame family pioneered the coal mining industry in North Ayrshire. This is a fascinating collection of, mainly business, papers dating from the 16th century.


With articles on politics, industry and sports, public opinion expressed through readers' letters, advertising and photographs (appearing from the 1900s) researchers have access to a rich resource that paints a picture of the past. The following newspapers are held on microfilm:

  • Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 1857 to date
  • Dalry and Kilbirnie Herald, 1894 - 1926
  • Irvine and Fullarton Times, 1874 - 1879, 1893 - 1950
  • Irvine Herald, 1874 - 1950
  • Saltcoats, Ardrossan and Stevenston News, 1906 - 1908
  • Stevenston Gazette, 1893 - 1926


  • 1910 Ordnance Survey for the whole of Ayrshire
  • Timothy Pont's Cunninghame, dated 1630
  • Roy's military maps of 1750
  • Armstrong's maps of Ayrshire, 1775
  • Robert Aitken's series of parish maps for North Ayrshire, 1827

Photography archive

North Ayrshire Yesterdays is an online archive containing digitised images of postcards and photographs of North Ayrshire through the years. If you have pictures of your town from a bygone age, why not contact us and make them part of our local history? Search the archive.

Ayrshire Working Lives

Browse hundreds of online images. Pictures illustrate working life in Ayrshire through the ages. Reminisce or see if you can find someone you know! Search Ayrshire Working Lives.

Contact the Heritage Team




01294 310000


Heritage and Culture Services Facebook page


Irvine Townhouse, 66 High Street, Irvine, KA12 0AZ

Opening times

Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm
Due to staffing issues, it is essential that you book in advance of your visit.

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