North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Crocodile Rock and Little Cumbrae

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

The Garrison, Isle of Cumbrae

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Millport, Cathedral of the Isles

Cumbrae - Explore Cumbrae

The Garrison, c.1745; summer house of Earls of Glasgow

Garrison House was originally built around 1745 by Captain James Crawford of the Revenue Cutter Royal George. In Crawford's time the front wall at the Garrison was pierced with gun slits and had cannon.

It was then purchased by George Boyle, 4th Earl of Glasgow, in 1819 and enlarged to become a family residence. The land was leased from the Marquis of Bute to whom he was bound to supply a rose on the 11th July each year if required. In 1843 upon the death of George it was used as a dower house by his widow for many years and was called the Priory.

In 1887 the Marquis of Bute bought the Garrison and used it as a dower house until 1919. For a short time it was a hydropathic hotel but this closed before World War II. During the war it opened to house Mearnskirk Hospital when its staff and patients were evacuated there from Glasgow.

In 1948 Millport Burgh Council took on the lease and used the building as office, chambers and library. In 1972 the council used part of the building as a restaurant and built trampolines and a paddling pool in the grounds. (The tennis courts were built in 1950.) The Museum of the Cumbraes opened in the Garrison in 1978.

The Garrison closed in 1997 when it was declared unsafe. It was gutted by a fire in 2001 but re-opened in 2008 after restoration by Cumbrae Community Development Company funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Today it forms the heart of Cumbrae's community and houses a museum, library, council services, café, crafts shop and NHS centre.

Useful websites

The Garrison when it was a hydropathic hotel.
The Garrison when it was a private residence. Note the high wall to stop people looking into the grounds.
1887 and the Garrison gets a make-over by its new owner John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquis of Bute, the world's richest man at that time.
In front of the Garrison is the sunken garden and the popular paddling pool.
The Garrison Restaurant that opened in 1972 in what is now the library.
Centre is Lady Margaret Macrae, sister of the Marquis of Bute, Commandant of the nurses. This was when the Garrison was used as a hospital during World War II.

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