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Orginally a mining community, the mines have long gone now. The town itself has expanded considerably over recent years, as the smaller mining communities such as Lethanhill and Burnfoothill moved into Patna. All that is left of these two small communities is a few piles of stone and a War Memorial.

The Town has a small knitware business which employees a few people. It also has a small 9 hole golf course.


Click here for map of area on a separate browser window.


Click here for map of area on a separate browser window.


Click here for map of area on a separate browser window.


Click above for more pictures and basic details of hotels & Facilities etc in the town.

Click here for map of area on a separate browser window.

There is an addition page with a series of Prestwick Scenes from around the 1930's in Prestwick with comparative pictures from today.

Prestwick Cross & War Memorial

The oldest burgh in Scotland and a International Airport {Glasgow(Prestwick)}.

Prestwick Airport Terminal, opened in 1964.

Prestwick is the only coastal town in Ayrshire which does not have a harbour.

Prestwick is steeped in history, being the first Royal Burgh in Scotland and is over 1000 years old.

This section is divided into two sections, the ancient history of the town and the 20th century story.

The 'new' Town House, built in 1844

The Mercat Cross

As head-burgh of the bailery of Kyle-Stewart ( the land between the River Ayr and River Irvine with its stronghold at Dundonald Prestwick's place was as a trading burgh with the market(mercat) cross at the centre of these activities.

The authenticity of Prestwick's existence as a burgh before 1165 is found in the Charter of Confirmation dated 19th June 1600, granted to James IV himself. In the preamble he refers to the erection of the burgh as dating "beyond the memory of men, some 617 years prior to 1600."

This can be taken to mean dating back to AD 983 which was the medial year of the reign of Kenneth II (971-995).

Prestwick district has been associated with a number of saints, three of whom have given their names to gold courses at one time or another.
4th century St Nicholas, patron saint of children is the Burg's own patron saint to whom the Church was dedicated and whose likeness appears on the coat of arms.
4/5th century St. Ninian first brough Christianity to south-west Scotland; has left his name with the old spittal chapel at Kingcase.
7th century St Cuthbert, the shepherd missionary was patron saint of the other Prestwick at Monkton whose church was dedicated to him.
St Medana or Modwenna may have been associated with Kingcase and St Quivox, Evox or Kennoch gave his name to the parish two miles inland.

Robert the Bruce also features in the Prestwick story: he was connected in two ways. As Earl of Carrick, he was born at Turnberry Castle - he was interested in the area and undoubtedly was given much support from it's people, who received lands as tokens of his gratitude. Secondly, his name has been closely linked with Kingcase Well at the south end of the Burgh.
The popular legend tells how one day Robert Bruce, King of Scots, thrust his spear into the sand at Kingcase and sank wearily to the ground, exhausted from hunting and being hunted, and sick of an ailment akin to leprosy. He found that fresh water had welled up through the sand and on drinking it he found himself refreshed. To express his gratitude by having lazar-house built. The purpose of the hospital was to support eight lepers.

Since the earliest records of the Burgh, the institution known as the Freemen of the Burgh has exited. These Freemen more or less owned and ruled Prestwick. The number of Freemen appears to have varies over the years, there being 25 listed in 1559 and between 70 and 80 in 1470. The number was later fixed at 36, and each Freeman had a share of the Burgh lands. In 1834, the division of lands was described as "each share of 'freedom' consists of 14 to 16 acres; seven acres of each being arable - the rest pasture, being what was formerly called common, and consisted of whins and heath and sandy bent hills, interspersed with patches of green hollows, principally adapted to grazing young cattle."

The Freeman had great powers - by Charter they were granted 'special and full power to the burgess and freemen of making, constituting and creating a provost, bailies, deacons of trade etc' Their powers included 'levy tolls, holding burgh court, punishing transgressors and making and retaining acts, laws and statutes for the observation of good order within the burgh.'

Interestingly a Freeman could be committed to prison, but could not be locked in. If however he came out before his time he lost his freedom.

Prestwick Public School was opened in 1882 and was extended in 1905.

The Freemen continued in operation until 1903 when the Burgh became a Police Burgh and the affairs were supervised by a Provost, 4 Baillies and 7 Councillors.

The 20th Century onwards.

In the first 30 years the town nearly trebled in population, a tramway service to Ayr was introduced, the railway station was rebuilt and a mining village was established at Glenburn in 1911, complete with its own 'steamie'. The mines closed in 1973.
Prestwick High School, built on land purchased from Oswald of Auchincruive, was open in 1902. In 1912 a small public park was provided in Newdykes Road, adjacent to the High School). In the same year a fifth golf course at Kingcase was agreed to - this was a municipal course. "Prestwick Community" pages. I have been unable to date these sketches.>

The airport came into its own during the Second World War, almost by accident, when an American Crew missed Ireland and landed at Prestwick. The airfield proved very beneficial to the allies due to its weather record - something which still applies today, although the major airlines have moved to Glasgow (Abbotsinch). Freight is an important money maker for Prestwick, but it also has a number of feeder services to Dublin, Belfast, Paris and London (Stanstead). Holiday Charter Companies also use Prestwick for both European and American destinations. The airport has a railway station adjacent to it with ½ hourly service to and from Glasgow.

Industry in the vicinity is primarily around the aerospace industry. On 1st April 2006 The BAE SYSTEMS site and Aerostructures Business Unit at Prestwick was taken over by Spirit Aerosystems of Wichita, Kansas. BAE SYSTEMS Regional Aircraft Business Unit remains on the site as a tennant. The site, formerly BAE SYSTEMS, Jetstream Aircraft and British Aerospace Aerostructures , and originally Scottish Aviation, who designed and build aircraft component parts respectively. General Electric, formally know as Caledionian Airmotive and Avial, an aircraft engine overhaul facility is also located at the airport, as well as a number of other small industries in the local Industrial Estate which is near the airport.

The Airport itself was opened in 1936 by the late Duke of Hamillton and Late Group Captain McIntyre as a Flying School. They were also the first men to fly across Mount Everest. The Flying Training School was known as Scottish Aviation, and as the war progressed, the factory became involved in the repair of aircraft. It eventually moved on into aircraft production, and two aircraft were designed and built at Prestwick. These were the Prestwick Pioneer and Twin Pioneer.


A Single Pioneer (picture found in the family archives) and a Twin Pioneer at Prestwick.

Both aircraft were used by the RAF, one of their most important features being the short take-off and landing capabilities. Both were used in the Malaysian jungles. In later years, aircraft modification was the main task, although the factory has also built buses,( some going to Glasgow Corporation), caravans, electric fires, bottle coolers, and experimented with an electric car. In more recent times, the Company bought over the building rights for the Bulldog aircraft, a single engine Trainer, which sold over 300 aircraft prior to the production stopping in the late 1970's. The also took over the Handley Page Jetstream Aircraft, re-engined the aircraft and currently have marked over 300 Jetstream 31 and Jetstream 32 models. More recently again, the designed and have delivered over 100 Jetstream 41 aircraft.
In the later years of production at Prestwick, the site took on the production of the ATP aircraft from the Woodford, Manchester site. A total of 63 ATP aircraft were built between the two sites.
Regrettably in May 1997, British Aerospace announced the closure of the Jetstream 41 Production line, and the end of aircraft production at Prestwick.

On the left, the last Jetstream 41 (J41-103) to be delivered from British Aerospace Regional Aircraft, Prestwick Thursday 26 March,  1 day short of the 7th anniversary of the roll-out of the first Jetstream 41 in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen on 27th March 1991

The last Jetstream 41 (J41-104) built at Prestwick paid a final visit to Prestwick on 6th January 1999. The aircraft left Prestwick in December 1997 to have special avionic systems fitted by a sub-contractor. The aircraft is due for delivery to the customer later in January.

The end of an era in Scottish aviation history, with the closure of the Scotland's only aircraft manufacturing facility.

On a personal note, it will be a fact that a member of my family has been employed by this industry, at Prestwick, from it's conception in 1936 until it's closure in 1998.

The Regional Aircraft Business Unit. will continue to operate from Prestwick, supporting the range of turbo-prop aircraft (HS 748, Jetstream 31/32, Jetstream 41 and ATP fleets) and the BAE 146 and Avro RJ fleets of jets. Spirit Aerosystems will continue to manufacture aircraft components, but not complete aircraft. There will be no development and test flying conducted from the Prestwick site.

The British Aerospace main building at Prestwick, originally the Palace of Engineering at Belahouston Park in 1936.

British Aerospace also operated a Flying College at Prestwick which has attracted trainee pilots from the major airlines throughout the world. However in December 1999, the College transferred it's operation to Spain.The Engineering Training Centre and Flight Simulator Centre are also facing transfer to Manchester. This was subsequently sold to Oxford Aviation Academy and currently operates out of the BAE SYSTEMS site at Woodford, Manchester.

The Company name has subsequently been changed to BAE SYSTEMS.

Efforts are being made to attract additional aviation based industry into the airport area, in an attempt to make it a Centre of Excellence for Aviation.

A number Companies have moved into Prestwick over the last few years - Rohr Aircraft Services, now owned by B F Goodrich Aerospace, who repair and service the engine cowls of the big jets, Woodward Governor Company.


The entrance to the new Aerospace Park at Prestwick and the new B F Goodrich plant in the Park which opened in 2004.

Polar, an American air freight company announced in December 1999 it's intention to open an engineering base at Prestwick. The facility is on the south side of the airfield was opened during 2000. Polar have since closed down their operation.

Ryanir, the Irish Airline which operates cheap flights throughout Europe, have opened a new Maintenance Base at Prestwick which is adjacent to the Polar Hangar.

In 2010 Ryanair expanded their maintenance base by building an additional and larger hangar adjacent to their current facility.

It is still a popular holiday resort and offers golf, bowling, swimming (unfortunately the outdoor pool was closed a number of years ago, sailing. Further details on the town, in the respect of accommodation and facilities can be found on Prestwick's Facilities Page.


    The Cross, Prestwick, looking to the north           Prestwick Cross at Night, looking south - Christmas 2000

It is well served by trains, a ½ hourly service to and from Glasgow each day, with the exception of Sundays during winter when it is an hourly service. There are regular bus service to Ayr, Troon, Irvine, Ardrossan, Kilmarnock and Glasgow.

Prestwick related web sites
Prestwick Kingcase Parish Church
St Ninians Church
Prestwick South Church
Prestwick St Nicholas Church
Monkton and Prestwick North Parish Church
St Quivox Catholic Church, Prestwick
Prestwick Town Twinning Association
Prestwick Schools of yesteryear
Tennis for All Indoor and outdoor courts.

Isle of Arran, with Goatfell in a winter coat, taken from Links Road on Saturday 19th February 2000. Note the lighthouse on Lady Isle in roughly centre of picture

Author : -Bob McIntyre

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