An Economic History of Troon

24 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2019

See all articles by Ewan Sutherland

Ewan Sutherland

University of the Witwatersrand, LINK Centre

Date Written: July 28, 2019


The town of Troon was created during the ‘industrial revolution’, a natural port protected by an intrusion of igneous rock, first exploited for the export of coal from 1811 at the instigation of the future 4th Duke of Portland. Coal exports grew quickly and continued until 1968. Shipbuilding was introduced in the 1810s, then boosted in the 1880s by the Marquis of Ailsa, but closed in 2000, while a railway company built and repaired carriages and waggons from 1900 until 1971. From 1811 some passengers travelled on the coal tramway from Kilmarnock to explore the seaside and bathe at Troon, taken up more seriously with the railway to Glasgow in 1839, enabling wealthier citizens of Glasgow, Kilmarnock and Paisley to build, buy or rent a seaside home to enjoy during the summer. Golf emerged as a recreational activity in the 1870s with elite private clubs, then democratised by municipal courses from 1905. Although industry stalled and faded away, Troon continued to expand as a residential town, initially in garden suburbs with a few grand mansions, but latterly more densely packed.

Keywords: Ayrshire, Coal, Economics, Housing, Industrial revolution, Railway, Seabathing, Shipbuilding, Troon

JEL Classification: 014, O18, O33, P48, N10, N13, N63, N94

Suggested Citation

Sutherland, Ewan, An Economic History of Troon (July 28, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Ewan Sutherland (Contact Author)

University of the Witwatersrand, LINK Centre ( email )

1 Jan Smuts Avenue
Johannesburg, Gauteng 2000
South Africa


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