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The 1775 Armstrong map shows the town of Ayr as a developing market town with a military past and a few budding industries.

The dominant feature is the Fort, which was constructed in the Commonwealth period in the 1650s when Cromwell's troops occupied the town and used it as a key base to control the West of Scotland. Following the Restoration in 1660, the Fort was closed and fell into disuse, with its buildings being dismantled or gradually becoming part of the town.

On this map we can see some of the buildings inside the fort have been converted into a brewery.

Between the fort and the river, the sugar house testifies to Ayr's far-flung trading connections, as sugar was imported from the West Indies.

Another notable feature of the town are the twin piers on each side of the River Ayr that protected the harbour mouth from shifting sands. This river harbour, like the one further North at Irvine, would have had to have been regularly dredged.

It also noticeable on this map that the New Town of Ayr, on the North of the river, is almost as big as the Old Town. This was an area that grew up around the town's coal trade, which "fuelled" its exports and led to other industries, like the lime kiln shown on the map that produced quicklime. Ayrshire is rich in shells and limestone which can be used in making quicklime.

When Daniel Defoe, the famous writer, visited Ayr around 70 years before this map was made, he saw the town as run-down and decayed:

"The capital of this country is Air, a sea-port, and as they tell us, was formerly a large city, had a good harbour, and a great trade: I must acknowledge to you, that tho' I believe it never was a city, yet it has certainly been a good town, and much bigger than it is now: At present like an old beauty, it shews the ruins of a good face; but is also apparently not only decay'd and declin'd, but decaying and declining every day, and from being the fifth town in Scotland, as the townsmen say, is now like a place so saken; the reason of its decay, is, the decay of its trade, so true is it, that commerce is the life of nations, of cities towns, harbours, and of the whole prosperity of a country: What the reason of the decay of trade here was, or when it first began to decay, is hard to determine; nor are the people free to tell, and, perhaps, do not know themselves. There is a good river here, and a handsome stone bridge of four arches."

However, it seems by this time the town was enjoying growth with a successful mixed economy and an industrious population of between four and five thousand.

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