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Ayrshire Food from Ayrshire Folk


This section features tasters of the history and traditions of the area, focusing on the six rural parishes surrounding Crossroads – Riccarton, Craigie, Tarbolton, Mauchline, Sorn and Galston .


Dan Ross shares his postcards with us starting with views from around Kilmarnock and Riccarton parish

The original postcards, introduced to the UK in 1870, were simple, with the name and address of the recipient being written on one side, and the message on the other. In 1894 the UK introduced picture postcards, but only the name and address could be written on the back with any message written on the picture side. These early picture postcards are known as undivided back, but in 1902 the UK introduced divided back postcards, thus allowing the name and address and a message to be written on the back, with the complete picture on the other side.

Postcards were the email and facebook of their day, as the telephone was not widely available, and the years before World War I have been called ‘The Golden Age’ of picture postcards.

Cards of all descriptions and subjects were produced, many of them in Germany, so with the outbreak of hostilities this supply came to an end. After World War I the role of the postcard changed, becoming increasingly associated with the seaside holiday.

Topographical postcards are of particular interest as they are an excellent way of showing how a particular place may have changed over the years, how people dressed and which modes of transport were available at that point in time.

This is the first of hopefully a series of articles looking at the six parishes covered by the hub, starting with Kilmarnock and Riccarton.

View of Duke Street from Kilmarnock Cross, early 1900s. The postcard has an undivided back (see below) so the message has been written on the front.

Reverse of above postcard – space only for the name and address.

Another undivided back postcard, of the Burns Monument in Kay Park – the message reads ‘Have 2 hours to wait here so am filling in the time.’ The message is dated 23/10/02. A ‘facebook’ type comment!

A fine view of Caprington Castle, but the message on the reverse makes interesting reading (see below)

Reverse of above postcard, sent from 57 Campbell Street, Riccarton on Sunday 11th February 1923.

Part of the message reads ‘Last night Sat there was a big fire Lauder the Emporium has been burned to the ground. Father & I are going to see it this afternoon.’

A typical example of how a postcard can provide topical information of the time.

Here is a view of Duke Street, looking from The Cross, just prior to World War I.

The tram is waiting to depart for Hurlford, via London Road and Crookedholm.

A view of the Transport Station at the top of Portland Street in the 1920s/1930s. The SMT employee in the road is guiding the bus out, having blown his whistle for the policeman on points duty at the junction of Portland Street and East George Street to stop the traffic. This system was still in use in the 1960s.

General view of Riccarton in the early 1900s looking towards the Parish Church.

Some of the cottages are still thatched.

A closer view of the Parish Church, Riccarton.

Some other places of interest within Riccarton Parish are shown in the next few images, all of which are postcards.

The Dairy School for Scotland, which was located at Holmes Farm, behind Dundonald Road. Do any readers have any stories or memories of it?

Struthers Steps, located on the River Irvine near Crookedholm.

Bellfield House, no longer with us, which had a fine Rock Garden (see below)

The Rock Gardens, Bellfield House.

The Parish of Riccarton also includes Crookedholm, and here is a general view again from the early 1900s.

Finally, a view of Hurlford Cross, looking towards the road to Galston, from the 1950s or 1960s. this view shows how much things have changed at this particular location.

Hopefully Dan’s article has jogged a few memories and we would love to hear of your recollections of the area covered! If you’ve got a memory to share or more information on the postcards above,  please email us with your story at