THE OLD STONE PIER
The first record of a pier at Kilchattan Bay was on a 1777 map, 'Keilings Quay', north west of the present one, today there is no trace of this structure.
With the growth of Kilchattan Bay and it's associated industries there was an increasing need for a pier. Various grand schemes were proposed but eventually a simple stone pier was built by 2nd Marquess of Bute in around 1822. This ran initially in a north easterly direction for about twenty yards and then in a northerly direction for approximately seventeen yards. Its width was variable, twenty yards at landward end to eight yards from the bend to the seaward end. The quay was and still is hampered by being only accessible by boat at high tide (see current day photographs below).
Stone Pier around 1870. Steam puffer Louise at end and sailing coaster at the inside (west) face. The ladies appear to be disembarking from a rowing boat, they may have been ferried ashore from the Arran steamer.[ref 1]
The quay was used to land fish, coal and bulk imports and export potatoes, grain and other agricultural products, and additionally from the mid 1850's tiles and bricks. It was also used as ferry point for passengers using steamers plying between Glasgow, Greenock, the Isle of Arran and Ireland. Passengers had to be transferred to and from these steamers by small boat.
After the opening of the steamer pier the quay continued to be used by fishing boats until fishing ceased to be an industry in Kilchattan Bay; it then fell into disrepair.
In 1895 Bute Agricultural Society installed a weighing machine adjacent to the old pier at a cost of over £44. It collected dues for the use of the machine which were used to maintain it to the standard required by the Weights and Measure Inspector. After 1937 no income was received from the machine and after carrying out repairs in 1941 the Society handed over the machine to Mr Thomas Gilmour, manager of the Tile Works. The machine, recently renovated, is still present on the Pier.
Restored weighing machine at head of Stone Pier [ref 2]
In the late 1980's a local voluntary group, Kingarth and Kilchattan Bay Improvements
Committee was set up to rescue the Old Pier. Work started in Spring 1990 to concrete
the slipway and in a number of subsequent phases to restore the pier and surrounding
area. The work was funded by grants, money-
I Reid makes a start on Stone Pier restoration project -
Sausage Sizzle to celebrate completion of Pier restoration -
Stone Pier at high and at low tide -