The Catrine Community Trust, formerly known as (Catrine Voes Trust) have worked for the community for many years now to improve and maintain the lands and properties it has acquired for the benefit of Catrine's people. In 2008 they were awarded a grant of £217,655 from Forward Scotland's Environmental Justice Fund, to set up a fish hatchery which will serve to increase the fish stocks to the river Ayr and serve as a visitor attraction to encourage local youngsters to learn about the river's ecology. The Trust signed a partnership agreement with East Ayrshire Council to form Catrine Environmental Heritage Project which aims to enhance and promote the historical and environmental importance of Catrine. They aim to restore the Weir and Voes and maximise their potential for educational and recreational uses. The C.E.H.P. held their first meeting in July 2007 and are continually applying for the necessary funding to achieve their goals.
For anyone who wishes to make a donation or to join Catrine Community Trust, you can visit their new web site by clicking here.
Catrine was designed as a model village for cotton manufacturing in 1787 by Claude Alexander of Ballochmyle (Paymaster General in India) and David Dale (Founder of the New Lanark Spinning Mills). Before the invention of the steam engine such locations as Catrine were sought after as having a sufficient fall of water to drive the larger wheels that would provide the motive power for a factory. Lord Tennyson immortalised the life source of our village with one of my favourite poems, the Babbling Brook. It was from such raw scenes of nature, in the surrounding hills of Muirkirk, the waters of Garpel and many other tributaries combined to form the river Ayr in all her glory. Here in Catrine, a curved weir was constructed of a silt-clearing design, with self-acting sluices, and the lade passed through a tunnel ten feet in diameter to a point opposite the mill where a series of arches led the water on to the wheels. The original wheels were made from oak supplied from Drumlanrig estate. A further Spinning Jenny factory was constructed in 1790 and Claude Alexander built the Chapel of Ease, for his workers in 1793. This building still stands today as Catrine Parish church .
In 1802 the mills were acquired by James Findlay & Company and were greatly extended over the years. The wooden wheels were replaced by two large iron wheels designed by William Fairbairn and erected in 1828. These wheels gave Catrine a bigger heart than the country had yet seen and had no other rivals in their day. The Catrine wheels continued in operation throughout the industrial revolution and only went out of service in the 1940's. In 1950 a modern mill was built but it was only in production for 20 years. A water powered turbine system was also installed in 1950, which produced electricity which was sold to the national grid. These turbines have been out of commission since the mill closed in 1970. Since then Catrine and district has also suffered from the complete closure of the deep mining coal industry here in Ayrshire. It is remarkable that in spite of all these events, thanks to the efforts of many local organisations and the resilience of its people, Catrine today is still thriving and it's population is now on the increase.
There is a growing market for tourism here in Ayrshire and with the continued success of Ryanair at opening up new routes into Europe from our local airport, there are countless opportunities to expand our horizons, not only for tourism but for business in general. We need people with insight to see the potential of Catrine as a first class residential area with a proud history and a sense of responsibility to preserve its inheritance. Dugald Stewart as I have mentioned in my pages on Catrine House was a man of primary importance to all of our Scottish history as the eminent Professor who inspired and motivated all he lectured to during his long and distinguished career. Young men were attracted by his reputation from England, and even from the Continent and America. Among his pupils were Sir Walter Scott, Francis Jeffrey, Henry Thomas Cockburn, Francis Homer, Sydney Smith, Lord Brougham, Dr Thomas Brown, James Mill, Sir James Mackintosh and Sir Archibald Alison. His course on moral philosophy embraced, besides ethics proper, lectures on political philosophy or the theory of government, and from 1800 onwards a separate course of lectures was delivered on political economy, then almost unknown as a science to the general public. Robert Burns, our National Bard, found the inspiration for most of his famous works from the people and landscapes of this area and Dugald Stewart played his part in helping Burns to achieve the fame he deserved.
This year promises to be a special treat for all as it is the 250th anniversary of the birth of our National Bard. The Holy Fair at Mauchline should be one to remember and we are being treated to another horse ploughing contest at Mosgeil at the end of March.
Catrine Community Trust is a Company Limited by Guarantee with charitable status. Scottish Charity registration No. SC020088
Company House registration No.SC137493