Basic Site Details

Name: Gaiety Theatre
Town, district or village: Ayr
City or county: Ayrshire
Country: Scotland
Grid ref:
Notes: Plans for a new theatre at Ayr to be erected by Messrs Pierce and Bolton at the Carrick Oval have just been passed by the Dean of Guild Court. [British Architect 22 February 1901 p142]

A new theatre, the first real theatre that there has ever been in Ayr, with all modern improvements is being erected for a company on the site of a previous wooden structure in Carrick Street by Mr J McHardy Young, architect, Ayr, at a cost of over 7,000. The structure is of red brick and it has been set back with a view to the eventual widening of the whole street. [British Architect 17 January 1902 p52]

The theatre for Ayr, which has been erected in Carrick Street and is to be known as the New Gaiety Theatre, is now all but completed and it is proposed to open it on the 8th September. The theatre is the first fully equipped house of the kind that has ever been built in Ayr, and it is in every respect a thoroughly modern theatre. Outwardly it is a red brick building, the front elevation faced with red terra cotta bricks and is of a plain substantial character. The interior is, however, elaborately decorated and very comfort ably seated to accommodate about 1,200 people. It is divided into pit, dress circle, upper gallery and boxes on dress circle and gallery levels. The stage measures 47 feet wide and 30 feet deep and adjoining the stage are six dressing rooms. The building is, as nearly as possible, fireproof. The entrances to the various parts of the house are separate, those communicating with the gallery being from the street. The lighting is with gas in the meantime, but provision has been made for the introduction of the electric light if that is found desirable. Heating is by hot water and careful provision has been made to meet an outbreak of fire. The building has been set several yards back from the original line of the street so that there is ample space in front and for a considerable extent of the street eastwards. The cost has been 9,500.[British Architect 29 August 1902 p160]

The Gaiety Theatre at Ayr built and equipped lat year at a cost of about 8,000 was practically destroyed by fire on Tuesday evening. [British Architect 7 August 1903 p110]

A Press view took place on Tuesday of the new Gaiety Theatre, Ayr, which was partially destroyed by fire on August 4th 1903 and has been reconstructed. The entrances and exits have been improved so that there are two exits from each sector of the house. The entire auditorium has been re-modelled and the galleries taken down and re-erected in steel and concrete so that practically the auditorium is fireproof. The stage has also been improved and extra precautions taken in the event of fire by fire hydrants on the stage. The building is entirely refurbished and redecorated. The walls of the building have been heightened by 11 feet and there are now eight boxes instead of four. An amphitheatre has been introduced and the entrances to the dress circle improved. Mr Alex Cullen, Hamilton, is the architect. [British Architect 5 August 1904 p109]

Alternative Names

The following alternative names are associated with this building/design:
 NameCurrent name?Notes
Item 1 of 1New Gaiety  

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1Theatre  

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 1Gaiety Theatre, Carrick StreetYes 


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 61901 Scheme acceptedPlans passed by the Dean of Guild Court.
Item 2 of 61902 Build/constructionOriginal building
Item 3 of 61 October 1902 Opened 
Item 4 of 619031904 Rebuilding after fire
Item 5 of 64 August 1903  Seriously damaged by fire
Item 6 of 61938 Alterations and additionsBuilding re-fronted


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 6J McHardy YoungArchitect 1902  
Item 2 of 6Alexander CullenArchitectA1903 Rebuilding after fire
Item 3 of 6James LochheadArchitectA1903 Rebuilding after fire
Item 4 of 6William BrownArchitectA1903 Rebuilding after fire
Item 5 of 6Henry Sloan McNairArchitectH1938 Re-fronted
Item 6 of 6McNair & DouglasArchitectural practiceH1938 Re-fronted


The following individuals or organisations have commissioned work on this building/design:
Item 1 of 1Messrs Pierce and Bolton 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 2Close, Rob and Riches, Anne2012The Buildings of Scotland: Ayrshire & Arran New Haven and London: Yale University Pressp131
Item 2 of 2Close, Robert1992Ayrshire and Arran, an Illustrated Architectural Guide Edinburgh: RIASp18

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 6British Architect22 February 1901  p142
Item 2 of 6British Architect17 January 1902  p52
Item 3 of 6British Architect29 August 1902  p160
Item 4 of 6British Architect7 August 1903  p110 - Destruction by fire
Item 5 of 6British Architect5 August 1904  p109
Item 6 of 6Builder13 August 1904LXXXVII  

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 3Cullen Lochhead & Brown ArchitectsCullen Lochhead and Brown Archive Drawings destroyed?
Item 2 of 3Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register21522 
Item 3 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers James Lochhead: F v20 no1453 (microfilm reel 13)