CATRINE, a manufacturing village, and until recently a quoad sacra parish, in the parish of Sorn, district of Kyle, county of Ayr, 2¼ miles (E. by S.) from Mauchline; containing 2659 inhabitants. This place, which, prior to the year 1786, contained only the two families of the miller and the blacksmith of the parish, is indebted, both for its origin and progress, to the establishment of the cotton manufacture, at that time, by the late Claud Alexander, Esq., of Ballochmyle, and David Dale, Esq., a merchant of Glasgow. These works, after being carried on for a few years, were purchased from the original proprietors by Messrs. Finlay and Company, of Glasgow, who enlarged the concern, and brought it to its present flourishing condition. The buildings are spacious, and replete with machinery of every kind; two water-wheels, each fifty feet in diameter, estimated at 200 horse-power, have been erected for giving motion to the machinery, and two steam-engines, of sixty horse-power each, have been added, to secure the continuance of the work under any failure of water. In the bleaching-works, also, the requisite machinery is propelled by a water-wheel of thirty-two feet diameter, and by a steam-engine of twenty-eight horse-power. Every process of the cotton manufacture is carried on, with the utmost regularity; the raw material sent from Glasgow is spun, woven, bleached, and finished, either for home consumption, or for exportation to foreign markets. In the bleaching-works, which were established in 1824, in addition to the goods produced in the cotton factory of this place, all the cloth manufactured at the other works of the company are bleached; the process is carried on within the walls, at all seasons of the year, and from 150 to 200 acres of land, which would be requisite for the exclusive purpose of a bleachfield, are thus appropriated to agricultural uses. The number of persons employed in both the works is 960.
   The village, which alone constituted the parish, is pleasantly situated in an extensive and picturesque vale, through which the river Ayr pursues its winding course, and is neatly built on the north bank of the river, over which is a handsome stone bridge; it is lighted with gas of the very best quality, from works which have been considered the most excellent in Ayrshire for economy of production. There are two public libraries, containing each a collection of from 600 to 700 volumes, and supported by subscribers; a philosophical library; and a library in connexion with a Sunday school. Many of the inhabitants are also employed in hand-loom weaving, for the manufacturers of Glasgow and Paisley, and several in the various trades requisite for the supply of the population; a penny-post has been established, and there is an excellent market on Saturday, for provisions of all kinds. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the presbytery of Ayr and synod of Glasgow and Ayr. A chapel of ease was built by Mr. Alexander, in 1792, at an expense of £1000; it was purchased by the feuars of the village, about ten years ago, as they were bound by contract to erect a chapel and enclose a burying-ground, and it afterwards became the church of the parochial district which has been recently dissolved. It is a substantial edifice, adapted for a congregation of 730 persons, and, by the subsequent addition of galleries, has been made to contain 1160 sittings; the patronage is exercised by the communicants. Places of worship have been built for members of the Free Church and the United Secession; and a school for the children in the works, has been long supported by the proprietors. A friendly society was established in 1829, and has a fund of £300; it is well supported, and has been found very beneficial in obviating necessity for parochial relief. The late Dugald Stewart, the eminent professor of moral philosophy, had a summer residence here.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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