Ailsa Shipbuilding Company

Ailsa Shipbuilding Company was a Scottish shipbuilding company based in Troon and Ayr, Ayrshire.

Ailsa Shipbuilding Company
HeadquartersTroon and Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland


The company was founded in 1885 by the 3rd Marquess of Ailsa along with Peter James Wallace and Alexander McCredie.

In 1902 the Ailsa yard fitted out the polar exploration ship Scotia for the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition of 1902-04. The Scotia sailed from Troon for the South Atlantic on 2 November 1902.[1]

The company built paddle steamers for various companies around the UK, including the New Medway Shipping Company's PS Medway Queen, the only estuary paddle steamer left in the UK.

During the First World War, the shipyard built the Royal Navy's first paddle minesweeper of the Racecourse class.[2]

During the Second World War, Ailsa built vessels for the Navy, including several Bangor-class minesweepers.

In 1977 Ailsa was nationalised and subsumed into the British Shipbuilders Corporation. In 1981, the assets of Ailsa and those of Ferguson Brothers were merged to form Ferguson-Ailsa, Limited. This grouping was split and privatised in 1986, the Ailsa yard being acquired by Perth Corporation as Ailsa & Perth, Limited.

Ailsa stopped large-scale shipbuilding in 1988 and finally closed as a shipbuilder in 2000.[3] The yard has recently been used for ship repair work and the fabrication of large concrete sections for a pier improvement programme in Grimsay, Western Isles.[4]

Ships built by Ailsa Shipbuilding Company

Yard NoNameTypeLaunchNotes
4SS Lady AilsaCargo ship4 January 1888renamed Belgian Prince
53 SV Dalblair Steel sailing vessel 3-masted barque 1895

Dalblair was a steel ship of 1,474 tons built in 1895 in Scotland (town of Troon) by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company. Crash reports mention that the vessel left Cardiff for Mauritius with a cargo of coal on 14 November 1901. After 82 days at sea, on 4 February 1902 the ship reached the south east seas of Mauritius

see link [5]
TobrukItalian Navy gunboatBuilt 1897 as yacht Evona - since 1912 RN Tobruk
70SS HebridesPassenger ship24 March 1898
78KatoombaPatrol ship28 December 1898renamed USS Emeline
297HMS AscotMinesweeper26 January 1916
298HMS AtherstoneMinesweeper4 April 1916
294HMS AphisGunboat15 September 1915
299HMS ChelmsfordMinesweeper14 June 1916
334HMS AberdareMinesweeper29 April 1918
335HMS AbingdonMinesweeper11 June 1918
336HMS AlburyMinesweeper21 November 1918
338HMS AlresfordMinesweeper17 January 1919
345HMS AppledoreMinesweeper15 August 1919
396SS SillonianPassenger vessel17 November 1925
439HMS ClactonMinesweeper19 December 1941
437HMS HytheMinesweeper4 September 1941
452HMS Loch Tarbert[6]Frigate19 October 1944
453HMS Loch Veyatie[7]Frigate8 October 1945
388PS Medway QueenPaddle steamer23 April 1924
487HMS OckhamMinesweeper12 May 1959
488HMS OttringhamMinesweeper22 January 1958
HMS RaiderPatrol & Training vesselJanuary 1988
432HMS RyeMinesweeper19 August 1940
473HMS BottishamMinesweeper16 February 1953
474HMS BrantinghamMinesweeper4 December 1953
481MV ButeFerry28 September 1954
480MV CowalFerry20 January 1954
483HMS ElsenhamMinesweeper25 May 1955
484HMS EtchinghamMinesweeper9 December 1957
496MV Glen SannoxFerry30 April 1957
508MV Cerdic FerryFerry16 February 1961
507MV St. ClairPassenger29 April 1960
509MV Doric FerryFerry27 October 1961
510MV KyleakinFerry1961renamed Largs
517MV BowbelleAggregate dredger11 May 1964Involved in the sinking of the Marchioness on the River Thames in 1989. Renamed Billo in 1992 and Bom Rei in 1996. Sank off the coast of Madeira in March 1996.[8]
529MV GlenachulishFerry1969
MV Graemsay[9]Ferry1996
530MV IonaFerry22 January 1970renamed Pentalina-B
531MV CoruiskFerry26 June 1969
533MV Mona's QueenDiesel ferry22 December 1971
547MS Lady of MannFerry4 December 1975renamed Panagia Soumela
551MV Isle of CumbraeFerry23 December 1976
552MV SaturnFerry30 June 1977
554MV LochmorFerry11 June 1979
571RV CorystesResearch vessel1988
HMS TrackerPatrol & training vesselJanuary 1998
TritonMotor yacht1902now Madiz
HMS WarriorYacht4 February 1904
592MV LochnevisFerry8 May 2000[10]
Sources: Miramar[11]


The Ailsa Shipbuilding Company archives are maintained by the University of Glasgow Archives Services.[12]


  1. "William S. Bruce". South Archived from the original on 19 April 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
  2. "HM Ships As extracted from Jane's Fighting Ships for 1919". Retrieved 28 March 2009.
  3. Ayrshire shipyard closing BBC News, 18 August 2000
  4. "Huge concrete box due for harbour". BBC News. 21 August 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
  5. "Sailing Vessel DALBLAIR built by Ailsa Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in 1895 for Ship "Dalblair" Co (J. Campbell, mgr)., Cargo". Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  6. "HMS Loch Tarbert". Naval-History.Net. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  7. "HMS Loch Veyatie". Naval-History.Net. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  8. "Scottish Built Ships", Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  9. "MV Graemsay". FerryPhotos. Archived from the original on 2 May 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  10. "History - Lochnevis". Ships of Calmac. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  11. "Shipyard search results for "1015"". Miramar. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  12. "Records of Ailsa Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, Troon, East Ayrshire, Scotland". from Glasgow University Archive Catalogue. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2009.

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