Millport owes its origins in the 1700s to the people who attempted to smuggle contraband into the Clyde and to those who tried to stop them! Garrison House in Millport was built in 1745 as the residence of the Captain and officers of the Revenue Sailing Ship the ‘Royal George’. Stationed at Millport, the Royal George played a key role in the Revenue (customs) ‘hot pursuit’ of smugglers.
Throughout the 19th century various amendments were made to the original Garrison House which is an excellent example of early 19th century gothic battlement architecture. In 1908, the arts and crafts architect Robert Weir Schultz remodelled both the house and gardens, including the sunken garden to the front of the house. It is one of the few examples of the architect’s work in Scotland and has significant historical merit.
Following a major fire in 2001, the building then sadly became a derelict eyesore. However, the community stepped in and last year celebrated the opening of Garrison House following a two year restoration project of this landmark building.
The end result is a complete transformation providing a vibrant hub of activities in Millport for locals and visitors alike. Garrison House now boasts the local GP surgery, a state of the art Library, the Museum of the Cumbraes, the Garrison Café, North Ayrshire local council services office and rooms available for community use. The building itself has been remodelled over two floors. The historic exterior of the house has been refurbished and the stonework completely restored. The interior has been opened up to create a modern facility, making full use of light and space.
The colourful and excellent Library at Garrison House provides the public with internet access and a wide range of reading services for all ages.
The Museum of the Cumbraes
Fishermen, smugglers, lighthouse keepers, sailors, tourists, and scientists. The Cumbraes owe their colourful history to both locals and visitors. The islands’ geography– in turn – shaped the nature of daily life here. The Museum of the Cumbraes showcases the islands’ history – from 4,000 year-old stone coffins – or ‘cists’ – found on the Cumbraes, through stories of smuggling in the 18th century to life during the second world war and indeed life on the island today.
The Garrison House Cafe
Having tasted the island’s history, visitors can sample home baking and other snacks with a tea or coffee in the Garrison House Café, or celebrate summer sun with an ice cream sundae in the courtyard. The Café is dog friendly and there is always a bowl of water available for man’s best friend in the courtyard.
Council Customer Services
Any questions on North Ayrshire Council services will be answered by the friendly staff at the Council’s local office located in the Garrison House – from Halls bookings to Council Tax queries. Staff will assist the public where they can and where they don’t have an answer locally they will know someone who has!
The refurbishment of Garrison House has been a catalyst for local economic improvement for the island as a whole and plans are ongoing for further developments to make Millport and Cumbrae a ‘must see’ destination on the Clyde estuary.
For more information
For information on opening hours, bookings, or any other matters please contact individual offices.
Garrison House – 01475 531381
Library – 01475 530742
Council Office – 0845 6030590