Travelling from old to new:
How the Trinity was transformed
Trinity Church has been reborn after an extensive refurbishment.
But what are the origins of the landmark building, and how did it come back to life?
Designed by Edinburgh architect Frederick Thomas Pilkington, Trinity Church opened its doors to worshippers in December 1863. The spire, stretching 120 feet into the Ayrshire sky, was completed six years later.
The 27 June 1862 edition of Building News estimated the building cost at £4,000 and the distinctive Venetian-Gothic church was described by a local newspaper as “the most truly beautiful structure in the West of Scotland”.
Built for the Reverend William B Robertson, the Trinity could accommodate up to 750 worshippers.
With all the pews facing his pulpit, the Reverend commanded the attention of everyone as he delivered his lyrical sermons, which earned him the nickname of the ‘Poet Preacher’.
As distinctive now as it was back then, the rose wheel window was designed by Glasgow artist and designer Daniel Cottier, one of the most influential stained glass artists in Scotland.
His first major piece of public work, the interior of the church featured four ornately carved stone columns supporting finely carved capitals, with a church hall adjoining to the rear via a polygonally-roofed chapter house.
By the time he moved to London in 1869, Cottier was already part of an influential and avart garde group of designers, many of them also expatriate Scots, who established the Aesthetic Movement in England.
Functioning as a Free Church of Scotland for the next hundred years or more, the Trinity dominated the Irvine skyline in its elevated position above the River Irvine beside the town bridge.
However, the church closed its doors in 1966 and fell into a state of disrepair.
After over fifty years of decline, the Irvine Bay Development Company finally secured the building in 2009.
Irvine Bay faced many challenges in bringing the once-majestic building back to its former glory – not least of which were its winged inhabitants. Hundreds of pigeons had made their home in the Trinity, bringing with them a whole host of problems.
Birds of prey were used to scare the pigeons away.
With the pigeons moved on, the church had to be cleaned from top to bottom, but that still left a badly-damaged building.
Major work was carried out to restore the Trinity over the following five years – from its spire to the stained glass windows.
Local school children were consulted on the design of new elements for the Trinity, including the stained glass windows, the weathervane and the pillar carvings.
And whilst the building has its roots firmly in the past, it will have a key role to play for the people of North Ayrshire in years to come.
Window designs chosen
Back to the future
In recent years, the Trinity has entered the final stage of its transformation.
Not only is the A listed building standing as strong as ever, it has been given new life as the active travel hub. Sitting in the town centre, the hub is ideally placed for engagement with people coming to the town to work, shop or play.
After bright beginnings, the Trinity has emerged from uncertain times to find a new purpose for the future, as it helps the people of North Ayrshire on their journey to a more active lifestyle.