Travelling from old to new:

How the Trinity was transformed

Trinity Church has been reborn after an extensive refurbishment. Discover the origins of the landmark building, and how it come back to life.

The history

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 6 years later.

The 27 June 1862 edition of Building News estimated the building cost at £4,000. 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. They earned him the nickname of the ‘Poet Preacher’.

The distinctive rose wheel window was designed by Glasgow artist and designer Daniel Cottier. He is recognised as one of the most influential stained glass artists in Scotland. 

His first major piece of public work, the interior of the church featured 4 ornately carved stone columns supporting finely carved capitals. A church hall adjoins, to the back, via a polygonally roofed chapter house.

By the time he moved to London in 1869, Cottier was already part of an influential group of designers, many of them expatriate Scots. They established the Aesthetic Movement in England.

The Trinity functioned as a Free Church of Scotland for the next 100 years or more. It dominated the Irvine skyline in its elevated position, above the River Irvine beside the town bridge.

In 1966, the church closed its doors and fell into a state of disrepair.

The restoration

After over 50 years of decline, the Irvine Bay Development Company secured the building in 2009.

Irvine Bay faced many challenges in bringing the once majestic building back to its former glory. Especially 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, leaving a badly damaged building.

Major work was carried out to restore the Trinity over the following 5 years. 

Local school children were consulted on the design of new elements for the Trinity. These include stained glass windows, the weathervane and the pillar carvings.

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.

Back to the future

In recent years, the Trinity has entered the final stage of transformation.

The A listed building stands strong and has been given new life as the active travel hub. Sitting in the town centre of Irvine, the hub is ideally placed for engagement with people coming to work, shop or play.

The Trinity has emerged from uncertain times to find a new purpose. 

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