Date: ca 1915 Photographer: Unknown (Collection of South Ayrshire Council.)
3. Recital by Bernadette Donnelly in the Memorial Hall during the Icelandic Art exhibition for the June 1989 Ayrshire Arts Festival.
The school has existed, in various guises, since 1233 although it did not come to be known as Ayr Academy until 1796. It moved from the Sandgate to its present location on Fort Street in 1800. The main block of current building dates from 1880 (designs by Clark and Bell), with further extension to the building added in the the early 20th century. Notable enhancements were the purpose built art school by James A. Morris, added in 1909.Ayr Academy developed continuously from the Sang Schule of 1233.
The original Grammar School stood in the Sandgate and beside it, forming part of the same building, was the Sang Schule. The old school was allowed to decay and when the Auld Kirk was built, the Grammar School was transferred to a site nearby. In the 17th century the Grammar School was re-established in the Sandgate near its old site at the head of the School Vennel.
The ’Academy’ was to allow local access to a high standard of education, previously expensive and requiring travel to Glasgow or Edinburgh. In 1798 a royal charter was granted to establish an ‘Academy at Air’. In 1796 the Academy opened in the Sandgate, until moving to the present site on Fort Street in 1800.
Ayr Academy has a work attributed to Sir Henry Raeburn (1756 – 1823) in the school collection. During the 1980s collaboration with Kyle and Carrick Distrait museum service saw a number of temporary exhibitions within the central hall and the Art Department. The visual arts have played a significant role in the school curriculum for the past 100 years and the school staff have contributed to the formation and activities of the Maclaurin Trust.