History of Garrison House

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.