In 2015 North Ayrshire Council made the decision to close the toilet block at the beach. Coastwatch was offered the use of the Pavilion and decided they would move their headquarters from the Pilot House to the Pavilion. This enabled us to include a small tuck shop, and a first aid station. In June 2019 the Pavilion was given a much needed facelift, so a big thank you to D.G Smith Decorators and A McKie Building and Engineering Services for their donations of paint. Also a great big thanks to McCormack and Sons for their hard work, patience and for carrying out the paintwork. Fantastic job guys. Plans are still ongoing to upgrade the offices, extend the tuck shop to make it more user friendly and to generally modernise the whole facility.
The Pilot House
The automatic tide signalling apparatus or Pilot House at Irvine Harbour is a category B listed building, and is probably unique, having been invented and patented by Martin Boyd, the Irvine Harbourmaster, in 1905 and opened in 1906.
The tide marker station, called the 'Automatic Tide Signalling Apparatus' was actuated by the rise or fall of the tide or water level and by means of a float connected via wires to the marker station a code of light signals by night and a code of balls or like signals by day were automatically operated. However, Irvine harbour's fortunes declined, partly because of it being a tidal harbour and partly because of intense rivalry from other local ports. Latterly, explosives from the ICI plant were the only cargo handled in the harbour, and this trade ceased in the early 1990s.
The 'Pilot House' was updated with electric lights, adjustments and re-calibration being made to compensate for the silting up of the riverside tank. The system, however fell into disuse in the early 1970s and the building gradually deteriorated to the extent that rain water was penetrating the structure, leading to rot of the upper landing and structure timbers. Settlement of the building resulted in cracks appearing around the window lintels and sills. The float chamber became totally silted up, the connecting wooden trough for the cables disappeared and the signal equipment gradually decayed within the building. In 2016 Coastwatch completed the task of an overall roof, new windows, a new door and the building re-painted.