The Town Council commissioned the historian Dr John Strawhorn to produce the New History of Cumnock. This 400-page illustrated hardback traces the history of Cumnock from where John Warrick’s History of Old Cumnock, published in 1899, left off.
Provost Thomas Finn writes in 1966:
“It was a happy decision by the Council when they agreed to sponsor a new History of Cumnock to mark the centenary of the town becoming a police burgh. We were fortunate in being able to engage a writer of the quality and experience of Dr John Strawhorn, author of several works on Ayrshire history and Principal Teacher of History at Cumnock Academy.
After two years’ intensive research Dr Strawhorn has produced a book that combines at once the broad sweep of our long history with the local minutiae proper to such a work. Within its pages the bare bones of historical fact are cleverly clothed with a fine web of authentic anecdotes, traditional tales and apposite quotations from local writers. To me the most absorbing part of the whole book is that dealing with the last hundred years – its triumphs and tribulations, its clashes and concords; the influence of Keir Hardie; the advent of that stormy petrel Emrys Hughes; the post-war developments, with the engaging of the eminent architect Professor Sir Robert H Matthew; industrial growth, the plans and hopes for the future.
I commend this book to all who are interested in the story of a town’s struggle for growth, for expansion, for industry, for a better way of life. It should appeal most strongly to those, both at home and abroad, whose roots are in this area. For the exile it will be like a vision of home, not only evoking nostalgic memories, but also giving an up-to-date picture of Cumnock of 1966. For us, at home, it is a timely reminder of the strenuous efforts of our forefathers. They set the course and weathered the early storms. Today the wind is fair and a bright and prosperous future is in sight.”
Some pages from the Book.