Dundas House is a Neoclassical building in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is located in the city's first New Town; the building was completed in 1774 as a private town house for Sir Lawrence Dundas by the architect Sir William Chambers. Much altered internally and extended over the years, today it is the registered office of the Royal Bank of Scotland, it is protected as a category A listed building; when the town council made plans for a New Town drawn up by James Craig in 1767, the site of Dundas House was shown as a proposed church, St. Andrew's, acting as a counterpart to St. George's Church on what became Charlotte Square; the two were separated by the New Town itself laid out on a formal grid centred on George Street along which the two churches were to face each other. Sir Lawrence Dundas saw the layout and decided the church site would make a good location for a prestigious town mansion, in 1768 he acquired the land, he invited designs from the architects John Carr and James Byres, but their proposals were not adopted.
Dundas turned to Sir William Chambers who drew up plans for the mansion in early 1771. The designs were agreed, soon afterwards construction began on the house; the building was completed by January 1774. In 1780 Hugo Arnot described the building as "incomparably the handsomest townhouse we saw"; the proposed St Andrew's Church was subsequently built at a less prominent site at 13 George Street. Lord Dundas died in 1781 and his son inherited the house. Having no great desire to live here he sold the house to the government and it became a Customs House. At this stage it gained the royal coat of arms in its pediment. Dundas House was acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1825; the interior was altered in 1825 and 1828 in 1836 by William Burn. Much of these alterations were removed by John Dick Peddie in 1857 when a banking hall with a distinctive pierced dome was added to the rear of the existing house. In 1834, a statue of John Hope, 4th Earl of Hopetoun, who had served as Governor of the Bank 1820–23, was placed in the garden in front of Dundas House.
The statue was commissioned in 1824 by the City of Edinburgh from the sculptor Thomas Campbell as a centrepiece for Charlotte Square at the west end of the New Town, but was removed to its current location. In 1972 the 19th century banking screens and counters were removed and replaced by white marble counters. Dundas House is a free-standing house designed in the Palladian style, it was modelled on Roger Morris's 1729 Palladian villa Marble Hill House in Twickenham, London but is much grander. The house is built of cream sandstone ashlar, weathered to light grey, from Ravelston Quarry some three miles to the west, it is fronted with a set of Corinthian pilasters supporting a large central pediment. The house is faced with ashlar with a rusticated ground floor; the large, opulent banking hall, added by Peddie in 1857, is covered by a large circular blue dome, pierced by 5 tiers of star-shaped gold-rimmed coffered skylights radiating out from the central oculus which diminish in size towards the centre, representing the firmament.
An illustration of this star pattern featured on Royal Bank of Scotland's "Islay" series of banknotes which were in circulation 1987–2016. In plans unveiled by the International Music and Performing Arts Charitable Trust Scotland in 2017, a new concert hall called the Impact Centre will be built behind Dundas House, replacing a block of banking offices, built in the 1960s. Dundas House will be retained as a bank branch, accessible to the public. Banknotes of Scotland Edinburgh Bank — BBC Nationwide
Separation of church and state
The separation of church and state is a philosophic and jurisprudential concept for defining political distance in the relationship between religious organizations and the nation state. Conceptually, the term refers to the creation of a secular state and to disestablishment, the changing of an existing, formal relationship between the church and the state. In a society, the degree of political separation between the church and the civil state is determined by the legal structures and prevalent legal views that define the proper relationship between organized religion and the state; the arm's length principle proposes a relationship wherein the two political entities interact as organizations independent of the authority of the other. The strict application of secular principle of laïcité is used in France, while secular societies, such as Denmark and the United Kingdom, maintain a form of constitutional recognition of an official state religion; the philosophy of the separation of the church from the civil state parallels the philosophies of secularism, disestablishmentarianism, religious liberty, religious pluralism, by way of which the European states assumed some of the social roles of the church, the welfare state, a social shift that produced a culturally secular population and public sphere.
In practice, church–state separation varies from total separation, mandated by the country's political constitution, as in India and Singapore, to a state religion, as in the Maldives. An important contributor to the discussion concerning the proper relationship between Church and state was St. Augustine, who in The City of God, Book XIX, Chapter 17, examined the ideal relationship between the "earthly city" and the "city of God". In this work, Augustine posited that major points of overlap were to be found between the "earthly city" and the "city of God" as people need to live together and get along on earth. Thus, Augustine held that it was the work of the "temporal city" to make it possible for a "heavenly city" to be established on earth. For centuries, monarchs ruled by the idea of divine right. Sometimes this began to be used by a monarch to support the notion that the king ruled both his own kingdom and Church within its boundaries, a theory known as caesaropapism. On the other side was the Catholic doctrine that the Pope, as the Vicar of Christ on earth, should have the ultimate authority over the Church, indirectly over the state.
Moreover, throughout the Middle Ages the Pope claimed the right to depose the Catholic kings of Western Europe and tried to exercise it, sometimes sometimes not, such as was the case with Henry VIII of England and Henry III of Navarre. In the West the issue of the separation of church and state during the medieval period centered on monarchs who ruled in the secular sphere but encroached on the Church's rule of the spiritual sphere; this unresolved contradiction in ultimate control of the Church led to power struggles and crises of leadership, notably in the Investiture Controversy, resolved in the Concordat of Worms in 1122. By this concordat, the Emperor renounced the right to invest ecclesiastics with ring and crosier, the symbols of their spiritual power, guaranteed election by the canons of cathedral or abbey and free consecration. At the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther articulated a doctrine of the two kingdoms. According to James Madison one of the most important modern proponents of the separation of church and state, Luther's doctrine of the two kingdoms marked the beginning of the modern conception of separation of church and state.
Those of the Radical Reformation took Luther's ideas in new direction, most notably in the writings of Michael Sattler, who agreed with Luther that there were two kingdoms, but differed in arguing that these two kingdoms should be separate, hence baptized believers should not vote, serve in public office or participate in any other way with the "kingdom of the world." While there was a diversity of views in the early days of the Radical Reformation, in time Sattler's perspective became the normative position for most Anabaptists in the coming centuries. Anabaptists came to teach that religion should never be compelled by state power, approaching the issue of church-state relations from the position of protecting the church from the state. In the 1530s, Henry VIII, angered by the Pope Clement VII's refusal to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, decided to break with the Church and set himself as ruler of the Church of England; the monarchs of Great Britain have retained ecclesiastical authority in the Church of England since Henry VIII, having the current title, Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
England's ecclesiastical intermixing did not spread however, due to the extensive persecution of Catholics that resulted from Henry's power grab. This led to Nonconformism, English Dissenters, the anti-Catholicism of Oliver Cromwell, the Commonwealth of England, the Penal Laws against Catholics and others who did not adhere to the Church of England. One of the results of the persecution in England was that some people fled Great Britain to be able to worship as they wished – but they did not seek religious freedom, early North American colonies were as intolerant of religious dissent as England; some of these people voluntarily sailed to the American Colonies for this purpose. After the American Colonies famously revolted against George III of the United Kingdom, the Constitution of United States was amended to ban the establishment of
Edinburgh Princes Street railway station
Princes Street Station was a mainline railway station which stood at the west end of Princes Street, in Edinburgh, for 100 years. Temporary stations were opened in 1848 and 1870, with construction of the main station commencing in the 1890s; the station was closed in 1965 and demolished in 1969-70. Only its hotel remains. In April 1847, the foundation stone for the Caledonian Railway company's Edinburgh station was ceremonially laid. Designed by William Tite, the station was to be a large Italianate structure. Due to the railway company's lack of funds this was not built and when the first services arrived in February 1848 there was only a temporary station with basic facilities, called Lothian Road Station from its location on that street. By 1870, with increasing traffic, it was decided to build a new station further north, still on Lothian Road but nearer Princes Street. Renamed Princes Street Station, it was opened in May 1870, it was built of timber with a slated roof. In June 1890, the building, called the "wooden shanty", suffered a major blaze.
Due to further increases in traffic, plans had been made for a new station and between 1890 and 1893 a grand station with seven platforms and an 850 ft long bayed roof was erected. It had its own power station, to the west of the station in Rutland Court, to power its lighting. Parcels and goods were dealt with at the nearby Lothian Road station. In 1899, work started on building a grand railway hotel above the main three archway entrance of the station, opened in 1903 as Princes Street Station Hotel, it was known as The Caledonian Hotel. It was designed by Edinburgh architects and Washington Browne; the main pedestrian entrance to the station became the right hand arch of the original three while vehicular access was by way of Rutland Street. Both the station and the hotel were built in red sandstone in common with most Caledonian Railway buildings; the mainline to London, via Carstairs, headed southwest from the station, augmented with a number of suburban stops, Merchiston and Kingsknowe, a branchline to Colinton and Balerno.
The Caledonian railway company added other suburban lines serving the north and west of the city, including Barnton, Davidson's Mains and Leith. In 1901, on weekdays, there were five trains a day to England, 20 to Carlisle, 16 to Glasgow, 10 to Aberdeen and local trains to Balerno, Cramond Brig and Leith. There were through coaches to many destinations, including Liverpool, Manchester and Stranraer. After nationalisation of the railways in 1948, it was considered logical to concentrate all rail services in Edinburgh at one station. With Waverley Station a short distance along Princes Street beyond Princes Street Gardens, by the 1960s Princes Street Station was seen as surplus to requirements. Although its street-level entrance was rather more convenient for travellers than that of Waverley, the latter was much larger, more conveniently located within the city, had access to the East Coast Main Line. After closure of Princes Street, the west of the city would continue to be served by nearby Haymarket Station.
Local services were withdrawn, starting with those to Balerno in 1943, followed by those to Barnton in 1951, Leith North in 1962, stopping trains on the main line to Carstairs in 1964. The remaining services to Glasgow Central and English cities were diverted to Waverley, allowing Princes Street Station to be closed in September 1965; the station was demolished in 1969-70, with the West Approach Road being built along the track bed in the early 1970s. The hotel still operates on the site and has been renamed the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian. Part of the station space still remains within it and the vehicle entrance screen is still visible at the side of the hotel; the former Parcels Office survived on Lothian Road between the hotel and the West Approach Road, until a major office development was constructed on its site in the 1990s. British Transport Hotels Butt, R. V. J.. The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt and stopping place and present.
Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199. Jowett, Alan. Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day. Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-086-0. OCLC 22311137. Nock, O. S.. The Caledonian Railway. London: Ian Allan. OCLC 366646513. Nock, O. S.. The Caledonian Railway. London: Ian Allan. OCLC 21002535. Nock, O. S.. The Caledonian Railway. Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0408-0. OCLC 16232981. Information about Princes Street Station Edinburgh's railway history Details about the hotel
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, domestically as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, the House of Commons; the two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual, consisting of the most senior bishops of the Church of England, the Lords Temporal, consisting of life peers, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, of 92 hereditary peers, sitting either by virtue of holding a royal office, or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers.
Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords performed a judicial role through the Law Lords. The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system; the two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster in London. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either House. However, the Leader of the House of Lords must be a peer; the Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by Acts of Union passed by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, both Acts of Union stating, "That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament to be styled The Parliament of Great Britain".
At the start of the 19th century, Parliament was further enlarged by Acts of Union ratified by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland that abolished the latter and added 100 Irish MPs and 32 Lords to the former to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 formally amended the name to the "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", five years after the secession of the Irish Free State in 1922. With the global expansion of the British Empire, the UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of many countries as ex-colonies and so it has been called the "Mother of Parliaments". However, John Bright – who coined the epithet – used it in reference to the political culture of "England" rather than just the parliamentary system. In theory, the UK's supreme legislative power is vested in the Crown-in-Parliament. However, the Crown acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created on 1 January 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union 1800. The principle of ministerial responsibility to the lower House did not develop until the 19th century—the House of Lords was superior to the House of Commons both in theory and in practice. Members of the House of Commons were elected in an antiquated electoral system, under which constituencies of vastly different sizes existed. Thus, the borough of Old Sarum, with seven voters, could elect two members, as could the borough of Dunwich, which had completely disappeared into the sea due to land erosion. Many small constituencies, known as pocket or rotten boroughs, were controlled by members of the House of Lords, who could ensure the election of their relatives or supporters. During the reforms of the 19th century, beginning with the Reform Act 1832, the electoral system for the House of Commons was progressively regularised.
No longer dependent on the Lords for their seats, MPs grew more assertive. The supremacy of the British House of Commons was reaffirmed in the early 20th century. In 1909, the Commons passed the so-called "People's Budget", which made numerous changes to the taxation system which were detrimental to wealthy landowners; the House of Lords, which consisted of powerful landowners, rejected the Budget. On the basis of the Budget's popularity and the Lords' consequent unpopularity, the Liberal Party narrowly won two general elections in 1910. Using the result as a mandate, the Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, introduced the Parliament Bill, which sought to restrict the powers of the House of Lords; when the Lords refused to pass the bill, Asquith countered with a promise extracted from the King in secret before the second general election of 1910 and requested the creation of several hundred Liberal peers, so as to erase the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. In the face of such a threat, the House of Lords narrowly passed the bill.
The Parliament Act 1911, as it became, prevented the Lords from blocking a money bill, allowed them to delay any other bill for a maximum of three sessions, after which it could become law over their objections. However, regardless of the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, t
The Caledonian Railway was a major Scottish railway company. It was formed in the early 19th century with the objective of forming a link between English railways and Glasgow, it progressively extended its network and reached Edinburgh and Aberdeen, with a dense network of branch lines in the area surrounding Glasgow. It was absorbed into the London and Scottish Railway in 1923. Many of its principal routes are still used, the original main line between Carlisle and Glasgow is in use as part of the West Coast Main Line railway. In the mid-1830s railways in England evolved from local concerns to longer routes that connected cities, became networks. In Scotland it was clear that this was the way forward, there was a desire to connect the central belt to the incipient English network. There was controversy over the route that such a line might take, but the Caledonian Railway was formed on 31 July 1845 and it opened its main line between Glasgow and Carlisle in 1848, making an alliance with the English London and North Western Railway.
In the obituary of the engineer Richard Price-Williams written in 1916 the contractor of the Caledonian Railway is stated to be Thomas Brassey and the civil engineer George Heald. Although the company was supported by Scottish investors, more than half of its shares were held in England. Establishing itself as an inter-city railway, the Caledonian set about securing territory by leasing other authorised or newly built lines, fierce competition developed with other, larger Scottish railways the North British Railway and the Glasgow and South Western Railway; the company remained less than successful in others. A considerable passenger traffic developed on the Firth of Clyde serving island resorts, fast boat trains were run from Glasgow to steamer piers. In 1923 the railways of Great Britain were "grouped" under the Railways Act 1921 and the Caledonian Railway was a constituent of the newly formed London Midland and Scottish Railway, it extended from Aberdeen to Portpatrick, from Oban to Carlisle, running express passenger services and a heavy mineral traffic.
In the closing years of the 18th century, the pressing need to bring coal cheaply to Glasgow from the plentiful Monklands coalfield had been met by the construction of the Monkland Canal, opened throughout in 1794. This encouraged development of the coalfield but dissatisfaction at the monopoly prices said to be exacted by the canal led to the construction of the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway, Scotland's first public railway. Development of the use of blackband ironstone by David Mushet, the invention of the hot blast process of iron smelting by James Beaumont Neilson in 1828 led to a huge and rapid increase in iron production and demand for the ore and for coal in the Coatbridge area; the industrial development led to the construction of other railways contiguous with the M&KR, in particular the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway and the Wishaw and Coltness Railway. These two lines worked in harmony, merging to form the Glasgow and Coatbridge Railway in 1841, competing with the M&KR and its allies.
All these lines used the local track gauge of 4 ft 6 in, they were referred to as the coal lines. During this period, the first long-distance railways were opened in England, it was followed by the London and Birmingham Railway in 1838 and the Grand Junction Railway in 1837, the North Union Railway reaching Preston in 1838, so that London was linked with the Lancashire and West Midlands centres of industry. It was desirable to connect central Scotland into the emerging network. At first it was assumed that only one route from Scotland to England would be feasible, there was considerable controversy over the possible route. A major difficulty was the terrain of the Southern Uplands: a route running through the hilly lands would involve steep and lengthy gradients that were challenging for the engine power of the time. Many competing schemes were put forward, not all of them well thought out, two successive Government commissions examined them. However, they did not have mandatory force, after considerable rivalry, the Caledonian Railway obtained an authorising Act of Parliament on 31 July 1845, for lines from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Carlisle.
The share capital was to be £1,800,000. The Glasgow and Edinburgh lines combined at Carstairs in Clydesdale, the route crossed over Beattock summit and continued on through Annandale; the promoters had engaged in a frenzy of provisional acquisitions of other lines being put forward or being constructed, as they considered it was vital to secure territory to their own control and to exclude competing concerns as far as possible. However, if they hoped to operate the only Anglo-Scottish route, they were disappointed; the North British Railway opened between Edinburgh and Berwick-upon-Tweed on 22 June 1846, forming part of what has become the East Coast Main Line
Edinburgh Waverley railway station
Edinburgh Waverley railway station is the principal station serving Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. It is the second busiest station in Scotland, after Glasgow Central, it is the northern terminus of the East Coast Main Line, 393 miles 13 chains from London King's Cross, although some trains operated by London North Eastern Railway continue to other Scottish destinations beyond Edinburgh. Services to and from Edinburgh Waverley are operated by Abellio ScotRail, including four routes to Glasgow, the Fife Circle, the reopened Borders Railway and services to Stirling/Dunblane/Alloa/North Berwick/Dunbar; the station is the terminus of the Edinburgh leg of the West Coast Main Line served by Virgin Trains and TransPennine Express. Long distance inter-city trains to England are operated by CrossCountry to destinations such as York, Sheffield, Birmingham New Street, Bristol Temple Meads, Exeter St Davids and Plymouth. Waverley station is situated in a steep, narrow valley between the medieval Old Town and the 18th century New Town.
Princes Street, the premier shopping street, runs close to its north side. The valley is bridged by the North Bridge, rebuilt in 1897 as a three-span iron and steel bridge, on huge sandstone piers; this passes high above the station's central section, directly over the central booking hall. Waverley Bridge lies to the west side of the station and it is this road which, by means of ramps afforded vehicular access to the station and still provides two of the six pedestrian entrances to the station; the valley to the west the site of the Nor Loch, is the public parkland of Princes Street Gardens. Edinburgh's Old Town, perched on a steep-sided sloping ridge, was bounded on the north by a valley in which the Nor Loch had been formed. In the 1750s overcrowding led to proposals to link across this valley to allow development to the north; the "noxious lake" was to be narrowed into "a canal of running water", with a bridge formed across the east end of the loch adjacent to the physic garden. This link was built from 1766 as the North Bridge and at the same time plans for the New Town began development to the north, with Princes Street to get unobstructed views south over sloping gardens and the proposed canal.
The loch was drained. In 1770 a coachbuilder began work on properties feued at the corner between the bridge and Princes Street, feuers on the other side of the street objected to this construction blocking their views to the south. A series of court cases ended with the decision that the buildings nearing completion could stay to the west of that some workshops would be allowed below the level of Princes Street, further west a park would be "kept and preserved in perpetuity as pleasure ground" in what became Princes Street Gardens. In the mid 1830s proposals for a railway from Glasgow running along the gardens to a station at the North Bridge were set out in a prospectus with assurances that the trains would be concealed from view, smoke from them "would scarcely be seen". An association of "Princes Street Proprietors" who had feued houses in the street, had spent large sums turning the "filthy and offensive bog" of the Nor Loch into quiet gardens opposed the railway and in late 1836 put forward their case against the Act of Parliament for the railway.
The Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway opened in 1842 with its terminus at Haymarket railway station, stopping short of Princes Street. In the Railway Mania of the 1840s, the railway sought another Act of Parliament allowing access along the gardens, at the same time two other railways proposed terminus stations at the North Bridge site. By several of the Princes Street properties were shops or hotels with an interest in development, agreement was reached in 1844 on walls and embankments to conceal the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway line in a cutting, with compensation of £2,000 for the proprietors; the North Bridge station was opened on 22 June 1846 by the North British Railway as the terminus for its line from Berwick-upon-Tweed. The Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway's General station opened on 17 May 1847, on the same day as the Canal Street station of the Edinburgh and Newhaven Railway, serving Leith and Granton via a long rope-hauled tunnel under the New Town; the collective name "Waverley", after the Waverley Novels by Sir Walter Scott, was used for the three from around 1854 when the through'Waverley' route to Carlisle opened.
Canal Street station was known as Edinburgh Princes Street, not to be confused with the Caledonian Railway railway station built at the West End, named Princes Street station from 1870. In 1868 the North British Railway acquired the stations of its rivals, demolished all three, closed the Scotland Street tunnel to Canal Street; the present Victorian station was built on the site, extended in the late 19th century. Waverley has been in continual use since, under the auspices of the North British, the LNER, British Railways and latterly Network Rail. From its opening in its current form by the eastward tunnelled extension from Haymarket, Waverley has been the principal railway station in Edinburgh. From 1870 to 1965 the city had a second major station, Princes Street, operated by the rival Caledonian Railway, but this was never as important as Waverley; as at other large railway stations of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, the railway company constructed a grand station hotel beside their station.
The North British Hotel, adjacent to the station at the corner between Princes Street and North Bridge (on the site of the c
Kilmarnock is a large burgh in East Ayrshire, Scotland with a population of 46,350, making it the 15th most populated place in Scotland and the second largest town in Ayrshire. The River Irvine runs through its eastern section, the Kilmarnock Water passes through it, giving rise to the name'Bank Street'; the first collection of work by Scottish poet Robert Burns, chiefly in the Scottish dialect, was published in Kilmarnock in 1786 by John Wilson and bookseller and became known as the Kilmarnnock Edition. The internationally distributed whisky brand Johnnie Walker originated in the town in the 19th century and until 2012 was still bottled and distilled in the town at the Johnnie Walker Hill Street plant. Protest and backing from the Scottish Government took place in 2009, after Diageo, the owner of Johnnie Walker announced plans to close the bottling plant in the town after 289 years; the economy of Kilmarnock today is dependent on skill force knowledge, with companies such as Vodafone and Teleperformance occupying a large part of the Rowallan Business Park Centre, home to Food Partners, a nationwide sandwich franchise.
Local property redevelopment and regeneration company, The KLIN Group occupies the former Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. offices in West Langland Street, Wabtec Rail Scotland operate a production factory for locomotives in the town centre and Utopia Computers, one of the UK's fastest growing computer companies have their headquarters and main site situated in Kilmarnock in High Glencairn Street. The bakery company, Brownings the Bakers, was established in 1945 in Kilmarnock, today, operates a large production plant at the town's Bonnyton Industrial Estate, with products being distributed across Scotland via chains such as Aldi and Scotmid; the local newspaper, the Kilmarnock Standard has main offices in the centre of the town with publications taking place each Thursday per week. Kilmarnock is home to Kilmarnock Academy, one of only two state schools in the world that have educated two Nobel Prize laureates, Alexander Fleming, who became known for his groundbreaking discovery of Penicillin in 1928, alongside John Boyd Orr, 1st Baron Boyd-Orr for his research and work into Nutrition as well as his work as the first Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
He was the first President of the World Academy of Art and Science. In recent years, Kilmarnock has been used for musical acts and film locations. Rock band Biffy Clyro were formed in the town in a primary school in the mid-1990s; the 2001 film, Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat was shot in the town. The name Kilmarnock comes from the Gaelic cill, the name of Saint Marnock or Mernoc, remembered in the name of Portmarnock in Ireland and Inchmarnock, it may come from the three Gaelic elements mo,'my', Ernán and the diminutive ag, giving Church of My Little Ernán. According to tradition, the saint founded a church there in the 7th century. There are 12 Church of Scotland congregations in the town, plus other denominations. In 2005, the Reverend David W. Lacy, minister of the town's Henderson Church, was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; the core of the early town appears to have lain around what is now the Laigh Kirk, although the oldest parts of the current building are no earlier than the 17th century, extending north and northwest.
In 1668 the town was destroyed by an accidental fire. About 120 families lost most of their possessions and were forced to live destitute in the fields surrounding the town; these tradespeople had no other way of making a living and had been driven to the edge of poverty by having troops stationed with them as part of the anti-Covenanter measures. Parish churches throughout Scotland collected money for the relief of these homeless citizens. A comparatively modest settlement until the Industrial Revolution, Kilmarnock extended from around 1800 onwards, requiring the opening of King Street, Portland Street, Wellington Street. Added was John Finnie Street, regarded as "one of the finest Victorian planned streets in Scotland." The Sandbed Street Bridge is the oldest known surviving bridge in the area. The Titchfield Street drill hall was completed in 1914. Kilmarnock, as part of the Kilmarnock and Loudoun parliamentary constituency, had long been considered a "safe seat" for the Scottish Labour Party, having been represented by a Labour MP since the establishment of the constituency in 1983.
However, in the 2015 General Election, for the first time since 1983, the seat changed hands from Labour to the Scottish National Party with the election of Alan Brown. The Member of Parliament for the Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency area in the Westminster parliament is Kilmarnock-born Alan Brown. Brown defeated Labour candidate Cathy Jamieson with an overwhelming majority with Brown receiving 30,000 votes with Jamieson only receiving 16,363; the member of the Scottish Parliament for Kilmarnock is Willie Coffey. In the Scottish Parliament, the town, as part of the Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley constituency, is represented by Willie Coffey who has represented the seat since the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary elections. Similar to the voting pattern shown at UK General Elections, in the Scottish Parliament elections, Kilmarnock had always been seen as a safe seat for Labour with an MSP representing the area since the parliament's re-establishment in 1999. Kilmarnock is the home of the East Ayrshire Council Chambers and offices situated on the London Road, thus making Kilmarnock the main town within East Ayrshire.
In local counci