It was reported last week on the BBC News website and in other sources that a mass grave had been found during development work at the site of the former Ravenspark Hospital in Irvine. Following the discovery of these burials, Strathclyde Police called in their forensic archaeologist, Dr Jennifer Miller of Northlight Heritage, in order to ascertain whether the remains related to a crime scene. Dr Miller was quickly able to establish that the graves were likely to relate to burials associated with the hospital or poor-house that formerly stood on the site, and a team of archaeologists have since been on site undertaking a programme of work to recover the remains. Map regression work allows these burials to be dated reasonably closely; the poor-house was not depicted on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of 1856, indicating that its construction post-dates this period.
It was shown on the 2nd edition map of 1897, however, where it appeared as the Cunninghame Combination Poorhouse, though there was no indication of a graveyard on this map.
By the 3rd edition map of 1910, a former walled garden within the grounds of the Poorhouse were annotated as a graveyard, though the burials identified during development were not found in this area, as it was excluded by the developer. The 4th edition map of 1938 indicates that by this time the graveyard had been extended to the south-west, and it is this area that was affected by development. This suggests that the burials are unlikely to date from before 1910, though they could post-date the 1930s.