Kilmarnock is the largest town, followed by Cumnock; other small main towns are New Cumnock and Stewarton. The area was formed in 1996, from the former Kilmarnock and Loudoun and Cumnock and Doon Valley districts. Kilmarnock is the county's capital and also largest town. The former Kilmarnock and Loudoun District Council was also twinned with Sukhum, Abkhazia. Following a review of links this link is now considered as a friendship link.
Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Cill Mhearnaig agus Lughdan in Scottish Gaelic) was one of nineteen local governmentdistricts in the Strathclyderegion of Scotland from 1975 to 1996. The district was formed by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 from part of the county of Ayrshire, namely:
The burghs of Darvel, Galston, Kilmarnock, Newmilns and Greenholm and Stewarton
The district of Kilmarnock (except the part in IrvineNew Town)
Apart from the former burghs the district included the towns of Hurlford and Kilmaurs.
The district was abolished in 1996 by the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, which replaced the regions and districts with unitary council areas. The district's area was combined with that of Cumnock and Doon Valley to form the East Ayrshire council area. The name Kilmarnock and Loudoun continues to be used for a constituency of the House of Commons and, covering a similar area, a Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency of the Scottish Parliament.
There are many ancient settlements within East Ayrshire. The Burns Monument Centre and Dick Institutes also hold local newspapers from 1834 to date (some have been indexed), together with a selection of maps. The Burns Monunment Centre holds local photographs and postcards. Microfiche/film readers are available within the Burns Monument Centre and the Dick Institute. Although free booking is advised.