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Oswald Road, Court, Lane and Place (also Auchincruive Avenue and Oswald Drive, Prestwick)

Richard Oswald (1705-1784) was the son of a Caithness minister who became a merchant first in Glasgow and then in London. In 1748 he and his partners bought an abandoned slave-trading fort on Bance Island off the coast of West Africa. Two years later the Royal African Company's monopoly of slave trading ended, and Bance Island was developed as one of the main centres of the trade. Oswald does not seem to have had any connection with Ayrshire until 1765, when he used part of his profits from slave trading to purchase the Auchincruive Estate, along with Cavens in Dumfriesshire. (He seldom visited Scotland, spending almost all his time either in London or abroad.) Oswald also acquired land in Florida, worked by slave labour.

Through marriage he had obtained other estates in Georgia, Virginia and the Caribbean. His extensive American connections, due to his dealings with slave traders and owners there, resulted in his playing an important part in the negotiations which ended the American War of Independence. On Oswald's death in 1784 the Auchincruive Estate passed to his nephew George Oswald, a Glasgow tobacco merchant.  

The Oswalds continued to possess Auchincruive until 1925. They exploited the coal deposits on the Auchincruive Estate, and Oswald Lane and Oswald Road follow the line of the waggonway taking coal from the mines to Ayr Harbour.    

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