Saturday, 11 September 2021

Captayanis - up close

If you visit Greenock it would be almost impossible not to see the wrecked ship out in the middle of the Clyde.  The name of the ship was Captayanis - a sugar ship which sank in 1974.

I've always wanted a closer look at the ship and was lucky to take a trip on this little landing craft - Tonka out to the wreck.  


The tour was run by Clyde Charters and started from the James Watt Dock Marina.  It was a wonderful evening and a great way to see Greenock from a different angle.


We were taken right around the wreck and even got close enough to touch it.  It was fascinating to see the wonderfully rusted hull.  Lots of birds out there too.


The Greek ship Captayanis was bringing sugar to the James Watt Dock in Greenock but got caught in a dreadful January storm.  She collided with another ship, was damaged and started to take in water.  Eventually she ended up beached on a sandbank in the river.  All the crew managed to get aboard tugs which were sent out to help the Captayanis.  Eventually the ship rolled over and nothing could be done.  So she is still there to this day. 

Check out Clyde Charters website to find out about their other tours.

Friday, 10 September 2021

Self guided walk in Port Glasgow

I've just been updating my Port Glasgow Heritage Walk.  Download your copy here.

Starting at Newark Castle, follow the map below and find out all about Port Glasgow's wonderful history and heritage.

The walk will take you through Coronation Park and along the shore path where once shipyards lined the River Clyde.  

Once in the town centre you will see the beautiful New Parish Church - it has a fascinating history and some very old gravestones in the kirkyard.

Then visit Port Glasgow railway station where there are some wonderful murals to see.  They tell of Port Glasgow's history in a unique way.

Then go back down King Street and see the old Masons' Lodge and Town Hall before arriving at the former Town Buildings.  A short walk and you are back at Newark Castle.

For much more information please download your copy of the Port Glasgow Heritage Walk.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Port Glasgow buildings refurbished

I was delighted to see that the refurbishment work on these two old buildings in King Street, Port Glasgow had been completed and they look great.

Last time I blogged about them here they were surrounded by scaffolding and the renovation work was underway.  I'm happy to say that it looks like the external work has been completed.

The stonework looks fantastic - really showing up the different shades of stone between the two buildings.

The lodge was built in Port Glasgow in 1758 as Lodge Cumberland Kilwinning 217John Wesley preached there in 1772 - read about that here.  They were also known as the King George VI Buildings.

The building next door was built a few years later and was the Town Hall for Port Glasgow.  Great to see these buildings looking so good.

Friday, 3 September 2021

5 Beautiful Buildings in Greenock

 Here are my top 5 must-see buildings in Greenock. 

Greenock Sheriff Court

The first is the Sheriff Court building on Nelson Street.  It opened in 1869 and the architects were Peddie and Kinnear of Edinburgh.  Looks more like a fairytale castle than a working courthouse but in my opinion one of the most beautiful buildings in Greenock.  For more information and photographs see here.

Sir Gabriel Wood Mariners Home, Greenock

Second would habe to be the Sir Gabriel Wood Mariners Home in Newark Street.  It is empty and up for sale at the moment but hopefully will given a new lease of life very soon.  Built in the 1850s it was founded by local man Sir Gabriel Wood and brought into being by his widow Lady Augusta Wood and his sister Frances Ann Wood.  It is a spectacular building in a beautiful setting.

Greenock Custom House

My third choice had to be the Greenock's former Custom House.  Built in 1818 it was designed by William Burn.  It is now occupied by a variety of businesses and also homes Greenock's Burns Museum which has an interesting display of memorabilia of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns (check Burns Club  website for details of when open).  Situated on Custom House Quay the building is right down at the riverside with spectacular views across the water.  See more photographs and find out more here.

Sculpture detail from Municipal Buildings, Greenock

Greenock's Municipal Buildings would be my fourth choice.  The buildings were constructed in the 1880s and designed by H & D Barclay.  All around the building are some fabulous architectural features and sculptures - see more here.  But perhaps my favourite feature is the wonderful Victoria Tower which is a fabulous landmark in Greenock.

Wellpark Mid Kirk, Greenock

My next favourite has to be the Wellpark Mid Parish Church in Cathcart Square.  Completed in 1761 it has a fabulous history.  You can read more here.  This is another town landmark and still used by the Church of Scotland as a place of worship today.

The Victoria Tower, Municipal Buildings, Greenock
It was difficult to choose my top five favourite buildings in Greenock as there are so many fabulous buildings in the town.  I'll list more of my favourites at a later date.

Monday, 30 August 2021

Ropemaking machinery from Port Glasgow

There's something about old industrial machinery that is just fascinating!

These wonderful old machines can be found at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine, but a notice informs that they were once in use at the Gourock Ropeworks in Port Glasgow.

Such an interesting set of machinery - it's difficult to imagine how noisy and probably dangerous all this would have been when operational.


The Gourock Ropeworks building is still standing in Port Glasgow and has been converted into apartments.

Former Gourock Ropeworks Building, Port Glasgow

This wonderful illustration is from a mural at the Maritime Museum.


It was great to see some rope-making machinery that came from a local works ... even if I did have to travel to Irvine in Ayrshire to view it!


For other posts about Ropeworking in Port Glasgow -
The Port Glasgow Rope and Duck Company tells about the Glasgow Tobacco Lords who started ropemaking in Port Glasgow
Port Glasgow and Mayflower II tells of how ropes from Gourock Ropeworks were used on a replica of the Mayflower in 1957

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Former Greenbank Church, Greenock

 This is the former Greenbank Church on the corner of Kelly Street and Newton Street in Greenock.


Designed by Hippolyte Jean Blanc (1844-1917) it was opened in 1882 as Greenbank United Presbyterian Church.
  It is described as an example of the Early Pointed Gothic Revival style.


The congregation of this church had a very rich and interesting history.  They started out as a breakaway group from the Port Glasgow Secession Church, holding services in a tent at Cartsdyke in Greenock.  In 1758 they had raised enough money to build a church in Market Street (now King Street) and Smith’s Lane, described as a "plain and comfortable edifice" and "the wee kirk".  In 1803 they moved again to what was called the "Canister Kirk" (described as “octagonal”) which seems to have been on East Shaw Street (near where the Hospital used to be at Inverkip Street).  This cost the grand sum of £1202.  In 1845 they moved again to a new church at George Square (George Square United Presbyterian Church) on the corner with Princes Street which unfortunately burned down in 1880.  The intrepid congregation then agreed to build a new church, and the site on Kelly Street (also known as Greenbank Terrace) was chosen.  The foundation stone was laid by former Provost Abram Lyle in October 1881.



The new building was opened in October 1882.
  The masonry work was carried out by A Galbraith & Co of Glasgow and joiner work by Hunter & Sinclair of Glasgow.  Plumbing work - Peter Bell & Co, glazier work - T Britton, plaster work – James McCreadie, slaters - David Phillips & Sons and upholsterers - Robert Blair & Sons, all Greenock tradesmen.



At the side is the church hall which was added in 1933 by local architect Alexander Stewart McGregor.

The minister at this time was the Rev James Brown Thomson (1850-1910) born in Penpont, Dumfries and who lived at Bentinck Street in Greenock.



In 1929 due to church mergers, it became Greenbank Church of Scotland.  In 1955 the congregation united with St Mark's Church on Ardgowan Street and used that building.  They became St Mark's Greenbank Church.  In 1987 it united with the Old Kirk on Nelson Street and that became St Luke's Church of Scotland (now known as Westburn Parish Church).



When the building was vacant after the 1955 church union it became the Greenbank Institute for the Deaf.

Latterly the building was used by the Elim Church.

Unfortunately, it now lies empty.



Joining with InSPIREd Sunday.  Come on over to see lots more churches from around the world.

The Mansion House Well

This is probably one of the oldest structures in Greenock.  It is the old Mansion House Well and now is located in the (appropriately named) Well Park in Regent Street, Greenock.

There's a date of 1629 on the well along with the initials HH.  It is thought that this may commemorate the marriage of the local laird, John Shaw (1597-1679) with Helen Houston.  On the other side of the well are the initials IS - probably for John Shaw.  There are flat plaques on the other sides of the well, but they are too eroded to make out what they once contained, but perhaps were the arms of the Shaw and Houston families.  


The well is beautifully constructed with four stone pillars with a pyramidal shaped covering and it is thought that there once would have been a stone ball at the apex.  The well once stood in the grounds of the Mansion House which was home of the Shaw family.  After uniting through marriage with the Stewarts in the 1750s, the family chose to live at Ardgowan.  The mansion house became the estate office and parts of it were rented out.  In the 1850s Sir Michael Shaw Stewart gifted the garden land to be used as a park by the people of Greenock.  The house was demolished in 1886 to make way for the extension of the railway line to Gourock by the Caledonian Railway. 


John Shaw (Elder) (Wester Greenock and Finnart) succeeded to the estate after his father, James Shaw's death in 1620.  His mother was Margaret Montgomerie.  John Shaw and his wife Helen Houston had a son, Sir John Shaw who married Jean Mure and a daughter Margaret Shaw who married Alexander Stewart, 4th Lord Blantyre.

During his time as laird, in 1635 in the reign of Charles I, John Shaw (sometimes written Schaw) was granted a Charter under the Great Seal which meant that Greenock became a Burgh of Barony.  It granted the right to hold a weekly market and two fairs annually.  Greenock still has a holiday in July known as "The Fair" and used to have a winter fair in November.  The Charter also conferred the right to elect a number of inhabitants to run the town and keep order.  The Charter was ratified by Parliament in 1641 and was an important part of Greenock's history and development.  John Shaw (Elder) was described by George Williamson as "a man of high culture and taste" (Old Greenock, 1888).  

Mansion House, Greenock
While the mansion house may have gone, at least we still have this little well to remind us of a part of Greenock's early history.



Saturday, 28 August 2021

Reflections at the marina

The weather has been beautiful here in Greenock recently.  Took these photographs at the James Watt Dock Marina on Monday evening.


Beautiful to see the hugh crane reflected in the waters of the Marina.

Lots of boats and yachts berthed there.  The reflection of their masts made beautiful patterns in the water.

A beautiful, calm sunset.  Joining with Weekend Reflections.