Friday 21 November 2014

East India Harbour Reflections

The River Clyde was beautifully calm last Sunday when I took this photograph.

These boats can be found in Greenock's East India harbour.  I liked the way the mast was reflected in the water.
Joining with Weekend Reflections.

Monday 17 November 2014

Rusty Relics

Out and about in Greenock yesterday.

Enjoyed taking photos of some old rusty relics of Greenock's industrial past.

The Greenockian

Friday 14 November 2014

Mearns Street School - No More!

I blogged about Mearns Street School in Greenock's in December last year and expressed the hope that it was not due for demolition.

Well ... guess what?!

Yup - it has gone!

All those lovely architectural details smashed.  What a shame!

The Greenockian

Thursday 23 October 2014

Old Greenock Gates

These old Greenock gates have seen better days!

They show Greenock's coat of arms - you can read what the symbols mean here.

God Speed Greenock - a proud motto from Greenock's past as a leading trading port and shipbuilding town.

One side of the gates has weathered better than the other.  They are on a quiet street, not many people will have noticed them.

Hope one day these are taken away from the yard they open into, restored and given a much better home somewhere where they can be seen and appreciated by many more people.

Joining with Good Fences - come over and join us.

The Greenockian

Thursday 16 October 2014

Gourock From Lyle Hill

This photograph shows a view of Gourock taken from Lyle Hill.

The Greenockian

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Former Buttercup Dairy, Kilmacolm

These beautiful tiles come from the entrance to a shop in Kilmacolm.  Now a small electrical shop, the tiles show that it was once a branch of the Buttercup Dairy Company.

Founded by Andrew Ewing in 1904, at its height the company had over 250 shops throughout  Scotland.  The picture is of a little girl feeding a buttercup to a cow and is taken from a painting by Thomas Curr (1887-1958).

The tiles were part of the Company's distinct branding.  Even the floor tiles at the entrance are wonderfully decorative.

The tiles were manufactured by the Glasgow firm of James Duncan Ltd.  You can read about them, and their association with the Buttercup Dairy Co here.

The Greenockian

Friday 29 August 2014

On the River Clyde Recently

Some small ships/boats on the Clyde recently.

Can anyone tell me - when does a boat become a ship?

The Greenockian

Thursday 14 August 2014

Clune Park School

This is the former Clune Park School in Port Glasgow designed by H & D Barclay, architects and completed in about 1887.   It was still a working school until 2008.  

It has a couple of interesting features.  This is from Port Glasgow's town crest - the Latin reads -
            Ter et Quater anno Revisens Aequor Atlanticum Impune

which translated is -
            three and four times a year revisiting the Atlantic with impunity
Its a bold and noble motto going back to better times in Port Glasgow's history and refers to the trans-Atlantic timber trade between here and Quebec.  This timber was used in the great shipyards which lined the River Clyde at Port Glasgow and Greenock.

There are roundels of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert - they'd don't look to pleased with their predicament!

This derelict school is right next door to the former (now derelict) Clune Park Church which I wrote about here.

The Greenockian

Sunday 22 June 2014

On the River Clyde - Dredger

Suction dredger Causeway on the River Clyde last week.

The Greenockian

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Sinking of the Pomona 1859

It was (and probably still is) every emigrants dream - to succeed and create a new life in a distant land.  Greenock mill worker William Caldwell formerly of Duncan Street, emigrated to America and found employment in New York.  By the beginning of 1859 he had saved enough money to send home to Greenock so that his wife and four young children, two sons and two daughters, could travel out to be with him.  Arrangements were made and his brother travelled with the young family to help on the journey to Liverpool where they would board the emigrant ship Pomona.  At 5am, as she waved goodbye to her brother in law, I wonder how Mrs Caldwell felt as she stood at the ship's rail with her little children and the prospect of a long voyage ahead.

The New York based clipper Pomona (1500 tons) owned by the D L Line, sailed from Liverpool on 27 April 1859 with a crew of 36 under Captain Merrihew.  There were 380 passengers.  The mood on board was happy as this newspaper clipping shows - there was music and dancing on deck.

However, later that night the weather changed, high winds got up and the ship was slightly off course.  The winds drove the ship onto the Blackwater Bank - a notorious sandbank in Co Wexford, Ireland.  

Attempts to launch the lifeboats failed and several crew died in the attempt.  All night the pumps were manned and eventually, the next day a small boat was launched.  In it were the 3rd mate, Stephen Kelly, along with 18 crewmen and 3 male passengers.  As the howling gale continued, the ship slipped off the sandbank and immediately filled with water and sank.  Captain Merrihew, his 1st and 2nd mates and the rest of the crew,  went down with the ship as did all the passengers.  

The only survivors were those in the boat,  who immediately on reaching shore raised the alarm (although it is said that they all, with the exception of Stephen Kelly removed themselves from the scene).  But by the time the lifeboat reached the stricken ship, only the mizzen mast was visible.  Almost 400 lives had been lost. 

Men, women and children, many of whom, like the Caldwell family from Greenock, would have been looking forward to being reunited with loved ones and starting new lives in America.  As the long day wore on, bodies began to wash ashore at Ballyconigar beach and along the coast.  Unfortunately some locals stripped the clothes from the bodies.  They were eventually caught and severely punished. 

A sad tale, but not uncommon in those days when the winds and weather could dramatically alter the fate of a  voyage.  

Interestingly, another victim of the sinking was Irishman Henry Lavery, a Belfast publican on his way to New York to find work.  He left behind a wife who died of grief three months later and a young son who went on to become the acclaimed Glasgow trained artist     Sir John Lavery.

The Greenockian

Monday 16 June 2014

Stanley Spencer in Port Glasgow

This unusual sculpture is dedicated to Sir Stanley Spencer and can be found outside Port Glasgow's new B&Q store in a nice little landscaped area with seating.  This is the site of the former Lithgow shipbuilding yard.

Stanley Spencer spent a lot of time in Port Glasgow during WWII when he was commissioned to paint scenes in the local shipyards showing the workers' contribution to the war effort.  These are no idealised representations, but honest, down to earth views of the shipyard workers going about their tasks.

Spencer was fascinated by Port Glasgow cemetery and based his work "The Resurrection" there.  It is an enormous painting showing people climbing out of their graves, in their everyday clothes, looking as if they had just woken up.  It is held by the Tate Gallery and you can see it here.

This is a very fitting tribute to a prolific painter who immortalised the ordinary men and women who worked tirelessly in local shipyards filling the endless demand for ships which would play an important part in the war effort.

The final paragraph on the tribute reads -
These panels have been commissioned to celebrate the life and works of the Wartime Artist Sir Stanley Spencer CBE.

The steel plates represent both the work of the Artist and the Ship Building Industry of Port Glasgow.  Their shapes take inspiration from one of Spencer's most significant works entitled 'Burners' painted in 1940.  It depicts Ship Workers 'burning' or cutting steel plates before they are rivetted together.
You can view that painting here.

More of Sir Stanley Spencer's work can be seen at the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham, Berkshire.

 The Greenockian

Friday 30 May 2014

Queen Victoria

It was fabulous to see Cunard's  Queen Victoria back on the River Clyde yesterday.

The Greenockian

Friday 23 May 2014

Infinity Reflected

Actually it is the reflection of the cruise ships Celebrity Infinity which visited Greenock last week.

The photograph was taken just as she was berthing and the men were out to attach the ropes.  She is reflected in the entrance way to Greenock Ocean Terminal.

Joining up with Weekend Reflections.

The Greenockian

Thursday 22 May 2014

Wartime Remains

It is not just the town of Greenock that has an interesting history.  The hills above the town are full of history too.  Up at Loch Thom are some interesting wartime remains.

The engine is part of a Cheeta engine from an Avro Anson trainer plane which crashed in the hills above Greenock on 26 July 1939.  It had been taking part in a formation exercise.  One crew member died but the pilot walked away unharmed.  The second engine can still be seen at the site of the crash.

Avro Ansons were designed for maritime reconnaissance.  It had retractable landing gear that had to be hand-cranked 160 times by the crew to unwind it!

A little piece of the past in Greenock's hilly hinterland.

The Greenockian