Like most coastal towns and
busy ports, Greenock has had its fair share of accidental (and not quite so
accidental) drownings over the years.
This must have been quite a problem in the past before "health and
safety" became the watchword to protect people from their own stupidity.
This ode entitled
"Directions For the Recovery of the Drowned" was published in the
Greenock Post Office Directory of 1841.
For The Recovery Of The Drowned
the cold corse shall have been brought to land,
off its clothes with an industrious hand;
well the mouth, th' obstructed nostrils clear,
let each passage drink the vital air;
dry the body, wrap a blanket round,
some such covering as can best be found -
Nay - lend thy coat - 'tis
sweet a life to save,
And snatch a brother from a
on a plank, with head and shoulders high,
the body to some cottage nigh.
let good order and good sense prevail,
no confusion make thine efforts fail.
common air the breathless lungs inspire;
the faint sparks of unextinguished fire,
yet perhaps some embers may remain
to kindle into life again):
well each limb - a genial warmth impart
the stagnant regions of the heart;
down the gastric tube a cordial throw,
draught, to make the internal organs glow;
Should thy best judgment
pierce the jug'lar vein,
Take heed! in time the vital stream restrain,
Lest thou too much from
nature's fountain pour,
And so destroy the life thou
on proceed to rouse the dormant breath;
the strong oar and struggle hard with death;
cease thy toil till life's bright flame return,
till the lamp at length refuse to burn.
Can't imagine the ordinary
person trying to cut the jugular vein in any safe way!
Here's a report from the
"Caledonian Mercury" of 1844 about a man, Peter Campbell, who seems
to have been quite a hero, jumping into the Clyde at Gourock to save a young woman from drowning. He even received a reward from the Duchess of
Somerset who was impress by his bravery and the fact that it was the third time
he had saved a life.