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

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Municipal Sculptures

Here are some of the incredible sculptures from Greenock's Municipal Buildings, which was completed in the 1880s.

Greenock's motto - God Speed Greenock.

These are on the front (south facade) of the building at Clyde Square.

The Greenockian

Thursday 15 May 2014

Greenock is back on the map!

The cruise ship season got underway on Monday with the arrival of Thomson Spirit to Greenock and yesterday's visitor was Mein Schiff.

Fortunately our local volunteers, Inverclyde Tourist Group, have some wonderful maps to help visitors find their way around!

Lots more ships to come!

The Greenockian

Friday 9 May 2014

Beacon Reflected

Greenock's Beacon clock tower reflected in the windows of the Custom House.

Joining Weekend Reflections.

The Greenockian

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Greenock - Port of Departure

In my last post I mentioned the Scottish Diaspora, those Scots who travelled far and wide across the world in search of new lives.  Many of them would have sailed in the thousands of ships which left the port of Greenock each year taking folk away to all corners of the globe.  I came across this poem recently -

Wilfred Campbell (1860-1918) was a Canadian poet, and lived in Ontario.  You can read about him here.

I'm ashamed to admit that I hadn't heard of him before.  But these few verses from his poem The World-Mother (Scotland) appealed to me (if we ignore the fact that for each of the Scotsmen who moved away, there were an equal number of Scotswomen with them who contributed just as much!).  Of course his poetry is of its time and appears very old fashioned and romanticising to us today.  But in this year of Homecoming Scotland I thought that the last line was quite apt.

The Greenockian

Monday 5 May 2014

Greenock Has Been Wiped Off the Map!

I picked up a brochure yesterday - it is called Welcome to Scotland.  However, I was shocked to discover that on the main map of central and southern Scotland - Greenock is not there!

The port of Greenock will welcome at least forty cruise ships this year bringing over 100,000 passengers and crew from all around the world.  Many will probably pick up this booklet at some point on their visit to Scotland, good luck to them if they try to find the port which welcomed them!  Greenock has truly disappeared off the map!

Port Glasgow which is home to the beautiful Newark Castle is missing too!

This is the year of Homecoming Scotland, which will attract many descendents of the Scottish Diaspora back to their ancestral homeland, anyone picking up this booklet will have a problem with the map if they try to find the place that thousands of families sailed from to start new lives overseas!

OK - here's my map - here's where to find Greenock and Port Glasgow - where you are sure of a wonderful welcome! 

The Greenockian

Thursday 1 May 2014

A Tax On Your Windows!

The Window Tax was introduced in Scotland in 1740 and householders with more than a certain number of windows would be taxed on each additional window.  
This led to many houses being built like this -

False windows were put in place - these were set slightly back externally so that glazed windows could be easily added as the householder required and often were painted to look as if they contained panes of glass.  

Inside the house, their position was often marked by an alcove as in this photograph.  

Of course these false windows may also have been added to maintain the symmetry of the look of buildings.

The tax was stopped in Scotland in 1798, but this extract from Hutcheson's Greenock Register of 1841 shows that some sort of local variation was still in place in Greenock.

This notice gives a fascinating glimpse into the rules and regulations associated with the tax -

   No windows deemed stopped unless with stone, brick, or plaster.  
   Opening windows without notice forfeits £10.  (I presume this means unblocking!)
   Glass doors, or lights over doors, considered as windows.   
   Windows of out-houses to be reckoned.  
   A window lighting two rooms, or in two frames, to pay as two windows.  
   Every window more than 12 feet high, including the frame, or 4 feet 9 inches wide,     if more than 3 feet 6 inches high, must be charged as two windows, except where     belonging to shops, warehouses, or licensed public-houses.

In Greenock there are still may examples to be seen of this, even in buildings constructed after the mid 19th century.  I think they add a fascinating glimpse into the past and actually make the buildings look a bit more interesting! 

The Greenockian