Monday 7 December 2015

Greenock Sheriff Court Building

This is Greenock Sheriff Court Building in Nelson Street.  Looks more like a fairytale castle than a place of justice, don't you think?  It was designed by Peddie and Kinnear of Edinburgh and opened for business in 1869.  The tower is 130 feet high.

Built in the Scottish Baronial style it has lots of turrets and crow step gables.  There was also a prison attached to the back of this building until 1910 when a new prison was opened at Gateside in Greenock.

I found this old photograph of the building probably taken at the beginning of the last century. Fortunately the building has not been changed too much!

Thursday 3 December 2015

Looking across the Clyde

Last Sunday was a beautiful day here in Inverclyde - just had to get out and take some photographs.

Went up to Newark Castle in Port Glasgow.  Just east of Newark is an unused pier.

The light was amazing.  It was possible to see for miles across the River Clyde.

Love the way the afternoon sun gave a warm golden glow to the timbers of the pier,

Looking east - Dumbarton Rock.  You can see the walls of Dumbarton Castle from here.

I'm so lucky to live here!

Monday 30 November 2015

St Andrew's Day

After yesterday's post, a few folk have asked why St Andrew is Scotland's patron saint.  St Andrew was Christ's first apostle and was martyred on an X shaped cross because he said that he was unworthy to be crucified on the same shape of cross as Christ.  This depiction of the saint from a stained glass window in Westburn Church, Greenock shows him with the ropes and nets of a fisherman.

If you look very closely at the stained glass you will also see some other Scottish features - the lion and the thistle.  (Westburn Church, Nelson Street, Greenock was first called the West Kirk, then it became the Old Kirk before becoming St Luke's after it was joined with other congregations).

There are many legends about St Andrew and Scotland.  One of these is that relics of the saint were brought to the town of Kilrymont, later St Andrews in Scotland in the eighth century.

Another legend concerns a leader of the Picts called Angus who in 832 faced a much larger army of Angles at Athelstaneford in East Lothian.  On the eve of the battle, Angus had a dream about St Andrew.  On the morning of the battle white clouds in an X shape appeared in the brilliant blue sky.  Taking this as a positive sign Angus, heavily outnumbered, attacked the foe and won the battle.  So, not only did Scotland get a patron saint, but also a national flag - the saltire!

Andrew is also patron saint of Greece and Russia.

Sunday 29 November 2015

St Andrew in St John's, Greenock

Tomorrow is St Andrew's day here in Scotland.  So I thought that I'd show you some photographs of a beautiful stained glass window which depicts Scotland's national saint.

This wonderful window is in St John's Episcopal Church on Union Street in Greenock.

The colours are lovely.  There are many other beautiful windows in this church - I must get around to writing about them soon.

Joining with InSPIREd Sunday.

Wednesday 11 November 2015


On this day we take time to remember all of those who gave their lives for their country.  Many of us will especially remember our family members who bravely served in the armed forces.  If your family came from Greenock and your ancestors fought in either World War 1 or World War 2, then you may be interested in these resources produced by Inverclyde Council, Libraries Department.  Greenock War Dead WW1 is a downloadable resource which gives a list of names and the regiments they belonged to.

Greenock War Dead WW2 is also a downloadable resource which lists the men and women of this area who died as a result of World War 2 (1939-1945).  Their regiments and date of death are also listed.  Members of the Merchant Navy who lost their lives are also listed along with the name of the ship of which they served.  There is also a list of members of Greenock Civil Defence Service and civilians who lost their lives during the war.  Their addresses are also given.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

Monday 28 September 2015

Steamers in a state!

Update - these murals have now been refurbished.  You can see them here.

For this week's Monday Mural, I thought I'd revisit the mural of Clyde paddle steamers which I wrote about almost two years ago in my post Neglected Past.

Not much has changed - they are still in a bad way and getting worse.  They can be found lining the underpass linking Wallace Place and the Bullring car park in Greenock.

There are twelve Clyde steamers depicted, many have been defaced by graffiti.

Some seem to have had bits gouged out of them.

They are the work of artist Robert Stewart (1924-1995) who was a student at Glasgow School of Art and later taught there as head of the printed textiles department.  He also worked for Liberty in London.  You can read more about Robert Stewart here.  These tiles are very different from his usual style.  According to the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society entry, the design was screen-printed onto plain white tiles.

Sunday 27 September 2015

Former tobacco warehouse

The former tobacco warehouse in Greenock is very typical of industrial buildings of the late 19th century.

Built of red brick with contrasting yellow brick detail.

I love this type of architecture.  You can read more details on the Buildings At Risk website

It was also used in the past as a bonded warehouse for whisky storage.

I showed some pictures of the warehouse interior in a previous post.  Just look at the brickwork details -

Hopefully this building can be saved, but there are so many worthy buildings in Greenock - such a shame that they can't all be rescued!

Monday 14 September 2015

Open doors and shadows

Yesterday was a Doors Open Day in Greenock and I visited the old 19th century former Tobacco Warehouse on Clarence Street in Greenock.

The building a huge empty space and the afternoon sun was streaming through the windows.

Got some great shadow shots.  Joining with Shadow Shot Sunday.

I'll be posting more photographs of this incredible building very soon.

Friday 21 August 2015

A walk along Cathcart Street

Greenock Town Trail, Plaque 2, Cathcart Street.
Let's take a walk along Cathcart Street.

Ginger the Horse, a sculpture by Andy Scott starts our westwards journey along to Cathcart Square.

Once the financial and social centre of  19th century Greenock, just a few of the fabulous buildings remain.

Because of its closeness to the docks and shipyards, the area was the target of German bombers during World War 2.  In May 1941 during the Blitz, the area was decimated and many lovely buildings destroyed.  That accounts for the architectural mix which you can see in the street now.  Some of the old street surfaces remain.

The south side of the street near the square contains a car park and looks up to the Well Park.

Cathcart Street ends at Cathcart Square.

Some more lovely buildings here.  Perhaps the most popular building on Cathcart Street is the old Post Office which is now the James Watt bar - it was open, but hidden by scaffolding when I was taking photographs, so it will have to wait for another day!

Sunday 16 August 2015

Gourock Railway Station

Love these shadows on the wall of Gourock Railway Station.  Great crossed lines and angles.

The walls are full of vintage travel posters from the days when Gourock was the place to get a Clyde steamer "doon the watter" for many Scottish holiday makers making their way to places like Dunoon and Rothesay.

The shadows are from the beams on the roof of the station.

Joining with Shadow Shot Sunday.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Longwell Close

In the old days when Greenock was a thriving seaport there were many little narrow passageways, or closes as we call them in Scotland, which led off the main thoroughfare down to the river.  One of these was Longwell Close which ran from Cathcart Street to Shaw Street.
Source - Views & Reminiscences of  Old Greenock
In "Views and Reminiscences of Old Greenock", Longwell Close is described thus - "The Close was not much of a thoroughfare except for those living there in the locality which were of the poorer class".  I don't think it would have been a very nice place to live.  A newspaper report from 1863 describes a scene there.

Another report is of shebeening (illegally selling alcohol) in Longwell Close.

There are many other reports of drunks and violence.  I've done my family history and discovered that some of my family lived there!

It was named after the Long Well (1682) which was situated there.  The well was rediscovered in 1877 when the area was cleared under the Artisans' and Labourers' Dwellings Improvement Act.  Workmen found that it had been filled in.  It was 4'6" in diameter.  It seemed to have been supplied by a natural spring.  After improvements, Longwell Close was renamed Duff Street.  The site of the Long Well is still marked.

I took a photograph from the site and you can still see the backs of some old tenements in nearby William Street.  There's a fabulously atmospheric photograph of Longwell Close on Inverclyde Council's website - have a look.
 ("Views and Reminiscences of Old Greenock" Published by James McKelvie & Sons, Greenock, 1891 - available to read online) .