Our first stop on the Town Trail is the Custom House.
Completed in 1818 it was designed by Scottish architect William Burn (1789-1870) at a cost of £30,000. It it situated at Custom House Quay, or Steamboat Quay as it was once called. It is a beautiful building and shows the importance Greenock once had as a major sea port. The long room which measured 75 feet by 49 feet, held the public counter where ships' masters would come to pay duties on their cargoes and meet with local merchants.
Here is a description from 1821 -
"The Custom-house enters from the front towards the river by a very handsome projecting portico of the Grecian Doric order, in which style the building is designed, and the Excise on the east end, by a corresponding colonnade of three-fourth columns."
Greenock's Custom House was extensively restored in the late 1980s. Stone from the Bolehill Quarries, Wingerworth, Derbyshire was used in the restoration - it was the closest matching sandstone that could be found. The building was the headquarters for the issuing of gaming machine licences.
The building only ceased to be used as a Customs and Excise office in 2010. It now contains office accommodation. There used to be a great Customs Museum in the building, but sadly that has gone too.
It is a Grade A listed building and you can see some photographs of the beautiful classical interior at the RACHAMS site (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland).
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