Thursday 9 February 2017

James Watt Cairn in Greenock Cemetery

In Greenock Cemetery there is a memorial cairn to the great engineer James Watt born in Greenock in 1736.  In Scotland, a cairn is a pile of stones, usually to commemorate a special place or person.

The plaque on the cairn reads:-
The Watt Cairn
Projected and commenced by the Watt Club 1854.
Arranged and completed on the 200th anniversary of Watt's birth 1936.
These stones, gifted from all parts of the world, speak of the universal homage
accorded the great engineer, inventor and scientist.
The monument also marks the burying place of James Watt's ancestors
removed from the Old West Kirk, 26th April 1927.

Another plaque lists the names of those who sent stones to Greenock from all over the world.
The Stones and their Donors
Malta, St Paul's Bay, Major General Sir William Reid, governor of Malta
Sebastopol Granite, Henry Innes, Secretary to the Port Admiral
Marble from Tunis, Sir Edward Baines HM Consul General
Marble from Carthage, Admiral Sir Houston Stewart
Slab from Palestine, John Currie
Stone from Peru, Alex Prentice, Lima
Stone from Ghaut of India, Bombay Mechanics Institution
Red Sandstone from Seneca Quarry, Potomac River, Gilbert Cameron
Granite Slab, Heriot Currie

Pentagonal Column from the Giant's Causeway
Stone, Mechanics Institute, St Helens
Stone from Canada, Rollo Campbell, Montreal
Foundation stones, Dougald Dove, Nitshill and Arden Quarries and
Sir Michael R Shaw Stewart Bt, A member of the Watt Club.

It is a very unusual monument.  It is right beside the memorial to Highland Mary in Greenock Cemetery.


  1. Interesting idea. Where would any of us be without Watt? Nice of them to put the name of your blog across the front of the memorial...


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