Sunday 27 May 2018

Newark's neighbours - Ferguson Marine

If you visit Newark Castle in Port Glasgow as suggested in a previous post then it will be impossible to miss its very near neighbour, the Clyde shipbuilders Ferguson Marine.

There's been a lot going on in the few years since Ferguson Marine took over, investing in building hybrid ferries.

The whole area has been given a new look with these wonderful gates and railings.  It's great to see work going on in the yard.

The Glen Sannox, recently launched here.
Ferguson Marine's website has a great selection of old photographs telling its history - including some fabulous photographs of King George V's visit in 1917.

Monday 7 May 2018

Cardwell Bay Fountain

Cardwell Bay in Gourock is a lovely little area to spend time in.  At the west end of the Battery Park, it has some nice little shops, cafes and a pub.

I love this little fountain which sits at the junction of Cardwell Road and Cove Road.

It has a lovely red granite basin and a fabulous lion sculpture decorating it.

There's a nice walk along the shore to Gourock town centre too, if the weather is good.

Highlanders Plaque

There's a plaque on display in Inverclyde Heritage Hub which has come from the now demolished Highlanders Academy in Greenock.  On the wall of the Hub is a photograph of the original Highlanders' Academy in Roxburgh Street, Greenock.

Source - Inverclyde Heritage Hub
The plaque is quite worn in places and is very wordy, but I've tried my best to transcribe what it says ... here goes!

This Public School which provides accommodation for 1015 scholars was … anno domini MDCCCLXXXVII, the jubilee year of the reign of her most gracious majesty, Queen Victoria.
Opened by the School Board of the Burgh of Greenock to reinstate the original Highlanders Academy situated in Roxburgh Street which had been founded by the Highlanders' Church and School Accommodation Society, the building of the Academy having been transferred by the Directors of the Society to the School Board in accordance with the Education Scotland Act 1872.
They were sold by the … to the Caledonian Railway Company and the price was applied by the Board to build and furnish the new Academy.  The foundation stone of which was laid by
Alexander Scott Mories Esq, Chairman of the Board on XVII September MDCCCLXXXVI being the Jubilee year of the original Academy, it having been decided to retain the name and thus transmit to coming generations the record of the fame of The Highlanders Academy.
Prominent among the members of the Society was Mr Daniel Macarthur, Merchant, who was for upwards of 17 years its energetic Acting Treasurer.
In remembrance of his long connection with the Society, Mr Macarthur's family have, with the sanction of the School Board, founded a prize to be styled The Macarthur Memorial Prize, to be awarded annually after competition, to the best scholar in the Academy.
The adjoining memorial plate inserted in the foundation stone of the original Academy was recovered on the demolition of the building by the Railway Company, as were also two glass vases containing newspapers of the day, documents connected with the Society, current coins of the realm, etc. Near this spot the vases have again been deposited.

This is an old picture of the Highlanders Academy in Mount Pleasant Street, Greenock recently demolished.

The Heritage Hub, in Cathcart Street in Greenock (just across from the James Watt Bar) is a fascinating place to visit.  As well as lots of fantastic pictures, films and artefacts from the area's past, there are copies of Lloyds Registers of Shipping, Trade Directories for the area and lots of books on every aspect of local history.  Anyone interested in researching local family history will find a great variety of resources to help. (Note - unfortunately now closed.)

Sunday 6 May 2018

Old School Bell, Gourock

This is the old school bell of the former Gourock Eastern School. 

The Eastern School was built here in 1876 and demolished in 1962.  A block of high-rise flats, Eastern View, now occupies the site just across from Gourock Park and the old Gourock burying ground.

In my schooldays, the bell was rung in the morning, at interval time, lunch time and, best of all, at the end of the school day!  It was usually the school janitor's job to ring the bell.  It is a nostalgic reminder of the school and there's a plaque which reads -

This is the bell from the
Eastern School which stood
on this site from 1876 - 1962
"Welcome Home"

The bell has the makers name on it - John C Wilson & Co, Founders, Glasgow AD 1894.  They were part of the Gorbals Brass & Bell Foundry of Glasgow and there's a fabulous website of the Whiting Society of Ringers where you can read all about the Foundry's history.

Thursday 3 May 2018

Admiralty Anchor, Greenock

This is the Admiralty Anchor which is set in its own little garden near the Custom House in Greenock.

There's a plaque which reads -

This anchor was presented
to the town
by the Admiralty in 1972
to mark the long association
between the Royal Navy
and the port of Greenock

It is a beautiful piece of sculpture and very apt for this area.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Darroch Mausoleum, Gourock

Hidden away in Gourock Park is a memorial to the family who gifted the land to the local people - the Darrochs.

This is the Darroch Mausoleum or Vault.

It is the final resting place of many of the family members who once lived in this beautiful setting.  Duncan Darroch, who was said to have made his money in the West Indies, bought the land from the Stewarts of Castlemilk in 1784.  The original Gourock Castle, seat of the Finnart Stewarts was within these grounds, but was destroyed before Duncan Darroch bought the land.  A look at old maps shows where it was once thought to be, near the burn (stream) that runs through the park.

Duncan Darroch settled there with his family and eventually his descendants donated the land to the people of Gourock.  It used to be called Darroch Park, but for some reason the name was changed to Gourock Park.  Gourock House was bought by the town council, but was demolished in the 1940s.

The mausoleum has been allowed to remain.  In 'Memorials of Clutha; Pencillings of the Clyde' (1842), the author, Elvira Anna Phipps writes of a visit there -

"Above the glen, is a wild, romantic spot, thickly wooded, and in this recess is the family mausoleum.  It is pleasant, indeed, to visit the quiet resting place of the dead, when you can do so "in sure and certain hope" that the departed ones are waiting for a glorious resurrection … Hence I admire the simple tablets which this family have reared."

Let's hope that the Mausoleum lasts for some time to come as a reminder of the family who gave this lovely place to the people of Gourock.