Saturday 18 May 2019

Looking good!

After an extensive refurbishment the scaffolding is down and the outside of Greenock's Watt Library and McLean Museum and Art Gallery is looking good!  (The building, situated on Union Street and Kelly Street in Greenock is to be renamed the Watt Institution.)

The stonework looks amazing - somehow the wonderful architectural details of the building stand out much more.

Unfortunately neither the Library, Museum or Art Gallery are open to the public, and won't be until early 2020 (so we are informed).  The wonderful Inverclyde Heritage Hub which attracted many visitors and researchers was closed by the Council just before Christmas 2018, so the area has been without physical access to research resources for quite some time.  (Many local resources are accessible online at Inverclyde Council website, but it is not quite the same as a browse through old books and the serendipitous finds of unusual bits of information which that activity sometimes produces.  It was also great to have pleasant and knowledgeable staff on hand to provide information about resources to visitors.  Can you guess - I miss that place!)

This is all slightly unfortunate as 2019 marks the bicentenary of the death of Greenock's most famous son, the engineer James Watt after whom the building was named.  The building also contained the wonderful statue of Watt by Sir Frances Chantrey.

Many other places connected with James Watt will be commemorating the event.  There's a great website - James Watt 2019 which gives a fabulous amount of information about the famous Greenockian and lists of events taking place in Birmingham.  The University of Birmingham and other organisations have produced a fabulous collection of information and resources about Watt which can be accessed from this site.

I hope that the inside of the building will be as wonderful as the refurbished outside is and I look forward to Greenock having its wonderful resources available to the public once more.


  1. Beautiful building and it's so wonderful that working has been done to it.

  2. Something to look forward to Liz, 2020 will be here before you know it 😊 They certainly have made a wonderful job of the restoration, it's a fabulous piece of architecture.


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