Thursday 30 September 2021

Maps for local and family history

Maps can be a wonderful tool when researching either local history or family history.  As far as local history is concerned, it can be interesting to see just how much a town has changed over time and it is fascinating to find out where your family once lived when researching your own family history.  One of the best resources for this is the National Library of Scotland which has a great selection of online town plans and maps for all of Scotland.  You can superimpose old maps over new ones to try and find locations from the past.  Find them here.

However some folk prefer to have a proper paper map to look at and there are a variety of places where you can find reproduction maps.  Alan Godfrey Maps are reprints of old Ordnance Survey Maps and there is a wonderful selection of historic maps from all over the UK.  I have several of Greenock and Port Glasgow which I find invaluable in my research.  Find them here.

Of course you can find up to date Ordnance Survey Maps on the official site here.

A local company based in Largs provides all sorts of historical and up to date street maps - Nicolson Digital.  Check out their great range here.

If you are looking for vintage maps of a particular area then there are lots available in various antique shops and to buy online.  I hope you will check out some of the links I have provided in this post.  Please let me know if you have found this information useful.  (Contact form - right column of blog.)

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Saturday 11 September 2021

Captayanis - up close

If you visit Greenock it would be almost impossible not to see the wrecked ship out in the middle of the Clyde.  The name of the ship was Captayanis - a sugar ship which sank in 1974.

I've always wanted a closer look at the ship and was lucky to take a trip on this little landing craft - Tonka out to the wreck.  

The tour was run by Clyde Charters and started from the James Watt Dock Marina.  It was a wonderful evening and a great way to see Greenock from a different angle.

We were taken right around the wreck and even got close enough to touch it.  It was fascinating to see the wonderfully rusted hull.  Lots of birds out there too.

The Greek ship Captayanis was bringing sugar to the James Watt Dock in Greenock but got caught in a dreadful January storm.  She collided with another ship, was damaged and started to take in water.  Eventually she ended up beached on a sandbank in the river.  All the crew managed to get aboard tugs which were sent out to help the Captayanis.  Eventually the ship rolled over and nothing could be done.  So she is still there to this day. 

Check out Clyde Charters website to find out about their other tours.

Friday 10 September 2021

Self guided walk in Port Glasgow

I've just been updating my Port Glasgow Heritage Walk.  Download your copy here.

Starting at Newark Castle, follow the map below and find out all about Port Glasgow's wonderful history and heritage.

The walk will take you through Coronation Park and along the shore path where once shipyards lined the River Clyde.  

Once in the town centre you will see the beautiful New Parish Church - it has a fascinating history and some very old gravestones in the kirkyard.

Then visit Port Glasgow railway station where there are some wonderful murals to see.  They tell of Port Glasgow's history in a unique way.

Then go back down King Street and see the old Masons' Lodge and Town Hall before arriving at the former Town Buildings.  A short walk and you are back at Newark Castle.

For much more information please download your copy of the Port Glasgow Heritage Walk.

Thursday 9 September 2021

Port Glasgow buildings refurbished

I was delighted to see that the refurbishment work on these two old buildings in King Street, Port Glasgow had been completed and they look great.

Last time I blogged about them here they were surrounded by scaffolding and the renovation work was underway.  I'm happy to say that it looks like the external work has been completed.

The stonework looks fantastic - really showing up the different shades of stone between the two buildings.

The lodge was built in Port Glasgow in 1758 as Lodge Cumberland Kilwinning 217John Wesley preached there in 1772 - read about that here.  They were also known as the King George VI Buildings.

The building next door was built a few years later and was the Town Hall for Port Glasgow.  Great to see these buildings looking so good.

Friday 3 September 2021

5 Beautiful Buildings in Greenock

 Here are my top 5 must-see buildings in Greenock. 

Greenock Sheriff Court

The first is the Sheriff Court building on Nelson Street.  It opened in 1869 and the architects were Peddie and Kinnear of Edinburgh.  Looks more like a fairytale castle than a working courthouse but in my opinion one of the most beautiful buildings in Greenock.  For more information and photographs see here.

Sir Gabriel Wood Mariners Home, Greenock

Second would habe to be the Sir Gabriel Wood Mariners Home in Newark Street.  It is empty and up for sale at the moment but hopefully will given a new lease of life very soon.  Built in the 1850s it was founded by local man Sir Gabriel Wood and brought into being by his widow Lady Augusta Wood and his sister Frances Ann Wood.  It is a spectacular building in a beautiful setting.

Greenock Custom House

My third choice had to be the Greenock's former Custom House.  Built in 1818 it was designed by William Burn.  It is now occupied by a variety of businesses and also homes Greenock's Burns Museum which has an interesting display of memorabilia of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns (check Burns Club  website for details of when open).  Situated on Custom House Quay the building is right down at the riverside with spectacular views across the water.  See more photographs and find out more here.

Sculpture detail from Municipal Buildings, Greenock

Greenock's Municipal Buildings would be my fourth choice.  The buildings were constructed in the 1880s and designed by H & D Barclay.  All around the building are some fabulous architectural features and sculptures - see more here.  But perhaps my favourite feature is the wonderful Victoria Tower which is a fabulous landmark in Greenock.

Wellpark Mid Kirk, Greenock

My next favourite has to be the Wellpark Mid Parish Church in Cathcart Square.  Completed in 1761 it has a fabulous history.  You can read more here.  This is another town landmark and still used by the Church of Scotland as a place of worship today.

The Victoria Tower, Municipal Buildings, Greenock
It was difficult to choose my top five favourite buildings in Greenock as there are so many fabulous buildings in the town.  I'll list more of my favourites at a later date.