Monday, 25 April 2022

Waverley Buildings, Greenock

I have been intrigued by this photograph since I first saw the "Kennedy Collection" of photographs which show Greenock in the late 1960s before the town centre was "improved".  (Photographs @The Watt Institution, Greenock.)  I've often wondered what  this sculpture was and why it was on this building.

I think I've now discovered a bit more about it.  The sculpture was placed at the top of a building in Westburn Street which was demolished in the late 1960s.  It looks like an interesting building with a  decorative roof and urns.  It must have looked spectacular when it was new.  This was Waverley Buildings, 29 Westburn Street, which housed large shops and offices.  

Fronting Westburn Street, Waverley lane led off from the south side of the building and connected Westburn Street with Sugarhouse Lane to the East.  (I've marked it on the photograph.)

I believe that the sculpture is of Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) and the building and lane named after his famous novel, Waverley.  The building was opened in 1871/72 - just after the celebrations in memory of the centenary of Walter Scott's birth. 

Needless to say Westburn Street looks nothing like this now.  There used to be a great variety of shops and businesses in that one street.  This photograph shows the street looking south.  I've marked the statue on Waverley Buildings.

The buildings on the lower west side of Westburn Street are still there.  The east side of the street is now the entrance to the Oak Mall Shopping Centre.  I wonder what happened to the sculpture, was it just demolished along with the other buildings in the street?

I've made a short film of Greenock in the 60s which you can see here.

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