Collection Significance Report Maritime Transport River Clyde

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					Collection Significance Report:
Maritime Transport: River Clyde
Emily Malcolm, March 2008


                               About this Document
                               This document is extracted from a report by Glasgow
                               Museums submitted to the Scottish Executive’s Recognition
                               Committee as part of its recognition scheme for non-
                               national collections.
                               Overview
                               The River Clyde is Scotland’s third longest river, but is
                               undoubtedly the most important in terms of industrial and
                               technological significance. The popular axiom ‘The Clyde
                               made Glasgow and Glasgow made the Clyde’
                               encompasses two hundred years of development where the
                               river was transformed into one of the great industrial
                               waterways of the world.

Collection Size
Ship models (52); paintings and drawings (54); prints (35); photographs (c.4000);
maps and plans (c.20); posters (c.150); rowing skiff (1); tickets, guidebooks and
postcards (not counted).

The Collection
This collection draws together material specifically related to the river Clyde. It
reflects the great interest generated by the river, its scenery and setting, the industry
along its banks and the multitudes of vessels which have sailed and steamed on its
waters. The collection includes ship models which represent vessels with a direct
and continuing link with the river Clyde as their permanent home or their main port of
call, ranging from tiny river steamers to transatlantic liners. The Clyde is represented
in many paintings and drawings and this collection has a number of works by John
Knox (1778-1845), Horatio McCulloch (1805-83), William Leighton Leitch (1804-83),
William Simpson (1823-99) and one by L. S. Lowry (1887-1976). These works use
the river as a subject for landscape painting, or to document the vessels and
industries along its banks. Other material relates to the Clyde Navigation Trust, maps
and plans of the river and a large collection of photographs and ephemera.




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Collection Significance
The significance of this collection is that it illustrates the development and use of one
of the greatest industrial waterways in the world. The collection ranges across
aesthetic, technical, historical and social fields to provide a full and rich
understanding of the river. The river and its banks have changed beyond all
recognition in recent decades. This collection helps to preserve an industrial heritage
that is fast disappearing.
The Clyde Navigation Trust (now Clydeport plc) was responsible for the commercial
use and improvement of the river from the late eighteenth century to the present day.
The majority of the Trust’s archive is held at the Mitchell Library, but Glasgow
Museums has a small collection of objects relating to their work – photographs and
models of dock construction, vessel photographs, three ship models and ephemera.
These items support the magnificent gold, platinum and diamond studded Chain of
Office once worn by the Trust’s chairmen and now entrusted into the care of
Glasgow Museums.
Today it is difficult to imagine the great variety of shipping that once used the Clyde.
One way is through the 52 ship models of vessels built for use on the river. The high
quality builder’s models of river steamers, ferries, tugs and dredging craft show the
full detail of their shape and also their operating livery, from the practical brown of
the Vehicular Ferry No.4 (1934) to the magnificent salmon pink and silver grey of the
luxurious river steamer Glen Sannox (1892). There are also good amateur models of
the Clyde ‘Cluthas’ (ferries) and the Waverley of the present day.
Paintings and prints offer a valuable documentary record of the early history of the
Clyde as well as providing a more artistic representation of the river. The collection
includes views of the river from the Falls of Clyde to the Firth. They vary in quality
from amateur watercolours to works by famous Scottish artists and have traditionally
been categorised as marine art. Fine examples include Robert Salmon’s A Snow off
Greenock (1818) and William Clark’s portrait of HMS Hogue at the Tail of the Bank
(1862); ship portraits such as Salmon’s The Launch of the Christian (1818); and
landscapes such as John Knox’s The First Steamboat on the Clyde and Thomas
Fairbairn’s The Clyde at Govan Ferry (1845). These images, along with the fine
collection of topographical representations of Glasgow, make a significant
contribution to our understanding of the city and its relationship with the Clyde.
The substantial collection of around 4000 photographs of the Clyde include official
images of launch days from the 1880s to the present day; formal and informal
images of shipbuilding and bound volumes of shipbuilding and engineering company
photographs. The collection also contains 28 notebooks holding 3000 photographs
taken by Clyde shipping enthusiast Dan MacDonald between the 1920s and the
1970s. They form an evocative and very useful record of shipping on the river from
the last days of sail, to majestic liners to photographs taken on board Clyde ‘puffers’.
The remainder of this collection is disparate in nature, but the following items are
particularly significant: the rare ‘Bute Sharp’ rowing skiff, owned and raced on the
Clyde by the Glasgow Printer’s Rowing Club c1910-1930; some early plans of the
Clyde including one showing overcrowding on the upper river on the 10th May 1875;
and a second edition of Lumsden’s pioneering travel guidebook The Steamboat
Companion and Stranger’s Guide to the Western Islands and Highlands of Scotland
(1825).
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Bibliography
Davidson, A. S. (2001) Marine Art and the Clyde, Jones-Sands Publishing, Upton.
Paterson, L. (1998) One Man’s River; The Clyde in Pictures 1920-1980, House of
Lochar, Colonsay, and Glasgow Museums, Glasgow.
(2004) Guide to the Museum of Transport and Technology, Glasgow City Council
(Museums), Glasgow.
Riddell, J. F. (1979) Clyde Navigation: A history of the development and deepening
of the river Clyde, John Donald, Edinburgh.
Walker F. M. (1984) Song of the Clyde: A history of Clyde shipbuilding,


How to Cite this Document
The full bibliographic reference for this document is shown below. Make sure to add
the date you downloaded the document.

Malcolm, E (2008) Collection Significance Report: Maritime Transport: River Clyde, Glasgow
Museums, online at: http://collections.glasgowmuseums.com/ media/river_clyde_significance_
report.pdf, last downloaded dd/mm/yyyy


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