Scottish Maritime Museum

Scottish Maritime Museum

The Scottish Maritime Museum has three sites in the West of Scotland, all with strong maritime connections. The museums located in Irvine, Dumbarton and Braehead portray a different aspect of Scotland’s maritime heritage. [ [ The Scottish Government News - Scottish Maritime Museum] ]


Located on the south bank of the River Clyde at Braehead, "Clydebuilt" brings to life the story of the development of Glasgow and the Clyde from 1700 to the present day. Opened in September 1999, it tells what was built on the Clyde and how the River Clyde itself was 'built'. [ [ Clydebuilt Maritime Heritage Centre] ]

The ground floor of the centre uses a timeline consisting of a large model of the River Clyde containing 300 gallons of flowing water. The river goes from a muddy stream, where in the 17th century you could wade across the Clyde at low tide, to the birthplace of ships great and small; through sail and steam and the great ocean liners, to today's warships and bulk carriers.

From the days of Glasgow's 'Tobacco Lords', Mr Glassford, tells how Glasgow made its fortune from other peoples' vices, such as tobacco, rum and sugar from the colonies. [Thomas Martin Devine, "The Tobacco Lords: A Study of the Tobacco Merchants of Glasgow and their Trading Activities 1740-1790", 1975, Donald, ISBN 0859760103] methods used to deepen the channel. An installation allows the visitor to see and hear at first hand the process of manufacturing iron and steel.

The visitor's journey through the museum includes an Audio and Visual presentation that takes them through the last 100 years of the shipbuilding story with a specially commissioned video running twice every hour bringing the Clydebuilt story up to date in an accessible way for all ages. Model docks indicate the scale and type of infrastructure required for the movement of cargo, whilst a mock crane provides a visual link to the second floor, which expands on trade and cargo using a warehouse theme. A range of traded products fill this area and the visitor can make their fortune at the hands-on Cargo Game or try their hands at piloting a tanker into port.

A working triple expansion engine is used to tell the story of 'Powering World Trade' which gives an insight into the development of the marine steam engine and offers the visitor a chance to operate the engine using a ships' telegraph.


The River Clyde led the world of shipbuilding, with over 30,000 vessels in 300 years from 250 yards. [ [ Scotland’s Maritime Legacy] ] [ [ Guide to shipbuilding records - The National Archives of Scotland] ] The visitor can experience the sights and sounds of the building of a ship from the inside of the 'stage set' of the 'M.V. Rangitane', following all of the construction elements from design and laying the keel, through to the launch and showing the skills of the 'black squads' who made the term 'Clydebuilt' recognised the world over.

The Clyde built coaster M.V. Kyles is permanently berthed at a pontoon on the River Clyde following her restoration at the Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine. A highly significant vessel built of iron in 1872 in Paisley, M.V. Kyles is the oldest iron Clyde built vessel still afloat in the UK.


The Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank, in Dumbarton, offers the opportunity to step back into the world of the Victorian ship designer. Opened in 1982 it retains many of list original features including a water tank as long as a football pitch.


The museum is situated within the Linthouse Engine Shop located at Irvine harbour. The harbour was once one of Glasgow’s main trading ports. The Linthouse engineering shop is home to many exhibits including a model boat pond and the Boatshop on the quayside which contains exhibitions ship models and children’s activities. Visitor's can step into the past by touring the "Shipyard Workers Tenement Flat" and see a room and kitchen restored to its 1920s appearance.

Gallery of Irvine harbour in 2007



* Douglas McGowan, "Clydebuilt: A Photographic Legacy", 2005, Tempus Publishing, ISBN 0752432281
* John Shields, "Clyde Built: A History of Ship-building on the River Clyde", 1949, William MacLellan

ee also

*Aberdeen Maritime Museum
*City of Adelaide (1864)
*Boyd's Automatic tide signalling apparatus
*William Denny and Brothers

External links

* [ Scottish Maritime Museum at Irvine, Dumbarton and Braehead]
* [ Scottish Maritime Museum feature page on Undiscovered Scotland]
* [ Scottish Maritime Museum on]

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