Greenock

We've come to Scotland to attend the Wedding on Saturday of Ross and Lisa. Ross is the son of Stewart and Pat. Pat was Alison's childhood neighbour in Saltcoats. Unlike us, Pat and Stewart have lived their life in Ayrshire. The wedding will be in Renfrew and the couple have bought a house which will challenge their wallet and DIY skills.

We arrived on Thursday and staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Greenock. The hotel is on the site of Scotts' Shipbuilding Yard where my grandfather and uncle worked in the 50s and 60s. Scotts built submarines. My grandfather was a storeman and my uncle was the Foreman Plumber. Lots of pipes in a submarine! The only obvious remnant of the yard is the dry dock on the west perimeter. The dock is part of the Clyde's Industrial Heritage and currently flooded as it has no gates.

Things in Greenock are mostly depressing, although there is some development. The economy isn't strong. The loss of shipbuilding in the 70s has never been replaced. The phone company EE shares the site and operates a call centre. Greenock needs a strong industry to provide a core of secure and well paid jobs. IBM had a large factory which manufactured the IBM PC in the 80s. It's being demolished. After 45 years, National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments face closure. The Victorian sugar refining industry is long gone. Amazon have a large distribution centre which employs many people. Amazon provide neither well-paid nor secure employment.

It is wrong to say that Greenock had a prosperous past which is a victim of globalisation. Shipbuilding employed many who worked hard and lived in poor conditions. As a boy in the 50s and 60s, I thought we lived quite well, had good schools and great optimism about the future. Regrettably I can't project that model onto Greenock today.

However, there are positive developments. Ferguson Marine are building two ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne. Glen Sannox will launch on Tuesday and Claymore in 2018. Ferguson is a 21st Century Shipbuilder. I hope we'll see luxury "yachts" for the mega-rich, boutique cruise liners and other beautiful ships launch from Fergusons for many years to come. The Ocean Terminal hosts visits by huge cruise ships in Summer. Perhaps a hospitality industry will provide a "Scottish Experience featuring Kilts, Haggis and Whisky". The Firth of Clyde is the most beautiful estuary in the British Isles. Bus trips from the cruise ships could visit "Lochs" (fjords and lakes) and Distilleries. All cruise ship customers should be sold an (expensive) kilt and (high margin) malt whisky. Unique and special things to take home and enjoy.

We took the "Old Road" over the hill to my birth-town of Largs and visited "The Cut Visitor Centre" where the exhibition explains the 1820s scheme to provide hydro power and fresh water. The 200m hills have high rainfall. Water from reservoirs is moved in aqueducts to Greenock. The water turned wheels which powered all kinds of machines in mills and other enterprises at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Very interesting. Very innovative for 1820!

We had lunch and a walk in Largs on a beautiful blustery day. We were here in July, so no unexpected surprises. In the afternoon we visited my cousin in Inverkip and stayed for dinner.

A post-script about the hotel. There are a couple of conference rooms on the ground floor called "Scott" and "Kincaid". Kincaid built marine engines on a site that overlooks the hotel. The hotel is about 20 years old and scheduled for a major makeover in Spring 2018. I hope the architect appreciates the history of the location and retains the names of the conference rooms.


Largs from the Glen

Sorting Office

Post Office

Old Woolworth Store

Station

Main Street

Station and Hills

Main Street

Main Street

Bute Ferry

Front

Harbour

Cumbrae

Town

Moorings and Churches

Largs

Hill and Front

Hills

Cowel Coast

Firth of Clyde

Toward Point and Bute

Inverkip

Kirn

Firth of Clyde

Dry Dock

Head On

Victoria Harbour

Victoria Tower

Site of Scotts

Holiday Inn

E E

 

Historical Marker

Looks Great

Tail of the Bank

Glen Sannox

Magnificent

Wow

Sannox and sister Claymore


Home ......... About

Page design © 1996-2017 Robin Mills / webmaster@clanmills.com

Page Created: 2017-11-19 21:30:56