Famous Clyde-Built Ships Brought To Life In Model Exhibition

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Credits: Dominika Rosecla/ Pexels
  • A Glasgow dental technician who combined his skills making artificial teeth with his passion for maritime history has created a spectacular collection of 75 model ships.
  • The exhibition also features models of NLV Pole Star and Flying Phantom which were built by Ferguson Brothers in Port Glasgow.
  • The Scottish Maritime Museum, stands on the site of the famous William Denny Shipyard and features the world’s oldest working model experiment tank.

Seven of Lachie Stewart’s meticulous models, which are held in many private collections, will be on display to the public in a new exhibition this month.

Clyde-Built Ships exhibition

Chariots of Steam features ships built on the Clyde by some of the river’s famous companies, such as William Denny and Brothers and Ferguson Brothers.

Lachie, who is now 79, has created a range of models over the last 60 years, from elegant paddle steamers to the lifeline Clyde puffers, and from simple half-hull design models to magnificent display models. Most are radio controlled for sailing.

Ship models in exhibition 

Models on display in the exhibition, which opens at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Dumbarton on May 26, include PS Caledonia which was built in 1934 by William Denny and Brothers on the site where the museum now stands.

Although many steamers had come from the same shipyard, PS Caledonia was the first Denny paddle steamer to serve on the River Clyde since the 1890 Duchess of Hamilton.

After being commissioned as a minesweeper, patrol vessel and anti-aircraft ‘flack ship’ during the Second World War, it was extended to carry 1700 passengers and returned to service on the Clyde.

Model used to aid salvage team

The exhibition also features models of NLV Pole Star and Flying Phantom which were built by Ferguson Brothers in Port Glasgow.

The lighthouse and buoy tender NLV Pole Star was built for the Northern Lighthouse Board in 2000 and incorporated the latest propulsion, navigational and buoy handling technologies.

The Flying Phantom (1981) was built for the Clyde Shipping Company and based in Greenock. After the tug sank in 2008, with three crew members tragically lost, Lachie’s model was used to aid the salvage team.

Harbor work vessels

The other vessels are PS Maid of the Loch, Volcano, the Kathleen M Stewart and Sealight Greenock.

PS Maid of the Loch was built by A&J Inglis at its Clyde Pointhouse Yard in 1953. It is now under the care of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company which hopes to return the vessel to cruising service.

Volcano (1900) serves as an example of the paddle tug, a style of vessel built in large numbers for hauling barges, especially on long continental rivers, or for harbour work manoeuvring larger sea-going vessels.

Homage to steam drifters

The Kathleen M Stewart is Lachie’s homage to the steam drifters built from the late 19th century. 

These vessels, which featured a deck close to the water to make pulling fishing nets onboard easier, were often named after the owner’s family or friends. Lachie’s model is named after his daughter.

Built by George Brown and Co, Greenock, in 1930, Sealight Greenock was a typical puffer, built to fit the locks on the Forth and Clyde Canal. 

Puffers were named after the distinctive ‘puff, puff’ of steam from the funnel and were flat bottomed so they could be beached on sandy shores to unload cargo.

Exceptional model collection 

Eva Bukowska, exhibitions and events assistant at the museum, said: “We are delighted to celebrate Lachie Stewart’s exceptional collection of model ships with our latest exhibition Chariots of Steam.

“We’ve chosen a selection of models which will give visitors the broadest insight into Lachie’s works and the rich variety of vessels built by some of our most famous shipyards.

“Lachie’s skills and his appreciation of shipbuilding on the Clyde shine through each of the models and we’re sure this is going to be a hugely popular exhibition for our visitors.”

The Scottish Maritime Museum, on Castle Street, Dumbarton, stands on the site of the famous William Denny Shipyard and features the world’s oldest working model experiment tank.

The National Transport Trust recently recognized the 1882 Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank with a Red Wheel, commemorating it as one of the UK’s most significant transport heritage sites.

Chariots of Steam: An Exhibition of Model Ships by Lachie Stewart opens on May 26.

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Source: Glasgow Times