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The History of Port Glasgow

Port Glasgow is situated on the West Coast of Scotland approximately 20 miles from Glasgow.

Port Glasgow was originally a small village known as Newark. The name possibly came from Newark Castle. Trading ships from other countries would be unloaded here at that time and the cargo would then be taken up the river Clyde on smaller boats to Glasgow

In the late seventeenth century the town council of Glasgow purchased land and constructed a harbour and breakwater which became Glasgow's first deep-water port and the town of Newark became known as Port Glasgow.

By the 19th century, Port Glasgow had become a centre of shipbuilding where some of the best ships in the world were built. The Comet was built in the town in 1812 and was the first commercial steam ship in Europe. A replica of the Comet and a plaque commemorating the actual site of construction are situated in Port Glasgow town centre.

Port Glasgow became a burgh in 1833, but around this time, the River Clyde up to Glasgow was deepened and new road and rail links meant that the town was no longer needed much as a port.

The shipbuilding industry then took over as the main source of employment and was responsible for about a quarter of the total tonnage of ships launched on the Clyde.

Port Glasgow has been responsible for about a quarter of the total tonnage of ships launched on the Clyde although in this present time this industry has all but gone and only Ferguson Shipbuilders yard remains in the town today.

The town grew from the central area of the present town and thus many of the town's historic buildings are found here. Port Glasgow expanded up the steep hills inland to open fields where housing areas were founded which have subsequently become known as upper Port Glasgow and most of the town's population occupies these areas.