“Watching the Waverley go by.” April 2018.

1:46 PM

Having watched the Waverley pass by my house for many years, it is one of the most distinctive memories I have of growing up on the Clyde. Often seeing ships, boats and tugs of all kinds sailing past, bound for unknown destinations. The Waverley in particular was a regular sight and one which, as a child, I could easily spot with its distinctive black, white and bright red funnels. It therefore seemed appropriate to be the first in our new series of 'monthly favourites' on the blog. As the Waverley sails between April and October each year, it also serves as a reminder that spring is here and that summer *fingers crossed* is not much further away! 

Named after Sir Walter Scott's first novel, the Waverley was built by A&J Inglis of Pointhouse in 1947 and is the last sea-going paddle steam engine in the world. Ending her working career for the London and North Eastern Railway in 1975 the Waverley has since been in operational preservation, offering regular trips on the Clyde, the Thames, South Coast of England and the Bristol Channel.This picture is part of our Dan McDonald collection, which contains over 6,500 images of boats and vessels along the Clyde and the west coast of Scotland between 1920 and 1980. 

The importance of paddle steamers is reflected in the story of the Waverley, famously gifted to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society for £1. Not only did paddle steamers hold a crucial place in coastal passenger and excursion trade, they also made a significant contribution to the war effort as minesweepers in both World War 1 and World War 2. The Waverley was built to replace the previous Waverley which played an important role at Dunkirk in 1940. 

The first Waverley was built in 1899 also by A&J Inglis. This particular image is part of the Lind collection, made up of Bill's personal collection of ship plans, photographs and postcards. The original Waverley was requisitioned during the first World War and deployed as a minesweeper in 1915. During the evacuation at Dunkirk in 1940 the boat was sunk during an air attack. 

In 2003, a large-scale restoration project began to return the Waverley to its original 1940's style. All made possible by funds from National Heritage Lottery Fund, PSPS with contributions also coming from Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, the European Regional Development and local authorities. Not to mention the countless number of devoted volunteers and specialists who all contributed to the successful completion of the project. This important restoration re-affirmed the Waverley's importance within Scottish Heritage and paddle steamers as being of national significance. These images provide a way of understanding Scotland's shipping industry whilst providing accessibility through digitisation of these images. 

References and useful links.

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