A History of Port Glasgow

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright February 2013, Thomas Nugent; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.


Arrival of the railways

The Glasgow, Paisley & Greenock Railway Co.

This company opened the first line in the town in 1841, with Port Glasgow station located at the foot of Barrs Brae at Princes Street (now the top of John Wood Street). The present day Port Glasgow railway station stands on the same site.

The Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock Railway Company was absorbed by the Caledonian Railway in 1851.

The 1897 map shows a "mineral line" branching off the main line near Newark Castle and running northwest to the Wet Dock, crossing the dock entrance by means of a swing bridge and continuing to the dry dock and the East Harbour. There were various sidings at the quayside as well as on both sides of the main line near Newark Castle and also some at The Glen, between Ardgowan Street and the main line.

Some photos of Port Glasgow station
NS3274 : Port Glasgow railway station by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Port Glasgow railway station by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Port Glasgow railway station by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Port Glasgow railway station by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Port Glasgow Station by Thomas Nugent NS3174 : Port Glasgow railway station by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Port Glasgow railway station by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Port Glasgow railway station by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Port Glasgow station by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : All change at Port Glasgow by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Special Train by Thomas Nugent

Hoods Well within Port Glasgow station (Hood was one of the early Station Master at Port Glasgow).
NS3274 : Hoods Well by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Hoods Well by Thomas Nugent

Woodhall station, in the east of the town was opened in 1945 to serve the new Woodhall housing scheme. The housing scheme is now almost completely gone (demolition started in 2006), but the station remains open.

Some photos of Woodhall station
NS3474 : Woodhall station by Thomas Nugent NS3474 : Woodhall railway station by Thomas Nugent NS3474 : Woodhall railway station by Thomas Nugent NS3474 : Woodhall railway station by Thomas Nugent NS3474 : Woodhall railway station by Thomas Nugent NS3474 : Woodhall railway station by Thomas Nugent NS3474 : Woodhall railway station by Thomas Nugent

Greenock & Wemyss Bay Railway Co.

In 1865, the Greenock & Wemyss Bay Railway Company opened a line from Port Glasgow to Wemyss Bay. This line left the Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock Railway Company line at Chapelton, where the line crosses the Glen Burn. Although Port Glasgow is considered the junction station, only a short length of the line runs in Port Glasgow, as it crosses into Greenock at Gibbshill after a few hundred yards.

Greenock & Ayrshire Railway Co.

This company opened a line from Glasgow St Enoch to Princes Pier in Greenock in 1869. Unlike the Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock Railway line which approached the town along the Clyde coast, this line ran inland, passing through Paisley, Johnstone, Bridge of Weir and Kilmacolm before dropping down the hill through Port Glasgow on the way to Princes Pier in the west end of Greenock. The ""Nine Arches" viaduct over Devol Glen was demolished by explosives in 1970. The company was absorbed by Glasgow and South Western Railway in 1872.

Upper Port Glasgow station was located at Dubbs Road, near the telephone exchange on Crosshill Road. This station was opened in 1869 and closed to passengers in 1959. The St Enoch boat trains to Princes Pier continued running, without stopping there until 30 November 1965.

The line finally closed in stages until 1983, the section through Port Glasgow closing in 1966.

The section of the line from Bridgend in Greenock to Canal Street in Paisley is now Route 75 of the National Cycle Network.

Here are photos of some of the remaining traces of the line around the town today.

NS3373 : Converted railway wagon by Thomas Nugent NS3372 : National Cycle Route 75 by Thomas Nugent NS3174 : Devol Glen by Thomas Nugent NS3174 : Remains of the Nine Arches by Thomas Nugent NS3372 : Crosshill Road by Thomas Nugent NS3372 : Bridge near Cunston Cottage by Thomas Nugent NS3371 : Bridge at West Kilbride farm by Thomas Nugent NS3471 : Pennytersal Arch by Thomas Nugent

Housing

Newport Glasgow was described as "Having a neat attractive appearance to the sea front, with white-washed cottages interspersed with trees and gardens".

NS3174 : Lilybank Road by Stephen Sweeney
As the population increased in the mid 19th Century, the western boundary moved from the Glen Burn at Devol Glen to what later became known as Boundary Street. Still clinging to the raised beach, mainly to the north of the railway line, but with some villas being built at Ivybank and Lillybank.


By the start of the 20th Century, the housing situation became desperate as the population rose to over 16000, occupying much the same space as had the 6000 population 125 years earlier.

Woodhall

In 1936, construction of a new housing scheme at the former Woodhall mansion and estate commenced in an attempt to alleviate the overcrowding in the town centre. Woodhall Terrace had tenements along one side only and ran parallel to the railway line and the A8 Glasgow Road. Mansion Avenue and Heggies Avenue run up the steep hillside and Brightside, Pleasantside and Sunnyside run across the hill. Parkhill Avenue, on the line of Old Greenock Road completes the scene at the top of the scheme.

By early 2013, the last remaining tenement on Woodhall Terrace had been demolished and most of the houses on "the avenues" await the same fate.

Some Woodhall scenes.
NS3473 : Woodhall Terrace by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Woodhall Post Office by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Woodhall Square by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Parkhill Square by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Pleasantside Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Port Glasgow Cemetery by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Parkhill Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Parkhill Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Parkhill Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Parkhill Avenue Port Glasgow by John Ferguson NS3473 : Treetops Nursery by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Woodhall Terrace by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : St Martin's Church by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Mansion Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Riverside Resource Centre by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Brightside Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Woodhall by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Sunnyside Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Woodhall by Chris Court

Park Farm, Broadfield, Bardrainney, Boglestone & Devol

Immediately following World War II, there were still 500 people per acre living in the town centre, at a time when the recommended maximum was 90. Drastic measures had to be taken, which meant that the town expanded "up the hill", away from the coast, for the first time. The town boundary to the south and east was expanded to include the farmlands at Devol, Boglestone, Broadfield, Park Farm and Bardrainney. By 1953, over a thousand new houses had been completed at these places, but there was more still to do.

Park Farm, where the streets are named after Scottish islands.

NS3473 : Arran Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Coll Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Bute Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Park Farm Post Office by Thomas Nugent


Bardrainney
NS3373 : Bardrainney shops by Thomas Nugent NS3373 : Quarry Road by Thomas Nugent NS3373 : Bardrainney Cottage by Thomas Nugent NS3373 : BISF Houses at Bardrainney by Thomas Nugent


Boglestone
NS3373 : Dubbs Road shops by Thomas Nugent NS3373 : Boglestone Roundabout by Thomas Nugent


Broadfield

NS3473 : Parkhill at Broadfield by Thomas Nugent NS3373 : Northfield Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Burnside shops by Thomas Nugent NS3373 : The Bogle Stone by Thomas Nugent

The Port Glasgow Development Plan

In 1954 The Port Glasgow Development Plan was approved in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act of 1947. This was a two-fold plan:-

  1. To provide more new houses
  2. To demolish dwellings which fell below tolerable standards.

Upper Park Farm, Slaemuir, Mid Auchinleck, upper Devol

The council house building boom continued into the 1960s and 70s when hundreds of houses were built in new housing schemes (estates) at upper Park Farm, Slaemuir, Mid Auchinleck and upper Devol, right up to the golf course boundary.

Upper Park Farm Built in the late 1960s, parts being demolished already

NS3473 : Oronsay Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Pladda Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Oronsay Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Demolition of flats in Oronsay Avenue Port Glasgow by John Ferguson NS3473 : Demolition of flats in Oronsay Avenue Port Glasgow by John Ferguson NS3473 : Rona Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3472 : Oronsay Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3472 : Oronsay Avenue by Thomas Nugent

Slaemuir Built in the late 1960s/early 70s

NS3472 : Site of Former Port Glasgow High School by Thomas Nugent NS3372 : Marloch Avenue, Bardrainney by Alex McGregor NS3372 : Entering Port Glasgow on Auchenbothie Road by Stephen Sweeney NS3372 : Auchenbothie Road, Bardrainey by wfmillar NS3372 : Bardrainney by Richard Webb

Mid Auchinleck Built in the 1970s
NS3372 : Montrose Avenue car park by Thomas Nugent NS3373 : Moidart Road by Richard Webb NS3372 : Maybole Road, Bardrainney by Alex McGregor NS3373 : National Cycle Network route marker by Thomas Nugent

Bay Street Towerblocks

At the same time as the 1970s developments "up the hill", tenements on precious flat land on the raised beach in the Ardgowan Street, Bay Street and Clune Brae Foot areas were being demolished to make way for new roads and expansion of the shipyards.

Three tower blocks were built on reclaimed dockland at Bay Street at this time. These were renovated in 2010 and remain popular with the residents, bucking the trend of similar blocks elsewhere in the district and indeed the country as a whole. The upper floors must have stunning views of the Clyde and the southern Highlands.

The "high flats" Heather, Thistle and Rowan Courts.
NS3274 : Bay Street by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Endeavour at Port Glasgow by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Doon The Watter - 25th June 2011 : Tower Blocks and Town Buildings, Port Glasgow by Richard West NS3274 : Monty's Bar by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Court Road by Thomas Nugent NS3274 : Bay Street and Court Road by Thomas Nugent

21st Century housing developments

During the early years of the 21st Century, house building continued apace, with modern new Council houses springing up on Parkhill Avenue, Park Farm/Kilmacolm Road and Moray Road. There is also a development of luxury private houses at Castlebank, on the former Broadfield Hospital site to the east of Woodhall.

Parkhill Avenue

NS3473 : Site of former Holy Family Primary School by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Site of former Holy Family Primary School by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Parkhill Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Parkhill Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Parkhill Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3473 : Parkhill Avenue by Thomas Nugent

Park Farm/Kilmacolm Road

NS3472 : New houses off Oronsay Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3472 : New houses off Oronsay Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3472 : Taransay Way by Thomas Nugent NS3472 : Taransay Way by Thomas Nugent NS3472 : New houses off Oronsay Avenue by Thomas Nugent NS3472 : Taransay Way and Kilmacolm Road by Thomas Nugent NS3472 : Taransay Way and Kilmacolm Road by Thomas Nugent

Castlebank

NS3573 : Castle Bank by Thomas Nugent NS3573 : Broadfield Hospital by Thomas Nugent

The vast majority of housing in the town, even today, remains under Council ownership, under the guise of River Clyde Homes.

KML

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