Seagate Rotary’s speaker on Monday was Alex Blair, on his researches into the history of the Ardrossan to Glasgow canal. Proposed in 1805 to ship coal and other cargo between the coast and the city, the route was surveyed and developed by the great Engineers Thomas Telford and John Rennie.
Beset by funding difficulties and rivalries between the local landowners, only 11 miles were constructed, from Johnstone through Paisley to Govan. Opened in 1810, this section was successful with passenger traffic and in 1834 300,000 people travelled the route on horse drawn boats.
The remaining section to Ardrossan was never built, as the Clyde was deepened allowing shipping to Glasgow and railways were taking the passenger traffic. Instead, the Paisley Canal Railway was built on the surveyed line. The canal finally closed in 1881.
Alex’s research has unearthed many original documents and maps, and was a fascinating insight into the commercial competition between and dealings of the businessmen of the time. A Vote of Thanks was proposed by Hugh Hutchison.