The Dry Dock at the bottom of John Wood Street (where the health centre main car park now stands) the area was sometimes referred to as Dockhead Street.
It was the first of its type in Scotland and was built in 1762.

The Dry Dock

The water was discharged by a horse driven pump, which was designed by James Watt, who was again called in to advice as to its repair and  improvement in 1772. John Webb, a carpenter from Irvine, had charge  of the construction for the three years it took to complete. It proved very profitable, the receipts averaging £500 sterling, a large sum of money in  those days.
It helped to increase the trade of the port and served another purpose in training carpenters who got increased and steady employment when shipbuilding began again after the American war of independance in 1783.

This page last modified on Friday, April 02, 2010

Following the opening of the canal from Renfrew to the  Clyde in 1786, cargoes were then loaded into punts or scows and poled  upriver resulting in a falling off in the revenue of the dry dock in 1789.
After restoring the dock in 1805, Glasgow sold the dock and surrounding ground to Port Glasgow Town Council in 1808 for £2,700 Glasgow becoming a port of registry from 1809 onwards.
The docks original dimensions were 256' length of floor x 70' wide at the top with 33' wide gates and 10.5'depth of water over the sill at spring tides.
ln 1834 a steam pump was installed by Watt and Boulton of Birmingham which enabled the dock to be pumped dry in about six hours after low water. ln 1871, the Trustees resolved to reconstruct the dock at a cost of £18,000.
It was reopened in January 1875, when Burn's steamer CAMEL, dressed overall, entered the dock amidst the cheers of hundreds of spectators. The new dimensions becoming 325' long x 45' wide entrance x 155 depth over the sill at spring tides. Design work by Bell & Miller and John Coghill being the contractors. New gates were fitted in 1897 at a cost of £4, 000 and a further £1,000 was spent in 1900 when new boilers and Tangye pumps were fitted which permitted the dock to be pumped out in two hours.

Transferred to the care of the Harbor Trust in 1871 and leased to Russell & Co. Shipbuilders from 1888 then A Rodger and subsequently Lithgows until 1935, latterly being operated by James Lamont & Co. until it closed in 1966, when the last vessel, the TORCH, was docked.

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