Many years ago Port Glasgow was well known for it's fruit and vegetables. This local industry seems to have started as far back as 1767 when the then proprietor of Newark Estate saw the possibilities of this idea. He was proven correct as it was to become a very profitable with the produce being consumed both locally and in Glasgow.
Mr William King was responsible for the setting up and organising of the actually growing of the market produce. The flat ground at the fore shore of Newark Castle being composed of alluvial silt which along with the moist and mild climate made for excellent results.

Port Glasgow Fruit


The gardens extended from Balfour Street westwards on both sides of the Greenock road to Inchgreen. In the east of the town the gardens of Newark Castle were let out as market gardens and there were others at Carnagie (owned by John Yates). William Foot owned one which stretched from Ashgrove Lane to the foot of the Clune Brae. This garden was well known for its plumbs. Surrounded by high walls and having been adapted for wall trees.

Magnum Bonum plums are mentioned as having been especially good
In 1841 connection with Covent Garden in London began, and Port Glasgow strawberries were well thought of there.
They all brought their produce to the Steamboat Quay early in the morning for shipment to Glasgow by the Helensburgh Steamers each morning at 7am.
In the Glasgow fruiters you would see cards labeling the cases “Port Glasgow Fruit” After 1860, when shipbuilding began to develop, the garden ground was gradually taken up for this purpose. Then the railway sealed its fate by passing through all the local gardens leaving only two.

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Some of the wells drew their water supply by pipes which led from a circular building that was behind the back entrance to the railway station.(pictured above) This building was for a long time the oldest building left standing in Port Glasgow and was referred to locally as the "Round House" it has since been removed after fire made it unsafe and new houses and roads are in it's place.
The "reservoir" as it was know was fed by the Glen Huntly Burn. It was looked on with great pride.
In 1846 through contamination of these wells there was a dreadful epidemic of Cholera, in which many people died. They were buried in pits in the old cemetery at Blackstone.

There had been epidemics, before as there was already in place a Cholera hospital but this outbreak caused a massive decrease in the population.

Filtration plants stood at Parkhill and the Water Augmentation scheme brought about the opening  of the filter house at Dougliehill in September 1956 with further improvements and an extension to the filter house in May 1968 the water supply which at this time was around 1,709,000 gallons a day.
The main source of water by 1948 was the Auchendores reservoir a picturesque stretch of water near Kilmacolm with a storage capacity of 188,421,000 gallons.  Beside it is Leperstone reservoir and at the western end of the town there were the Harelaw and Knocknairnshill reservoirs. . 

Up until 1865 there was no proper water supply to the town. The house holders filled their stoups at wells which were to be found in several parts of the town.

In 1907 Mr Davie  listed the wells around the town as he remembered them:

In those days there were no pipes laid into the houses. The supply was all from public wells and the only reservoir was that little round building on the side of the railways opposite Glenhuntly gate now nearly demolished.
The public wells as near as I can remember were Waterloo in the Bay Dockhead: The Cross, head of Chapel Lane: The Horses, end of Carmen's shed Fore Street: Back Row or "Beggars Raw" where the post office is at present: Princes Street, lower side of the UP Church: Balfour Street at Robert. Duncan and Co's yard: Weavers head of Chapel Lane.

During the summer months the supply of water was a great concern to the housewives, all the water they required for cooking and washing had to be carried in stoups or cans from the nearest well , but often the supply gave out and the wait was long and tedious. I have seen people waiting for more than an hour before their "tour" or turn came round. There were no laundries to which their washing could be sent, so they had just "tae thole".
There was a water plug at the top of the Tarport Stair were the ships water casks were filled.
There were two public bleaching greens, Rodgerson's in Chapel Lane and the Plantation. At the east end of the wall that ran along Bay Street at the side of the dock there was an opening just opposite the "pend" where three steps lead down to the shore, where the burn entered the dock, and as the waste hot water from the sugarhouse was run into the burn the water was nearly always warm. Here a good many of the poorer class washed their clothes.

This page last modified on Saturday, February 05, 2011