Port Glasgow sits on the Clyde River, and has been major center of shipping since the late 1600's. Set up as port for the nearby city of Glasgow, this was the last place seagoing ships could dock before sandbanks made further passage upriver impossible. A hundred years later, shipbuilding came to the area and by 1900, it was a major hub of the industry, with yards crowding the river banks.
It was in this setting that the four brothers of the Ferguson family launched their own shipbuilding company. The family leased a choice yard space next to Newark Castle on the Clyde and in March of 1903 Ferguson Shipbuilding Company was born. Their first order, two steam tugboats, the FLYING SWIFT and FLYING LINNET for the Clyde Shipping company. This builder's dockyard model of the tugs was likely the first thing to come out of their new venture.
Modeled in 1/4 in. scale and in outstanding condition, this rare model has recently had all fittings replated in gold, silver or copper. Displayed in her original glass and mahogany case, this is a striking piece of the model craft full of fine detail throughout, from the fire buckets on the cabin roof to the lights on her mast and deck, to the anchors and fittings on the bow and rear deck and more. Unusually, there are two presentation plaques, one at the bow and another on the port side, perhaps an extra effort for the yard's first commission.
Tugboats were the workhorses of the ocean and full dockyard models of historic tugs are rare and hard to find. Both of these vessels were very active bringing ships up and down the Clyde, to and from docks along the river. Details remain only for the Flying Swift, which launched on October 26, 1903 and operated for more than 50 years. A photo of the historic vessel is shown in the listing for reference purposes (not included).
Today the Ferguson Shipbuilders are the last remaining shipyard on the lower Clyde, and the only builder of merchant ships on the river. Still in their original location next to Newark Castle, the yard is the last vestige of an industry which dominated the area, and Scottish life on the sea, for more than a century.
Hull Length: 29 Inches Long
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