Visit to Martime Museum – 18 September 2017
Seven members and a guest visited the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine where they got a taste not only of the massive scale of early maritime engineering but also of the rigours of life in the mainly Clyde shipyards of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The guest was none other than Bob Graham (Eileen Alexander’s dad) who was something of a VIP since he had been a welder in the Fairfield and John Brown yards for many years, notably having worked on the QE2. Bob was thus able to provide useful anecdotes and additions to the information boards and exhibits.
For some, the day began with bacon rolls and coffee at the aptly named Puffers cafe on the harbourside before we were given a guided tour of the nearby buildings and, in particular, of the inside of a tenement building which had been recreated in early 20th century style to convey how life was for the ordinary shipyard worker of the day.
Following a short stroll along the quayside in bright sunshine, we were ushered on board an old, iron, cargo ship which, in its time at sea, had seen many changes of use, from cargo carrying to dredging and sewage dumping.
Back at the museum we wandered among the many exhibits, marvelling at the diverse range of skills of the craftsmen and women who had been the mainstay of the heavy engineering industries linked to early shipbulding; skills which included for example, design and draughtmanship, rope making, pattern-making, model-making, iron-founding, crane-building and many more ancillary processes. Of particular interest to some was the exhibtion wthin an exhibition devoted to the ocean-going cruise ships and life onboard such craft.
It would have been easy to have spent much more time in what is a wonderfully stocked and laid-out exhibition space…………but lunch was on everyone’s minds by this time and so off we went to the nearby Duncan’s Bar & Bistro where we enjoyed a terrific lunch (burgers highly recommended).