Ship boat

The oldest floating ship built by Clyde will be refurbished

After a program of vital welding works, the Scottish Maritime Museum is on track to complete essential repairs to what is believed to be the oldest floating ship built by Clyde in time for the ship’s 150th anniversary this summer.

The Scottish Maritime Museum has raised £40,000 for much-needed repairs to the 1872 MV Kyles, one of Britain’s most important historic ships and a rare and nationally significant survivor of a key period in shipbuilding from Glasgow, thanks to a Keep the Kyles Afloat Crowdfunder campaign last year.

The museum’s technical team, conservators and volunteers have started work on the 122 tonne cargo coaster, part of the UK’s National Historic Fleet and older than Clyde Falls, the Glenlee tall ship and the Sir Walter Scott, last year.

Together they repainted the MV Kyles inside and out and restored the cabins to what they would have looked like when it was a working vessel.

The final phase of the repairs, the welding of seams and plates to the iron hull, was carried out by Dales Marine Services.

The newly welded hull will be painted next month. The final phase of repairs, engine servicing, will be carried out when the MV Kyles returns to the Irvine Estuary this summer.

David Mann, Director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: “We are delighted to be working with Dales Marine Services on this vital welding job which will help ensure that the MV Kyles continues to be part of Scotland’s living maritime heritage. for decades to come.

“We look forward to celebrating the 150th anniversary of the MV Kyles this summer by relaunching this nationally significant historic vessel and newly in ship form and reopening it to the public.

“Once again, our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who donated and made these essential repairs possible.”

Michael Sinclair, Project Manager at Dales Marine Services, said: “Dales Marine Services are delighted to be working with the Scottish Maritime Museum on the conservation work currently being undertaken on MV Kyles. It’s really rewarding for the team to work on the oldest floating Clyde. -ship built that has such strong heritage significance to the country.”

The MV Kyles is a rare and nationally significant survivor of the 19th century, a transformative time on the River Clyde when shipyards embraced the possibilities of steam to become one of the world’s most important shipbuilding centres. .

Built by John Fullerton & Co. in Paisley in 1872, MV Kyles served as a tender for the Clyde fishing fleet until 1881.

After that, 23 other owners adapted the vessel for different uses across the UK.

Unusually retaining the same name despite so many owners, MV Kyles became a coaster, sand dredger and even sludge tanker before being retired to the Scottish Maritime Museum in 1984.

Among the donors who came forward to support conservation work on the MV Kyles was Mr. John Paul DeJoria of Texas. Mr DeJoria is one of the signatories of Bill and Melinda Gates “Giving Pledge” pledging billionaires to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.

The Scottish Maritime Museum’s national maritime heritage and art collections are housed in the Linthouse, a former shipbuilding shed moved from Govan, and on Harborside, Irvine.

The museum has a second collection on what was once the site of the famous Victorian William Denny and Brothers shipyard in Dumbarton.