|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2008)|
|Scottish Gaelic: Port Ghlaschu|
|Scots: Port Glesga|
Port Glasgow shown within Inverclyde
|Population||16,617 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||PORT GLASGOW|
|Scottish Parliament||Greenock and Inverclyde|
Port Glasgow (Scottish Gaelic: Port Ghlaschu, pronounced [pʰɔrˠʃt̪ˈɣlˠ̪as̪əxu]) is the second largest town in the Inverclyde council area of Scotland. The population according to the 1991 census for Port Glasgow was 19,426 persons and in the 2001 census was 16,617 persons. It is located immediately to the east of Greenock and was previously a burgh in the former county of Renfrew.
The town was originally named Newark but due to ships not being able to make it all the way up the shallow river Clyde it was formed as a port for nearby Glasgow in 1668 and became Port Glasgow in 1775. Port Glasgow was home to dry docks and shipbuilding beginning in 1762.
The town grew from the central area of the present town and thus many of the town's historic buildings are found here. Port Glasgow expanded up the steep hills inland to open fields where areas such as Park Farm, Boglestone and Devol were founded. This area has subsequently become known as upper Port Glasgow and most of the town's population occupies these areas.
The town is connected to nearby Glasgow by A8 and M8 motorway.
Glasgow Airport located 21km (13 mi) to the east is the closest airport to Port Glasgow.
Port Glasgow was originally a small village known as Newark. The name actually came from the slang name newerk meaning new-work on the castle itself as the Maxwells built a huge extension to the existing keep possibly came from Newark Castle, in the parish of Kilmacolm. Trading ships from France and the low countries were unloaded here and the cargo taken up the River Clyde to Glasgow on smaller boats. In 1667, the town council of Glasgow purchased land for the construction of a harbour and breakwater. This became Glasgow's first deep-water port and the town of Newark became known as Port Glasgow (on some eighteenth century maps it is shown as Newport Glasgow). After 1693, the grid-iron street layout which still forms much of the town centre today, was laid out.
Port Glasgow has played host to several successful football clubs including Port Glasgow Athletic F.C. and their sister side Port Glasgow Athletic Juniors F.C., which are both now defunct. Port Glasgow F.C. have been since formed to fill this void. The team recently returned "home" to a new stadium at Parklea, Port Glasgow, following a spell playing their home games in nearby Greenock.
By the 19th century, Port Glasgow had become a centre of shipbuilding. The Comet was built in the town in 1812 and was the first commercial steam vessel in Europe. A replica of the Comet and a plaque commemorating the actual site of construction are situated in Port Glasgow town centre.
Port Glasgow became a burgh in 1833, but around this time, the River Clyde up to Glasgow was deepened and new road and rail links meant that the town was no longer needed much as a port. The shipbuilding industry then took over as the main source of employment and prosperity. Port Glasgow has been responsible for about a quarter of the total tonnage of ships launched on the Clyde. However like the rest of Inverclyde this industry has all but gone and only Ferguson Shipbuilders yard remains in the town today and is one of the last privately owned shipyards left in Scotland.
Newark Castle stands very close to the shore of the Clyde, and dates to around 1484. It was home to the Maxwell Family, but they no longer lived in the castle after 1694. By 1800 the castle was surrounded by shipyards, but today only Fergusons shipyard survives, standing close to the west of the castle, and an open park area and waterfront walkway have been landscaped to the east.
The castle is now a visitor attraction maintained on behalf of the nation by Historic Scotland.
Adjacent to the castle and its surrounding park, several acres of the Clyde foreshore at Parklea are owned by the National Trust for Scotland. For many years the land has been leased to the local authority as playing fields. When the NTS acquired the land it was regarded as protecting the foreshore from the widespread acquisition by shipyards.
Port Glasgow was a parliamentary burgh as part of the Kilmarnock Burghs constituency from 1832 to 1918, when it was merged into the West Renfrewshire constituency. From 1974 to 1997 it was part of the Greenock and Port Glasgow constituency. It returned to the West Renfrewshire constituency in 1997, before becoming part of the present Inverclyde constituency in 2005. In the Scottish Parliament, Port Glasgow has been part of the West Renfrewshire Holyrood constituency since 1999.
Areas of Port Glasgow
- Mid Auchinleck
- Park Farm
- Robert Street
- Town Centre
From the late 1990s onwards much of Port Glasgow's waterfront has been cleared and derelict industrial buildings removed. The A8 trunk road now runs along the waterfront through much of the town, and landscaping has opened up the site around Newark Castle. The former Gourock Ropework building has been redeveloped as luxury flats, and a retail park has been laid out adjacent to the town centre, but at present only Tesco occupy the site.