Historic “wishing bell” unveiled at Greenock cruise terminal
An historic feature-wall complete with 19th century fog warning bell has been unveiled as the latest part of the £250k development of Greenock Ocean Terminal's cruise liner facility, designed to create a more attractive and welcoming aspect for disembarking cruise passengers.
The bell has been given a new lease of life as a “wishing bell”, to raise money for the Greenock Rotary Club. A sign posted next to the bell encourages passengers to throw coins to raise money for the club. The sign reads; “Throw a penny, hit the bell, make a wish only time will tell.”
The bell was originally part of the Princes Pier Railway terminus, now the site of the Clydeport Container Terminal. It is thought that the bell was used to warn incoming ships they were nearing shore in heavy fog. It came into Clydeport ownership when the organisation took over the terminus for redevelopment and had been kept in storage in the organisation’s offices until it was recently re-discovered.
Princes Pier was the terminus of the Greenock and Ayrshire Railway, connecting with steamer services on the Clyde. The station building that is believed to have housed the bell was built in 1894 by the G&AR's successor, the Glasgow and South Western Railway.
The wall was built by volunteers from the Dry Stone Walling Association, West of Scotland. 50 tonnes of red sandstone were used to create the wall that took volunteers 150 hours to build. The Dry Stone Walling Association is a Scottish Charity with the aim of promoting and developing the craft of dry stone walling in its area of operation. The West of Scotland membership comprises around 60 people from Argyll & Bute, Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire.
Andrew Hemphill, Clydeport's general manager at Ocean Terminal, said: “We’re delighted to unveil the newest phase of our Ocean Terminal redevelopment. The bell is a piece of Greenock’s history and we wanted to put it on show to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
“I’d like to thank our volunteers from the Dry Stone Walling Association who put so much time in effort into creating a fantastic feature that will be a part of the landscape for years to come.
“We’re delighted that funds raised by passengers making a wish at our wishing bell will go to benefit the Greenock Rotary Club.”
Sylvia Kelly, past president of the Greenock Rotary Club, said: “Greenock Rotary Club is thrilled to be associated with this project. It’s a fantastic feature and much bigger than anything we initially envisaged. We’re delighted that Clydeport chose to develop the project in this way.
“As a world-wide organisation, we felt that the Rotary would be a great fit to welcome passengers from around the globe as they disembark in Scotland. The funds raised from their donations will benefit local projects in the Greenock area.”
Norman Muir of the Dry Stone Walling Association, West of Scotland. “Our members very much enjoyed working alongside Clydeport to create this feature. We were greatly assisted by the technical staff at Clydeport who provided much needed assistance and the steel structure from which the bell hangs.
“We’re delighted with the finished product and hope that visitors to the area enjoy it too.”
The bell is being unveiled just over three weeks before over 50 Tall Ships will dock in Greenock as part of the Tall Ships Races 2011.
Organisers, Sail Inverclyde, have confirmed that 57 Tall Ships will be docked throughout the four day event along the multi-million pound refurbished James Watt Docks and quaysides, from the 9th – 12th July, culminating in the breathtaking Parade of Sail leaving Greenock on the Tuesday 12 July at 1pm.