This photograph was dated 30th January 1963, it was commissioned for a postcard; but was probably shot during the preceding Summer. Here we see several ships tied up at the wharf, as well as pleasure craft in the foreground. To the left is the former Mission Hall (which has been the Harbour Arts Centre since 1966), the Ship Inn and a series of buildings which include the Cross Keys Hotel. A really lovely view!
Engineer Tom McLean. Probably taken at the handover to the owners.
Although built in Greenock by George Brown & Co at Garvel Shipyard, motor tug Garnock is an Irvine lass through and through.
Built in 1956 for the Irvine Harbour Company, Garnock assisted in the towing of large vessels using the Garnock Wharf, a private wharf serving the ICI explosives works at Ardeer, and was a familiar sight to many in the very harbour where she now sits.
Replacing the paddle tug George Brown, which had served the harbour since 1887, Garnock was the last operational tug to work at Irvine. She cost £40k to build and has a part-welded, part-riveted steel structure, and still has her original 8-cylinder Lister Blackstone engine, which gave her enough power to cope with larger vessels. Her hull and fittings are mainly original.
Another duty of Garnock was to dump faulty explosives at sea, and in February 1984, while doing so in the Firth of Clyde to the west of Ardrossan, an explosion ripped a hole in her stern. Assisted by Troon lifeboat, she was taken to Troon Harbour and was presented to the Scottish Maritime Museum later that same year.
Included on the National Register of Historic Vessels of the United Kingdom, Garnock is a fine example of a vessel designed specifically for service at Irvine, and for particular industrial concern. She is also thought to be the only tug preserved in Scotland.
SMM ref 2009-129(004)
Photo by Alan Kempster for SMM