Clyde Navigation Trust

The most spectacular historical landmark along the Broomielaw is the domed Clyde Navigation Trust Building (now The Clydeport Building).

The Trust, established by Act of Parliament in 1858, brought city fathers, shipbuilders, merchants and industrialists together to develop and manage the river and its trade. The Trust Building was designed by Glasgow architect J. J. Burnet (1882-86, extended 1905-8) in an Italianate Baroque style.

Facade decoration by local sculptor John Mossman shows Father Clyde Enthroned and figures of seagods Poseidon and Triton. Classical figures of Demeter Leading a Bull and Amphitrite with Seahorses and, below, statues of Thomas Telford, James Watt and Henry Bell, are by Albert Hodge (1908). The interior is equally impressive and is occasionally accessible on Doors Open Days.

As early as 1759 an Act of Parliament gave Glasgow town councillors the powers 'to cleanse, scour, straighten and improve' the Clyde between Glasgow Bridge and the Dumbuck Ford near Dumbarton. The Clyde Navigation Trust was formed in 1858, in succession to the River Improvement Trust, in order to run the increasingly complex business of the Clyde.

Developing the Clyde's navigation and trade required investment as well as decisions about where to invest and the collection of fees and tolls. The Trust widened membership, previously the exclusive preserve of Glasgow town councillors, to include river users - manufacturers and shipowners, representatives of the Merchants' House and Trades Hall. For over 100 years it was the driving force in developing new docks and quays, keeping the dockside machinery up to date and carrying out never ending maintenance on the river.

Since 1992 Clydeport plc has been responsible for the port facilities on the river, in the firth of Clyde and the deep water harbours used by bulk carriers at Hunterston and Ardrossan on the Ayrshire coast.

Also at The Broomielaw (Back to listing)