Friday 26 May to Sunday 3 September ( 10:00 - 16:00 )

Scottish Maritime Museum (Denny Tank) , Castle Street, Dumbarton

Born in Vale of Leven, West Dunbartonshire, in 1943, Lachie Stewart, who also enjoyed a successful athletic career winning a Gold in the 10,000 metres at the 1970 Commonwealth Games, began model building at 16 years of age.

His spectacular collection of 75 model ships, many of which are held in private and public collections, range from elegant paddle steamers to the lifeline Clyde puffers, and from simple half-hull design models to magnificent display models.

Models on display

Models include PS Caledonia which was built by William Denny and Brothers Shipyard in Dumbarton in 1934.

Although many steamers had come from the William Denny and Brothers shipyard, PS Caledonia was the first Denny paddle steamer to serve on the River Clyde since the 1890 Duchess of Hamilton. After being commissioned as a minesweeper, patrol vessel and anti-aircraft ’flack ship’ during WW2, it was extended to carry 1,700 passengers and returned to service on the Clyde.

The exhibition also features models of NLV Pole Star and Flying Phantom which were both built by Ferguson Brothers in Port Glasgow.

The lighthouse and buoy tender NLV Pole Star was built for the Northern Lighthouse Board in 2000 and incorporated the latest propulsion, navigational and buoy handling technologies.

The Flying Phantom (1981) was built for the Clyde Shipping Company and based in Greenock. After the tug sank in 2008, with three crew members tragically lost, Lachie’s model was used to aid the salvage team.

The other vessels are PS Maid of the Loch, Volcano, the Kathleen M Stewart and Sealight Greenock.

PS Maid of the Loch was built by A&J Inglis at their Clyde Pointhouse Yard in 1953. It is now under the care of the Loch Lomond Steamship Company which hopes to return the vessel to cruising service.

Volcano (1900) serves as an example of the Paddle Tug, a style of vessel built in large numbers for hauling barges, especially on long continental rivers, or for harbour work manoeuvring larger sea-going vessels.

The Kathleen M Stewart is Lachie’s homage to the Steam Drifters built from the late nineteenth century. These vessels, which featured a deck close to the water to make pulling fishing nets onboard easier, were often named after the owner’s family or friends. Lachie’s model is named after his daughter.

Built by George Brown and Co, Greenock, in 1930, Sealight Greenock, was a typical puffer, built to fit the locks on the Forth & Clyde Canal. Puffers were named after the distinctive ‘puff, puff’ of steam from the funnel and were flat bottomed so they could be beached on sandy shores to unload cargo.

‘Chariots of Steam: An Exhibition of Model Ships by Lachie Stewart’
runs from Friday 26 May to Sunday 3 September.

Entry to ‘Chariots of Steam: An Exhibition of Model Ships by Lachie Stewart’ is included in Museum Admission and up to three children go FREE with each Adult/Concession ticket.
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