Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Celebrating the Comet - Part Nine

It’s been quite some time since we've brought you a post on the historic P.S Comet. We originally stated that the comet post would be with you EVERY Friday, however over the past few weeks we have left you in the lurch, desperate for some more nautical knowledge. We have had quite a busy few weeks here at Identity HQ with numerous projects beginning to hit their full stride, on top of this we have all recently undergone Oral History Interview training with Howard Mitchell. It’s safe to say that the next few months (especially June) will be extremely busy for everyone Involved in the Identity project, so keep tuned to this blog for all the latest news, stories and up and coming projects from Identity Inverclyde. Now, here’s that long awaited Comet Post.

1962 marked the 150th anniversary of Henry Bells prestigious steamship; in order to highlight and celebrate this occasions Sir William Lithgow composed a letter showing interest in funding construction of a replica of the ‘comet’ which was to be made seaworthy for a short period of time.

Lithgow contracted George Thompson of Buckie to build the hull of the ship stating:

“It would appear the hull cost will be in the region of £3,500 to £4,000. It is not intended that the school should be very fancy, but it is proposed that the vessel will be laid up on permanent exhibition. For your guidance, the dimensions of the “Comet” are given as; 42’8” over deck, 11’3” beam, 5’8” from top of keel to gunwhale.”

Sir William Lithgow's Letter to William Miller
The team at Identity previously completed a short booklet on the history of the Comet, while doing so they were involved in interviewing a number of workers employed by George Thompson to construct the hull of the ship….

The plan was for the replica to set sale, albeit for a short period of time. Therefore it was necessary for the ship to be fitted with an engine, built at a local shipyard making use of the original 1812 plans. Below are a few pictures, showing the process of the construction of the Comet replica, the boiler and various other events.


We hope you enjoyed this quick look at the 1962 rebuild. Our next post will contain some extremely rare footage of the replicas maiden voyage, as well as highlight the festivities that went with the 150th anniversary.

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