Funding campaign launched to save the oldest floating Clyde-built vessel in the UK

Funding campaign launched to save the oldest floating Clyde-built vessel in the UK
Funding campaign launched to save the oldest floating Clyde-built vessel in the UK

The Scottish Maritime Museum has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for vital repairs to, what it believes, is the oldest floating Clyde-built vessel in the UK.

Built by John Fullerton & Co. at Paisley, the 1872 cargo coaster MV Kyles is a rare survivor from the 19th century, a transformational period on the River Clyde when shipyards embraced the possibilities of steam power to become important to shipbuilding.

Kyles, which is moored on Irvine Harbourside at the Scottish Maritime Museum’s main site, reaches its 150th birthday in 2022. But a hard working life, being adapted for different roles across the UK by 24 different owners, has taken a huge toll. Essential repairs are now needed if this historic vessel is to remain part of Scotland’s living maritime heritage.

Through the Keep the Kyles Afloat campaign on Crowdfunder the Scottish Maritime Museum hopes to raise £15,000. Funds raised will enable the museum’s Scottish Boat Building School and curatorial teams to preserve Kyles by undertaking essential repairs.

Matthew Bellhouse Moran, Curator at the Scottish Maritime Museum, explains: “At 148 years, Kyles is older than the Falls of Clyde, tall ship Glenlee and the Sir Walter Scott. Kyles has survived such a long and hard working life. It was a cargo coaster, fishing tender, sand dredger and even a sludge tanker over the course of more than a hundred years before being retired to the Scottish Maritime Museum in 1984.

“If we are to ensure Kyles survives another 150 years, we need to repair and adapt it once again, using the craftmanship and skills of the young boatbuilders here at our Scottish Boatbuilding School. With support, as well as repairs, we can take the cabins back to how they looked when Kyles was a working vessel and create new interpretation.

“With new interpretation we can bring to life the many stories this old iron hulled coaster hauled aboard over a hundred years and engage visitors and schoolchildren with this significant example of our shipbuilding history for decades to come.”

Supporters can choose from a range of unique pledge benefits, from hosting their own private maritime movie evening to their name on a small, permanent plaque on Kyles for larger donations.

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