Mudcat Café message #2776371 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #125385   Message #2776371
Posted By: Ross Campbell
29-Nov-09 - 07:35 PM
Thread Name: Save historic ship The City Of Adelaide
Subject: RE: Save historic ship The City Of Adelaide
Hi, Mick.
More info at http://cityofadelaide.org.au/ .

This has been a long and very sad saga. Renamed the "Carrick", the former "City of Adelaide" was moored at the head of the Broomielaw (the highest point reachable on the Clyde by vessels of this size, right in the centre of Glasgow) throughout my childhood and well into the '70s, as the floating clubhouse of the Royal Naval Reserve. Still had masts and rigging then, hull painted black and white, a sight to look out for on bus trips into the city. My brother's final year Vet School Banquet was held on board. Some time after that the RNR people gave or sold the vessel to a youth charity who moved it down river to one of the abandoned commercial docks (and out of the public eye). There the hull was allowed to decay to the point where she settled to the bottom of the dock. Eventually she was raised and moved to a repair ramp beside the then new Scottish Maritime Museum at Irvine. There all modern additions were stripped out, including the grand spiral staircase that had been added during its RNR days. I saw it at that stage, basically an empty hulk with no superstructure, masts or rigging, so full of holes it wouldn't even make a decent sieve.

Nevertheless the internal space was amazing. The hull was a thin shell of wood on a helical braced steel structure reminiscent of Barnes Wallis's airframe designs - extremely light, with no intervening bulkheads as in a traditional wooden hull. There was a viewing deck to allow you to see this much, but further public access was not allowed. Plans at that stage were to weatherproof and seal the hull, merely to preserve the existing remains.

Later plans were developed to reinstate the ship to full sailing capability. I gather that money promised for this project never materialised, and the amount laid out by the museum to kick-start things nearly brought the organisation to bankruptcy. The cost of just keeping the weather off the hull has brought demolition threats before. In view of the recent destruction to the Cutty Sark, such an end to the "City of Adelaide" would be a disgrace to this country's maritime heritage.

Ross