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'LAUNCH' For Town's Ship-Shape Sculpture

'LAUNCH' For Town's Ship-Shape Sculpture

'LAUNCH' For Town's Ship-Shape SculptureCrowds turned out to watch the ‘launch’ of Port Glasgow’s distinctive new maritime sculpture.

Endeavour, by Malcolm Robertson from Fife, has been installed beside the A8 at Fore Street, providing an eye-catching feature at the entrance to the town.

The sculpture is one of four which have gone up in Inverclyde town centres was commissioned by regeneration company Riverside Inverclyde and Inverclyde Council after money was secured from the Scottish Government’s town centre regeneration fund.

The ‘launch’ ceremony featured singing by children from Port Glasgow primary schools, led by musician Kenny Wilson, and speeches, including one by the sculptor, Malcolm Robertson who said he hoped his work would inspire people.

Instead of smashing a bottle off the ship-shape creation, Mr Robertson gave it a “scoosh” of champagne, to cheers from the crowd.

Also speaking was Henry Birkmyre Semple, whose family formerly owned the nearby Ropeworks and Riverside Inverclyde Head of Operations, George Hunter.

The event was presided over by the Rev. Fraser Donaldson, a Director of Inverclyde Christian Initiative and a resident of Port Glasgow.

'LAUNCH' For Town's Ship-Shape Sculpture

A significant difference to the A8 entrance at Port Glasgow had already been made with distinctive new signage and a landscaped area. The council and Riverside Inverclyde also wanted to ensure that there was a prominent and relevant public art centrepiece, which would make a bold statement and announce the entrance to the town.

Geoff Gregory of Riverside Inverclyde said: "Before, the A8 entrance into Port Glasgow was unprepossessing and the  turn-off to the town could be easily missed by those unfamiliar with the local geography. The new sculpture will convey, in no uncertain manner, the perception that this is the main entrance to a modern, lively town centre. The resulting new customers attracted to the town centre will help sustain vitality and encourage enterprise to flourish.

"Port Glasgow is very proud of its industrial maritime heritage and it was important for local people to be involved in shaping the development of public art for their town. Port Glasgow Community Council and Port Glasgow Traders' Association were consulted regarding the sculptor’s brief.

"They decided that, taking into consideration the history of the town as the port for Glasgow, the importance of the River Clyde in the town’s former fortunes and the fact that the proposed location was to be at the former quayside, then the most appropriate and meaningful art form possible would be a sculpture which represented the spirit of the river in relation to Port Glasgow and celebrated the pioneering spirit, achievements and resilience of the people of the town."

Mr Gregory added: "Malcolm Robertson’s six-metre high painted curved steel Endeavour sculpture fulfils the brief perfectly. It represents a ship’s hull voyaging forward to the open sea and was the popular choice resulting from a public vote both on-line and via ballot box in the public library.

"Although the style of the chosen piece is contemporary and forward looking, it’s silhouette is a reminder of past shipbuilding craftsmanship and consequently resonates harmoniously with the illustrious, industrial maritime history of Port Glasgow, its position on the Clyde, the hardworking people who still live there and it harks back to an era when the town was internationally renowned for the quality and quantity of shipping tonnage built.

"Its shape, form and style also suggests modernity and the future. It therefore will hopefully also strike a chord with younger people who have little knowledge of the shipyards but are perhaps looking for a source of hope and inspiration that helps engender civic pride and clearly illustrates that Port Glasgow has a proud and worthy heritage.

"Malcolm’s sculpture creates a striking landmark, which is relevant to the site, unique and highly distinctive and the image evoked is immediately recognisable. Unlike many modern abstract sculptures, there is no dubiety as to what it is. It is absolutely solid and robust as if it were Clyde-built and it looks like it will endure for all time coming and, since it has been finished with a paint treatment normally used for North Sea oil platforms, then it probably will.

"The vast effort required to construct the piece is readily apparent and Malcolm’s skill as a sculptor has been akin to that of a ship designer who was required to design and produce something robust to withstand the worst of weather and gales but also something that was light, efficient and very pleasing to the eye. Malcolm has also chosen paint colours which reflect the Cunard liner colour scheme, again a strong association with the Clyde.  

"When viewed by a pedestrian or passing motorist, the sculpture’s construction creates a dynamic kinetic effect that brings the sculpture to life quite dramatically. This eye-catching and distinctive entrance feature has an aesthetically pleasing quality and a very strong visual impact as a sculpture. In addition, however, it is such a recognisable art form and so highly representative of Port Glasgow that it also has the potential to be a unique brand image, which might be employed as a logo for the town that local businesses could adopt to assist them in terms of promoting themselves collectively."

(“courtesy of Inverclyde Now”)

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