An important pictorial record of the history of shipbuilding and shipping on the River Clyde.
James Wotherspoon (1858-1936) was born into a well-to-do family in Glasgow where his father had a confectionery business. In the 1870s, capitalising on the newly-discovered use of asbestos for steam engine packing, he started up an asbestos and rubber factory and so began the family's working relationship with ships and shipping.
Wotherspoon began collecting cuttings relating to shipbuilding in the 1890s and in 1937, a few months after his death, The Mitchell Library acquired his collection of 41 folio albums entitled In the Track of the Comet. This unique and important pictorial record chronicles the rise and progress of shipbuilding and shipping on the Clyde, the West Coast of Scotland and the Channel.
It contains over 4000 illustrations of ships, portraits of shipbuilders, engineers, ship owners and ship captains, drawings of flags and funnels, views of lighthouses, piers and railway stations. All are meticulously captioned and inserted in sequence, from The Comet in 1812 to the building of the Empress of Britain in the 1930s. There is an alphabetical name index.
Images from the Collection, as well as other items relating to James Wotherspoon, are available on the SCRAN website. You can view these from any PC in The Mitchell Library - please ask library staff for more information.