The list of famous ships built on the Clyde is long,and even if your knowledge of shipbuilding is limited,chances are you will have heard of the QE2 or the Queen Mary but the Shieldhall?
Probably never heard of her,yet she was once a very familiar sight on the River Clyde.
The Shieldhall was built by Glasgow Corporation for the rather unglamorous task of taking treated sludge from Sheildhall sewage plant to be dumped at sea usually of the coast of Arran.
She was a familiar sight on the Clyde along with other sludge boats,Glaswegians referred to them as the banana boats!
When the Shieldhall was built,she was designed to carry 80 passengers which may seem strange for a sludge boat.
The corporation would organise trips for OAPS and school children,in her final years it was considered quite an honour to get a ticket to sail doon the water on this famous sludge boat.
I have spoken to several people who sailed on her and I was told at no time were you aware of the nature of the unsavoury cargo that she was carrying.
The 1972 ton Shieldhall was laid down in October 1954, built by the Lobnitz and Co of Renfrew who also built the two triple expansion steam engines,apparently they are similar to the engines that were built for the RMS Titanic,although on a much smaller scale.
She was built on classical lines with a traditional wheelhouse,rivited and welded construction,her length is 268 feet and breadth of 44 feet and seven inches.
She entered service in 1955 and continued to work on the Clyde for 21 years.
In 1977 she was sold to the southern water authority,but due to rising fuel costs was withdrawn from service in 1985.
She was bought by the Solent Steam Packet Limited and is now used for cruises around the Solent.
The Shieldhall visited Glasgow in 2005 as part of the Glasgow River Festival.