Ship builder’s half models

These were used to plan how a ship was made.  Ships like these were built at Kelton and Glencaple in the 1850s.   The boat yards at Kelton and Glencaple on the River Nith were busy from the 1750s to the 1850s.   The shipping companies of Dumfries had most of their ships built at Kelton or Glencaple.  The ships were made from timber which these firms imported from Canada and northern Europe.  The boat yards employed ship's carpenters, rope makers, sail makers, sail cloth weavers, and cabinet makers who made the ship's furniture and fittings.  Messrs Thompson of Glencaple built schooners and carried out repairs.  They employed fifty tradesmen and apprentices in their yard.   Most of the ships constructed on the Nith were small coastal vessels, but several large ships used in trade across the Atlantic were also built for Dumfries merchants.  The ownership of sailing ships across the Atlantic were also built for Dumfries merchants.  The ownership of sailing ships was divided into 1/64ths and many local tradesmen, merchants and farmers around Dumfries invested in ships from the boat yards at Kelton and Glencaple.  Smaller boats were also built at the yards at Carsethorn and New Abbey onthe west side of the Nith estuary.   From 1860s, as the shipping trade of the port of Dumfries declined so did the business of the boat yards.  Many of the Glencaple ship builders were forced to go as far as Liverpool to find work.  Others were able to transfer to the Kipford yard of Messrs Cumming.   The last ship to be built in Glencaple was the "Morton Castle", a brigantine of 122 tons, launched in 1877.
Object no :
DMSH015a, DMSH015b
Collection :
Creator :
Place of Production :
Dimensions :
height 145mm, width 455mm; height 145mm, width 660mm
Materials :
Location :
Related site :
Accession number :
DUMFM:1972.99, DUMFM:0198.8
Copyright :
Dumfries & Galloway Council
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