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Forth And Clyde Canal, Bowling Basin, Canal House Basin

Canal Basin (18th Century), Culvert (19th Century), Platform(S) (18th Century), Railway (19th Century)

Site Name Forth And Clyde Canal, Bowling Basin, Canal House Basin

Classification Canal Basin (18th Century), Culvert (19th Century), Platform(S) (18th Century), Railway (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Bowling Harbour, Lower Canal Basin And Entrance; Lower Basin; River Clyde

Canmore ID 165507

Site Number NS47SE 113

NGR NS 45032 73529

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/165507

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council West Dunbartonshire
  • Parish Old Kilpatrick (Dumbarton)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Dumbarton
  • Former County Dunbartonshire

Archaeology Notes

NS47SE 113.00 45032 73529

Canal House Basin [NAT]

OS (GIS) MasterMap, April 2009.

See also:

NS47SW 64.00 NS 4466 7358 Bowling Harbour (Forth and Clyde Canal and River Clyde)

NS47SE 59.00 NS 45191 73548 Upper Basin (Canal Basin)

NS47SE 71 NS 45119 73550 Railway swing bridge and approach viaducts

NS47SE 72 NS 45090 73555 Custom House (Lower Basin)

NS47SE 82 Forth and Clyde Canal, Bowling to Kilbowie

Extends onto map sheet NS47SW.

At Bowling there are two basins - one dating from 1848, the other from the 1880's, a railway swing bridge (1896), a two-storey custom house, and a basin for sea-going ships.

J R Hume 1976.

NS 450 735 A desk-based review and a period of archaeological monitoring were undertaken between December 2005 and January 2006 at Bowling Basin, while an external contractor undertook a series of works for British Waterways Scotland in order to facilitate the refurbishment of the site. A desk-based review of archival plans and documents was undertaken, which outlined the development of the basin from 1790 to the present.

Topsoil, turf and stone setts representing the current ground surface immediately N of the Lower Canal Basin were removed from the NW corner of the Lower Canal Basin to near the front of Customs House. These were replaced by a newly laid surface of granite setts. Patches of existing modern granite setts and residual sleepers associated with a late 19th-century railway that had been removed in the 20th century were revealed in this area. Other discoveries included demolition and levelling activity and basin infrastructure such as capstan pads.

A new sewer pipe was installed, running W from Helenslea House along the N canal side to the front of Customs House and along the N edge of the Lower Canal Basin, where it would feed into a large septic tank E of Bowling Harbour. This operation included several branches in order to provide appropriate sanitation for various other outbuildings and workshops. The trench averaged 800mm wide x 800mm deep although this was considerably deeper in some areas. The most notable discovery was at the W end of the trench where a sandstone and mortar platform was discovered. This presumably pre-dated the late 19th-century alterations to the basin and showed evidence for machinery fixture points.

Five trenches along the S and SE, curved edge of the Lower Canal Basin were dug in order to provide secure anchoring points for new pontoons being fitted as part of the refurbishment. Where possible these trenches were recorded in section. A concrete pad, probably associated with a coal hoist, was noted.

A new crane pad was excavated E of Helenslea House. Nothing of archaeological significance was noted.

A culvert to the NW of the basin was also photographically recorded as it had partially collapsed. The culvert represented a re-routed and subsequently roofed burn that now flows out into the harbour. The collapsed area was of ashlar sandstone construction and vaulted.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: British Waterways, Scotland.

P Fox and T Whalley 2006.

Architecture Notes

NS47SE 113.00 45032 73529

Lindsay (1968) states that the construction of Bowling Harbour (NS47SW 64.00), and its adjoining lock (NS47SW 64.03) at NS 4497 7353, was authorised by an Act of August 1846, the work being completed by 1849. According to the Local and Personal Acts August 1846, found in The Advocates Library, the Act, passed on 18th August, was entitled 'An Act to enable the Company of Proprietors of the Forth and Clyde Navigation to extend and enlarge the basin at Bowling Bay, and to make and maintain certain other works in connection therewith, and to alter and amend the Acts relating to the said Navigation.'

Lindsay observes that there are two basins at Bowling, one of which dates from 1790 (NS47SE 113.00), being then extended between 1846 and 1849.

She later refers to the 1867 'Act for vesting in the Caledonian Railway Company the Undertaking of the Company of Proprietors of the Forth and Clyde Navigation', whereby the North British Railway Company's interests were safeguarded by various clauses, including the right to use the basins and quays at Bowling.

According to Lindsay, Whitworth, who became the Company's chief engineer in June 1785, heeded complaints by Highland drovers that their cattle refused to traverse the pivot bridges N of Falkirk and made the decision that all new bridges should be in the form of drawbridges having fixed railings on each side.

Information from RCAHMS (MD) 1 August 2000.

The upper basin is still in use as a yacht harbour, and at the time of visit, the lock at the E end (NS47SE 59.02, NS 4525 7352) still retained its balance beams. The lock-keeper's cottage (NS47SE 59.03, NS 4525 7354) is a very substantial building. The canal (NS47SE 82) was probably re-aligned here when the Lanarkshire and Dumbartonshire Railway was constructed, as the walls of the basin and lock are of concrete, not the normal sandstone.

Visited and photographed by J R Hume, Department of Economic History, University of Strathclyde, 11 June 1966.

Following the closure of the canal in 1963 the lakes and basins at Bowling were maintained as part of a small section of working canal in order that fresh water moorings could be supplied for boats on the Clyde.

G Hutton 1993.

2001 photographic survey is stored under 'Forth and Clyde Canal' in the NMRS.

Activities

Watching Brief (December 2005 - January 2006)

NS 450 735 A desk-based review and a period of archaeological monitoring were undertaken between December 2005 and January 2006 at Bowling Basin, while an external contractor undertook a series of works for British Waterways Scotland in order to facilitate the refurbishment of the site. A desk-based review of archival plans and documents was undertaken, which outlined the development of the basin from 1790 to the present.

Topsoil, turf and stone setts representing the current ground surface immediately N of the Lower Canal Basin were removed from the NW corner of the Lower Canal Basin to near the front of Customs House. These were replaced by a newly laid surface of granite setts. Patches of existing modern granite setts and residual sleepers associated with a late 19th-century railway that had been removed in the 20th century were revealed in this area. Other discoveries included demolition and levelling activity and basin infrastructure such as capstan pads.

A new sewer pipe was installed, running W from Helenslea House along the N canal side to the front of Customs House and along the N edge of the Lower Canal Basin, where it would feed into a large septic tank E of Bowling Harbour. This operation included several branches in order to provide appropriate sanitation for various other outbuildings and workshops. The trench averaged 800mm wide x 800mm deep although this was considerably deeper in some areas. The most notable discovery was at the W end of the trench where a sandstone and mortar platform was discovered. This presumably pre-dated the late 19th-century alterations to the basin and showed evidence for machinery fixture points.

Five trenches along the S and SE, curved edge of the Lower Canal Basin were dug in order to provide secure anchoring points for new pontoons being fitted as part of the refurbishment. Where possible these trenches were recorded in section. A concrete pad, probably associated with a coal hoist, was noted.

A new crane pad was excavated E of Helenslea House. Nothing of archaeological significance was noted.

A culvert to the NW of the basin was also photographically recorded as it had partially collapsed. The culvert represented a re-routed and subsequently roofed burn that now flows out into the harbour. The collapsed area was of ashlar sandstone construction and vaulted.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: British Waterways, Scotland.

P Fox and T Whalley 2006

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