Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

In recognition of the essential restrictions and measures imposed by the Scottish and UK Governments, we have closed all sites, depots and offices, including the HES Archives and Library, with immediate effect. Read our latest statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Forth And Clyde Canal, Kirkintilloch West/townhead Bridge Shipyard

Canal Dockyard (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Forth And Clyde Canal, Kirkintilloch West/townhead Bridge Shipyard

Classification Canal Dockyard (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) J And J Hay Shipyard

Canmore ID 168536

Site Number NS67SE 71

NGR NS 6534 7359

NGR Description NS 6513 7348 to NS 6548 7379

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council East Dunbartonshire
  • Parish Kirkintilloch (Strathkelvin)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Strathkelvin
  • Former County Dunbartonshire

Architecture Notes

NS67SE 71 6513 7348 to 6548 7379.

A slipway on the offside of the canal was formerly part of the repair yard of one of the two main boat-yards of Kirkintilloch, J and J Hay. On the canal side of the jetty which constitutes the bank beside the slipway are numerous old steel plates which have come from puffers which underwent repair at the yard. There are still extant grooves in the stone work for stop planks and a feeder lade runs under the slipway and empties into the canal through an arched and stonelined tunnel.

To the E of the slipway the offside of the canal widens out and it was at this location that J and J Hay had their main building yard. This now constitutes the site of the boat-house for the trip boat (Yarrow Seagull) built specially for the Seagull Trust, a charitable organisation which provides canal cruising for the disabled throughout the UK. These trips start at Kirkintilloch from a landing stage which was constructed by volunteers some years past in an effort to encourage boating in the area. This landing stage is situated at the same place where Hay formerly constructed puffers and launched them sideways into the canal.

The Forth and Clyde Canal Guidebook 1991.

There is still a large boathouse on the site of this shipyard.

H Brown 1997.

J and J Hay operated a shipyard which was situated along the S bank of the canal between the yard at the Monkland and Kirkintilloch transhipment basin (NS67SE 70) and Townhead Bridge (NS67SE 46). The yard was operational in the 1890s. Boats such as puffers were constructed, and repair works carried out, providing a constant source of employment. Hay's own vessels were maintained and repaired at a slipway just outside the transhipment basin. competition from road and rail began to affect the yard by the late 1950s and the company started to scrap some boats and convert others to diesel, finally ceasing operation in November 1961. The last launching of a new boat, however, occurred in 1945. The launching of vessels into the canal was done sideways from a building berth which was situated between Townhead Bridge and the company's workshop.

G Hutton 1998.


Desk Based Assessment (March 2012)

Headland Archaeology (UK) Ltd was commissioned by DTA Chartered

Architects Ltd to assess the impact that proposed development of land

adjacent to the Forth and Clyde Canal at Southbank Road, Kirkintilloch, may

have on the heritage resource both within and in proximity to the

development area. The proposed scheme consists of the construction of

housing fronting Southbank Road with landscaping of the towpath and

embankment areas lying between this housing and the canal (Figure 1). The

proposed development area, hereafter referred to as the Site, is just under

0.6ha in extent and centred on NGR 265440 673700.

Headland Archaeology March 2012

Standing Building Recording (3 June 2013 - 22 November 2013)

Headland Archaeology was commissioned to undertake a programme of archaeological works in connection with the development of residential flats along the south bank of the Forth and Clyde Canal, Southbank Road, Kirkintilloch. The site had been the location of a small boatyard that operated on the side of the canal from the late 18th century until its closure in the 1960s. A Level I photographic building survey was undertaken on the three upstanding buildings due for demolition as part of the development. The buildings comprised a 1930s utilities building, a 1980s boathouse and a 1990s amenities block. As the canal is a Scheduled Monument a watching brief was also required on all ground works associated with the development. Monitoring focused on identifying any features associated with the construction and use of the canal or the boatyard. Cuttings made into the existing bank and the excavation of drainage trenches along the former canal footpath revealed no evidence of its earlier use.

Information from OASIS ID: headland1-165618 (D Wilson) 2013

Watching Brief

NS 6519 7349 (centred on) A desk-based assessment and survey were carried out on the bank to the N of the slipway that is currently used as a boatshed. This work identified the potential presence of in situ archaeological features, and a watching brief was requested during the excavation of three trenches associated with the creation of a canal side pontoon and access bridge.

The slipway, which would have required the partial truncation of the E side of the 1830’s Townhill Basin entrance, was added by the firm of J and J Hay in 1897–8. The inlet to the slipway was formed by the addition of a spur of masonry (forming the N wall of the slipway) with make-up material, of unknown composition, forming the bank behind. The excavation trenches cut through this bank and presented an opportunity to examine its composition.

The watching brief identified the make-up as part of a late 19th-century addition to the canal. The presence of possible un-jointed walling, coupled with the presence of a later (and largely collapsed) hull-plate revetment, suggests that an original rubble wall was later supplemented by a revetment, which in turn collapsed leaving the bank exposed. In the 1980s a boathouse was built by the Seagull Trust on the site of the slipway and Hay’s boatbuilding yard. This was updated with a new structure in 2007.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: British Waterways Scotland and Intermarine Ltd

Kirkdale Archaeology


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions