This page contains information on the shipbuilding that took place at the yard during the period 1958 to 1979


Shipbuilding at Bowling began around 1800 when the McGill brothers established a yard at the Forth and Clyde Canal basin. During the period 1800 to 1847 McGill's built approximately 40 ships. By the late 1840's the McGill's joined forces with James Scott to form Scott & McGill, which became Scott and Sons in 1851. Between 1851 and 1979 Scott's built in excess of 450 vessels. Scott's was incorporated as a limited liability company in 1958 and traded for the first time as Scott & Sons (Bowling) Ltd. In 1965, the company was taken over, at it own invitation, by Scott's Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd of Greenock. It subsequently became part of the Scott Lithgow Group following the 1970 merger of Scott's Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd and Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow. Work at the Yard ended in 1979.

From 1958 to 1979 a total of 41 vessels were built, which included 21 Tugs, 9 Coasters, 5 Fishery Protection Vessels (Mexican Navy), 4 Trawlers, 1 Tanker and 1 Ferry.

During the late 1950's and early 60's there was a number of significant milestones in design and construction at the yard. Built in 1958 Yard No. 421, Tug 'North Wall' was the last steam powered vessel built at Scott's. In the same year Yard No. 417, Tug 'Hutton Cross' achieved two firsts for UK shipbuilding. She was the first Tug to be fitted with a Voith Schnider propulsion system and the first to be fitted with bridge controls. In 1960 Yard No. 425, Bunkering Tanker 'Esso Jersey' was the first all welded vessel.

Following the takeover by Scott's of Greenock in 1965 the prefabrication sheds were built, which led to significant changes in ship construction. The building of the Trawlers and the Fishery Protection vessels in the 1970's reflects the changing requirements for shipping and the need for diversification. 

 

The Coaster Olive being built at Scott's in 1962, copyright Alistair Baird. 

 

The building of the Voorspeler 1964/5, Crown Copyright National Records of Scotland Ref GD322/13/23/1-71. Allan Sharp has been in touch to say that the man in the foreground facing the camera is Bill Downer who was a Plater.


The Esso Jersey (Bunkering Tanker) No.425 which was built in 1960. Image Crown Copyright National Records of Scotland Ref. GD322/14/81/1-21.  Esso Jersey was the first all welded boat built at Scott's.   On the left of the picture you can see the keel of the Strongbow No. 426, which was completed in 1961.

Coaster Storm ready for launch 1960. Image Crown Copyright National Records of Scotland, Ref. GD322/14/80/1-78.

Skelton Cross (now Cultra), Yard No. 453, built in 1976.  Image taken Aberdeen Harbour 2012, copyright Alistair Baird.