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The Ephemera of John Smith
by Adam McNaughton

Introduction Transport Political Church Trade Entertainment Crime Education Medical CityAffairs


Receipt for Goods Shipped

A printed invoice/receipt with blanks filled by hand, and subscribed by Dan MacKellar, master of the ship. Also added by hand is the itemisation of the bill.

This receipt shows that John Smith, bookseller, had a worldwide trade in 1821. Booksellers preferred charges on dimensions rather than weight. The charge of 13 shillings (65 pence) included porters' fees and agents' commission.

The three-decked Greenock-built ship Clydesdale was licensed by the Honourable East India Company for the India trade and plied regularly between the Clyde and Calcutta.

The East India Company did most of their business through contracting with "husbands" of private ships, most of which were armed to protect their cargoes on the India route. The husbands might represent a consortium or be sole owners.



Notice of opening of Cloch Lighthouse

Printed page announcing the date of lighting the new light at the Cloch. The paper, watermarked Golding & Co. 1797, is holed along a central fold. The top edge is shaved.

The Cloch Light was administered by the Trustees of the Cumbray Lights, who were first appointed in 1756 with the acquisition of land in feu from the Earl of Eglinton to erect a lighthouse on the Isle of Little Cumbrae.

The trustees were appointed from the town councils of the interested ports, Glasgow, Greenock and Port Glasgow. The lights were financed from tolls on shipping. Each ship passing upriver had to pay lighthouse dues as well as harbour charges.

The administrative success of the Cumbray Lights Trust pointed the way to the formation of the Northern Lighthouse Board, formed in 1786. Their fifth light was on the Clyde, Pladda at the south of Arran, inaugurated in 1790.


Card advertisement for steamships Superb and Majestic

Card printed on both sides giving conditions under which tickets are sold, and a table of fares for the steamships Superb and Majestic between Greenock, Port Patrick, Isle of Man and Liverpool. The card is stained.

This was among the earliest regular passenger steamer services on the west coast. The passengers at Port Patrick and Isle of Man would be ferried ashore on smaller boats. Ten years later there were five boats on the route and the cabin fare had fallen to 1.5s [1.25] though the journey time remained the same.

Freight and luggage was charged by capacity (barrel bulk) rather than by weight. The fixed terms for horses and carriages indicate that customers had soon realised that the sea route, requiring no change of horses, was a viable alternative to travelling on early nineteenth century roads.

The Superb and the Majestic replaced the Robert Bruce which had been the first vessel on the Clyde-Liverpool route in 1819. The Majestic was newly built in 1821 and boasted two 50-horse power engines. The Superb, 1820, had an 80- horse-power engine and had the first copper boiler fitted in a steamer.


Handbill for the Glasgow-Rutherglen omnibus

Plan of new road from Sauchiehall Street to the Kirkintilloch Road

A major difference between nineteenth century advertising and that of today lies in coloured text and illustrations. A shop window of advertisements in 1830 would have been in black-and-white, with an occasional tinted paper.

The earliest "omnibuses" in Glasgow seem to have run to meet the passenger-boats on the Clyde in 1834. They quickly followed on suburban routes. This very basic bill was published to announce an increase from two coaches a day to three on the Rutherglen route.

In 1839 the Rutherglen omnibus service was run by Wylie and Lochhead and left from outside their furniture shop at 164 Argyll Street. They also ran the service to Parkhead and Shettleston.


Plan of new road from Sauchiehall Street to the Kirkintilloch Road

The plan was drawn up by James Cleland from an original by William Kyle for improving the approach to the city of Glasgow from the north. The new road is hand-coloured in yellow, though the proposed branch road to St Rollocks is not.

This plan of a link from the approaches from the north to the westerly developing Glasgow had been accepted by Parliament. However, it was viewed with dismay by proprietors along Stirling's Road, who foresaw the turnpike income for their road disappearing.

It was also opposed by Charles Tennant, who would have preferred the eastern end to be at his St Rollox Works, and employed a civil engineer to draw up an alternative road plan. The official plan, backed by James Cleland, superintendent of works, prevailed. It was called Parliamentary Road.

Since the original plan had been drawn up, the Glasgow-Garnkirk railway had created a branch terminus near to Tennant's works. Cleland still felt that the Monkland Canal coal basin made a more important eastern terminus.


Handbill for demonstration of steam carriage model

This disbound handbill with its annotated illustration of a steam carriage has been chipped 2 inches by 0.5 inches at the lower left edge.

In the city where steam-driven shipping had been born and where the Glasgow-Garnkirk railway had just opened, a demonstration of a quarter-size scale model of a steam carriage was sure to attract attention.

The hall of the Black Bull Hotel was an appropriate venue, since the Black Bull was a major coaching station in the centre of Glasgow. The illustration demonstrates the problem which always beset steam passenger cars: the size of an engine to accommodate water and fuel.

Steam carriages enjoyed a very short career on the Glasgow-Paisley route. In 1834 there was an explosion on the Paisley Road, allegedly as the result of sabotage on the part of the turnpike proprietors.

Use the toolbar below to see more of Smith's ephemera, following the themed links

Introduction Transport Political Church Trade Entertainment Crime Education Medical CityAffairs


Text by Adam McNaughton and web editing by Julie Gardham September 2004

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