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The Ship
The Ship

181 Union Street

Burrell Collection Photo Library

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181 Union Street

The Union Chambers in Union Street photographed by William Graham (1845-1914) in 1906. The printer James Clark occupied the upper floors of the building and Corporation Gas Department and the Union Café pub were at street-level. The inventor Henry Bell had lived here.

Henry Bell (1767-1830) was born in Torphichen and was apprenticed as a stone mason before becoming a millwright. He was also a self-taught engineer. After a brief spell in London, in 1790 he moved to Glasgow and began working to develop steam-powered ships. He and his family moved to Helensburgh in 1808 and Bell worked as a house builder while his wife ran a hotel. In 1812 he launched the Comet, the first sea-going steamship to operate commercially in Europe.

The Union Cafe was owned by John Y Whyte, who became licensee of the famous Horseshoe Bar in 1923 and transferred the distinctive stained glass Union Jack pendants from the Union Street premises to hang in the window of his new pub.

Reference: 1260.83.161

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

Comet, engineering, engineers, gas stoves, Glasgow Corporation Gas Department, inventors, marine engineers, printers, public houses, publicans, pubs, shops, steamships, taverns, tenements, Union Cafe

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