Dunoon family’s photography goes on display

Window on the Clyde: Family Photos's of the River's Golden Age exhibition on display at Scottish Maritime Museum, Dumbarton.

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A fascinating photography exhibition capturing the golden era of the River Clyde has opened at the Scottish Maritime Museum.

On display at Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank, Dumbarton, Window on the Clyde: Family Photos of the River’s Golden Age draws from an extraordinary collection of photographs taken by three generations of the Paterson family of Dunoon.

Together, the images picture life on the Clyde from the mid 1800s up to the end of the Second World War.

Following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, amateur photographer Robert Beatty Paterson was the last generation to capture the maritime scenes he saw through the window of his family’s home.

Also on show are sketches Robert Beatty Paterson drew of paddlesteamers and yacht, additional family photographs on loan and historic objects from the heyday of the pleasure steamer from the museum’s own collection.

In 1989 Robert Beatty Paterson loaned 60,000 images to the Scottish Maritime Museum where they were curated into the Paterson Photography Collection.

Window on the Clyde: Family Photos of the River’s Golden Age is the first public exhibition of photographs from the collection shown by the Scottish Maritime Museum.

Images include Clyde puffers unloading at Dunoon coal pier and PS Gael berthing at Dunoon as people watch on from the rocks around 1900; PS Laguna Belle berthed on the south quay of the James Watt Dock in Greenock around 1930; and SB Archibald Russell being towed by the Steel and Bennie Limited tug Warrior on the Firth of Clyde around 1920.

Nicola Scott, exhibitions and events officer at the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: ‘Window on the Clyde: Family Photos of the River’s Golden Age beautifully reflects the pleasure, innovation and tragedy of a bygone era on the Clyde, from the paddle steamers going ‘doon the watter’ to the Glasgow shipyards.

‘It really is a fascinating and rewarding exhibition and it’s included in general admission, so visitors can combine viewing the photographs with a walk around the museum where they can get a feel for life in the former William Denny Shipyard which stood on the spot.’

Window on the Clyde: Family Photos of the River’s Golden Age runs until Sunday May 17.