Personal and Family Life

This part of the collection represents the day to day life of individuals and families who have lived in the Inverclyde area from the eighteenth century onwards and covers a wide range of topics such as housing, domestic life, food, heating, sanitation, childhood, marriage, poverty, unemployment and old age.

Although the collection contains the type of material typically foud in many local history collections, the particular and peculiar connections that these items have within an Inverclyde context gives them a crucial importance in understanding the daily lives of people in the area. 

For it is in the collective nature and context of the items rather than their individuality that these objects are important. They help to illustrate and explain how the people of Inverclyde have responded to the various external forces that have shaped and influenced the lives of Inverclyde's people over the last three hundred years such as industrialisation, immigration and emigration.

The text and images on this page are the copyright of the McLean Museum and Art Gallery. For enquiries about this collection please contact the McLean Museum at

See thousands of images and records from the collections of the McLean Museum and Inverclyde Archives on our Collections Online website. Use the link on the left of this page to take you there.
19th century gold painted cast iron presentation clock. The is inscribed: 'Presented to Mr. Thomas D. Rorison (along with a gem ring to Mrs Rorison) by the employees of Messrs. Crawhall Allison & Co. Sugar Refinery as a token of esteem, on the occasion of his leaving the works to occupy a better position. Greenock 14th July 1877'.  - 1998.11 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. Admission ticket for Mechanics Institution, Greenock for the closing night of Elocution Lessons on 9 April 1868. - 1978.56 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. Vellum letter commissioning a John Cannon as Lieutenant of His Majesty's ship the SPHYNX, dated 1793. HMS SPHYNX was a Sixth-Rate 20-gun ship built to the design of Sir John Williams, surveyor of the Navy, at Portsmouth, Hampshire, and launched in 1775. She was broken up in 1811. - 1997.32 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. Small Mauchline ware wooden box decorated with a thistle design on all faces. In the centre of the lid is a coat of arms bearing the motto 'QUOD TIBI HOC ALTERI', motto of the Crawfurd of Cartsburn Family. - 1981.1104 Membership certificate for Freemason Lodge No.175 St. John's, Greenock in the name of John Turner, who was received as a member in 1861. Document also bears a blue seal. - 1977.591 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. Passport issued to John Anderson, born 1835, by the British Government on the 11 August 1900 for a visit by him to Russia. - 1977.1275 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. In this letter John Galt makes various enquiries about Virginia, including: 'What is the price of the state land? What is the general price and payment of land? What is the reason that there are fewer Negroes in the western section than in the other two.' The letter is dated 14 May 1831. - 1997.54 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. Greenock Journeymen Coopers Society Certificate, numbered No.92, in the name of James Chisholm, corkcutter, dated 25 May 1792. - 1977.263 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. Letter awarding the Order of Osmanieh to Robert Bone of Port Glasgow. Dated 4 November 1911 - 2006.417.4 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. Souvenir programme and admission ticket for the Annual Conversazione of workers and friends of the Temperance Institute, Greenock held on Wednesday 5 February 1902 in the Temperence Institute, Greenock. - 1978.2 ©McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock. Gas bill receipt from Greenock Gas Works to a Thomas Farrie of 17 Charles Street, Greenock. The bill was two pounds is dated 30th January 1868.  - 1983.61 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Wall Calendar for the Kilmacolm Penny Savings Bank issued in its jubilee year of 1925 - 1992.81 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Admission ticket for Greenock Camera Club lecture:  'The Camera and the Wheel' held in the Watt Hall, McLean Museum on Thursday 19th April 1900. - 1995.25 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Admiralty papers, dated 1798, authorising the ship UNION of Greenock, mastered by Andrew Ramsay, to trade between Great Britain, West Indies, North America and Europe. - 1978.188 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The ticket says: 'Admit Mr. McHuraith to the private opening on Tuesday 30th March 1841. The train will leave Greenock at 10 3/4 o'clock A.M.' - 1992.122 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Nineteenth century gold pocket watch originally owned by Ninian Hill M.D. (1794-1869) of Greenock. The watch has a gold outer casing and a hinged watch glass. - 2001.291 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Wax impression of the arms of Crawford of Cartsburn surmounted with the arms of Woddrop of Dalmarnock in a small round container. - 1981.1111 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Greenock & District Caged Bird Society Challenge Shield 'presented by a few prominent Gourock gentlemen 1919'. - 2006.190 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Chronograph watch awarded to Mr. George Smith Gray (1926-2016) by the Russian Government in recognition of his service on the Arctic convoys during the Second World War. - 2016.7.2 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Allan Park Paton was one of the eminent citizens of the 19th century Greenock. He was the Librarian of the Watt Library, a post he held for 25 years.  Before his librarianship he was a notary, a poet, a Shakespearian scholar and a patron of the arts. - 2003.30 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Bust of Elizabeth McArthur Caird by Raffaelle Monti (1818-1881). - This sculpture was commissioned by Elizabeth McArthur Caird the wife of James T. Caird as one of a pair of busts of themselves to mark the 40th birthday of James T. Caird (1816-1888). - 1978.238 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Clyde Pottery Marriage Jug with Murray Rose pattern inscribed 'Mrs David McEwing Married March 9th 1898'. The local press recorded the wedding: 'David McEwing, painter, was married to Mary Williamson, 3rd daughter of James McDougall, boatman, at 5 Regent Street, Greenock on 9th March 1898.' - 1980.109 -  © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Alexander ('Lee') Hebenton Duthie was born in 1896 and lived in Gourock. He enlisted in Glasgow into the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) as a private, rising to the rank of Lance Corporal. He was killed in action on the 14th April 1917 in Flanders . - 1991.5 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock This George Medal was awarded to William Neill (d 1942) of Greenock Fire Station for his heroic action during the Greenock blitz on the night of the 7th-8th May 1941. - 2000.41 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Gold medal awarded by the Abstainer's Union, Port Glasgow to Robert Thomson (d 1940) in 1891 in the competition for solo vocalist. - 2009.66 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Share certificate for 10 shares in the Greenock and Helensburgh Steamboat Co. Ltd. made out to Robert Lyle Esq., Ship Chandler of Greenock dated 25 July 1866. - 1977.72 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Ram's horn silver snuff mull, dated 1780, the hinged cover with silver plaque engraved initials 'D.S.' and silver band around top of mull engraved 'Dun. Smith Ship Builder Greenock'.  - 1983.8 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Copper medal of The National Trades & Industrial Exhibition Glasgow 1896 awarded for Excellence to Neil Campbell for the construction of a rowing cutter model. - 2007.888 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock