The collection contains items related to working life in the Inverclyde area. It includes objects relating to shipbuilding, engineering, sugar, ropemaking, whaling, banking, seafaring, tailoring, electronics and computer manufacturing, retailing and land transport within Inverclyde. It was through this wide range of activities that Inverclyde was able to function as a social and economic unit and this collection records that contribution and the daily experience of those who worked in these industries.
The collection of objects relating to shipbuilding and ship repair is of enormous significance for the Inverclyde area, for these industries were not only of local importance, they had at various times, national and international significance. In many ways these industries were the forces that defined the Inverclyde area in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, creating much of what is now perceived as local tradition and heritage.
Marine engineering was a major local industry for over 180 years and the major concerns in the area such as John G. Kincaid & Co., John Hastie & Co. Ltd. and others employed many thousands of Inverclyde people. The marine engineering industry contributed to the unique nature of the Inverclyde area in a variety ways and is of great importance to the understanding of local history today. The collection contains plans, instruments, objects and photographs relating to the industry.
The collection also contains items relating to the sugar processing industry in Inverclyde. They range from plans of refineries to objects used in the industry and photographs of the refineries. In the 250 years of its existence the sugar industry led Inverclyde to becoming involved in many aspects of British foreign policy from the age of slavery to the colonial produce protection schemes of the twentieth century.
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