Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone Canal

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Coordinates: 55°50′53″N 4°15′07″W / 55.848°N 4.252°W / 55.848; -4.252

The Glasgow, Paisley and Ardrossan Canal was a canal in the west of Scotland running between Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone which later became a railway. Despite the name, the canal was never completed down to Ardrossan, the termini being Port Eglinton in Glasgow and Thorn Brae in Johnstone. Within months of opening, the canal was the scene of a major disaster.



The canal was first proposed by Hugh Montgomerie, 12th Earl of Eglinton in 1791. He wanted to connect the booming industrial towns of Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone to his new deep sea port at Ardrossan and his Ayrshire coal fields. His fellow shareholders included William Dixon of Govan who wished to export coal from his Govan colliery.[1] The Earl had spent £100,000 on creating Ardrossan's harbour and intended to make it the principal port for Glasgow.[1] Interest was also shown by Lord Montgomerie and William Houston who would also benefit from the canal passing through their lands and connecting their own coal and iron mines to nearby industrial consumers. In this pre MacAddam period, the roads around Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Ayrshire were not suitable for heavily loaded traffic. The other alternative route, up the Clyde river estuary to Glasgow, was not navigable by large ships as the river was too shallow.

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