The Tall Ship - History and Facts | History Hit

The Tall Ship

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Amy Irvine

04 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Tall Ship

The Tall Ship (the Glenlee) is a 19th-century fully-restored sailing ship and museum. 245 feet in length and weighing 1,613 tons, she is a steel-hulled three-masted ‘barque’.

The The Tall Ship’s history

The Glenlee was built and launched at the Bay Yard on the River Clyde in Glasgow in 1896. She was one of a group of 10 steel sailing vessels built to a standard design for the Glasgow shipping firm of Archibald Sterling and Co. Ltd.

The Glenlee first took to the water as an operating cargo ship. She circumnavigated the globe 4 times in her merchanting career and survived passing through the fearsome storms of Cape Horn 15 times.

During the 23 years that she operated as a bulk carrier, the vessel changed ownership several times, and was renamed Islamount in the early 1900s until she was purchased by the Star of Italy shipping company in 1919. She was later bought by the Spanish navy in 1922, renamed Galatea and turned into a sail training vessel (capable of accommodating 300 military personnel) until 1969. She then operated as a shore-based training school until 1981 when she was laid up in Seville Harbour and largely forgotten.

A British naval architect saw her in Seville in 1990 and two years later, the Clyde Maritime Trust succeeded in buying the re-named Galatea at auction for £40,000. She has since undergone extensive conservation by the staff and volunteers of the Clyde Maritime Trust, and has been saved from dereliction and turned into a museum.

The Tall Ship today

Now restored to her former glory, the Glenlee is now listed on the UK Register of Historic Vessels and is identified as one of 50 or so nationally pre-eminent historic ships in the UK. She is also one of only 5 remaining Clyde-built sailing ships still afloat in the world.

In May 2011 the ship was moved alongside Glasgow’s Riverside Museum, where it continues to serve as a museum.

Getting to The Tall Ship

The Tall Ship is moored up at Pointhouse Quay next to The Riverside Transport Museum in Glasgow.

There is a regular bus service from George Square. If coming by train, take the a low-level train or underground to Partick station. The Tall Ship is approximately an 8 minute walk away.

By Car, from the M8 west bound take junction 19 on to the Clydeside expressway (A814), or east bound via the Clyde tunnel and head towards the city centre, then follow the brown tourist signs for The Tall Ship.

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