AN Inverclyde historian has helped take a fresh look at the life of Greenock-born inventor James Watt in a new book.

McLean Museum curator Val Boa has made significant contributions to 'The Power to Change the World - A life in 50 objects' by leading Birmingham academics.

To mark the 200th anniversary of the pioneer's death she is one of the many experts bringing Watt's life, times and achievements up to date by exploring his roots in the town.

The book takes a look at all areas of his life including his family's links with the transatlantic slave trade.

Author Dr Malcolm Dick, an expert in the life of the great engineer, said: "We could not have put this book together without the contributions from people like Val Boa.

"She has been an incredible support and has plays a key role in the book.

"I have visited Greenock and met with Val.

"It is very important that his roots in Greenock play an important role in the book."

The local curator makes three contributions, a landscape painting of 'A View of Greenock' by Robert Paul, and setting the scene for his early years.

She also talks about a portrait of his grandfather Thomas Watt, who gave James his birthplace and his upbringing in a prosperous commercial town with a legacy in science.

Her last contribution is a portrait of his father James Watt, who was a hugely successful businessman

Academic Dr Dick recently visited the Beacon to talk about his book and sign copies.

Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan, MP Ronnie Cowan and Councillor Elizabeth Robertson were among those there on the day.

The book offers an insight into all areas of Watt's life, through objects, and aims to highlight that he was a wide-ranging 'genius'.

Dr Dick added: "He was about more than the steam engine.

"James Watt was an engineer, a businessman and an ideas man."

An exhibition setting out some of the objects associated with James Watt will take place in the Beacon later in the summer.