AMONG interesting local publications I have come across in recent months is an Official Street Plan for Greenock dating to around 1960.

In addition to helping people find their way about, it also gives a potted history of the town since its first charter as a burgh was granted in 1635.

It is noted that the town’s first industry was the curing of herring, which was carried out from 1670 until 1690.

The publication states: “From building of fishing boats, the industry passed on to trading vessels and the famous clipper ships known throughout the world, and since these days all classes of merchantmen and naval vessels have been built and engined in Greenock.

“The engineering industry, as befitting the birthplace of James Watt, is keeping to the forefront in the quest for the most improved systems of marine propulsion.” It advises that gas has been in use in Greenock since 1829, and electricity since 1899.

The publishers explain: “Owing to the extensive building programme of the Corporation on the outskirts of the town many new streets have been added, and the publication of this street map will supply a long-felt want not only for the visitors but for the native also.” The map, which folds to fit a coat or jacket pocket, also carries advertisements from well known businesses in the town.

Names from shipbuilding and engineering include Scotts’, John G Kincaid, John Hastie, George Brown and Rankin & Blackmore.

Garage concerns featured are McIntyre (Vauxhall and Bedford commercials), John Mitchell (Austin cars and commercials), Seabank Garage (Rover), Service’s (Hillman, Humber and Sunbeam) and West Renfrew Motors (Morris, Wolseley and Morris commercials).

Other businesses include Walker’s Sugar, Westburn Sugar Refineries, Peter McCallum & Sons (steel stockholders and shipowners), Wm Hume (coppersmiths and brassfounders), Thomas Boag (bag and sack manufacturer), Fraser Brothers (haulage), The Rapid Road Transports (haulage), Lawsons Aerated Waters (lemonade manufacturers), A Robertson (builders and civil engineering contractors), Charles Robertson & Sons (slaters) and the Scotch Wool Shop.

Scotts’ shipbuilders and engineers dated to 1711 and several others were also long established but sadly none of the aforementioned names still trades today.