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Return of the Vulcan

Pictures by Bob Stewart

A nineteenth century boat that revolutionised maritime design across the world has undertaken one final voyage and returned to its original home on the Monkland Canal after a 300,000 renovation programme.

The replica of the 19th-Century Vulcan, the world's first iron-hulled ship, returned to the Monkland Canal at the Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life in Coatbridge, on 27th March 2014.

Designed as a horse-drawn barge, the vessel once carried passengers between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Named after the Roman god of fire, the design of the 63-foot-long vessel was built at Faskine, near Calderbank.  It was launched on the Monkland Canal in 1819, inspiring the development of iron riveted ships and transforming Scotland's shipbuilding industry. The barge was scrapped in 1873.

In 1988, a replica of the Vulcan was constructed in Glasgow and was displayed at Summerlee.

Following an extensive internal refit, the vessel will take up its new role as an innovative and interactive educational exhibit. Utilising a range of media and artefacts, the attraction will celebrate the history of the canals and ironworking in North Lanarkshire. 

When the attraction is formally opened in the summer, it will celebrate the history of Scotland's canals, ironworking in North Lanarkshire, and Vulcan's role in revolutionising world shipbuilding.

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