HENRY BELL MONUMENT, Dunglass Castle, near Bowling.
ACCESS : Restricted.
The Henry Bell Monument sits on a slight promontory into the Clyde near Bowling alongside DUNGLAS CASTLE (discussed separately). This is a natural outcrop of rock so conspicuous for a prestiguous home. And also a very appropriate place for a monument to the man who put steam power on the Clyde.
The monument is in the form of a tall stone obelisk, a form usually attributed to Egyptian origin, but which became so popular with Victorian aspiration. The obelisk is thought to have been erected by Edward Morris, friend and biographer of Bell, or by the Clyde Trustees. It was erected in 1839. But who was Henry Bell and why is he memorialised here?
Henry Bell achieved fame when he designed the paddle steamer P.S. Comet. This was launched in 1812 and provided the first regular steamship service on the Clyde. It was in fact the first commercially viable passenger steamboat service in Europe and ran between Glasgow and Greenock.
Views down the Clyde towards Dumbarton Rock were a common theme by painters of the day. You can often make out a small craft making its way against the tide belowing black smoke. Up until this time access up or down the Clyde for almost all shipping was at the mercy of the tides and winds. Now services could run with fewer restrictions.
This was such an achievement that not only was this monument erected to him here, but another obelisk can be found on the esplanade in Helensburgh and a replica of the Comet in Port Glasgow.
This view from across the Clyde shows the monument alongside Dunglass Castle.
The obelisk with Sheephill Quarry behind.
CLYDE WATERFRONT website : http://www.clydewaterfront.com/clyde-heritage/bowling-harbour--old-kilpatrick/henry-bell-and-the-comet#:~:text=Henry%20Bell%20and%20The%20Comet%20Looking%20downstream%20on,the%20first%20regular%20steamship%20service%20on%20the%20Clyde.
UNDISCOVERED SCOTLAND website : https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usbiography/b/henrybell.html This gives an informative description of his life and career.