A NEW public house and restaurant in Helensburgh, named after Comet steamship pioneer Henry Bell, opened at the end of May 2012.

The Wetherspoons chain spent £1.4million re-developing the former Kerrs, then Quorum, carpet and furniture showroom near the foot of James Street, and opposite similar premises called Logie Baird after the burgh-born TV inventor.

JLB-display-Maritime-Museum_thumb_medium400_442THREE important Henry Bell and the Comet artefacts cannot be seen at present.

They are normally on show in the Linthouse building at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine, but the building is currently being given a new roof. It is hoped to re-open the facility next Easter.

John-Ransom-31.10.12-wPROLIFIC author P.J.G.Ransom has written a new study of Henry Bell and the Comet and their place in history to mark the 2012 bicentenary — and was launched on Saturday August 11.

He notes that the passenger steamer burst upon the early 19th century with all the suddenness and immediate widespread popularity of e-mail and the internet today. Leading the way was Henry Bell.

London_Science_Museum_thumb_medium200_144THREE important Henry Bell exhibits at the London Science Museum in South Kensington are in storage and no longer on display.

Until the summer of 2012 a rigged model of the Comet, Alexander Nasmyth's representation of the Comet on the Forth, and Symington's Dalswinton engine were on show in the Marine Engines area of the Shipping Galleries on the second floor.

Comet-engine-w_thumb_medium350_474IT is now some 192 years since the wreck of the first River Clyde paddle steamer, the PS Comet, which was lost on Loch Craignish, on December 13 1820.

Since that time there have been a number of articles written and published about the history of the Comet, her loss, and the salvage attempts made at Craignish. There does, however, seem to be some doubt about exactly what engine was fitted in the Comet at the time of her wreck, and whether or not her engine was salvaged.

Comet-Light-w_thumb_medium250_291THE future of the much-admired Comet street lamps in Helensburgh’s Colquhoun Square is in doubt because of the Argyll and Bute Council plan to radically alter the square.

The changes are part of the CHORD — Campbeltown, Helensburgh, Oban, Rothesay, Dunoon — project, which also involves alterations to the seafront.

J.Craig-OsborneA COMPREHENSIVE booklet written in 2007 by J.Craig Osborne of the Scottish Maritime Museum on 'The Comet and her Creators' is still available.

It tells and shows images of the men who built Henry Bell's Comet, telling the story of the inventor from his birth in Torphichen in 1767 and the men with whom he worked to build and operate the two Comet steamships.

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