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CYCLING in the Helensburgh area is thought to have begun in the 1870s — and there have been several cycling clubs in the town over the years.

Local historian Alistair McIntyre, a director of Helensburgh Heritage Trust, researched the pastime, and what follows is what he has found out.

Cardross-signal-boxONE of the more unusual aspects of Helensburgh and district railway history was a fire that destroyed the signal box at Cardross on the evening of April 26 1971.

A very drunk passenger missed his stop, disembarked at Cardross and proceeded to cause mayhem. The signalman, Jack Vickers, fled the box, whereupon the drunk set fire to it.

comet_replica ON August 6 2012 it will be the bicentenary of the first commercial sailing of Henry Bell’s Comet steamship.

Will celebrations be organised, if so by whom, and what will they consist of? The 100th and 150th anniversary celebrations set a high standard to be followed.

ONE of the Clyde’s worst ever tragedies took place only yards away from Helensburgh pier on Monday March 21 1842, when 20 people died after the steamship Telegraph exploded.

Much of the detail about the tragedy was unearthed by a Bishopbriggs man, Craig Boyd, the great grandson of William Ewing, the Telegraph’s captain and one of the fatalities.

henry-bell-wHELENSBURGH'S first Provost, steamship pioneer Henry Bell (1767-1830), came to live in the burgh in 1806.

Already a successful businessman, engineer and architect, he built the Baths Hotel (later the Queen’s Hotel) in East Clyde Street to run with his wife Margaret as a spa near the marine villas of the wealthy Glasgow merchants who either lived in the town or kept a mansion as a summer holiday home.

comet_replicaTHIS exhibition took place from September 13-16 1997 in the Pillar Hall, Victoria Halls, Helensburgh, and was a celebration of the Clyde and all that the river meant to the people of Helensburgh.

A fine working model of the Comet was displayed along with maps, photographs and text tracing the history of the development of the burgh with the coming of steam navigation.

lucy_ashton188A month-long exhibition at Helensburgh Library in West King Street in February and March 2008 was dedicated to one of the Clyde’s best loved paddle steamers.

It was organised by Marion Gillies, vice-chairman of Helensburgh Community Council, and was inspired by the opening of the new Hermitage Academy building at Colgrain in February 2008.

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