Clyde Navigation Trust Boundary
The Clyde Navigation Trust boundary marked the division of responsibilities between the Clyde Navigation Trust, based in Glasgow, and the Cumbrae Lighthouse Trust, based in Greenock. A line across the Clyde from Newark Castle to Cardross (at the mouth of the Cardross Burn) defined the lower limit of jurisdiction of the Clyde Trustees, while the channel and estuary below this line were under the jurisdiction of the Clyde Lighthouse Trust.
Three wooden posts set in stone bases and fixed into a sandbank, Pillar Bank, mark the line of the boundary within the waters of the Clyde. Identified on early maps as the Limit of the River Clyde Trust, the posts remain in place even though the two trusts they separate ceased to exist in 1988. The posts are shown on modern survey maps as beacons, although they are unlit.
Cumbrae Lighthouse Trust
The Cumbrae Lighthouse Trust was originally the Cumbray Lighthouse Trust, established in 1756 by an Act of Parliament which was "An Act for erecting, maintaining and supporting a Lighthouse on the Island of Little Cumray in the County of Bute, at the mouth of the River Clyde in North Britain, and for rendering the Navigation in the Firth and River of Clyde more safer and commodious".
From its first lighthouse established on the island of Little Cumbrae, the trust was develop and grew over the years to become the Clyde Lighthouses Trust. In its first sixty years of existence, it built another two major lighthouses on the inner Firth of Clyde, at Cloch Point and Toward Point; laid down a network of buoys, perches, cairns and other navigation aids which extended into the waters of the lochs and islands above Little Cumbrae; and was was constantly involved in extensive and expensive dredging operations to maintain the shipping channel, particularly at the harbours of Greenock and Port Glasgow.
The outer Firth of Clyde, from the Little Cumbrae downwards, came under the jurisdiction of a State body, the Commissioners of Northern Lights, which installed and maintained the lighthouses in the approaches to the Firth of Clyde
Clyde Navigation Trust
The Magistrates of Glasgow (and many of the city's wealthy merchants) were largely responsible for the creation of the Clyde Navigation Trust, and had taken control of the upper part of the shipping channel lying between Greenock and Glasgow, and eventually transferred their interest in the Cumray Lighthouse Trust to their own trust, having had a five-sixths share of the revenues of the former. In 1858, Glasgow Town Council decided that the time had come to separate the affairs of town and port, and management of the port was handed over, under statute, to a newly constituted body called the Clyde Navigation Trust.
At the time, it seems that the trustees of the Cumbray Lighthouse Trust took little interest in running or controlling their water, and the trustees of the Clyde Navigation Trust were controlling not only their defined upper area, but also the lower area. There was no suggestion that they were misappropriating anything, and they controlled the area well, perhaps well motivated by self-interest and the need to ensure that shipping reached the docks of the the upper Clyde and that trade was not disrupted.
Clyde Lighthouses Trust
The Clyde Lighthouses Act of 1871, led to the creation of the Clyde Lighthouses Trust. This was separate from the Clyde Navigation Trust, and effectively blocked that Glasgow based trust from controlling the area extending from the mouth of the shipping channel at Greenock, down to the deep water at the Little Cumbrae. The Clyde Lighthouse Trust had to accept responsibility for the remotest navigation aids installed in the Clyde estuary, as well as maintenance of the shipping channel from the Little Cumbrae to Cardross. This includes the dredging and lighting of the Clyde shipping channel between Newark Castle and the Tail of the Bank, the upper limit of deep-water anchorage on the Firth of Clyde, a route of some 31 miles. In total, the length of navigable channel for which the Clyde Lighthouses Trust became responsible totalled almost 170 miles after the sea lochs were included. It included three ex officio members pro tem, these being the Chairmen of the Clyde Navigation Trust, the Greenock Harbour Trust, and the Port Glasgow Harbour Trust, although the latter has evaporated over time.
One further light was added between 1884 and 1890, when the Clyde Lighthouses Trust had to complete an amicable negotiation with the tenth Marquis of Bute regarding the right to establish an unattended light at Garroch Head on the Isle of Bute a light which, to mark the approach to western side of the entrance to the inner Firth of Clyde.
Clyde Port Authority
The Clyde Port Authority was created on January 1, 1966, merging the interests of the Clyde Navigation Trust, the Greenock Harbour Trust and the Clyde Lighthouses Trust, to provide the Clyde with a self-governing public trust port operating under its own Acts of Parliament. The board included both non-executive and executive members, with the non-execs being appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport, while the others were full-time officials of the Authority.
The Clyde Port Authority had jurisdiction over an area of some 450 square miles of water, which began at the the Albert Bridge in Glasgow and ended some 54 miles away at a line drawn between Corrygills Point on the Isle of Arran and Gailes on the Ayrshire Coast, and which continued to include the sea lochs of the inner firth. Within this area, the Authority had responsibility for the navigable channel, lighting, buoys, and the provision of harbour facilities for shipping and commerce. The major harbour facilities were located at Glasgow, Greenock, Ardrossan (which was acquired in 1968), together with the Hunterston Ore and Coal Terminal, which opened in 1979.
Clyde Port Authority was privatised in 1992, after which it was acquired by the Authority’s then management and employees, becoming Clydeport, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Peel Holdings plc in January 2003.
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