SIGNS of Greenock’s rich history have appeared in the heart of the town centre thanks to eye-catching new name plates installed as part of a tourism and regeneration drive.
Inverclyde Council has supported Inverclyde Tourist Group in producing street signs to mark the Historic Quarter, once a global powerhouse for shipping and trade.
Thanks to £20,000 investment from the local authority’s Greenock Town Centre Regeneration Fund, more than 40 new name plates have been put up in areas such as Customhouse Quay, Cathcart Street and Wallace Place.
The project was spearheaded by members of Inverclyde Tourist Group, who wanted to signpost the Historic Quarter, which has proven popular with visitors on their walking tours over the years.
The embossed, aluminium signs are in a more traditional style with black text on a white background, featuring a silhouette of arguably the area’s most famous historical figure, James Watt.
The tourist group drew inspiration for the project from the vibrant Merchant City area of Glasgow.
Betty Terris, its chair, said: “In 2016 we were asked to put together a walking tour for Doors Open Day. The walk proved to be very popular and has been repeated many times for locals and visitors so we were asked to provide an accompanying guide so that it can be used as self-guided walk.
“The area, now referred to as the Historic Quarter, has such a rich history and was the commercial heart of Greenock with many of the important and earliest buildings still surviving, helping us to get a picture of Greenock as it developed into one of the most important ports in the 1800s.
“As the Historic Quarter also includes the birth place of James Watt, we felt that we wanted to mark this as an area of importance, as Glasgow has with the Merchant City district.
“We looked at the signs they have there and thought we could do something similar and, as the 200th anniversary of James Watt’s death was approaching, it seemed significant to incorporate him in the new signs.
“We hope that local businesses can see the importance of our ‘merchant’ area in the Historic Quarter.”
Councillor Jim Clocherty, depute leader of Inverclyde Council and chair of the Greenock Town Centre Regeneration Forum, said: “The new name plates really add to and enhance what is probably the most recognisable part of the town centre with so many historic buildings, streets and stories that go with them.
“The tourist group has played a key role in promoting the area over the years, particularly in giving cruise ship passengers and crew a warm and friendly welcome, and I applaud their work here in helping to deliver the eye-catching Historic Quarter signage.”