Abercorn Shipbuilding Yard

Location type


Name and dates

Abercorn Shipbuilding Yard (1838-1845)


This was Barr & NcNab^s shipyard on the White Cart Water. Bounded by the river to the west, Newtown Quay (south), Abercorn Street (east), Niddry Street (north). To the east, over Abercorn Street was the Abercorn Foundry.

Steamers PS Pilot, PS Pioneer [I] and PS Petrel were built here for the Railway Steam Packet Company (owned by the Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock Railway).

Due to the very narrow width of the river here vessels were side launched. The site was not large, limiting vessel size. Barr & McNab operated here between 1838 (it was initially just a field adjoining the river by the foundry) and 1845 before relocating to Renfrew on land they owned outright.

After passing through several ownerships, later owned by Hanna, Donald & Wilson.


Ship yard shipbuilders

Nearby stations
Paisley Hamilton Street
Paisley Gilmour Street
Paisley Abercorn
Paisley East
Paisley Canal
Paisley Canal [1st]
Paisley St James
Paisley West
Hawkhead [1st]
Sandyford Halt
South Renfrew
Abercorn Foundry
Vulcan Foundry [Paisley] [2nd]
Vulcan Works [Paisley]
Carlile Quay
Wallneuk Junction
Paisley Signalling Centre
Stoneybrae Twin Signal Box
Paisley Junction
Greenlaw Goods
Laighpark Engineering Works
Paisley Mineral Depot [GSW]
Underwood Viaduct
Underwood Coal Depot
Greenlaw Junction
Paisley Abbey
Location names in dark blue are on the same original line.

Former Shipyard

Stand today on the Old Sneddon Street or A726 bridges and look at the east bank of the White Cart Water, the narrowness of the river and just how shallow it is. But this overgrown location is linked to many west coast locations; piers, ports, lochs and resorts; by virtue of its having been a shipyard. This was the Abercorn Shipbuilding Yard where vessels such as the PS Pioneer [I], a vessel just shy of 160ft long, was launched, floated on the rising tide on the 18th of June 1844.

This well regarded vessel went on to have a distinguished career, initially for the Railway Steam Packet Company, extending the Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock Railway to Clyde piers and resorts. Then with G & J Burns it served the west coast, continuing with David Hutcheson and David MacBrayne, first running from Glasgow to Ardrishaig, and later out from Oban, until retiring in 1893.


  /  /1842Railway Steam Packet Company
Buys the PS Royal Victoria (built by Barr & MacNab at the Abercorn Shipbuilding Yard in 1838) to operate the Greenock to Helensburgh route.
  /  /1844Railway Steam Packet Company
Two new ships delivered from the Abercorn Shipbuilding Yard of Barr & McNab: PS Pilot, PS Pioneer [I].
  /  /1845Railway Steam Packet Company
The new steamers met with such success that PS Petrel was ordered from the Abercorn Shipbuilding Yard of Barr & McNab.