The Scottish Maritime Museum has been running a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for vital repairs to, what is believed to be, the oldest floating Clyde-built vessel in the UK.
The 1872 cargo coaster MV Kyles is a rare and nationally important survivor from the 19th century, a transformational period on the River Clyde when shipyards embraced the possibilities of steam power to become one of the most important shipbuilding centres in the world.
Kyles, which is moored on Irvine Harbourside at the Scottish Maritime Museum’s main site, reaches a 150 year milestone in 2022. However, a long, hard working life, including being adapted for different roles across the UK by 24 different owners, has taken a huge toll. Essential repairs are needed if this historic vessel is to remain part of Scotland’s living maritime heritage for decades to come.
The Scottish Maritime Museum hoped to raise £15,000 through the Keep the Kyles Afloat campaign on Crowdfunder. Overall it raised £39,835. The project received an unexpected boost in mid-December when billionaire John Paul DeJoria gave a £15,000 donation. Funds raised will allow the team to repaint Kyles inside and out and restore the cabins to how they would have looked whilst it was a working vessel. The Scottish Maritime Museum will also be able to create a vibrant new interpretation for Kyles to engage visitors and schoolchildren.
Matthew Bellhouse Moran, curator at the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: “Kyles has survived such a long and hard working life by being continually adapted for different uses. It was a cargo coaster, fishing tender, sand dredger and even a sludge tanker over the course of more than 100 years, before being retired to the Scottish Maritime Museum in 1984. A mark of the magic of Kyles is that, unusually for a vessel, it has retained the same name despite such a long and varied working life.”