The Vulcan, a 19th-century boat that revolutionised maritime design across the world, has returned to its original home on the Monkland Canal in Coatbridge, Scotland, as an innovative heritage exhibit following a £300,000 renovation programme.
Inside the Vulcan
The full scale replica of the Vulcan, the world’s first fully iron-hulled boat, has been officially opened to the public at Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life in Coatbridge. Following an extensive internal refit, the vessel has taken up its new role as an interactive educational exhibit. Utilising a range of media and artefacts, the attraction celebrates the history of the canals, ironworking in North Lanarkshire, and the Vulcan’s role in revolutionising shipbuilding.
Named for the Roman god of forge and fire, the design of the 63-foot-long vessel was considered revolutionary when it was launched on the Monkland Canal in 1819, inspiring the development of iron riveted ships and transforming Scotland’s shipbuilding industry. Fittingly, the vessel was officially opened by Hilary and Tony Howatt and David Wilson – three descendants of Thomas Wilson, the visionary shipwright of the Vulcan.
The opening of the Vulcan also coincides with the formal announcement of the scheduling of the remaining sections of the Monkland Canal by Historic Scotland. Recognising the key role the waterway played in Scotland’s history, the scheduling officially acknowledges the Monkland Canal as a monument of national importance and is a major step in protecting and preserving its rich heritage for future generations to enjoy.