toggle menu

About The Clyde Maritime Trust

The Clyde Maritime Trust is a registered Scottish Charity No. Sc 004608, it has a board of 14 Trustees drawn from a variety of backgrounds and reports to and is overseen by OSCR ( Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) a government body charged with regulating the Scottish Charity Sector.

The Trust owns and operates as a Maritime Museum and visitor attraction the historic three masted sailing barque SV Glenlee. Built in 1896 at Anderson Rodger’s shipyard in Greenock she sailed as a bulk cargo Windjammer for over 25 years, during which time she circumnavigated the globe five times, and carried a variety of bulk cargoes around the World seeing service throughout the First World War, she changed hands from British to Italian ownership in 1920, renamed Claristella, they fitted her with her first engines and intended to operate her as a cargo vessel in the Mediterranean but this proved uneconomic and she again changed hands in 1922 when she was purchased by the Spanish Navy for use as a sail training ship, renamed Galatea she sailed under the Spanish flag for a further 50 years with her compliment of 300 cadets until 1959 when she was retired to duty as a static rigging training ship but after 10 years was no longer used, she languished until 1984 when plans were made to refit her for use as a floating museum for the Expo 92 exhibition in Seville, however after some significant hull restoration repairs this plan was shelved and she was left abandoned in Seville.

The Clyde Maritime Trust was formed in 1991 with the initial object of promoting a Maritime Museum project based in the Govan dry dock complex, while no progress was made on this front the Trust learned of the plight of Glenlee which was now about to be auctioned for scrap by the Spanish Navy, after a few twists and turns which can be read at length in the Trust’s publication “Glenlee, The rescue and restoration of the Clydebuilt three masted barque Glenlee”the Trust managed in 1992 to purchase her in derelict condition from the Spanish Government.


The Trust made plans to return Glenlee to her home river for restoration and conversion to a floating maritime Museum and after significant fundraising efforts were made Glenlee was towed back to the Clyde from Spain arriving in Greenock on the 9th June 1993. The next six years involved even more fundraising to finance the ambitious restoration of Glenlee which during this time was transformed from a scrapyard bound hulk to a magnificently restored 19th Century steel hulled sailing ship, one of only five such vessels still afloat and the only one in the UK. She opened as a Maritime Museum and visitor centre in September 1999 and is the key artefact that allows the Trust to explain the part that Shipbuilding and Seafaring Commerce played in the history and development of Glasgow and the West of Scotland.

A new chapter in the Ships history began in 2006 when plans to build a Riverside Museum of Transport on the Clyde at Riverside were being made by Glasgow City Council, the opportunity to locate Glenlee alongside this major new development was seized by the Trust and again after even more fundraising a further round of restoration including a dry docking to inspect and repaint the hull and upgrade heating and internal infrastructure was carried out and Glenlee moved to her present home in April 2012. We now welcome over 200,000 visitors from all corners of the globe each year, and Glenlee is a vibrant example of the regeneration of her home river and without doubt can be described as Glasgow’s very own Tall Ship.


The preservation and presentation of the Glenlee is the Trust’s primary responsibility and the retention and development of the traditional shipbuilding skills our crew possess are crucial to our ability to deliver the ongoing maintenance that the vessel demands, to this end the Trust, in conjunction with The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, have an apprentice training scheme in place to pass on these skills and experience to the next generation and also operates a community involvement programme to bring volunteers, among them disadvantaged adults and youngsters, into our workshop to learn wood and metalworking skills , projects already completed in this programme are the manufacture of replica ship’s boats , using traditional boatbuilding techniques and the ongoing restoration of an historic river cruiser Starcrest, one of the fleet of little ships that sailed to Dunkirk, this is being restored to become a floating classroom to support the Trusts very successful education programme which welcomes of 400 schools and 7,000 children each year to take part in our learning experiences aboard Glenlee.

A Keeping Place

In the Aboriginal culture of Australia some tribes have a concept which fits well with the ethos of the Clyde Maritime Trust.

They have within their territory a “Keeping Place” where tools or artefacts that are worn out or broken are deposited and which is visited from time to time as part of their rituals to maintain a connection with their ancestors, the concept is that the knowledge and experience that brought the tool or item into being as well as the skill to use it is not just thrown away but is retained in the Keeping Place thus ensuring a continuation of that knowledge.
The Clyde Maritime Trust believes that the SV Glenlee can truly be described as a Keeping Place for the knowledge and skills that produced the fine ships that went forth from the Clyde to every corner of the globe, the brave and resolute mariners who crewed the vessels and the mercantile entrepreneurs who financed their building and trading voyages.

“A Keeping Place”

A repository for a people’s cultural heritage where the soul and ethos of the past resides and can be accessed by the present generation to keep and strengthen the connection to their collective past.