Doon the Watter: 13 photos looking back at Glaswegian holidays aboard paddle steamers on the River Clyde

Going Doon the Watter is an experience many Glaswegians will never forget - for those that couldn't experience it, here's 13 photos looking back at old Glasgow holidays

The south of England has canal boats, Venice has its gondolas, here in Glasgow? We had paddle steamers.

The experience of going 'doon the watter' was a near-universal one for Glaswegians of the 20th century, a 'staycation' long before the term was ever thought up by Scottish travel companies. Holidays weren't really a thing for working class Glaswegians back in the Victorian-era and early 20th century, there was no such thing as commercial airlines or package holidays, making cross-country travel near impossible for those living in tenements on just a few bob a week.

Right now we work a few weeks in an office and we're gasping to go to Mallorca. Can you imagine spending 12 hours crawling through a mine, hammering away on the shipyards, or blasting steel in a foundry - and you don't even have the concept of a trip to Troon to look forward to? A ghastly thought.

Enter the paddle steamer, using the power of steam to propel ships through the water, the concept of a paddle steamer feels a bit foreign nowadays - something more modern Glaswegians would have only seen in films set in the bayous of Louisiana - but they were built right here in Glasgow, and almost exclusively travelled up and down the Clyde.

Families would travel down the Clyde to the isles and coastal towns like Millport, Rothesay on Bute, Troon, Ayr, and so on - usually in the summer or to coincide with the historic Glasgow Fair.

It was a big deal and a massive part of the culture here in Glasgow - so much so that language around it remains to this day. Think about getting 'steaming' - or calling one of your pals a 'steamer' - this originates from the decks of the paddle steamers where the good folk of Glasgow would drink and get a little too merry aboard the steam boats, hence the term 'steaming'.

The practice gradually fell off as the introduction of cheap air fare and package holidays from the 1950s onwards saw people trading in trips down the Clyde for trips in the sky. You can still get on a steamer today, on board the PS Waverly which travels from the Clyde to the sea and all over the West coast.

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