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Helensburgh >  Google™ Map May 2016  Argyll and Bute Coat of Arms

helen Greek (personal name) + burh Old English (a) fortified place. Population - 14,626.

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May 2016

Argyll and Bute Coat of Arms

The old, land-owning laird of Luss, Sir James Colquhoun, no less, kicked all of this off in the 1770s before going on to name it after his missus... 'I've got you a birthday present pet but it's a bit tricky to wrap.'

Right on the Firth of Clyde, he nicked the layout from Edinburgh's New Town with room at the top for the toffs although it's not too shabby at the bottom.

Helensburgh - Sinclair Street
Helensburgh - East Clyde Street

Oh! Hang on! This block is although it looks to be one of the last bits due for redevelopment.

The improvements have been noticed over the years and there was even a Waitrose™ a mile or so east of town, now a Morrison™s following this part of Argyll & Bute just not buying into the brand.

  The Hill House (Upper Colquhoun Street)

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife designed and decorated this National Trust™-run attraction that's in the posh part at the top and where highlights include a banquette and a tiny window. Bob was once forced to spend a shamefully wasted, sunny afternoon in May here and yes, it bucketed down the next day.

Argyll & Bute Council have been very busy, sprucing up-wise, although some of it is more required than recommended.

Tidal surges make West Clyde Street prone to flooding and the last Perfect Storm in 2014 required quite a clean up. The defences are still under discussion but a metre high wall has been suggested to keep this part dry.

Helensburgh - West Clyde Street
Helensburgh - Henry Bell Monument

That big old obelisk? Why it's only a monument to Henry Bell. Henry Bell? No? SlyBob's never heard of him, neither.

  La Barca Tapas (West Clyde Street)

At the time of writing, it feels that the world is a very different place. President Trumper has celebrated 100 days of office by not pressing that button just yet and PM Theresa May is attempting to negotiate a Brexit™ with all of the benefits of being in the EU but without having to pay for anything.

Best of luck with that luv and if that sounds a bit inappropriate and condescending, well, she can be a bit can't she? Stranger still, people are now sipping Rioja and eating tapas outside... in Clydeside! The world really has changed.

Helensburgh - La Barca

This just in, Dr Who is now a LASSIE!

A pioneering steamship engineer, Henry Bell moved to Helensburgh in 1808 to do some, well, steamship engine pioneering and his paddle steamer the Comet was the first passenger service to run from here to Glasgow in 1812.

His Comet II wasn't so successful and sank just over the water off Gourock in 1825 with 62 passengers drowned. With this on his mind, he abandoned the pioneering, drifting like his steamship into oblivion.

Helensburgh - Henry Bell Monument

Having failed to patent any of his inventions, others simply nicked his ideas and the father of shipbuilding on the Clyde died here, penniless, in 1830.

  Humbles (Colquhoun Square)

Good coffee and cakes with outdoor seating in a now redeveloped and largely pedestrianised public square.

No, the Logie Baird isn't a Wetherspoon™s despite occupying an old, Art Deco cinema on a much nicer spot opposite.

Helensburgh - The Logie Baird
Helensburgh - John Logie Baird

Although they're both buried here, this isn't Bell's birthplace but it is Baird's. John Logie Baird invented the television and is known worldwide but Bell, as is now known, died without a pot to hiss in.

  The Henry Bell (James Street) wetherspoon

The Spoons have a tradition of naming their pubs based on the history of the town or the old building they invariably inhabit. The inevitable offering in a town of this size is called the Henry Bell and it's now known who he was.

There are no awards for their nearly-out-of-date ale but the Director of Contrived Waterhole Naming gets a (3/5) for at least having to do some homework given that the Logie Baird was already taken.

There's a TV in the Logie Baird for your Sky™ Sports but not in the Henry Bell, which doesn't have a steamship, neither. The best they could do, as a nod, is a kettle in their kitchen, probably, and it's a shame it's not located five minutes away on Henry Bell Street, seriously.

  Masala Twist (James Street)

Indian restaurant serving that most traditional of all the curries, Mince and Tatties!

Helensburgh - Masala Twist

No kidding, it's just a shame there's no neeps in the naan bread.

Ferries no longer run from wherever it was they ran from nor does the PS Waverley paddle steamer, which is a shame because SlyBob was sure they did.

For that you'll now have to head some somewhere like Swanage or from April onwards there's a smaller version on Loch Katrine. Not an SS, of course, that would be a Single-screw Steamship, obviously.

You're not missing too much ower the watter, Greenock is best described as post-industrial but you can get to Glasgow by one of, get this, one of Helensburghs's three train stations.

Helensburgh - To Greenock

Because of that fact and the shoreline location, this was found in 2006 to be the second most expensive town in Scotland, property-wise that is.

The final phase of major redevelopment looks to be the Pierhead or the bit that currently sticks out into the Clyde if you'd rather.

Opening in 2022, a new leisure centre and swimming pool replaced a smaller version although the car park does a pretty good impression of one during unusually high tides.

Helensburgh - Yankee Flyer

That'll be goodbye then to the small funfair, which when out of season, no amount of screaming would make the Yankee Flyer go any faster.

These plush, glass-panelled offices are the back of the new headquarters of Argyll & Bute Council.

Helensburgh - Argyll & Bute Council

It's a shame they weren't here back in 2011 when this photo was taken, they presumably could have advised one unfortunate individual.

Somewhere in Helensburgh

OK, the graffiti's been tweaked a bit but there looks to have been some kind of ongoing issue with the bins?