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Camperdown Place

The inspiration for this pub's name comes from the Scots-born national hero - Admiral Duncan.

10 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 1DR

This pub is situated at the front of Queen Street railway station, at the east end of West George Street. This long, straight thoroughfare was originally named Camperdown Place after the great naval victory of 1797, when Admiral Duncan defeated the Dutch fleet. The Scots-born sailor thwarted a possible invasion and was hailed a national hero.

A framed piece of text about Camperdown Place.

The text reads: These licensed premises are situated at the east end of West George Street. This long, straight thoroughfare was originally named Camperdown Place after the great naval victory of 1797, when Admiral Duncan defeated the Dutch Fleet, who were allied with Napoleon.

During a naval career spanning fifty-four years, the Scots-born sailor saw service in the Mediterranean, America, West Africa and Cuba. Duncan later handled the British Navy mutiny of 1797. He achieved fame by defeating the Dutch fleet under Admiral de Winter, off Camperdown, on the 11th October 1797. In so doing, Duncan prevented a possible invasion by French and Dutch troops. Because of his admiration for his Dutch opponent, when de Winter surrendered Duncan refused to accept his sword and shook his hand instead.

Duncan was 6’4” tall (a giant in those days) and known as ‘the handsomest Man in the Navy’. His chance for glory came late in a long career, when he was 66. His tenacity in the blockage of the Texel, where the Dutch fleet had its port, his handling of a mutinous and under-strength force in stormy seas and his daring during the battle made him an international hero. Stylish women wore Camperdown Hats and dandies sported Camperdown vests.

Top: The Battle of Camperdown by T. Whitcombe
Left: Admiral Lord Duncan
Above: The surrender of de Winter to Admiral Duncan

Framed paintings and text about The Battle of Camperdown, 1797.

The text reads: At Camperdown the Dutch fleet was in line and the British formed up in two clusters. With the wind behind them, Duncan’s forces were sailing into the Dutch line. Duncan’s ships were split into two roughly equal squadrons, Duncan’s own, to the north, led be Venerable, aimed at the Dutch vanguard, and Onslow’s, led by Monarch, to the south, aimed at the Dutch rear.

Onslow’s none ships fairly quickly disposed of the five ships (three of them fourth rates) cut off at the Dutch rear, but Duncan’s seven had a much harder time to the north, where fighting was much more intense before de Winter finally surrendered. Effectively, Duncan’s tactics cut the Dutch centre under Rear-Admiral Bloys out of the battle and it barely engaged.

Right: The Battle of Camperdown, 1797, by P.J. de Loutherbourg
Above: The disposition of the British and Dutch fleets as they engaged

Framed photographs, drawings and text about the Napiers.

The text reads: Robert Napier was born in Dumbarton at the height of the Industrial Revolution into a family of bell-wrights, blacksmiths, and engineers. He served a five year apprenticeship with his father, and then worked for Robert Stevenson, builder of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

In 1815 he went into business for himself, opening up a shop in Glasgow with two apprentices. In 1823 he built his first steam engine for the paddle steamer Leven. His engines, and his work on hull design, made his reputation and in 1828 he established Glasgow’s Vulcan Foundry. Many of Scotland’s future shipbuilders were apprenticed under Robert Napier, including James and George Thomson, who founded the J & G Thomson shipyard (now known as John Brown and Company).

In 1835 a Napier engine was used in the Berenice, built by his cousin David Napier for the East India Company, which beat its sister ship, built on the Thames, to India by 18 days on their maiden voyage. In 1841 he expanded his company to include an iron ship building yard in Govan and the Parkhead Forge Steelworks.

Napier became the Navy’s primary engine builder. His greatest success, however, came from his business deals with Samuel Cunard. Together with Cunard he co-founded the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. He also produced the first iron vessels in the Royal Navy. Napier’s Parkhead Forge and his shipyard in Govan were later acquired by William Beardmore and Company before the shipyard was sold on to Harland and Wolff in 1912. It finally closed in 1962. The Parkhead Forge eventually closed in 1976, a hundred years after Napier’s death.

Top: The first Cunarder into service, the paddle steamer ‘Britannia’, c.1895
Above left: The ‘Aquitania’ at Clydebank, c.1913
Above right: The launch of the ‘Queen Elizabeth’, 1938
Left: Robert Napier
Above: David Napier

Framed photographs, paintings and text about education in Glasgow.

The text reads: Glasgow Metropolitan College (North Hanover Street Campus), Glasgow Caledonian University (City Campus) and the much older Strathclyde University (John Anderson Campus) are all just a short walk away from these premises.

The University of Strathclyde was founded in 1796, by John Anderson, Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. In his will Anderson, nicknamed ‘Jolly Jack Phosphorous’ by his students, provided for a second ‘place of useful learning’ in Glasgow, which was open to everyone.

Anderson’s College developed rapidly and a new building was opened on George Street in 1903. In 1964 Anderson’s College became the University of Strathclyde.

Left: John Anderson, c.1775
Above: Engraving of John Anderson by William Kay, c.792, surrounded by objects reflecting his wide range of scientific interests
Top left: James Young, the famous ‘Paraffin’ man, who was a student and assistant at Anderson’s University and later a major benefactor of the University
Top right: The Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College, built in 1828, with Young’s laboratory at the far left

A sculpture of Admiral Duncan.

A replica of a John Hastie & Co Ltd ship wheel.

John Poole – Glasgow.

A framed oil painting entitled ‘Looking for a Long Stand’ by Perfect Circle Art (Nichol Wheatley assisted by Stef Gardiner).

A framed oil painting entitled ‘Riveting Work’ by Perfect Circle Art (Nichol Wheatley assisted by Stef Gardiner).

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk