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World's first iron-bottomed boat returns

A REPLICA of a boat that revolutionised maritime design across the world has undertaken one final voyage to its original home on the Monkland Canal.

The full-scale reproduction of the Vulcan, the world's first iron-hulled boat, arrived yesterday at Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire.

Built in Calderbank on the Monkland Canal, the horse-drawn Vulcan plied her trade on the Forth & Clyde Canal from 1819, ferrying people on the waterway until she was scrapped in 1873.

The replica was built for the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1986 before being brought to Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life after the event.

Following an extensive internal refit it will be used as an interactive educational exhibit from this summer.

Using a range of media and artefacts, the boat will celebrate the history of the canals, ironworking in North Lanarkshire, and the Vulcan's role in revolutionising shipbuilding.

The £300,000 Vulcan project is the centrepiece of the second phase of the award-winning restoration of the Monkland Canal which is led by Scottish Canals.

Richard Millar, director of Heritage, Enterprise and Sustainability at Scottish Canals, said: "It's fantastic to see the Vulcan back home.

"The vessel played a huge role in the history of both the canals and local area and, with its revolutionary design, is an enduring symbol of the part the waterways played in stoking the fires of the industrial revolution.

"It will celebrate that heritage as a learning centre and hopefully encourage even more people to engage with the history of the canals."

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