Maritime 50


The Princess Royal today visited City of Glasgow College’s Riverside campus to mark 50 years of maritime education and training on the banks of the River Clyde.  

Her Royal Highness was given a tour of the campus’ technologically advanced facilities where she met with cadet students and staff from its Faculty of Nautical and STEM. She was also shown a letter written by 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, her great uncle, who officially opened the original Glasgow College of Nautical Studies and was introduced to two former students who met Lord Mountbatten that day in 1969.

Princess Anne’s tour included experiencing Polar Ice Navigation techniques using the College’s unique 360 degree simulation suite; a demonstration by former electrical engineering student, Dale Colley, who has designed a drone capable of monitoring water quality; and a presentation on life saving research which the College has carried out, in partnership with maritime industry specialists and shipping companies, to determine the rate of oxygen depletion in confined spaces in ships at sea.

The Princess Royal completed her visit by unveiling a unique commemorative stone bas-relief, crafted by students and staff, and bearing the college motto ‘Let Learning Flourish’. 


The Merchant Shipping Act in 1855 provided instruction of navigation leading to Master and Mates qualifications, and paved the way for Leith Nautical College in 1903. Courses were also offered in Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture and the then ‘modern’ wireless telegraphy, including classes for fishermen, deck boy’s courses, along with catering, radar and electronics.

The Glasgow School of Navigation was established in 1910 to provide seamen with the technical knowledge necessary to advance their career prospects. Models and apparatus were provided to demonstrate the principles of seamanship, navigation and nautical astronomy and its qualifications were recognised by the Board of Trade. In 1963 a revision of nautical education across the Strathclyde region concluded that all training should be concentrated at one site, and so the Glasgow College of Nautical Studies was born. 

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"Cadets, as potential officers, must be neat and tidy at all times. Comment on this will be made in reports to employers. Blazers with a company or M.N. badge and flannels will be worn within the College, except when in workshops when protective clothing will be worn. Hair must be kept short in the interests of safety.’

Text taken from the prospectus of the new Glasgow College of Nautical Studies which opened to students in 1969.

Fast forward to 2019 and a new era that witnessed the successful merger of the Glasgow College of Nautical Studies with Glasgow Metropolitan and Glasgow Central Colleges to form the world class City of Glasgow College super campus.

The college has now been delivering world class nautical training for 50 years which, since August 2015, has been at Riverside campus. This architecturally multi-award winning building is the most modern and most technologically advanced maritime campus in Europe. Located on the same site as its predecessor college, it overlooks one of the world’s great global waterways, the River Clyde, maintaining the link to Glasgow’s maritime and shipbuilding heritage.

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