Created By: Inverclyde Tourist Group
The site of the Longwell is marked by a plaque on the wall (image 1) inside a carpark of an office building (only accessible on week days). If the gate is open, you may choose to go in and view the wall plaque and the engraved stone well covering on the ground nearby that marks the spot of the former Longwell (images 2 and 3).
Dating back to 1682, the 15 metre (50 feet) deep well was supplied by a natural spring. It provided the only water supply for the surrounding area consisting of an overpopulated maze of small lanes and filthy closes running straight down to the river. It was mainly inhabited by poorer families, often sharing single rooms.
With the influx of labourers for the rapidly growing shipbuilding and sugar trades, the population exploded -
This, with the lack of any sanitation or running water, led to frequent outbreaks of smallpox, cholera and typhus.
By 1877, when the area was cleared under the Artisans' and Labourers' Dwellings Improvement Act, workmen rediscovered the well, which had by this time been infilled.
Continue by walking along Cathcart Street to Pin 30: The Blitz.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Greenock's Historic Quarter