Obituary: Ian Ramsay


Ian Ramsay (1932-2021): ‘he was notably generous with considered advice and information born of a successful career’

Ian Ramsay, who died peacefully at home on 5 May aged 88, was a hugely respected member of the Clydeside shipping and shipbuilding community. A former general manager at A. & J. Inglis, builder of Waverley and Maid of the Loch, Ian was a professional to his fingertips — but he was also an enthusiast, a longstanding member of CRSC and a friend to many who sought his advice. His passing has been widely mourned.

Ian trained as a naval architect and was apprenticed at A. & J. Inglis in the late 1940s. After National Service and employment as a surveyor with Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, he returned to the Pointhouse yard as general manager until it closed in 1963.

Ian as a teenager at Port Bannatyne in the late 1940s. He was steeped in Clyde shipping history from an early age

He then worked for Yarrow & Co, initially as hull estimator and then as shipyard manager, and subsequently as shipbuilding director for Yarrow Shipbuilders and British Shipbuilders. From 1982 until his retirement in 1997 he was in demand as a marine consultant.

Always happy to share his knowledge, Ian wrote a string of authoritative articles for CRSC’s annual magazine Clyde Steamers, as well as for our website: his contributions were full of the sort of details that give enthusiasts fresh insights. He also undertook research on a wide range of ship-related subjects — for example, the 19th century shipbuilder T. B. Seath, who had made his home, like Ian, at Langbank on the lower reaches of the River Clyde.

As a director in the Waverley organisation in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he was generous with considered advice and information born of a successful career. For a whole generation of skippers his wise and friendly presence on the bridge was formative.

Ian Ramsay was a warmly hospitable man, proud of his experience and expertise in shipbuilding and his connections with significant figures, particularly in the story of David MacBrayne Ltd (on whose Saint Columba he served as deck boy in 1949). In retirement he loved getting together with friends who shared his interests: his knowledge of the past, and his abiding curiosity about it, were guaranteed to stoke lively discussion. Ian was a no-nonsense personality, who spoke his mind but never held a grudge.

With his passing goes one of the last authentic links with Pointhouse and the early history of our two surviving paddlers. We extend heartfelt sympathy to his wife Sue and their children and grandchildren.

Waverley approaching Gairloch on 28 April 2011: as a former manager of A. & J. Inglis, Ian Ramsay identified strongly with her and the other surviving Pointhouse-built paddler, Maid of the Loch

Published on 14 May