Registration number 450
Status National Historic Fleet

Previous names

  • 1899 - 1919 Islamount
  • 1919 - 1921 Clarastella
  • 1921 - 1991 Galatea


Function Cargo Vessel
Location Glasgow
Vessel type Barque
Current use Museum based
Available to hire Yes
Available for excursions No


Builder Rodger & Co, Anderson & Co, Port Glasgow
Built in 1896
Hull material Steel
Number of decks 1
Number of masts 3
Propulsion Sail
Primary engine type None
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
37.34 feet (11.38m)
22.49 feet (6.86m)
Length: Overall
310.70 feet (94.70m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
164.00 feet (49.99m)


The three-masted GLENLEE is typical of the last epoch of sailing ships which sailed the world as bulk carriers in the 19th and early 20th century. Built for Sterling & Co. of Glasgow, she passed to the Islamount Sailing Company Ltd. of Dundee in 1898, then to the Flint Castle Shipping Company Ltd. of Liverpool in 1905.

In 1915 she was under the direction of the Shipping Controller in London, but laid up between 1918 and 1920. She was then bought by the Societa Italiana di Navigazione Stella di Italia, Genoa (who changed her name to CLARASTELLA). In 1922, she was acquired by the Royal Spanish Navy, her name was changed again to GALATEA, and she was used as a cadet sail training ship until 1969. She was bought at auction in 1992 by the Clyde Maritime Trust and is now open to the public in Glasgow.

This vessel is a survivor from the First World War. You can read more about her wartime history by visiting our First World War: Britain's Surviving Vessels website


1.      What is the vessel’s ability to demonstrate history in her physical fabric?

GLENLEE was one of a group of ten, steel, riveted sailing vessels built to a standard design in an era which, while overlapping with the growing employment of steam at sea, was the apogee of design and function for this purpose.  Riveting was significant in the development of Clyde Shipbuilding between 1800 and the end of the Second World War and, as such, the vessel demonstrates the emergence of a mass production system for shipping.

The surviving steel parts of her structure dating from the 1896 build are: the keel, vertical floor plates, frames, beams, deck stringer plating and the riveted shell plating above the waterline, most of which were produced and fabricated locally.  The beams under the main deck are original and display the maker’s names in places. Those beams seen in the poop are not original: the poop deck and fittings were destroyed by an arsonist in 1991. The whole poop deck and internal accommodation is a reconstruction, based on detailed research of similar vessels and existing documents.

The underwater plating was largely replaced with welded plates and considerable over-plating by the Spanish Navy in 1981 although with some of the original riveted plates left in place. The ship, despite the refurbishment and adaptation to a 360-man crew in 1922, also retains two original and very large, riveted, metal water tanks dating from 1922 at the latest, currently in a poor state of conservation.

The decks under the fo’c’sle and in the forepeak are thought to date from between 1896 and 1922. All other decks were re-laid during the conservation work carried out in 1997/8. The anchor capstan and windlass are believed to date at least from 1922, when the vessel was substantially refitted as a sail training ship by the Royal Spanish Navy. These have been freed from rust, restored and are now fully operative.

The steel forward deckhouse is a replica from 1896, as are the internal fittings, and the aft steel deckhouse is a replica based on the same lines although the original would have been of timber construction. 

The masts and yards are welded steel tubular fabrications installed by the Spanish Navy, circa 1954, after substantial hurricane damage during an Atlantic voyage. To transport them economically to the UK in 1993, they were cut into manageable lengths and rebuilt. The masts were stepped and the whole rig reinstated during the conservation programme from 1997-1999.  

Two Italian “Ansaldo” diesel engines fitted under Italian ownership have been retained in the colours of the Spanish Navy, as has one diesel generating set driven by a classic Ruston and Hornsby three-cylinder model built in Peterborough in 1922 which is on display. Volunteers have cleaned and, to some degree, restored the electrical switchboard installed by the Spanish Navy in 1922.  These are all examples of the changes experienced during GLENLEE’s long service life.

GLENLEE has no sails set and is intended to remain in static preservation but has a lower topsail, hand-made in 1999, which is tailored to fit and could be bent to the relevant yard. This is on display in the cargo hold.

The ship’s wheel was destroyed in a fire in 1991 but the yoke and worm-screw steering machinery is believed to be original or to date at the latest from 1922 and is set in a restoration wooden housing, or steering box, on the aft end of the poop deck.

Replicas of her two lifeboats, as originally built in 1896, are on board as well as replicas of the Captain’s gig and a pinnace; all based on original research.  The navigation lighthouses on the fo’c’sle have been replicated, while the davits for launching the lifeboats and the securing boat chocks are under construction.

A replica working example of the 1896 bilge pump is also under construction and will be situated in its correct position at the foot of the main mast.  There are also plans for the installation of the running rigging for the square sails on the foremast, to give some impression of the lines and function of the ship. All these items, once completed, will help return her profile closer to that at launch.

2.      What are the vessel’s associational links for which there is no physical evidence?

GLENLEE has significant national associations with Scotland and the Clyde seen through the design of the vessel, in her build and ownership.  GLENLEE was constructed by shipbuilder Anderson Rodger for the Glasgow shipping firm of Archibald Sterling & Co Ltd at the Bay Yard, Port Glasgow and typifies the company strategy of standardising hull forms and components, first in iron and then in steel.  The shipyard had established a reputation for the construction of large vessels intended for long-haul, slow transport of bulk cargos, building some 713 ships between 1875-1917.  As an emblematic survivor, GLENLEE demonstrates this efficiency of build and the subsequent profitability to the shipowner; by having the distinction of being one of only five remaining Clyde-built sailing ships afloat in the world and the only one in the British Isles. 

The steel with which GLENLEE was built came from local Lanarkshire steelworks, the men and boys who built ships such as this lived on the banks of the River Clyde, and the men who sailed her embodied the maritime sea-going tradition of the West Coast and the British Isles. GLENLEE is symbolic of the era of marine industrialisation in construction, of global trade in the cargos carried, and of those who designed, built and sailed such ships. 

GLENLEE is significant for having survived both World Wars.  Fully employed in the First serving the needs of a war economy and the requirements of the UK and its dominions in Southern Africa and Australia, GLENLEE delivered general cargo, then coal and later case oil, nitrates or wheat. In 1918, the vessel came under the direction of the British Shipping Controller in London, as part of the organisation of shipping under Lloyd George for the war effort. At the end of her final voyage under the British flag, GLENLEE was sold almost immediately to an Italian firm based in Genoa, the result, so it is told, of communication with Winston Churchill. During the Second World War, in Spanish ownership, the ship continued to sail and was regarded as a neutral vessel: the Spanish Flag was clearly painted on the sides to avoid attack from either side and especially from submarines.

Between 1896 and 1919, GLENLEE circumnavigated the globe four times and survived the storms of Cape Horn on fifteen occasions. Renamed in 1898 as ISLAMOUNT, later as the Italian-owned CLARASTELLA, and then as the Spanish ship GALATEA from 1922-1993, the vessel visited ports all around the world.  The countries visited by the ship and those in which she has had influence due to her trading and naval history, continue to have an active interest in her. The connection is especially strong with Spain and in her home port of Ferrol where the vessel was decommissioned in 1962 but remained as a shore-based training facility.

Considerable research has been carried out in relation to GLENLEE. At first into her overall history and voyages through archival and documentary investigation, and these are reasonably comprehensive.  More recently, the emphasis has been, and continues to be, on the history of the men who sailed on the ship in the period under British ownership: through genealogy research, contact with descendants and discovery of documents and photographs.  There are also substantial sources of accounts from those Spanish trainees, termed ‘galateanos’, who spent some of their formative youth on board.

GLENLEE has been recorded on the National Register of Historic Vessels since 1996 and is part of the National Historic Fleet.

3.      How does the vessel’s shape or form combine and contribute to her function?

GLENLEE has graceful lines and is the only surviving example of her type in the UK: epitomising the last epoch of sailing ships, circling the seas of the world as bulk carriers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries at the peak of empire and global trading development.

Ships such as GLENLEE were the first long distance cargo vessels which started globalised trade: in bulk goods such as grain, coal, nitrates, case oil (kerosene) as well as general cargoes. The robust riveted steel hull was designed with volume in mind and gave some 50% more capacity than the slimmer tea clippers.  They also operated with much smaller crew numbers, all of which made them fit for purpose and profitable for their owners.

When in Italian ownership, the vessel was converted from a wind driven barque to a twin screw, auxiliary barque propelled by two Italian “Ansaldo” diesel engines and tanks for holding 46 tons of fuel were also fitted to facilitate the change.

GLENLEE is preserved afloat by the Clyde Maritime Trust in her original heritage setting on the River Clyde, to which she was towed back from Spain in 1993.  Located as a static exhibit and visitor attraction berthed beside the Riverside Museum, GLENLEE is based on the waters where she once plied her trade and is symbolic of the role and significance of “Clydebuilt” craft to the City of Glasgow and the world.


Sources: Clyde Maritime Trust, April 2021



Key dates

  • 1896

    Built by Anderson Rodger & Co. at Port Glasgow for Sterling & Company

  • 1898

    Acquired by The Islamount Shipping Co. Dundee

  • 1905

    Acquired by The Flint Castle Shipping Co. Liverpool

  • 1920

    Bought by an Italian Shipping Company and renamed CLARASTELLA

  • 1922

    Entered the Spanish Navy and renamed GALATEA

  • 1922-1969

    Underwent modifications for use as a sail training vessel

  • 1992

    Vessel lay derelict in Seville and was bought at auction by the Clyde Maritime Trust

  • 2009-2011

    Underwent a full refurbishment and was transferred to lie outside the new Riverside Museum, Glasgow

  • 2021

    Received an award of £250 from NHS-UK or being Virtual Flagship 2021


  • August 2023

    £1.8 million received for the National Heritage Memorial Fund to clear a backlog of repairs built up during the pandemic.

  • August 2022

    Tall Ship Glenlee has been awarded a £35k grant to reimagine their visitor experience from Museums and Galleries Scotland's Museum Development Fund. 

  • June 2022

    Tall Ship Glenlee has been awarded a £5000 grant of from Visit Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 Fund for ‘The Apprentice’s Tale’, an exhibition and storytelling event centred around the logbook of Ernest Andersen (Andy), an apprentice on board the ship during the last months of WWI.

  • April 2022

    A grant of £51,481 was awarded to the Clyde Maritime Trust by Museums Galleries Scotland's Capital Resilience Fund.

  • 2021

    Received an award of £250 from NHS-UK or being Virtual Flagship 2021

  • 2015

    A  sustainability grant of £1000 for remedial work was made from ,the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ships UK

  • 2007-2008

    The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £24,900 for a theatre production 'The Tall Ship Tales'

  • 2001-2002

    The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £108,750 for Interpreation

  • 1999-00

    The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £180,000 to complete restoration work

  • 1996-1997

    The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £1,148,000 for restoration and development

  • 1992

    The National Heritage Memorial Fund awarded £50,000 for repatriation


Mason, C M, Five Thousand Days: The voyage of the Clydebuilt Barque Glenlee under the Red Ensign 1897-1919, Clyde Maritime Trust Limited, 1995
Glenlee Clydebuilt 1896, Clyde Maritime Trust Limited, 1992
Brouwer, Norman J, International Register of Historic Ships,  Anthony Nelson, pp150, Edition 2, 1993  
Schedule of Drawings and Documents, Clyde Maritime Trust Ltd, 1995
Classic Boat:Trust seeks lifeboats for Glasgow Tall Ship, February 2003    
Waters, Colin, Sea Breezes The Glenlee comes home to Scotland, pp291-5, Volume 68, 1994  
Castle, Colin, Ships Monthly: Glasgow's Windjammer, pp39-39, January 1993 
Harrison, Jody, Treasure trove of pictures reveal life at sea on board Glasgow’s sailing ship: The Herald (Glasgow), p5, 23rd May 2018

Allen, Elizabeth, 2011, Glenlee, Clyde Maritime Trust Ltd, Glasgow. The story of one of only five remaining sailing cargo vessels built on the Clyde in the nineteenth century. ISBN 978-0-9569115-0-6

Allen, Elizabeth, 2018, Glenlee Life at sea under sail, Clyde Maritime Trust Ltd, Glasgow. Describes the lives of the men who sailed these historic vessels. ISBN 978-9569115-1-3

Allen, Elizabeth, Masters of the Tall Ship Glenlee – Part One: Alistair Miller, Clydebuilt, Issue 114 July 2020, pp3-4.

Allen, Elizabeth, Masters of the Tall Ship Glenlee – Part Three: Richard Owens, Clydebuilt, Issue 116, December 2020, pp3-4.

Allen, Elizabeth, Masters of the Tall Ship Glenlee – Part Two: David George, Clydebuilt, Issue 115 September 2020, pp3-4

Allen, Elizabeth, The incredible last voyage of Islamount, Clydebuilt, Issue 113 March 2020 p1-2

Allen, Elizabeth, with Finnie, Tom, “The Last voyage of the Islamount”, Sea Breezes, Four-part series October 2018 - January 2019, ISSN 0036-997. Traces the last voyage 1916-1919 and subsequent story of the ship to present day.

Brett, Oswald, “Godfrey’s ship portraits”, Letters page, Sea Breezes, April 1956, Vol., pp309.

Brett, Oswald, “The Galatea visits New York”, Sea Breezes, May 1954, Vol.17 (New Series), pp355.

Castle, Colin, ‘Restoring Glasgow’s Windjammer’, Ships Monthly, July 1997, pp30-33.

Castle, Colin, and MacDonald, Iain, 2005, Glenlee: the life and times of a Clyde-built Cape Horner, Brown Son & Ferguson, Glasgow. ISBN 085174-72-72

Castro Ruíz, María, and Pérez Fernández, Rodrigo, Galatea II: reborn of a classic, paper presented to the Royal Institute of Naval Architects, Historic Ships Online Conference London, 2 December 2020.

Dalton, Alastair, Historic Clyde-built Glenlee honoured in new Spanish sailing ship design, The Scotsman, 6th December 2020.

Davies, T.D., “The Last voyage of the Islamount under the Red Ensign”, Sea Breezes, No. 199 Vol. XX June 1936, pp258-259. Describes the last section of the voyage from 1916-1919.

Debiles, Miguel, 1990, The Stuff of Heroes, (Madera de héroe), translated from Spanish original by Frances M. López-Morilla, Pantheon Books, New York. Debiles is a leading figure of the post-Civil War literary generation of ’36. The tale is told during the Spanish Civil War: Gervasio joins the navy and goes to sea in Galatea: it follows closely the experience of Debiles who volunteered as a naval volunteer in 1938. ISBN 0-394-57746-9.

Fieldwood, Charles, “South of the Cape”, Sea Breezes, Vol 13 Jan-June 1952, p398-400. Recounts the voyage in 1912-1913.

Hannavy, John, “The Tall Ship in Glasgow”, Ships Monthly, Vol 48, N0 9, September 2013, pp56-59.

Hardie, Hamish, 2004, The Dutchman had guilders: the rescue and restoration of the Clydebuilt three masted barque Glenlee, Clyde Maritime Trust Ltd, Glasgow, ISBN 0-947649-11-5.

Hendry, James, “The Tall Ship: 20 years back on the Clyde”, Ships Monthly, Vol 54, No 7, July 2019, pp 20-21

Mason, C.M., n.d. mimeo, Five thousand days: the voyages of the Clydebuilt barque Glenlee (renamed Islamount 1899) under the red ensign 1897-1919, Clyde Maritime Trust Ltd. The account of 23 years as a British trading vessel.

Nunes Segura, Jorge, Galatea under sail, Sea Breezes, April 1994, Vol. 68 No 580, painting, centre pages.  

Ramsay, Ian, 2014, Glenlee: how a riveted sailing ship was built, Clyde Maritime Trust Ltd, Glasgow.

Richards, T.D., “Nasty Letters”, Letters page, Sea Breezes, June 1958, pp453.

Richards, Thomas Davies, “Retrospect of Old Ships and Old Timers”, Sea Breezes: the PSNC Magazine, August 1934, No. 177, Vol. XVII, pp210-211. Comments on the Welsh Masters in Dinas, Pembrokeshire, including David George and his brother Titus George

Unknown Author, The Exclamation mark: after a fabulous refit and move to Riverside Museum, Glasgow’s Tall Ship expects to welcome even more visitors, Glasgow Council Magazine, April-May 2011, p18.

Unknown author, “Unlucky Olivebank”, Sea Breezes, Vol XVIII 1934, pp236. Refers to Captain David George when Master of that ship.

Waters, Colin, “The Glenlee comes home to Scotland”, Sea Breezes, April 1994, Vol. 68 No 580, pp291-293, and centre-page spread of Galatea under sail by Spanish Marine artist Nunez Segura.

Watson, H.R., “The Islamount in peril: a mishap at Port Phillip (Melbourne) Heads”, Sea Breezes, No. 195 Vol. XX February 1936, pp135-137. A Tug Master describes the near loss of Islamount (Glenlee) on the voyage 1916-1919.

Some official archive records of Glenlee:

  • Sleggs, Charles Edward Thomas, Chief Officer’s Log, books 1-6, Barque Islamount Cape Town to Cette 1918-1919: Ship log books ‘Islamount, John Stewart & Co. Shipping, ship-owners, Glasgow, Scotland, Reference: X1045/31-36, Cornwall County Archives, Truro,
  • Official Log Book No 4., Islamount 102574, Rotterdam 4 December 1902 to Bremen August 16 1904 National Archives Kew, BT 165/119 RC 1811281. William Fraser, Master. Also transcribed on webpage of Scribid.
  • Official Log Book No 4., Islamount 102574, London 3 November 1904 to Liverpool 23 August 1905, National Archives Kew, BT 165/172. RC 1811282. George Bevan, Master.
  • Official Log Book No 4., Islamount 102574, Garston (Liverpool) 31 October 1905 to Barry Dock 19April 1907, National Archives Kew, BT 165/275. RC181183. Richard Owens, Master.
  • Official Log Book No 4., Islamount 102574, London 6 March 1912 to Antwerp 15 November 1913, Xerox copy Clyde Maritime Trust, source unknown. Richard Owens, Master.
  • Official Log Book No 4., Islamount 102574, Antwerp 17 February 1914 to Liverpool 10 January 1916, National Archives Kew, BT 165/1351. RC1811284. Richard Owens, Master.
  • Official Log Book No 3. Islamount 102574, Liverpool 13 May 1916 to Cette 20 October 1919, National Archives Kew, BT 165/1907. RC1811285. David George, Master.
  • Agreements and Accounts of Crew, Islamount voyages 1896-1919, Xerox copies, Clyde Maritime Trust Ltd. 

Relating to Glenlee as Galatea, in Spanish and English.

Armada Española, Historial del Galatea, mimeo no date. Record of work carried out on Galatea during the Spanish era.

Armada Española, Historia del Galatea, mimeo, no date. Record of Commanders’ annual reports of voyages and work carried out; various years between 1923 and 1944.

Armada Española, Cuaderno de Bitacora, mimeo, no date Copy of ship’s log for final sea-going voyage 1959.

Castro Ruíz, María, and Pérez Fernández, Rodrigo, Galatea II: reborn of a classic, paper presented to the Royal Institute of Naval Architects, Historic Ships Online Conference London, 2 December 2020.

Clube de Prensa de Ferrol, Spain, ed. 2002, Galatea: Buque Escuela del la Armada Española 1922-1982, Ferrol Analisis Caderno No. 15, Pluma Estudio Gráfica.  A collection of memoirs, photographs, articles and songs from the years that Glenlee was the Spanish Navy Training Ship Galatea. ISSN 1576-561X

Dalton, Alastair, Historic Clyde-built Glenlee honoured in new Spanish sailing ship design, The Scotsman, 6th December 2020.

Delgado Guerra, Pablo, n.d., El emigrante sin retorno: autobiogrfía, France. The story of one man who sailed as a cadet on board Galatea.

González, Marcelino, 2009, Buque Escuela Galatea: la historia de un viejo velero”, in 50 Barcos Españoles, Fundación Alvarogonzález Gijón, Ferrol, p 397-408. ISBN 978-84-613-3182-6

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