You appear to be using a browser that is no longer supported. You may find that you are unable to use all features on the site. We recommend upgrading or changing your browser, if possible.
Skip to main content
Search... Open this section

Launch at Denny's: Shamrock III

Launch of a yacht in 1903

  • Print All


The launch of Sir Thomas Lipton's yacht "Shamrock III" from William Denny's yard in Dumbarton. Sir Thomas Lipton of Lipton Tea fame was one of Glasgow's most famous, self-made entrepreneurs of the Victorian age. He was also a keen amateur yachtsman who challenged the American holders of the America's Cup five times between 1899 and 1930. All his five yachts were called Shamrock (recalling his Irish family heritage). This did not help him to win the cup though it did make his tea famous throughout the USA. Eventually, the Americans had a specially designed 18 carat gold cup made for "the best of all losers", and Lipton was inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame in 1993. There is a special feature on Thomas Lipton's America's Cup challenges in Glasgow's new Transport Museum.

Questions & Activities


  • What differences can you spot between the dignitaries and the workers?
  • Does anything you see in the clip look unsafe?
  • Who was Sir Thomas Lipton and for what products is he famous?
  • Why was this film made? Who paid for it? Where would it be shown?
  • How many different camera positions are there in the film?


History/Business: Why has Shipbuilding been an important part of Scottish history? How have things changed and why?

English: Write different press reports of this event (could include local press, Hello-style celebrity report, Financial Times). Show the viewpoints of different people involved in the launch.

Media Studies: Experiment with recording different styles of voice-over. These could include: 1900s style news voice-over, eye-witness (both local people and the invited dignitaries).

History: Research Thomas Lipton. What was he famous for? Is this product still in use today?

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-259-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 2115
Date 1903
Genre Local Topical
School Subject English, History, Science, Modern Studies, Media Studies
Where Dumbarton
Clip Length 1:32
Film Length 2.32