Time to meet the real Mr Symington


- William Symington (1764 - 1831)

William Symington was a Scottish Engineer - born in Leadhills - and the builder of the first practical steamboat.

In 1785 William joined his brother in his attempts to build a steam engine for the mining company. William saw a way to marry the efficiency of the Watt engine with the simplicity of that devised by Thomas Newcomen. His improved atmospheric engine was patented in 1787.
Later Mr Symington intended to carry out a trial to show that an engine would work on a boat without the boat catching fire. The trial took place on Dalswinton Loch in 1788.

Lord Dundas gave Mr Symington his support for the building of a second boat, which Symington named after one of his daughters and so 'THE CHARLOTTE DUNDAS' was born and sailed in 1803. She would become the first boat to do more than just move herself, she towed two loaded vessels.

There is monument to Symington that stands overlooking Symington Street