A FASCINATING and popular photography exhibition showcasing the golden era of the River Clyde at the Scottish Maritime Museum on Irvine Harbourside comes to a close on Sunday, December 1.

Family Photos of the River’s Golden Age is a wonderful collection of photographs taken by three generations of the Paterson family of Dunoon between the late 1800s up to the end of World War II.

Together, the images reflect the pleasure, innovation and tragedy of the ships of the Clyde to the paddle steamers going ‘doon the watter’ to the Glasgow shipyards.

Following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, amateur photographer Robert Beatty Paterson was the last generation to capture the maritime scenes he saw through the window of his family’s Dunoon home.

Born in Glasgow in 1917, Robert moved to the family home, in Dunoon’s West Bay, as a small child and began his life-long personal and professional maritime connection.

When a commission to join the Royal Navy in 1941 was rescinded due to his acute colour blindness, Robert became a radio officer in the Merchant Navy.

When his vessel, SS Chumleigh, was torpedoed whilst serving on a Russian convoy, he found himself navigating his lifeboat towards the Arctic island of Spitsbergen.

After weeks in near frozen conditions, the exhausted and injured crew took refuge in a trapper’s hut and were finally discovered by the Norwegian Resistance.

Robert went on to provide a communications network for the resistance on the island.

In 1989, he loaned 60,000 images to the Scottish Maritime Museum. Here they were curated into the Paterson Photography Collection.