A LIFE-size model of a historic vessel has returned to her spiritual home following a £300,000 renovation.

The replica of the 19th-Century Vulcan, the world's first iron-hulled ship, returned to the Monkland Canal at the Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life in Coatbridge, yesterday.

Designed as a horse-drawn barge, the vessel once carried passengers between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Named after the Roman god of fire, the design of the 63-foot-long vessel was revolutionary when it was launched on the Canal in 1819, inspiring the development of iron riveted ships and transforming Scotland's shipbuilding industry. The barge was scrapped in 1873.

Following an extensive internal refit, the replica vessel, first launched in 1988, will take up its new role as an interactive educational exhibit.

When the attraction is formally opened in the summer, it will celebrate the history of Scotland's canals, ironworking in North Lanarkshire, and Vulcan's role in revolutionising world shipbuilding.