On April 8, 1820, prisoners of the Radical War were taken from Paisley to Greenock jail. The prisoners were escorted by the Port Glasgow Militia, which came under attack from stone throwing Greenock citizens along the way. Eventually, the militia opened fire, killing eight citizens. The militia left after jailing the prisoners, but Greenockians broke into the jail, freeing the Radicals.
There are certainly worse places to be jailed than in Greenock. Greenock lies on the firth of Clyde, and has inspired several literary, musical and cinematic works. Greenock born composer Hamish MacCunn based his "The Land of the Mountain and the Flood" on Sir Walter Scott's descriptions of the Scottish landscape.
Other notable residents have included James Watt, and according to the pirate William Kidd, Greenock was his birth place (believed to be inaccurate).