Oh how I do love the Clyde on a sunny evening in May. Really enjoying the new River walkway the council have built – you can now stroll along the river all the way from the gravings docks to the BAE Shipyard, and it’s lovely 🙂
This is one of my quiet places, a big space to wander about in with little chance of bumping into other people. A space to wander in alone with my thoughts. The site is totally unique in Scotland, and a reminder of Govan, and Glasgow’s, shipbuilding heritage. The term ‘graving’ refers to the process of coating the bottom of boats with pitch to prepare them for long sea journeys, and this was the main purpose of the docks as well as ship repairs.
Sadly there are plans to turn the space into flats, probably flats that nobody in Govan can afford (queue the gentrification of Govan?). Developments on the site were originally touted to be around the idea of promoting the heritage of the site and perhaps building a museum or something similar that the community could access and enjoy, but as always it comes down to money and so they’ll wreck this historically significant site to build some bland luxury apartments so the middle classes can enjoy a shorter commute to their tax-avoiding city jobs.
I’ll be enjoying the space as much as I can until then.
Hello everyone, bit of a gap between now and my last post, so apologies are due! I’ve been very busy, not just with the festive period but also with a new job and a new flat – top tip: don’t move house over Christmas and New Year, it’s very difficult and you will literally burst with stress.
One of my New Year’s resolutions (do people still do these, aye?) is to post more photographs on my blogs. However, this has been hampered a bit by the fact that I have no Internet in the new flat yet, and it otherwise seems to be a communications blackspot, with no mobile signal whatsoever.
Anyway, despite the lack of Internet I’ve ended up starting a mini photo project recently, and completely by accident, too. As mentioned, I recently moved to Govan, an area of Glasgow famous for its shipbuilding past. There are still a few yards left in Govan, most notably Fairfield Heritage, and BAE Systems, where recent orders for the Royal Navy are still being fulfilled and ships are therefore very much still being built (incidentally, BAE Systems and Fairfield Heritage shipyards are my neighbours and, I suspect, the main reason I can’t get any mobile phone signal in my flat). However, the amount of shipbuilding happening in Govan these days is a shadow of the former industry in the area.
I’ve been taking lots of photos, as I do, and have found myself using the hashtag #WeBuiltShips on a lot of my Instagram posts. From this a definite theme has emerged (or, is emerging at least) around the transformation of Govan from shipyards to what it is now – an area which is still changing and evolving out of the industrial era into the new age, so to speak. As always, the changing urban environment is really interesting to me, and so I’ve found myself documenting various aspects of the Govan architecture and urban landscape. And what a rich history Govan has!
These are a few of the shots I’ve gotten recently with my Sony Xperia phone – I’m finding more and more these days that there’s less and less difference between my phone and my DSLR, for daylight shooting anyway. Im currently considering a new camera, but I’d love to know people’s opinions on me posting camera phone Vs DSLR pics. Is there a noticeable difference, do you consider camera phone pics to be cheating or lazy, do you even care?!
Hopefully the #WeBuiltShips theme is something I can keep going with, and maybe even turn into a proper project. Stay tuned for updates, and as always, thanks for visiting 🙂
I originally thought these Gravings on Govan Road, a short distance away from old Govan Town Hall, were abandoned shipyards, but thanks to the advice of some wonderful people on Twitter (local knowledge and memories can often produce more results than searching in Google when it comes to abandoned places I’ve found) I now know that these were in fact used for repairing ships on the Clyde.
The docks were built around 1886/7 and operated until 1987/88, and have been abandoned since. It’s a pretty huge site and it’s taken me three visits to see most of it, and there are still parts I haven’t explored. Most of the buildings are heavily in disrepair and the place is littered with debris. I still like it for a walk, and actually if I’m down the Clyde in Govan I know a way in that actually lets me use the place as a short cut to my house, which is handy. One of the best things about it is the unique view east along the Clyde you can get from the site, which offers a different perspective on the SECC, Finnieston Crane, Clyde Arc and Science Centre. Another post with those pics coming soon.
Apparently there was talk of turning the dccks into a museum or an exhibition, but the plan never materialised. Now there are plans to turn them into modern development, much like most of the property along the Clyde. While it’s ultimately good that the space will be used rather than lying derelict, it’s a shame that part of Glasgow’s history will be lost in the process. That’s change I suppose.
This photograph shows the Woodville Airms bar, as well as the now unoccupied high rise flats on Summertown Road/Broomloan Road in Ibrox, Glasgow. The area itself is situated very close to Ibrox Stadium and borders with the Govan area of Glasgow and has a history of sectarian violence between Protestants and Catholics as well as other social problems, partly due to the decline in shipbuilding on the Clyde. The area is close to the now mostly derelict Govan shipyards, and there are several run down industrial buildings near by. Until recently the area had several more high rise flats, as well as sprawling estates of semi-detached social housing. However, three of the existing high rise flats in the area (one of which my uncle used to live in) have already been demolished, and the remaining three are currently in the process of being torn down.
The bar in the picture, previously known as the Albion Bar, is somewhat notorious for being a pub used by Rangers fans, given its close proximity to the stadium. The bar closed around the same time as the flats were vacated, and has been disused since. Although I haven’t personally been inside there are several entrances into the building which can be seen from the street, so I imagine the building is being used by some people, although for which purpose I’m not sure.
The reason I chose this photograph for the exhibition is that unlike the others this is a site which the local council and others are paying attention to. In general the area is a good example of what can be achieved through new developments of old urban environments which run counter to overcoming social problems as well as how the refurbishment of old buildings, which are often architecturally important in their own right, can be used by the community, instead of being left to decay.
Several new social housing developments have now been completed in the area as part of a wider programme of urban regeneration by Glasgow City Council, The Scottish Government and several other local councils acting together as the Clyde Waterfront Partnership. Several other community projects are ongoing as part oft his regeneration and already there seem to be some positive impacts, with several community run arts projects and social enterprise projects showing success. One example is the old Govan Town Hall, not far from where this picture was taken, which is now being occupied by creative organisations such as the Glasgow Film City, a centre for community media production and training.
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