Govan Graving Docks

Govan Graving Docks, Glasgow UK

(click image for more detailed version)

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.

Thanks for visiting and taking the time to read šŸ™‚


Govan gravings docks looking east along the Clyde towards the SECC and Science Centre tower.

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.

Part of the old Fairfield Yard (the abandoned part, as far as I can tell)

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!

The entrance to Fairfield Yard – one of my new neighbours!

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 šŸ™‚

British free market economics in colonial India

From Tristram Hunt’s Ten Cities that Made and Empire:

under pressure from the Indian Viceroy and Governor-general Lord Lytton to minimise any expenditure on famine in the Bombay Presidency, Temple defended the free market, blocked government intervention and pit starving Indians to work on physically demanding public works projects. Infamously, his rigid utilitarianism allocated the famished Indian peasantry a ‘Temple wage’ of one pound of rice per diem – significantly fewer calories than would later be provided to inmates of the Buchenwald concentration camp in Nazi Germany. As with Bengal famines, grain was stockpiled in the cities, and between 1876 and 1878 some 1.2 million Indians in the Bombay province died of starvation. Rather than preventing, the new network of railways expedited the hoarding of rice in urban in distribution centres and rural desolation. It is small wonder that Sir Richard Temple has been described as ‘ the personification of free market economics as a mask for colonial genocide.

We talk a lot about free market economics in society today, and it’s seen as the very epitome of modern capitalism, largely promoted in the mainstream – but with many critics as well. Many, from respected economists to left wing activists – have criticised the impact that the ever increasing free trade is having on issues like wealth inequality, wages, human rights and myriad other factors. This chapter on Bombay (Mumbai) in Tristram Hunt’sĀ ten Cities that Made and EmpireĀ reminded me that free market economics has been negatively impacting the poor and vulnerable – in the name of profit – since long before modern times. Today we see the impacts of free market economics in varying degrees: sweatshops in Asia or unemployed steel workers in the UK, but we only have to look to history and places like Bombay to see the full extent of what can be justified under an economic ideology that ultimately places profit before people.

St Magnus Cathedral

Kirkwall Cathedral II W

Kirkwall Cathedral A couple of pics from a recent trip to Orkney. This is St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall. It was very busy withĀ tourists (myself included), many of whom had came from a massive cruise ship dock outside Kirkwall Harbour. It was difficult to get shots without any people in them, especially since I had to use a tripod. I think these ones turned out not bad, though. The first is probably a bit over-the-top in terms of HDR processing, but I couldn’t resist with the amazing textures in the stonework.

“St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall dominates the skyline of Kirkwall, the main town of Orkney, a group of islands off the north coast of

mainland Scotland. It is the most northerly cathedral in the British Isles, a fine example of Romanesque architecture built for the bishops of Orkney when the islands were ruled by the Norse Earls of Orkney. It is owned not by the church, but by the burgh of Kirkwall as a result of an act of King James III of Scotland following Orkney’s annexation by the Scottish Crown in 1468. It has its own dungeon.

Its construction commenced in 1137 and it was added to over the next three hundred years. The first Bishop was William the Old, and the diocese was under the authority of the Archbishop of Nidaros in Norway. It was for Bishop William that the nearby Bishop’s Palace was built.

Before the Reformation, the Cathedral was presided over by the Bishop of Orkney, whose seat was in Kirkwall. Today it is a parish church of the Church of Scotland.”

(Source: Wikepedia)














Kirkwall Cathedral III W