Govan is a particularly rich part of Glasgow. It has had two great eras in its history: At the heart of a Medieval Kingom of Strathclyde, where its vital position on the edge of The Clyde provided a crossing point for one of Glasgow’s earliest settlements to develop, enabling local industries; and later as a bastion for shipbuilding and immense industrial prowess, from which Glasgow flourished. Its landscape has left a legacy. As Govan’s age of shipbuilding gave way to competition from elsewhere, (current activity is mainly concentrated to BAE contracts) a large hole has been left in the area fuelling social deprivation and physical decline, and raising big questions and challenges for its major and unique current regeneration; and its response to complex layers of history.
People need to be empowered to be in the driving seat of the areas renewal. In addition to infrastructure and planning improvements, a central part of activity underway in Govan and represented by many local community groups and individuals, is an attempt to create a shared understanding of how Govan responds to its own sense of being and place, rich in assets and identity; and equally how to realise the potential for heritage and renewal to integrate, and for tourism, local knowledge and social inclusion to inform the regeneration of the area.
At the heart of Govan throughout its development lies Water Row – the route from Govan Cross to the river crossing. Where once a sacred power capital of the Kingdom of Strathclyde resided at the convergence of processional routes, it soon became the beating heart of shipbuilding and today represents a cultural vacuum. Temporally occupied and its story distilled by a car park and a hostile fence surrounding what remains of a vibrant travelling show people’s yard. Significant potential to harness a new focus for this part of Govan is now recognized. This land in many ways holds the key to regenerating the centre of Govan, and for a more natural, sustainable and community led response to take hold. Please refer to the blog section of this website for some more posts on Govan and this excellent post by renowned historian Tim Clarkson