Glasgow and it’s Amazing Shipbuilding Heritage

If you are a first time visitor to Glasgow or indeed have been before and always wanted to take a stroll along the banks of the River Clyde, or enjoy one of the many boat trips available, you’ll no doubt have seen the most famous shipbuilding landmark of times past the ‘Finnieston Crane’.

The river Clyde for many is the heart and soul of the city. In times gone by it has been the dominant means of transport for people accessing the city and of course a hub for trade and industry. Many Glaswegians are heard saying “Glasgow made the Clyde and the Clyde made Glasgow”.

In the twentieth century, the Clyde’s role in Glasgow evolved from being a facilitator of trade to becoming the epicentre of Scotland’s shipbuilding industry. Despite a decline in shipbuilding in recent years, it remains present, and the riverbanks have been revitalized with a mix of residential and commercial developments.

In Glasgow, Govan and the Fairfield Shipyards were central to the city’s shipping industry. Robert Napier, dubbed the ‘father of shipbuilding on the Clyde’, trained many who later founded top shipyards like John Brown’s Shipyard. These yards played crucial roles in supplying the Royal Navy and constructing liners and steamers. Today, this legacy continues with BAe Systems yards in Govan and Scotstoun.

And back to the Finnieston Crane. Its construction was complete in 1931 and its key function was to load steam locomotives for overseas delivery. Not only that, but its other main use was to fit large ships’ engines. It’s quite remarkable to think that the machine is still operational.

The local area has undergone further regeneration in recent times attracting new industry including IT industries and tourism. Most importantly the tradition of ship building in the area continues to this very day.

For more information on Glasgow’s shipbuilding heritage, do consider a visit to Fairfield Museum – The story of Glasgow’s greatest shipyard.

f you have any more questions about where to go to learn more about our Shipbuilding heritage, our staff at the Kelvingrove Hotel, Glasgow will be more than happy to have a chat with you on check in.

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