The following blog is a journey along an imaginary urban design / architectural project and for best understanding, reading in chronological order is recommended.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Origins and Development - The making of Govan

Key events:
Govan originated as a fishing and agricultural community based upon an ecclesiastical settlement.
The River Clyde was narrow then, and only small boats carrying salmon, herring, timber, salt and grain could navigate it.
1147: Govan was established as a Christian Parish being a prebend to Glasgow Cathedral.
1759: the Clyde Navigation Act received Royal Assent to straighten and deepen the river.
1839: a handloom weaving and silk mill was employing 340 people.
1830-1870: new shipyards were laid out.
1857: the Clyde was a busy centre for shipbuilding.
1864: Govan was granted Burgh Status by Sheriff of Lanarkshire in recognition of its importance as a commercial and industrial centre.
1867: the first chain-driven vehicle ferry linked both banks of Clyde carrying 80 people, 3 loaded carts or 3 wagons and by 1897, 12 vessels serviced up and down the Clyde from Glasgow to Whiteinch.
Mid C.19th: Glasgow pioneered shipbuilding by using steam as a new source of power.
1869: Linthouse Estate along with mansion was demolished to make way for new shipyards.
1872: schools were now founded by the state for all children aged 5-13.
1873: Rangers Football Club was founded.
1885: Elder Park is given to the people of Govan as a gift.
1888: Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society at Shieldhall. This complex became the largest enterprise in Europe between the 2 World Wars as 7000 people worked there in 100 different trades making just about anything. The Luma Factory building is all that remains.
Many people immigrated to Govan from Ireland, the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland looking for work in the new industries. Many brought their own cultures with new shops, pubs and churches.
1906: Pearce Institute is given to the people of Govan as a gift.
1945: areas of Glasgow were to be redeveloped. Victorian tenements were to be demolished and replaced with new housing and buildings. The scheme for Govan covered 383acres. A total of 7833 out of a total 9340 in this area were demolished. In the following 20 years, £38 million was to be spent in Govan, building 7 nursery schools, 5 primary schools, 82 acres of new housing and 367,000 sq. ft. of new industrial floor space.
Shipbuilding was the major industry in Govan until the 1960’s. Since then, the industry has been in decline due to Global Competition
1960’s: the motorway was built ploughing its way through outskirts of Govan.

Health Issues:
1871: 44% of households lived in one room accommodation. They had poor diets and conditions were overcrowded. Disease and early deaths were common.
1864-1898: a local report stated that measles alone accounted for 1200 child deaths.
1870-1900: nearly a third of all children in Govan died before their 5th birthday.
1903: Govan’s 1st hospital was built at Merryflats and is now known as the Southern General.

Population Growth & Decline:
1793: a local report calculated Govan’s population as 224 families.
1864: the population of Govan was 9000
1870-1873: the Burgh grew from 14,000 to 28,000. A decade later the population rose from 46,000 to 58,000
1903: Govan rivalled nearby town Paisley at 91,000 (Paisley's industry was the cotton mills and is well known for it's 'Paisley Pattern')
1999: the population of Govan is 24,239 and declining.

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