|About the Book|
This survey gives an accessible and broad-ranging synthesis of the history and archaeology of Govan, and aims to inform conservation guidance for future development. Situated on the south bank of the river Clyde, just to the west of Glasgow, Govan isMoreThis survey gives an accessible and broad-ranging synthesis of the history and archaeology of Govan, and aims to inform conservation guidance for future development. Situated on the south bank of the river Clyde, just to the west of Glasgow, Govan is to most people synonymous with shipbuilding and social challenge. Govan is, however, a remarkable place, its history stretching back to the fifth or sixth century AD when it was a seat of royal and religious power. The church of Govan Old stands upon one of the oldest Christian sites in western Scotland. A key factor in its history has been its location at a major river crossing point, where the Kelvin joins the Clyde, and the book also considers the role in the medieval period of Partick on the opposite bank. Govan has enjoyed two periods of great importance - as a centre of royal power in the early historic period, with a major church at Govan Old, and as the centre for marine engineering on the Clyde (and therefore the world) in the mid to late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The importance of the site in the later first millennium is reflected in the renowned collection of carved stones at Govan Old Parish Church. The collection here of tenth- and eleventh-century sculpture is the largest of its kind in Scotland. The authors consider the development of the settlement around Water Row and Govan Cross through the later medieval and post-medieval periods when it was a thriving craft centre focused on handloom weaving. At the same time, local landowners and merchants began to establish country retreats in the surrounding area. The book details, with numerous maps and images, the huge physical transformation that Govan underwent in the nineteenth century, from a small village of artisans to the centre of the world-renowned Clyde shipbuilding industry. It also considers the impact on the historic environment of its designation as a Police Burgh in 1864, and of its forced merger with Glasgow in 1912, at which point it was the fifth largest municipality in Scotland. The industrialisation of Govan brought with it a range of social issues which are explored, including recent work to revitalise the post-industrial townscape. This book is part of the Scottish Burgh Survey - a series funded by Historic Scotland designed to identify the archaeological potential of Scotlands historic towns.