Today marks the 118th anniversary of the opening of the large dry dock – No. 3 dry dock at Govan Graving Docks in Glasgow, Scotland.
To mark the occasion the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative are launching a new way for supporters to help us raise core funding for our efforts to save the docks and look at wider maritime heritage on the Clyde.
We are rolling out an online store for sales of merchandise with proceeds contributing towards the core costs of CDPI.
With the launch today we are introducing a range of t-shirts and black & white photography prints.
Our #SaveGovanDocks t-shirts are produced from ethically sourced, low carbon, 100% organic cotton.
Next week on Wednesday 27th April it will be exactly 118 years since the opening of No. 3 dry dock at Govan – the large dry dock nearest to Govan Rd.
This was the last dry dock to be built at Govan and it pre-dates the former Burgh of Govan becoming part of the City of Glasgow.
Commissioned by James Deas, Chief Engineer of the Clyde Navigation Trust, this was the deepest dry dock in Britain when it opened and it could accommodate the largest ships in the world at the time. The walls are constructed from hand carved granite blocks. Anecdotally it is claimed to have been the largest dry dock in Europe (and the world) when it was built.
At 417 ft (127m) the tower at Glasgow Science Centre in the background is currently the tallest building in Scotland. If it were lying on its side it could fit end to end twice inside the dock and still leave room. Will it still be standing after 118 years? For further comparison; One Canada Square, the tallest skyscraper at Canary Wharf in London (and the tallest building in the UK until completion of the Shard), is 771ft (235m) tall.
What should we do with it now? Fill it in to make a car park perhaps?
Let’s make the 120th anniversary of this dock in 2018 one to really celebrate!
If you would like to support the work of The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative, by making a one off or regular donation, you can do so via PayPal. Please contact us if you prefer to pay by cheque or bank transfer.
We want to say thank-you so much again to those who have donated so far to our crowdfunding campaign.
We would not have reached this far without your generous support and encouragement but we do need to continually raise funds to be able to continue our efforts and pull out all the stops to save Govan Graving Docks.
We are currently preparing a brief to launch a design competition for architecture students (and possibly new graduates) to develop concepts for a maritime park at Govan Graving Docks. This will form a key part of our consultation process and inform the development of an alternative masterplan.
We would also be keen to hear from professional architects who would be interested in taking part in a judging panel for the competition. We will be discussing with academic departments in due course and students interested in taking part will be able to find out more from their tutors. We will also be seeking a corporate sponsor for the competition who can offer prizes to the winning and runner-up students.
We are asking our supporters to consider making a small contribution of £3 (roughly the price of a drink or a large cappuccino!) or however much you feel you can contribute to help cover our core costs. We need to rent office space, cover fees for the amount of time our team will need to commit to our projects, professional services fees as well as other admin and outreach expenses, travel, etc which we estimate at £40,000 per year in total.
We are also giving supporters the opportunity to sponsor specific expense items that we require. This is particularly appropriate for business/corporate sponsors who would like to have their company name shown on our supporters page. More info at http://cdpi.org.uk/items_pledge.htm
The petition now stands at just under 7,200 signatures. If we can get it to 10,000 signatures we can potentially get the future of Govan Graving Docks debated in the Scottish Parliament after the election. So if you haven’t signed please do so, help us get national attention and get all your friends to sign at:
Anecdotally during the Highland clearances, when landowners forcibly removed their tenants to make way for sheep grazing, trees were planted inside the walls of houses so that people would not be able to move back into them.
Today we are seeing a similar eradication of the maritime infrastructure on the River Clyde. Except instead of trees it is poorly conceived box flats and bland commercial developments that are being built. The recently approved redevelopment of the former John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, the birthplace of the QE2, is a case in point an stands as an ominous spectre of what could happen to Govan Graving Docks if we do not succeed in challenging developers’ plans.
Plans have been announced to build an additional footbridge across the River Clyde between Partick and Govan.
Such a bridge would be a welcome addition to the waterfront pedestrian thoroughfare but it is essential that this be an opening bridge so that navigation on the Clyde is still possible.
A non opening bridge would put an end to navigation upstream of Govan. It could put an end to Waverley cruises from the Centre of Glasgow and could even force a relocation of the tall ship Glenlee currently berthed at the Riverside Museum as well as affect plans to berth the Queen Mary. No boats much larger than a rib would be able to navigate up the Clyde into the centre of Glasgow.
It would also prevent any ships accessing Princes Dock basin and the graving docks in Govan – which would scupper any plans to restore one or more of the historic dry docks for their original purpose or for accommodating historic ships / visiting ships in the docks as The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative proposes.
We call on anyone with an interest in the maritime history of the Clyde and use of the river for traffic of any kind to make their voices heard and demand that any bridge built between Govan and Partick should be a raising or a swing bridge.
The “Squinty” and “Squiggly” bridges have already put an end to navigation beyond Finnieston and even small passenger ferries that operate on the Clyde cannot pass under the Squinty Bridge at high tide. Such that the pontoon below central station is now practically obsolete. Perhaps more thought could have gone into the design of these bridges but perhaps too lessons can be learned from the impact they have had on navigation so that better design decisions are made in the future.
It is with regret that we announce the resignation last week of Lord James Stringfellow from the board of the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative with immediate effect.
Jimmy has stood down due to the stress he has experienced as a result of sustained prejudice against the Fairground Community Group in Govan of which he is the leader.
The board of CDPI wish to thank our friend and former colleague for his contribution to date and the door will remain open for him to return at any time in the future if he feels able.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Fairground Community in condemning the bigotry that Jimmy and his family have been subjected to for many years.
We hope the very small minority within the Govan community, who are responsible for this bigotry, will take the opportunity to issue an apology to Jimmy Stringfellow, to the Fairground Community, as well as retractions of defamatory comments they may have made to various third parties about CDPI and other organisations we work with.
CDPI and our partner organisations have faced what we believe to be sustained attempts to force us out of business in recent months. Jimmy believes that this has been motivated by bigotry against showpeople and that stepping aside will help put an end to this.