Govan Graving Docks Survey Feedback: What People Said #SaveGovanDocks

As part of our consultation surveys early in 2016 we asked respondents if they had any radical or innovative ideas they think would be appropriate for Govan Graving Docks. Here is a list of the responses we received:

I am ashamed and deeply disappointed at the land that has been sold off for second rate housing on the river’s edge.. There is little that talks of the city’s great past – and that might influence its future..This is one project that will do both those things!

Acquisition of an HMS Belfast type historic (Clude built?) vessel moored near the site. This could act as a further draw to a potential maritime heritage park and serve as a spectacular tourist attraction. Apart from the Tall Ship, no such vessel exists on the Clyde.

This should be developed as a working dockyard for the training of apprentices and the restoration of the skills badly needed in this country.

See above. Local communities throughout Glasgow, particularly within socially challenged areas which have become deprived due to rapid de-industrialisation of the Thatcher era, are crying out for a community education hub – somewhere where community courses can be run, offering a different route into education than mainstream FE colleges. Somewhere which promotes sustainability by using self grown produce within a community garden then to be used in a community kitchen facility where local people can come and socialise, cook, take in seminars etc Glasgow needs to promote Solidarity, community and collectivism again.

If there were suitable Govan built ships which were no longer sea-worthy then they could be displayed in the dry docks (similar to Cutty Sark in Greenwich).

Restore the graving docks as a maritime museum and using the wet dock as a marina for pleasure craft

1) Training apprenticeships for young people should feature in the proposals – good for attracting funding from various sources. 2) An exhibition of the shipbuilding heritage of the Clyde might be considered 3) While politics will unfortunately be a necessity in getting this off the ground suitably managed and committed individuals will best drive this ahead. 4) Pushing the venue as another tourist asset for Glasgow is important.

An outdoor heated swimming pool as lack of such facilities in the area. It could be part of an outdoor beach area and or park for local people to use combined with maritime museum and heritage space.

Don’t think we need another museum as we have Transport Museum across Clyde. Perhaps a statue commemorating Docks area built around something more appropriate for 21st century living in Glasgow.

I think there is room on the site for a full mix of residential & commercial alongside an open-air museum that preserves and seals one dock as permanently empty of water and refurbishes the other two as something useful (be it working dry-dock or some other use)

I no longer live in Scotland but the industries of Govan played a huge part in making who and what I am, my and many families were formed around shipbuilding. The preservation and resurrection of the docks as a working entity would help remind the future generations of the importance of their history

Perhaps we could use it to host our version of the Floriade ? Encouraging local businesses and groups to promote their unique Scottish produce, crafts and skills. The Scottish Government’s international marketing team could probably formulate a decent plan.

The area around Govan is beautiful, with stunning architecture, lovely wide streets, and access to the river. I work there every day and I love it, but it needs to be rejuvenated and cared for. My only innovative idea is that it is used for all purposes set out in this survey – because the area does need everything listed in it. 1. Historical preservation will ensure a great part of Glasgow history is remembered and honoured, and will give the area a unique aesthetic and realistic character – you can’t buy that sort of authenticity and currently it is sitting eroding into nothingness 2. Businesses need to be drawn in, to keep money flowing through the area e.g. cafes. My innovative suggestion is to only use local artisans and food producers, keep it Glaswegian. Innovative idea no.2 is have an insight into the products being sold – I am tired of seeing new developments pricing out locals by selling and providing things no local can afford 3. People need to LIVE there, or the graving docks will be silent as a grave at night, and an abandoned site much like a huge swathe of the Glasgow waterfront has become by thinking of it as only a good place to put in apartments and nothing else. This idea kills communities, creates highrise ghost towns, and will do nothing for the Govan area – there needs to be a mix of working and living spaces. 4. A working dock brings in people, and this can be done on a small scale that also takes a nod towards its history – e.g. reserving a small area for teaching modern and historical techniques of shipwrighting and building. This could also lead to amazing apprenticehsip opportunities, moreso amazing if these apprenticeships could target youth in Govan and other surrounding areas. Govan could be the heart of Glasgow, as it once was. 5. As someone who has worked in heritage conservation for some time I know the power of depending on large institutions e.g. Historic Scotland for the stability and funding whilst keeping a healthy relationship with local communities to guide and project local sentiment. If you rely on one form of heritage institution, you’re going to miss out on one of those things, to great detriment of your project. Think big, work local. Your survey is great but I feel like I’m being guided to chosing one thing. One thing only won’t save Govan! FINALLY. As I’ve mentioned, I work in heritage. I am an artefact conservator, and I know many many people my self included who would be interested in this project and would put their heart into it. I would include a conservator, at this point now in your consultations if you have not done so already. Often we are brought in late into the conversation and so much is missed – so much historical information has been lost or surrended because specialist knowledge is consulted after the fact.

It obviously needs imagination, so it should be kept away from Glasgow City Council and local politicians if at all possible.

Could this be the site for a decommission submarine? There needs to be a better connection between the centre of town and this site, a walking trail perhaps, taking in Glasgow’s shipping, trade, and slave history?

1. There should be a link bridge across to the Science Centre. 2. There should be a direct pedestrian route on the riverside between the millennium bridge and the Riverside Museum. 3. The QE2 should be purchased and moored at the quayside across the river from the Graving Docks.

I think there is potential for creative spaces at the docks. I see Govan as being a driving force as not just Glasgow but Scotland’s film hub, and having studio spaces etc for use of both amateur and professional film makers. Just a thought that perhaps needs more work before being proposed!

Garden Festival

It should be people who have the best interest of the dock for all of Glasgow. Not politicians, or the Glasgow city council who have no vision and do not consult the people who could benefit the people of Govan and surrounding areas. Look to the future and create something that will be of interest that people will travel to see and enjoy.

In question no. 1 I think a mix of Museum / Heritage Centre with some sort of boat building facility incorporated to encourage young shipbuilders to build boats would make the project more ‘alive and current than purely as a Heritage Centre. That said, yes of course part of uit should tell the history of the Govan graving docks and the community through the years. I also think it will be a crying shame to obliterate and raze the graving docks to the ground for a housing development.. Ship building should be remembered and could perhaps be a catalyst for new projects. I also like the idea of having replica boats built and then displayed and perhaps used a for short excursions trips on the Clyde

Addition of a marina to generate an income stream to support and maintain the project in the future

I believe that a marina was planned or proposed as part of the development for the area and this should be retained as an integral part of the plans for the site as it is in keeping with the link with the sea.

A boating pond, with different naval vessels on it, to scale of course, that parents with children could use safely. Also, make the site as child friendly as possible, capture the interest of the child early they could be your future volunteers. PS; definitely disabled access, thank you.

There was once a ship building museum at Braehead. It moved to the Scottish Maritime Museum at Irvine. Perhaps it should move again to Govan Dry Docks. In West Central Scotland is there room for 2 ship building museums plus the ships section at the nearby Riverside Museum.

Is there still some viable experience of working in the Govan Graving Docks to draw on.

I believe a walking tour, including a cycle path, along the Clyde, both sides, right down to Glasgow Green, would be great. With signs, photo stands, graphics and sculptures telling what & when used to stand where and it’s purpose on the Clyde. We’ve lost our awareness of just how important our river was / is. Linking the docks up with various sites along the stretch, with art studios & cafes to stop at is something I would do. It would be educational as well as a great day out. Birmingham & Manchester are great examples of how to use our waterways.

Usage should include making better use of the river as well.

In line with previous comments – unique structure – like Dubai and each block a unique build – an inverted pyramid constructed with oil platform strength and design – or The Globe – a sphere which rotates 1 degree every day so that occupiers wake up to a different city view each morning. Challenging – of course but it would re-establish Glasgow as a destination and for tourists as well as design gurus! Mad – possibly, worth consideration – absolutely!

Museum of the peoples and their use of the Clyde. The Britons, Picts, Celts vikings, Normans, etc including modern day Scots . Similar to Yorvik centre or New Lanark.

I don’t think it should be used to price out the people of govan and should be turned into something that will last a long time and not something just to make a quick buck or only for the ‘luvvies’

Properly administered and operated the site could be employed as a ‘center’ for maintaining ship/boat building and ship/boat repair skills within the West of Scotland area. Once established such a ‘center’ could be further developed to operate as a training facility to ensure the development and retention of these skills in forthcoming generations and towards providing much needed local skilled employment.

Restore the site to its original condition and I would like LIFE brought back to the river with maybe a marina and river boats for entertainment / restaurants / bars on the boats – life has to be brought back to the fabulous docks and the Clyde

Provide land and water based secure storage and berthing if possible for marine craft and available rented premises for commercial marine chandlers etc. to generate income to support heritage, educational facilities and museum. Smaller lock-ups for strictly public mariners under terms and conditions etc. A slipway for small non-commercial craft and public to use (including marine emergency services).

Is it viable to reopen them as they were?

Floating warship museum, employing ex military personnel with live in accomodation

I think with the right investment it could become a big tourist draw like Titanic in Belfast. We do not celebrate our heritage enough in Glasgow and our shipbuilding was known throughout the world.

Although I have indicated preferences for involvement of a wider community than Govan, nevertheless the people of Govan will have to live with whatever emerges in fuiture and so they must be part of the movement.

As someone who has lived in Finnieston for 40 + years I would love to see the river come back to life with a combined maritime museum and leisure centre also encouraging use of the river for sport and leisure, sailing clubs, rowing clubs, canoeing clubs. Also protecting and educating about the wildlife on and in the river, perhaps otters wildfowl etc. I would also love to see the two rotundas and the tunnel renovated as it was possible to walk through it when I first moved to this part of Glasgow as a student.

I think the tall ship should be moored in one of the dry docks if the heritage park idea was to go ahead, if the docks were restored to a working facility then any repairs to the tall ship or others could be undertaken there, and if i am right as the docks are grade A listed the council could easily do a compulsary purchase on them as the are not being maintained as a grade a listing dictates

Do NOT let the City Council near this! They’ll make a complete hash of it – like they did with Fastlink

I would like to see a mixed use of land incorporating a working dry docks, a heritage centre and an inspirational landscape planting scheme (along the lines of the London Olympics) to cheer the whole place up. e.g. You could use grey leaved plants and grasses to give the impression of waves (as on roundabouts in Plymouth) plus blocks of colour to denote boats on the waves. Radically, to tie in with this, I see the derelict site on the opposite side of the river (directly opposite the Transport Museum) being a huge flower field e.g. lavender/ sunflowers / pussy willow etc like a Dutch tulip field: for the people of Glasgow to gaze at, walk amongst and to be harvested. It would be a crowd puller even if only temporary until building takes place. I am currently starting an inner city flower farm in West End and am a garden designer.

If the docks were restored for use, as well as a museum it could host a boat building/repair facility particularly for traditional boating, such as canal boats and replica boat building/craft demonstration

Vital not to let the space be privatised or overly commercialized. It should be preserved to some extent and made into a space for the public to enjoy.

A section of ship in the drydock showing how work was carried out in the past. With an information centre similar to clydebuilt telling the history of the drydock and the ships that have been there on site.

1. Build a bridge for easy access to transport museum 2. approach Jim McCall to link in with an apprentice scheme which ties in with his long term vision for shipbuilding in the Clyde 3. work towards a flotilla of vessels as part of the the museum path. My greatest loss when the old Transport museum closed was the reduction of ship models on display. Have a unique display at govan 4. dredge clyde 5. long term transport link/ facilities link with Greenock and clydebank shipbuilding and railways are our heritage learn from new lanark

These docks must be preserved. It is absolutely scandalous that Glasgow’s world-beating shipbuilding heritage is not recognised within the city. This is too important an opportunity to miss.

Just get them out of the hands of New City Vision who are already about to start destroying North Kelvin Meadow

Full survey results at


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