A Sail Cargo Hub for Govan?

Govan graving dry docks, Glasgow, Scotland, sail cargo, maritime park
Govan Graving Docks – what can you imagine?

There are several projects around the world that offer inspiration for what’s possible at Govan Graving Docks as a sail cargo hub.

Modern sail cargo is not just about nostalgia for the past. Most importantly it is a proven means of tackling climate change by reducing CO2 emissions from shipping. It is tried and tested the world over so why not on the Clyde – the river that once built a fifth of the world’s ships?

Sail cargo is about the FUTURE!

Sail cargo presents a business and economic case for dry dock restoration.

It’s about creating sustainable, long-term skilled jobs for the people of Govan and Glasgow for decades to come. Some examples:

  • Traditional skills preservation, shipbuilding techniques, carpentry, etc – with modern adaptations
  • Modern sailing ship construction – e.g. using composite materials – as well as building wooden ships
  • Shipbuilding, repair/restoration and other technical skills
  • Sail makers
  • Experience for shipbuilding apprentices
  • Sailing skills training

These are just a fraction of the jobs that a maritime park could create. Most importantly they would last much longer than the time it takes to build some flats.

In Govan we have the ideal site to both operate a sail cargo facility and showcase it as an integral part of a major maritime park attraction. Govan offers a central location to create this – close to the heart of Glasgow. It would enable the wider emerging sail cargo industry to be exhibited in an accessible way not just as a concept idea but a practical, working commercial operation. It would also be a way to create a connection between the past and the future by having this in what was once the most important shipbuilding location in the world. It is a much more suitable location to raise the profile than other sites further down the Clyde that could be suitable but are less accessible to visitors.

If one of the dry docks was restored to working order it could be used to build and repair sail cargo ships – returning civilian shipbuilding to Govan for the first time in decades. It could also be used for restoration projects on historic vessels, bringing part of the site back to it’s original use.

Part of the site could also be used to load/offload goods from small sailing ships – creating even more activity and interest.

It would create a living museum – with activity that still serves a practical business and economic purpose – not just preserving the history in aspic.

You can see some examples of the sail cargo concept at http://sailingdog.org/sail-freight-projects-around-the-world/


It’s Not Just About Maritime Heritage

The priority in preserving and restoring Govan Graving Docks is to protect the listed structures as a monument to those who built and repaired hundreds of ships in them. That means restricting the addition of any permanent buildings to the edge along Govan Road and to use maritime and shipbuilding inspired concepts in the architecture.

This will leave quay space available to use temporary free-standing buildings which will still give plenty of scope for innovation and also allow for adaptive use of the site. The dry dock basins can be used to accommodate floating units, restored ships and a working dry dock for historic ship repair, replica construction and skills preservation projects.

The aim is to provide quay space for a wide range of uses as well as small commercial units along Govan Road. The uses for these are limited only by the imagination of the small businesses, local social entrepreneurs and artists who will be engaged to bring the site back to life.

The following list gives only a few examples of what is possible. If you have ideas please add them in the comment section below.

  • Cafes, restaurants, deli shops
  • Artists studios
  • Gift shops
  • Skills preservation workshops
  • Museum displays and interactive media
  • Art and craft stalls
  • Street food stalls
  • Large and small art installations
  • Street performers / outdoor theatre
  • Seasonal festivals, river galas/regattas, community events
  • Park and recreation space
  • Floating holiday accommodation


Would you be interested in setting up a micro business or social enterprise franchise at Govan Graving Docks once it has been restored? If so please get in touch! If you know someone who would please tell them.

We’re particularly keen to hear from young and unemployed people from Govan and the wider Glasgow area as well as those who can offer specific skills and training support to help young and unemployed people develop their own cooperative franchises.

Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative One Year On

The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative is now just over a year old. We certainly can’t say it has been a dull year – a rollercoaster certainly but far from dull!

Govan No. 3 dry dock
Govan No. 3 dry dock depth marker

Since incorporating in June 2015 our efforts have received over £110,000 worth of pro-bono / speculative work and services in kind.

To those who have helped us out we can’t possibly begin to thank-you enough and over the next 12 months we aim to step up our efforts to save and restore Govan’s unique, historic graving docks.

We have also managed to exceed 7,300 signatures on the petition for a maritime heritage park at Govan Graving Docks – a proposal CDPI was established primarily to pursue.

We have also identified other derelict maritime assets along the Clyde corridor that are opportune for restoration/preservation for the benefit of local communities and the economy of the region.

Our priority though is Govan Graving Docks and we are working with a planning consultant on the process of developing a masterplan for a maritime park that will have wide-ranging benefits and opportunities for Govan and Glasgow, for the Clyde Corridor and for young people from the area. We aim to have a plan ready to present to Glasgow City Council by 2020 at the latest.

There is uncertainty ahead with the outcome of the EU referendum. Though on the plus side, with the impact it appears to be having on the property market and investor confidence, we can say with some certainty that the plans of developers for housing at the graving docks are now very likely dead in the water.

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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.

A Cutty Sark Replica for Govan? #CuttySarkGovan #SaveGovanDocks #Reborn2Sail

As reported in yesterday’s Sunday Mail exclusive, the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative is in talks with an international team of replica shipbuilders who are fundraising and seeking a location to build a fully working and sailing replica of the Cutty Sark.

While a number of locations are being considered the first choice for the Cutty Sark 2 team is to build the ship in one of the currently derelict dry docks at Govan Graving Docks in Glasgow, Scotland which is why their representative approached CDPI last November.

If the project goes ahead it will be the first major construction of a civilian ship in Glasgow since the Govan shipyard was operated by Norwegian company Kvaerner in the 1990s. It will also send out a bold statement that a resurgence of shipbuilding and maritime activity on the Clyde (as opposed to lining the river with bland and uninspiring blocks of flats) is still very much a viable ambition.

We believe a temporary fix can be made to one of the dry docks to prepare it for the replica project and this will help to establish the case for a full restoration to allow use for similar projects and for historic ship maintenance and repair. The perfect centrepiece for a maritime heritage park!

The Cutty Sark 2 team are keen to involve local organisations and volunteers in their project and this would be a fantastic opportunity for young people from Govan and Glasgow to become involved in. Something they could tell their grandchildren about!

Both the Cutty Sark project and the acquisition and restoration of the docks are in need of financial backing. This is a rallying cry to the people of Govan and Glasgow, the business community and the maritime and marine sector in the West of Scotland to come together behind this ambitious dream and help turn it into a reality!

For more information about the Cutty Sark 2 plans see the website at http://cutty-sark.org/

Local groups and volunteers interested in becoming involved, as well as those in a position to offer financial or technical support for dry dock restoration, please contact The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative in the first instance – info@cdpi.org.uk

CDPI Crowdfunding Appeal / Architecture Competition #SaveGovanDocks

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.

Pump house at Govan Graving Docks
The A-listed pump house at Govan Graving Docks. A dilapidated and sorry sight that has been left to deteriorate for almost 30 years. Crying out for restoration along with the dry 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.

One-off or regular monthly contributions can be made via PayPal and other methods . For more info see the website at http://cdpi.org.uk/support_us.htm

PayPal – The safer, easier way to pay online.

Please email us fundraising@cdpi.org.uk if you prefer to pay by bank transfer or cheque.

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:


We thank-you for your continuing support.

Best Regards

The CDPI team

Govan Graving Docks Satellite Image

A Roadmap for a Heritage Park at Govan Graving Docks

We have produced a flow chart, in consultation with our planning adviser, outlining a possible summary “roadmap” identifying key strategic and planning stages that would be involved in creation of a shipbuilding/maritime heritage park at Govan Graving Docks.

The timeline in the document is only estimated at this stage and potentially parts of the park would open in stages over the development period while works to complete other parts are still ongoing.

You can view or download this in PDF format

Specific Cost Items for 2016 – Sponsorship Opportunities

We have identified specific costs that we need to cover in 2016 and are giving our supporters, particularly corporate and philanthropic backers, the opportunity to sponsor individual items.

These include a professional logo design, website hosting, office hire and professional services.

You can have your name and/or company name and town identified alongside the item you have contributed.

For more information go to our items pledge page at http://cdpi.org.uk/items_pledge.htm