THE GOVAN FERRY PAINTED Circa 1831
OLD GOVAN

To the left of the picture is Water Row, the road that led from the centre of the village to the main river crossing. In the foreground is the hand-operated chain ferry which carried passengers and carts between Water Row and Pointhouse from 1734.

The long chain which can be seen stretched across the river bed was attached securely on each bank and to a windlass on the boat, and the ferryman turned the windlass to haul the boat across the water.

In 1865 a larger boat with a steam-powered windlass was introduced on the crossing and ten years later it was replaced by a double-chain steam ferry. The ferry appears to be carrying a cart loaded with hay. The steeple of Govan Old Parish Church dominates the village, and a steam ship and two sailing boats are further down-river.

OLD GOVAN 1845

Napier's Shipyard. Known locally as the "Old Yard" it had been acquired by Robert Napier from McArthur & Alexander in 1842.

Napier launched his first iron ship, the Vanguard, in 1843. In 1850 he built a new shipyard to the east of the old, at Highland Lane, and it became known as the "New Yard".

He sold the Old Yard in 1858. The Govan Ferry row boat has just disembarked passengers at the little bay in the foreground, at the end of Water Row. Govan Old Parish Church's steeple can be seen beyond the shipyard's sheds.

A woman and child pictured beside a kitchen range in slum property circa 1910. The photograph may have been taken in connection with a scheme to provide poor mothers with milk for their babies.

The kitchen was the centre of activity in old tenement flats. In the case of a single-end flat, it was the only room. Beds, sink, coal bunker, cupboards, pulley, fireplace and cooking range would all be crammed into a small area.  The cast iron kitchen range was standard in tenement buildings, a heating and cooking tool. A large cast iron kettle stood on the hob keeping the water warm.

 Every effort was made to keep the fire alight over night, especially in winter.  This was done by saving old tea-leaves and potato peelings, mixed with dross. (coal dust) and cinders and placed on the fire before going to bed.

The door behind her appears to be that of the toilet. Outside toilets were a common feature of Govan tenements until the late 19th century.

Subsequently tenements were built with or renovated to include a shared water closet on each stair landing.

Refuse can be seen piled up in the "midgie" (midden) at the back of the courtyard. To the right of the boy on the left.

A WOMAN AND CHILD IN A GOVAN TENEMENT
YOUNG WOMAN AT THE COMUNIONAL SINK 1925
CITY OF GLASGOW MAP 1778

John McArthur's "Plan of the City of Glasgow, Gorbells and Caltoun" of 1778 is the most detailed of the early maps of the city. It covers an area from Anderston to the lands of Barrowfield, and from Little Govan to the Barony Glebe.

Major buildings are shown individually in plan form, and the owners of the more sizeable properties are named. A good impression is given of the closes and back-land development within the city, while the surrounding country has fields, parks and land ownership shown.

CITY OF GLASGOW MAP 1838

Govan is derived from the Gaelic word gamham, pronounced gavan, and signifying "a ditch," used in reference to the river Clyde, which runs through the parish and which  in ancient times, was a very narrow stream.

The most remote historical information relating to Govan is connected with the removal of Constantine, King of Cornwall, into Scotland.

DONALD's LAND 3 ELL ROAD GOVAN

Children at Donald's Land (the building with the curving exterior stairway) on Three Ell Road in Govan, 1890s. "Land" is an old Scots word for a house of more than one storey.

Three Ell Road lay within the old village of Govan. It was so-named because, according to the local historian T C F Brotchie, it measured "three times a weaver's ell-wand" an ell being an old unit of measurement for cloth and other goods, which would have been used by Govan's weavers.

A Scottish ell was 91 centimetres long. The street was sometimes known locally as "back o' the Dykes" but its official name was subsequently changed to Crosslee Road.

THE RIVER CLYDE 1827
GOVAN CHURCH SARCOPHAGUS

View of the River Clyde in 1827 looking west towards Govan. James Hopkirk's drawing shows a fishing net being hauled across the river by a rowing boat, with a fisherman's hut on the riverbank.

The spire of Govan Parish Church can be seen in the distance. The boats depicted are all of shallow draught - at this time, only ships drawing less than 12 feet could sail up the river to the city.

Four views of the Govan Sarcophagus. The sarcophagus is carved from a block of sandstone and may have been intended to hold the mortal remains of the founder of the medieval Church of St Constantine which was built on the site where Govan Old Parish Church stands today.

It is believed that the sarcophagus was carved in the second half of the 9th century. The four sides are decorated with panels depicting animals and a horseman alongside ribbon motifs.

Found in the church graveyard in 1855, the sarcophagus was brought into the church in 1908.

GOVAN CROSS PUBLIC SCHOOL 1872

Govan Cross Public School, some time shortly after 1872. The village's parochial school was built at the end of the 18th century. The schoolmaster's salary was met partly by Abraham Hill's Trust.

He lodged in rooms above the classroom, but the upper floor was later converted to provide more space for pupils - by the 1870s, there were as many as 210 pupils attending lessons at the school.

After the creation of the Govan School Board in 1872, the old school was closed and the pupils transferred to a new building in Golspie Street. Abraham Hill's Trust opened a new school nearby in 1876.

This was the school I went to when I was a wee boy in Govan. Below is an old torn picture of my school photo at Hills Trust. If you click the small picture left you can see a larger version of the picture.

HILLS TRUST PRIMARY SCHOOL GOVAN
GOVAN IRON WORKS 1840

William Simpson's view, drawn in the late 1840s, showing William Dixon's Govan Ironworks at Hutchesontown from the south. The row of single-storey houses in front of the ironworks was known as "Collier's Raw".

The ironworks were founded by William Dixon (1788-1859), the son of the owner of the Little Govan Colliery. William extended his father's collieries in Govanhill but also, in 1839, founded an ironworks with five blast furnaces. The furnaces lit up the night sky on the south side of the River Clyde, and earned the ironworks the nickname "Dixon's Blazes"

GOVAN COMBINATION HOSPITAL

A view of the the Govan Combination Hospital in Shieldhall, 1907.

The 120 bed hospital was built by the burghs of Govan and Kinning Park in combination in 1901 and consisted of seven pavilions where patients with infectious diseases such as scarlet fever, typhus and smallpox could be isolated and treated.

Glasgow Corporation assumed responsibility for its management and upkeep after the city annexed the Burgh of Govan in 1912.

SUN STONE

The "Sun Stone" found at Govan Old Parish Church. The stone is a cross slab, with a carved cross on one side above a depiction of an armed man mounted on an animal (presumably a horse).

The reverse of the cross slab contains a version of the snake-and-boss motif found in early Christian sculpture, consisting of a depiction of snakes radiating from a boss - an image which some interpreted as a sun and its rays, hence the cross slab's popular title.

CUDDY STANE

Two views of the "Cuddy Stane" (cross slab no 5) found at Govan Old Parish Church. This medieval cross slab took its name from the depiction of what was interpreted as a donkey (a "cuddy") on one side.

The slab is broken, and so the figure of the rider is missing - as is the top part of the cross carved on the other side of the stone. Note the initials carved on the stones, probably when this upright monument was re-used as a grave slab in the 17th century.

HOGBACK STONES

Hogback gravestone in the cemetery at Govan Old Parish Church, Circa 1900. The carved hogback stones were created around the 10th century to cover the graves of prominent men or women in the important British settlement in the Govan and Partick area.

In 2004 the five surviving hogbacks are held in the church and can be viewed by visitors.

GOVAN FERRY MARCH 1882

The Govan Vehicular Ferry on the River Clyde, March 1882. A & J Inglis' shipyard and the ferry slipway at Pointhouse at the mouth of the River Kelvin are in the background. From 1857, a chain-hauled vehicular ferry for horses, carts and carriages operated between Water Row in Govan and Pointhouse in Partick.

A new double-chain vehicular ferry was introduced in 1875, and continued in operation until it was replaced by a steam vessel with an elevating deck (and the vehicular ferry dock was altered) in 1912.

GOVAN FIRE BRIGADE  1876

Govan Fire Brigade outside the fire station in Albert Street (subsequently renamed Orkney Street), c 1876. Govan became a police burgh in 1864 and the commissioners became responsible for the provision of a range of services, including a fire brigade.

The brigade was based in the new town hall in Albert Street. When council officials and staff were relocated in the new Govan Town Hall in Summertown Road in 1899, the old building became the headquarters of the burgh's fire and police services.

GOVAN FIRE STATION 1920s

The entrance to Govan Fire Station in Russell Street off Orkney Street, 1920s or 1930s. The fire station was located at the rear of Govan Town Hall, which was built in Albert Street (subsequently renamed Orkney Street) in 1867 and contained all the council offices.

The fire and police services remained in the old building when the new Town Hall opened in Summerstown Road in 1899. By 1905 the Govan brigade also operated from a sub-station at Plantation.

GOVAN SILK WORKS 1900

Govan in 1824 for Morris Pollok. Bales of silk were delivered to the works where the silk was processed, wound and "thrown" (spun) to produce silk thread.

In 1839 the mill employed 250 workers (both adults and children) who worked a 10-hour day.

It was heated and ventilated by steam and considered the most modern of its day. A fire caused serious damage to the silk works in 1873 and the damaged section was never rebuilt.

The remainder of the building was demolished in 1901 to make way for an extension to the Fairfield Shipyard.
The Govan Silk Works in 1900. This six-storey mill was built at the western end of The Society was instituted in 1756 primarily to control entry to the weaving trade and to provide assistance to handloom weavers who had fallen on hard times.

GOVAN WEAVERS BANNER

The Society's funds came from the weavers themselves through quarterly subscriptions and payments to the swear box.The banner is painted with a variety of symbolic images including two spindles (representing the industry), a fish with a ring (refering to the story of St Mungo) and Scottish thistles. "Nihil Sine Labore" is the motto of the Burgh of Govan, which existed from 1864 until it was annexed by Glasgow in 1912. The inclusion of the ram's head has a more colourful history.

 According to legend, a Govan minister had refused to give his maidservant permission to marry. The people of the village showed their disapproval of his behaviour by cutting off the heads of his flock of sheep. The ram's head was kept and it was paraded around the village each year in the weavers' procession at the Govan Fair.

GOVAN TOWN HALL

A postcard view of Govan Town Hall at the corner of Summertown and Govan Roads, from the north east. Designed by the architects Thomson & Sandilands it was completed in 1899 at a cost of about 60,000 and formally opened in 1901 by Govan's Provost James Kirkwood.

The building contains a large hall with a grand organ and seating for 2,500 people, a smaller hall, and municipal offices including a large suite of rooms for council business.

"Govan in 1757" drawn by T C F Brotchie for the Old Govan Club Transactions, 1915. Brotchie's drawing was based on one by the Foulis Academy pupil Robert Paul, completed in 1757. It shows the houses on Water Row that led down to the ferry landing, flanked by the famous Doomster or Moot Hill (left) and the Govan Old Parish Church.  The flat-topped hill is believed to have been created in the early Middle Ages when Govan and neighbouring Partick served as the capital of a British kingdom after the capture of Dumbarton by the Vikings in 870. It may have been the base of a fortification but the prevailing view among archaeologists is that it was a court or law hill where justice was dispensed. The hill was removed in the the early 19th century and Reid's Dyeworks erected on the site. The church was demolished in 1761-1762 to make way for a more modern church building.

GOVAN IN 1757

A lithograph of Govan by David Allan, 1835. The view from the north bank of the Clyde shows the steeple of Govan Old Parish Church (right) and the houses at the end of Water Row.

The rowing boat working on the Govan Ferry service appears to be setting off on a wayward course!  You can click on the picture to see some old Govan videos.

OLD GOVAN ROAD INTO HARMONY ROW GOVAN 1848 CLICK PICTURE FOR LARGER VIEW

“This painting was done 100 years before I was born and alive in Govan.”

Thomas Fairbairn's view of thatched cottages around "Kittle Corner" on Harmony Row in Govan, from the south-east, with old Govan Road running into Water Row 1848.  According to local historian T C F Brotchie, the weavers who lived here were famous for the crops of gooseberries they grew in their gardens. At weekends, people would walk from as far away as Glasgow for a taste of Govan "grozets". You can click on the picture for a larger view.

KITTLE CORNER GOVAN 1890s

Kittle Corner in Govan, 1890s. Kittle Corner was a little square at the corner of Shaw Street and Govan Road. Very different to what Shaw Street is today. It was popular with local people as a place to meet friends and exchange gossip.

Any passers-by could be sure of a bit of banter, not all of it entirely complementary! As Kittle is a Scots word meaning 'awkward, dangerous or ticklish' and could refer to the feelings of passers-by who had to run the gauntlet of sharp-tongued comment from the locals, women and men alike.

OLD GOVAN ROAD
GOVAN CROSS UNDERGROUND ENTRANCE 1933
McKECHNIE STREET WITH THE SWING PARK  DOWN AT END OF STREET
6 McKECHNIE STREET WITH THE LYCEUM BAR CLOSED DOWN CHAPLE ACROSS GOVAN ROAD
IN THE WEE SWING PARK AT THE BOTTOM OF McKECHNIE STREET
WEE SWING PARK THE GRANERY IN THE BACKGROUND TO THE LEFT OF PICTURE
LOOKING BACK UP McKECHNIE STREET FROM THE SWING PARK
SWING PARK AND GOVAN KIDS
THE HIGH BACK
McKECHNIE STREET JUST PAST THE LYCEUM & LYCEUM BAR BELOW TENEMENTS
LYCEUM CINEMA GOVAN
AT THE BACK OF THE ELDER CINEMA
BACK OF ELDER CINEMA
BACK OF THE LYCEUM CINEMA THE BREW LEFT OF PICTURE
TRAM CAR CRASH OR MAYBE THE TRAM WAS JUST HAVIN' A WEE SLEEP
NICE AND TIDY BACKS - ONLY JOKING
LOOKING UP WANLOCK STREET WEE PARK TO RIGHT OF PICTURE
GOVAN CROSS FOUNTAIN
THE FACE OF DISPAIR IN A GOVAN TENEMENT
INSIDE A TENEMENT WITH WOMAN AND TWO KIDS
OUR PLAY AREA WAY BACK IN THE 50's
GOVAN BACKS AND DYKES FOR JUMPING ACROSS
THE BACKS LOOKED SO FILTHY
LOOKING BACK TO THE PLAZA CINEMA AND HERLAND & WOLF's ACROSS THE ROAD
OLD VIEW LOOKING INTO WATER ROW ACROSS CLYDE
PLAY TIME IN GOVAN
ANYONE GO A BOAT HANDY?
JUST GRABBIN' SOME ZZZZzzz's MA!
HANGING OOT THE WASHIN'
8 CORNWALL STREET 1929
INSIDE A GOVAN TENEMENT 1913
PLAY SCHOOL BACK THEN IN GOVAN
OLD GOVAN CROSS PEARCE INSTITUTE FAR LEFT CLICK PICTURE FOR MORE
LINTHOUSE TRAM ON GOVAN ROAD
FAIRFIELD's SHUNT TRAIN NEAR THE PLAZA ON GOVAN ROAD
46 UIST STREET ELDER PARK WORKS
GOVAN DYKES
BACK COURT
LINK TO VERY OLD GOVAN MAPS
GOVAN AT THE BLACK MAN 1904
PLAZA AT GOVAN CROSS WITH FAIRFIELD SHUNT  ENGINE TO THE RIGHT
GOVAN's POLICE FORCE
OLD WATER ROW WITH THE CHAIN DRIVEN FERRY
GOVAN CROSS NEAR THE PEARCE INSTITUTE AND THE LYCEUM CINEMA FAR BACK IN THE PICTURE
OLD GOVAN CROSS PRE 1937 BECAUSE THE LYCEUM CINEMA WAS THEN DESTROYED BY FIRE
LAUNCH OF SIR WILLIAM PEARCE STATUE IN GOVAN 1894
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