Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Govan Burgh (Glasgow)

John and Mary (Brodie) McKillop lived most of their married life in Govan, which became part of Glasgow in 1912 when the city annexed the area. Govan had lost its rural appearance during the Industrial Revolution. When it became a burgh in 1864, it adopted as it's motto: Nihil Sine Labore -- nothing without work. First, it was a mill town, but shipbuilding was the major industry by the middle of the 1800s.

I found it fascinating that in The Statistical Account of Lanarkshire, Rev. M. Lewishman said in 1840, "In Blaeu's map of the county of Renfrew, however, which was published in Amsterdam in 1662, 'Whyt Inch,' and part of the property called Meadowside, appears as islands...The shallowness of the Clyde not many years ago will almost appear incredible to those who now see ships of 600 tons burthen, and drawing 16 or 17 feet of water, proceeding majestically up that river, and depositing, in the store-houses of Glasgow, the cargoes which they bring from the most remote parts of the world."

Snippet of 1858 British Ordnance Survey of Govan, Lanarkshire; image
courtesy of ScotlandsPlaces

It became a modern well-equipped town during the latter half of the 19th century and the population increased tenfold, from 9,000 in 1864 to 95,000 by 1907.

Aerial view of the Clyde river overlooking Govan and Partick; photograph
courtesy of Glasgow History

Today, it is viewed as a lower working-class area of Glasgow. Few shipyards remain in Govan today. One that does is now part of BAE Systems Surface Ships.

John McKillop's father worked as a carpenter in one the Govan shipyards when John was a born.

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