With its many shipbuilding yards, Govan was perhaps best known the world over for its shipbuilding industry, although today you could be excused for overlooking this as only one survives. As T.C.F. Brotchie stated in his book The History of Govan “Shipbuilding made Govan and Govan made shipbuilding”. In the early 1830’s Govan was a relatively small fishing and weaving village, however in the 70 years that followed the banks of the Clyde at Govan would become unrecognisable as yards and docks developed all the way along from Linthouse to Tradeston.

The Yards
Old Yard

McArthur & Alexander opened the first shipbuilding yard in Govan in 1839, this heralded great change in Govan as new yards such as; Govan East Yard, Middleton Yard, Linthouse Yard, Clyde Yard and Fairfield Yard developed all the way along the banks of the River Clyde in Govan. These yards were to be graced by pioneers in engineering and shipbuilding such as Napier, Elder, Pearce, Kirk and Thomson. These yards built and launched many ships in Govan. Click the link to the left to read about the histories of the Govan Yards.

(Photo: The official illustrated guide to the Great Northern Railway: ..... by George S. Measom (1861) )

The Builders
Robert Napier

Robert Napier, John Elder, William Pearce and Alexander Kirk are just some of the greatest ship builders of their time. Click the link to the left to read about their achievments in engineering and shipbuilding, however the great ships these engineers built would not have been possible without the skilled workforce who toiled and in some cases died in the yards, click on the link to the left to read about some of these workers of the Govan Yards.

(Photo: Robert Napier 1791-1876)

Read about David Elder
The Father Of Marine Engineering On The Clyde
The Ships
RMS Etruria

Many ships were built at the Govan Yards from small tugs and fishing trawlers to great transatlantic passenger liners and great warships such as the latest type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan launched at Fairfield in October 2010 which unfortunately may possibly be the last ship launched from a Govan Yard and the Clyde. Click on the link to the left to discover some of these great vessels' histories including the many Blue Riband winners and the ships who ran the blockades during the American Civil War, there you can also access a list of almost 3000 ships built at Govan.

The ship above is the RMS Etruria a Blue Riband winner built by John Elder & Co. at the Fairfield Yard.