By: Nick Drainey
The great industrial achievements of the River Clyde in steam propulsion, engineering and shipbuilding are widely known not just in the UK but around the world. Despite this, there is no single location on the River where this world-class story can be told. The time has come to acknowledge the vision of those who established these industries, of the innovation central to their success and to the individual contribution made by hundreds of thousands of men and women over many decades who toiled through good times and bad to manufacture remarkable products and make the name Clydebuilt synonymous with excellence. The Ship Yard Trust has been formed to focus attention on these achievements and engage with all parties to formulate a strategy that permanently acknowledges this outstanding industrial heritage as Nick Drainey explains.
Once the river was so shallow that, in a few parts, people could wade across it. Ships had to dock at Greenock, and goods unloaded and transferred to small boats in order to travel up the Clyde to reach Glasgow. As Cromwell’s man Thomas Tucker said in the middle of the 17th century: “Glasgow was checked and kept under by the shallowness of her river, every day more and more filling up”. But thanks to the innovative brilliance of engineers and the toil of thousands of ordinary folk, the river that didn’t even need a boat to cross it became famous around the world for its shipbuilding.