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Govan is a town in the city of Glasgow. It has a history of Ship building as its main industry, and sits on the banks of the river Clyde. After World War 2, shipbuilding went into decline and the general demise of the heavy engineering industries caused Govan's population to decline also. The 1960s saw a lot of redevelopment and demolition of many of the old tenements, and change was well on the way in the 1970s.

The place name of Govan has its roots in Gaelic with similar words found in Celtic and Welsh (Britons). Gofan, Gowain, Gwvane, Govaine, Gohan and Goven translates to mean Smith or Land of the Smith.

Recent history to the present

Govan is historically considered a working-class area, and in the past it has been a hotbed of support for the Labour Party, but the latest victory for the SNP was in the 2007 Scottish parliamentary elections when Nicola Sturgeon became the MSP for the constituency.

Govan has suffered many years of deprivation and poverty, partly due to the construction of housing estates in the 1930s to relieve the overcrowded slum district of The Gorbals.

Govan is now going through many changes, one of which will be a complete regeneration of Govan and its surrounding area.[1]

Moorpark, sometimes referred to as Wine Alley which was parodied by the BBC sitcom Rab C. Nesbitt, and Teucherhill, are parts of Govan considered the most deprived.

In the post-war years, many Govanites were relocated, often reluctantly, to areas such as Drumchapel, Pollok, Darnley, Priesthill and Penilee by the Corporation of Glasgow.

Historic Buildings

Water Row

Water Row in Govan
The Bank of Scotland building was built originally for the British Linen Bank from a design by Salmon, Son & Gillespie in 1897-1900 underlining the importance of the weaving industry in the community.

Its architectural free style includes a tall narrow corner bay topped with an open crown on the roof. Above the entrance to the bank, there is a carved ship complete with a tiny figurehead, with its sail being filled by winged wind gods.

Brechins Pub

Brechins pub, Govan Road
John Cardell was an enthusiastic worker for the cause of temperance in the 1880's, when it was said there was a pub at every street in Govan.

The hall was built in 1894 as headquarters for temperance workers. By the 1900's, the temperance movement was on the wane due to stricter licensing laws and a more enlightened attitude towards strong drink. The Cardell Hall eventually closed. Ironically, today the ground floor is a public house, Brechin's Bar (known locally as 'The Black Man') This is the building where you can see 'the cat that had the rat' engraved on the outside.


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  1. Renegaretion