The River Clyde

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Oh the River Clyde, the wonderful Clyde
the name of it thrills me and fills me with pride......

The world-famous River Clyde was certainly responsible for making GLASGOW and in particular, Sunny Govan one of the greatest places in the world for many centuries.

Of the 106 miles of the river, only the last 20 miles that run into the estuary from the city have been really important in shaping our history.
The city, renowned in the 1700's for it's tobacco and cotton industries, derived its success from being the nearest European coastal port to the Americas.
But in those days the river was shallow and large vessels had to off-load their cargoes at Greenock and Port Glasgow where they were ferried up to Glasgow in smaller river vessels.
By the 19th century, the Clyde Trust undertook the huge task of dredging the Clyde, removing millions of cubic metres of silt to deepen and widen the channel.

In 1854 work was delayed 30 years while engineers blasted a huge slab of volcanic rock, measuring 900 X 300 ft, from the riverbed near Elderslie.
Around this time, major industries were building up around Glasgow, including steel and iron manufacturing. The timing could not have been better.
Just as the Clyde became navigable all the way up to Glasgow the shipbuilding industry was turning to steel fabrication. The coastal shipbuilding industry moved up river and by the 1900's Clydeside was producing around 25 per cent of the world's ships.
The name, CLYDE BUILT was the world's best guarantee.

Day or night, the river was never quiet, the noise was part of the Clyde's fame.
Apart from 'The Fair' it never slept, there was always something happening. Sadly, to-day it is silent by comparison.
No more do the ships large and small ply their trade into the busy, thriving docks.
Even those same docks are quiet now and some are even gone completely, filled in and built upon.
The river on which Glasgow flourished doesn't hum to the movement of the freighters, ferries (except at Renfrew) or even the once-frequent dredgers.
Cluthas, the little steamers that once ferried millions of passengers up and down the Clyde have disappeared with the trams and a succession of bridges built over the river cutting out their need.
And the Pride of the Clyde, the shipbuilders, have all but passed into history.
Black Friday January 31, 1919
The UCS Work-in
A vestige remains in Govan and Scotstoun which still echoes to the sound of hammer on steel.
The once world-famous yards like John Brown, Harland and Wolff and Alexander Stephens have gone and all is quiet.
Even without the demise of the yards, the 'song' would have changed with modern technology taking over manpower and methods.
The real song of the Clyde has gone, and is now only a memory.

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For present-day building, read about GalGael

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There are many bridges and tunnels from one side of the Clyde to the other and here we tell you about them.


Brothers in arms.
Born in GOVAN by the Clyde.

Balloon Flight over the River Clyde

Elder Park Model Boat Club

Drive/Sail on the Glasgow Ducks

Pride of The Clyde Riverbus

Back to Clyde Index please.

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