Words by Angela Clark
Photos by Owen McGuigan
As the dedicated workforce of the Clyde shipbuilding community laid down their tools for the last time, they could walk away with pride in their step, knowing they had built some of the most famous ships in the world.
These included the Cutty Sark built in Dumbarton in 1869, the RMS Lusitania, the Queen Mary, the Royal Yacht Britannia and the QE2 all built in the Clydebank yards in the 20th century.
However, as generations come and go, these collective memories start to slowly fade away as there is nothing solid to commemorate the shipbuilding achievements and marine engineering which took place on the Clyde, or the people who worked there.
The Shipyard Trust, a charity set up in 2018, aims to build an iconic museum to commemorate the Clyde shipbuilders. .
They believe it is time to recognise the past and present of the shipbuilding industries and the thousands of men and women who played a part in its history.
Gil Paterson, Chairman of the Ship Yard Trust and former MSP for Clydebank, said: “Our plan is to have something of real significance that represents and illustrates exactly what took place on the Clyde.
“We are doing everything we can to keep the public informed and engaged and want to hear their views.
“We’re asking, is it a worthwhile project? Is it something they think should be happening?”
“We have sent over 200 emails to organisations up and down the Clyde asking if they would forward our vision on to their contacts and service users, ask what they think and feed that information back to us.”
The Shipyard Trust is also encouraging people living in all the shipbuilding communities in the area to get behind the idea and contact them with their opinions and ideas.
A decision has still to be made about where the building will be located.
Gil said: “It will definitely be on the Clyde we must have access to that, it’s the only thing we insist on.
“Our responsibility as a Board is to bring all these communities together. The whole length of the Clyde has to be considered right down to the Ayrshire coast.”
Feedback, support and suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.
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What Our Readers Think
We asked our Clydesider readers what they thought of the idea of a museum to remember the shipyards and the workers.
“I think it’s a fantastic idea, most of my family worked in John Brown’s including my partner, my dad and my father-in-law.”
“When we saw it getting pulled down it broke our hearts. If there was a museum, wherever it was I would certainly go and visit it and it would be great for tourism.”
“Aye it should be built, especially to remember awe the people that died of asbestosis and other things. Aye, I would be in favour of it.”
“It’s not before time. It’s never been recognised, it’s something that should be done, they do it in other parts of the world, they do it in England, Newcastle and awe the rest of them.
“I think it’s about time we had our own. It seems to be a forgotten thing here; people forget the work that was done here. The employment in Singers, right doon tae Greenock it was a big, big time it’s all closed now, nothing here now for young people. Aye, I would visit it of course I would.”
“My Dad worked in Yarrow’s and John Brown’s, he was a welder. He used to tell us stories about when he worked there when I was quite young.”
“He quite enjoyed what he did; when it closed the place died, even in Greenock there was no work.”
“It would be great to have a place to visit to remember the shipyards. It would be quite interesting for kids to see what happened there and to have a place to visit to learn about it all.”
“I think it would be good to celebrate history. We have got some great ships that came out of the yards.”
“It would be good for young people especially, to learn about the people who worked there and the skills they had.”
“My Granda worked in John Brown’s he was a welder. I never met him, he died before I was born. My Gran and my Mum used to tell me all the stories about it and show me old photos.”
“It would be great to have a museum representing the shipyards it would bring more jobs in and maybe inspire more people to go into the shipbuilding industry.”