The draft white paper on the proposal for a heritage park at Govan Graving Docks is now available to download in PDF format. You may share and redistribute this document provided it is not edited in any way.
Govan Graving Docks Heritage Park
A conceptual proposal for the redevelopment of Govan Graving Docks in Glasgow as a
shipbuilding and maritime heritage park
This paper presents a conceptual proposal for the redevelopment of the Govan Graving Docks in Glasgow as a shipbuilding and maritime heritage park.
The heritage park proposal puts forward a mix of residential (berths for live-aboard boats) and small-scale commercial development complementing an area of public realm quaysides, landscaped gardens, market space, ecology and nature reserve areas and museum heritage displays and exhibitions including restored vessels.
The wider context of previous development proposals for Govan Graving Docks and the socio-economic impact of the proposal is acknowledged and addressed, as well as the need to include community stakeholders moving forward. The challenges that will be faced in seeking to create a heritage park development will also be identified with a view to soliciting expert feedback.
The proposal makes as it’s core assertion that there is an inadequate level of recognition in Glasgow of the city’s shipbuilding and maritime heritage and that a heritage park at Govan Graving Docks would address this in a way that befits the key role these industries played in the city’s history and growth. Glasgow is synonymous the world over with shipbuilding and related industries however very little trace of the city’s industrial past remains. Govan Graving Docks is the only remaining major industrial dock complex on the Upper Clyde that has not been filled to make way for modern developments and may represent the only remaining opportunity to create a heritage site of this kind. Such opportunity would be permanently lost were the site used to create luxury housing. While new housing development will be very necessary in the years to come there is adequate derelict or disused land elsewhere in Glasgow with little historic interest and which is more suitable for extensive construction. Furthermore waterfront housing developments tend to be at the premium end of the market and this is not where housing supply inadequacies are currently found.
Glasgow is widely associated with shipbuilding and maritime industries as well as more recently with the industrial decline that the industries left in their wake. Clyde-built ships travelled throughout the world and were instrumental in development of the British Empire and trade with the colonies and other overseas territories. It is therefore apparent that there is an opportunity to develop this heritage in a way that appeals to a wide range of interests. While other cities with notable maritime heritage (for example Dundee , Liverpool  and Cardiff ) have developed their waterfronts extensively in a way that celebrates their maritime past there is very little development of this kind in Glasgow and no coherent strategy for the development of the city’s waterfront overall.
Wider spatial planning for Glasgow waterfront is outside of the scope of this paper but it is hoped that future strategy development by local planners will have a positive impact on the future of Govan Graving Docks. It is also possible that a development of Govan Graving Docks that is founded on heritage and conservation will have a positive influence on strategies for other developments along the Clyde Corridor in the future.
This paper does not answer all of the questions the proposal raises nor are the questions raised an exhaustive list of the challenges that must be met if a heritage park is to be delivered but it is hoped it will bring on board serious engagement from those with the resources and expertise necessary to assist in making a heritage park a reality.