History of Clydeside in new art exhibition

THE amazing history of Clydeside - from centuries-old monuments all the way up to the Hydro - has been captured in an exhibition at a new Glasgow venue.

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These are just some of the images in the exhibition showing the vast changes on Clydeside, while, botton, is the opening of the Premier Inn
These are just some of the images in the exhibition showing the vast changes on Clydeside, while, botton, is the opening of the Premier Inn

The display of photographs and information takes pride of place in the foyer of the new £11million Premier Inn hotel, at Pacific Quay.

The Clydeside area has played such a rich part in Glasgow's history the hotel occupies an important site.

The site, next to the BBC and STV headquarters, and opposite the SECC and Hydro, was home to part of the Garden Festival in 1988, .

Long before that, it was part of the Prince's Dock, a large tidal dock with three basins, and the largest on the Clyde.

The docks were shut in the 1970s and the basins later filled in.

The exhibition, which was unveiled by Professor John Hume, former lecturer in Economic History at Strathclyde University, begins with the early history of Govan.

Using photographs from the Govan Stones Project, it relates how the area was once the centre of the medieval kingdom of Strathclyde, "with a powerful church at its heart.

"The most spectacular evidence for Govan's importance," it adds, "is the unique collection of Celtic and Viking sculpture carved between the 9th and 11th Centuries, which is now on display in Govan Old Church."

The story shifts forward in time to the growth of industrial Glasgow and the early days of shipping on the Clyde.

By the middle of the 16th Century, Glasgow was a market town with about 5000 inhabitants. Almost two centuries later, the population had grown to nearly 150,000. Shipyards began to spring up along the banks of the Clyde.

The explosion in shipbuilding helped to carry Glasgow's name across the globe.

By 1890 there were 45 shipyards on the Clyde. So busy were they that they employed more than half of the entire British workforce.

OVER time, shipbuilding fell into decline. The banks of the river lay unused for many years but gradually they gained a new purpose - as home to new developments, such as housing and entertainment.

The area is now thriving. Hotels, blocks of flats, media companies, the Riverside Museum and the SECC 'campus' now occupy both banks of this part of Clydeside.

The hotel was opened yesterday by Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson, Premier Inn operations director Chris Cooper, regional operations director Audrey Gillespie, and the hotel's general manager Kenny McLean.

russell.leadbetter@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment

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