Celebration is focus for Govan's regeneration

05 Aug 2009

BYOB took on a whole new meaning on Friday 8 May, as local people were invited to Bring Your Own Baby to a 'baby shower' celebrating the rebirth of Govan as it undertakes a £120 million 10 year regeneration programme.

A missing baby - the cherub that was once the centrepiece of a memorial fountain in Govan - was the inspiration behind a 6 month long arts project that culminates today with the premiere of a short film, Where's Baby?, that involved 150 local people.

"Today is symbolic of the transformation of Govan and I'm delighted to be here to witness it," said Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and local MSP, at the launch.  "As the film shows, people are at the heart of Govan and will continue to be.  The area was devastated by the demise of ship building and industry, but since the late 80s, the picture has been gradually changing.  The Garden Festival, the Science Centre, the growth of the creative industries on Pacific Quay, the 'squinty bridge', the Riverside Museum and new housing - all these developments are helping bring Govan back to life. And I'm delighted to see the regeneration focusing Govan Town Centre not just because of the fantastic potential this area offers with it's exceptionally rich heritage, listed buildings and waterfront location, but because of the desire from local people to see the town centre returned to its former stature - the hub of community life and a significant player in the economy and culture of Glasgow and Scotland."

"These celebrations herald a gear change in the renewal process that is underway in Govan" said Susan Hanlin, Executive Officer of Central Govan Action Plan.  "The Central Govan Action Plan is a 10 year, £120m project that aims to make central Govan glorious again. With major new housing, improved public realm and environmental improvement projects now underway, this 6 month arts project has succeeded in getting local people involved in the regeneration of their public space.  Their memories, ideas, drawings and words appear in the film and remind us of what Govan has been and may be in the future.  And today we've created a real buzz at Govan Cross by getting together on the street to enjoy the film and to look forward to the really significant changes kicking off in Govan.  We're at a tipping point."

"When I started this project 6 months ago, the sad Victorian drinking fountain in the centre of Govan just seemed to say it all," said artist, Colin Begg.  "The cherub and basin of the fountain were missing.  I began to wonder about other things that were missing in Govan - shipbuilding, industry, housing, jobs, the heart of the community, a sense of civic pride."

Colin went on to spend 6 months working with local people to capture their ideas and share an understanding of Govan, its 2,000 year history and its potential.

150 local people aged from 10 to 85 took part: the pupils of Hill's Trust, Copeland Road and St Constantine's primaries, and Govan High School.  Young people created drawings; older people shared memories and told stories. The material gathered has been used to create the film Where's Baby? to celebrate the rich heritage and future potential of Govan. And, to the delight of the project organisers, the story of Govan's missing baby has also inspired Govan Cross Shopping Centre to do its part to bring the baby back by incorporating the baby motif into its new signage - a lasting legacy of the art project that will improve the attractiveness of Govan Cross.

The arts project was funded through the Scottish Government's Fairer Scotland Fund and RSL Wider Role Fund and was commissioned through Central Govan Action Plan to help engage local people in the multi-million pound investment going on in Govan; one of Scotland's biggest regeneration projects.

·       The partners in the Central Govan Action Plan are Glasgow City Council; Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency; Govan, Elderpark and Clydeside Housing Associations; Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board; Strathclyde Partnership for Transport; Govan and Craigton Community Planning Partnership and local elected members and residents of Govan.

·       The plan aims to make Central Govan attractive, vibrant and prosperous by providing more quality housing; improving the townscape, creating a distinctive town centre with the underground as a main transport hub, attracting investment, creating employment spaces, linking to training, skills and employment initiatives; making the most of vacant and derelict land; revitalising listed and underused buildings; strengthening links within the area, to the waterfront and with neighbouring communities, and developing heritage and tourism potential.

·       Implementation started in Summer 2006 and has seen Orkney Street Police Station refurbished at a cost of £3.5 million, providing business units for start ups and social enterprise; the Portal arts hub created with demand currently outstripping supply for space, and a £1.4m repair contract on site to save the A-listed Fairfield Shipyard Building. A £57 million housing investment programme is planned over the next two years to create 450 new homes and boost the population by more than 1000 people - unsurpassed housing investment in any area of Glasgow. Construction began on 2 sites in April 2009  - Rathlin Street and Harhill Street -  to create160 houses at a cost of £21 million. Other imminent projects include: Langlands Path Upgrade; the restoration of the Pearce Institute, and a major public realm improvement at Govan Cross, which will see the focus of the art project - the Aitken Memorial Fountain - fully restored.

·       Inspired by the story of Govan's missing baby, Govan Cross Shopping Centre has incorporated the baby motif into its new signage, leaving a permanent project legacy that helps improve Govan Cross. The arts project launch coincides with construction work beginning on site for new housing and other major regeneration developments in the area.


  • CGAP's Susan Hanlin, Nicola Sturgeon MSP and artist Colin Begg with the film playing in the background

Central Govan Action Plan
  • Central Govan action plan