Clydebank has a number of global connections that have shaped the area historically and which make it the place it is today.
It is very much a town of wider interconnections, evidenced not only by Singer’s, by the legacies of war time destruction and the subsequent decline of much of its heavy industries in the final decades of the twentieth century, but also by its location at the mouth of the River Clyde, one of the most important rivers in the UK.
An oft repeated saying is that ‘the Clyde made Glasgow and Glasgow made the Clyde,’ yet arguably the same is true of Clydebank, perhaps more so.However, those interconnections are also more localised. In other ways Clydebank’s connections with other parts of Scotland is marked by the Forth and Clyde Canal, connecting the River Forth, some 35 miles away, with the River Clyde, linking to the Clyde a few miles to the west of Clydebank at Bowling.
Clydebank at night, as seen from the Titan Crane.
Clydebank’s location at the heart of global shipbuilding has now long gone. The relatively short lived period in the 1980s and 1990s when shipbuilding gave way to oil rig construction, in its own ways marking other global connections, has also passed, with the Titan Crane representing one of the few remaining symbols of this industrial legacy.
If Clydebank’s long history with the production of the tools of leisure is represented by cruise liners and, perhaps more ambiguously, with sewing machines, the riverside regeneration programmes which seek to make Clydebank a more attractive location for global investment, also create new leisure spaces and amenities, the Titan Crane being the most visible recent manifestation of such.
Clydebank and other Clydeside towns have been shaped and reshaped by a century and more of global economic and social change. What remains is a landscape adjusting to a new role in the world.