Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Fairfield Shipyard Museum

After my tour around Govan Old Parish Church and seeing the Govan Stones, I wandered a bit further down Govan Road to what was once the offices of the Fairfield Shipping Company. The offices have had a major refurbishment and are now a museum in honour of the shipyard that once proudly stood there.

Fairfield was the first to combine the works of the ship builders and the engine fitters into the same shipyard. It is built on land that was once a farm, named Fairfield. It was the largest shipyard on the Clyde and built more ships than any of the others. 

While Fairfield did some work for Cunard, they were likely best known for their Empress line - Empress of Britain, Empress of Scotland, and the ill-fated Empress of Ireland. 

Fairfield also partnered with the Canadian Pacific Railway and their ships were the links to the west for many immigrants. Included in these immigrants were British Home Children.

During both world wars, Fairfield build naval ships and submarines as well as air craft carriers in more recent years. 

I was fascinated with the opportunity to see and hold a "riveter", having an ancestor who worked as a riveter. The weight of it was astounding and one can barely imagine standing holding it for hours and hours on end, not to mention the kick-back one would experience every time it "fired" No ergonomics in those days and repetitive strain injuries were a way of life 

A fascinating glimpse into a once illustrious industry, the Fairfield Shipping Museum is open daily from 2 pm - 5 pm. It is a short walk from the Govan subway station. 

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