How Glasgow annexed Govan and Partick 100 years ago
Published: 7th Aug 2012 16:58:27
Across the world, Glasgow is known for its shipbuilding.
But a century ago, the yards building Britain's mighty merchant navy were not in Glasgow at all.
They were in Govan and Partick - which at that time were independent burghs down river of the city centre.
But Glasgow had long-held ambitions to annex its neighbours and create a much larger city.
Several attempts dating back to the 1870s had failed in parliament, but by 1911 things were getting critical, and it sponsored the Glasgow Boundaries Bill before parliament.
The census that year revealed Glasgow's population was 784,496, larger than any city outside of London.
But Birmingham, which had a population of just 525,960 had recently incorporated the borough of Aston, to take its total to more than 800,000.
"The creation of a greater Glasgow would reclaim the proud position of Glasgow as the Second City of the Empire, which is in danger of being lost," said a report to the Lord Provost.
The city relied on economic arguments to strengthen its case before Westminster.
"If it had not been for the enterprise of the City in deepening the River Clyde at tremendous cost, there would have been neither shipbuilding yards nor docks for the population of Govan to be employed in," Glasgow's counsel told the parliamentary committee examining the bill.
A former Lord Provost of Glasgow, Dr Michael Kelly says amalgamation made economic sense.
"There were businessmen - entrepreneurs in the city of Glasgow," he said.
"And there were manufacturers outwith that, say in the shipyards for example, which would be in Govan.
"So it was very important to co-ordinate the supply of services plus the giving of planning permissions and the laying out of a broader plan, an industrial plan for the city. "
Neither Partick nor Govan was interested in losing its independence; nor was the small southside burgh of Pollokshaws, which was also targeted by Glasgow.
Following an anti-amalgamation demonstration, The Govan Post reported: "The meeting in the Govan Town Hall was attended by many hundreds of the ratepayers who have an interest in the burgh of Govan; who have also taken a deep interest in the progress, and watched with pride its growing assets and sound financial position."
It added: "They are determined that this shall not be handed away, and the independence of our burgh will be fought for to the end."
But the working class of Govan, the 7th largest burgh in Scotland were bought by promises of cheaper power.
Glasgow Corporation supplied electricity, gas and water to the other burghs, and claimed, for instance Govan residents would pay 9d in the £1 less on stair lighting charges.
The saving for Partick would be 7½d and for Pollokshaws, 7 3/4d.
According to Colin Quigley, a volunteer for the Govan local history group, the Fairfield Heritage Project, it was a persuasive argument.
Britain's largest cities, 1911
Source: 1911 Census
"I think it primarily came down to taxes," he said.
"Glasgow was offering the working man what was called differential rates in taxes, which meant they would have paid a lot less.
"Business owners and the more affluent in Govan would have suffered - they would have actually paid more. So I think the division fell down the line of class."
Glasgow also offered Govan a new hall, library, washhouses and public baths to the value of £40,000; Partick was promised even more - £50,000 worth of civic projects.
Even little Pollokshaws would get a new swimming pool and recreation grounds.
This raised the anger of the Ratepayers' Federation which gave evidence to parliament.
"The most pressing problem in Glasgow at the present is not annexation of green fields and well-administered burghs, but the extermination of the slums, with their attendant crime and misery which are a greater menace to the health of the community than any other factor."
But a massive petition was sent to the House of Lords from Govan in favour of amalgamation. Virtually all of its signatories were working class men.
So on 7 August 1912, the Glasgow Boundaries Act passed into law, largely creating the city we see today.
At 06:55:59 in WalesThere is one week to go before world leaders descend on Wales for the 2014 Nato summit at Newport's Celtic Manor.
At 06:47:23 in Northern IrelandA call for more funding for the arts because of its importance to society has been made by the Arts and Disability Forum.
At 06:30:56 in Northern IrelandEvery year, 13 children with heart defects in Northern Ireland die before they reach school age, according to the British Heart Foundation.
At 06:24:05 in EnglandThe birth of twin East African bongo antelopes is "fantastic news" for the "critically endangered" species, say conservationists.
At 06:22:35 in Northern IrelandA former professor of dentistry has lost his case for unfair dismissal brought against Queen's University.
At 06:07:51 in ScotlandMore than 200 business figures have signed an open letter backing Scottish independence.
At 05:55:32 in HeadlinesUS police say Equatorial Guinea's ambassador is suspected of beating a girl with a wooden chair leg but won't be arrested because he has diplomatic immunity.
At 05:52:40 in HeadlinesIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to launch a plan to provide a bank account for every household, in a landmark initiative to help the poor.
At 05:49:38 in HeadlinesMany papers point the finger at officials in Rotherham over their failure to prevent organised child abuse over a period of 16 years, and wonder why no-one has lost their job as a result.
At 04:22:03 in EnglandA campaign which was key to gaining equality for Bristol's black and ethnic minorities is to be remembered with a new plaque.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. How Glasgow annexed Govan and Partick 100 years ago [Online] (Updated 7th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1445007/How-Glasgow-annexed-Govan-and-Partick-100-years-ago [Accessed 28th Aug 2014]
News In Other Categories
A crew member on an US police reality TV show has been shot and killed after Nebraska police opened fire on a robbery suspect.
More than 200 business figures have signed an open letter backing Scottish independence.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
The birth of twin East African bongo antelopes is "fantastic news" for the "critically endangered" species, say conservationists.
There is one week to go before world leaders descend on Wales for the 2014 Nato summit at Newport's Celtic Manor.
A call for more funding for the arts because of its importance to society has been made by the Arts and Disability Forum.