“Glasgow made the Clyde, and the Clyde made Glasgow”
For the first time, we head north of the border to Scotland! And whilst Gus, Oliver, and Charlotte come along for the ride, our expert guides are Tom, Jo, Ellie and Tanya from SCAPE, whose Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Project (SCHARP) was the inspiration for CITiZAN.
This week it all gets a bit muddy, as we explore the banks of the tidal River Clyde. This episode blew my mind, as it seems totally ridiculous that a river that built and launched some of the world’s largest ships could be WADED ACROSS just a couple of hundred years ago.
As ever, there was so much we couldn’t fit in to a Channel 4 hour. So here are some links to help you delve a little deeper into the fascinating archaeology and history of the Clyde.
After a weekend of for Crufts, Britain at Low Tide is back **17TH MARCH, 8PM, CHANNEL 4** where we will be investigating the Severn, and those who have braved its tricksy, dangerous crossings, from medieval hermits to Bob Dylan…
NEWSHOT SHIP GRAVEYARD
This is the home of the MUD PUNTS (impossible to say this without a twinkle, for some reason…), the SCHOONERS, and THE DIVING BELL BARGE. A veritable treasure trove, capturing the history of the deepening of the Clyde, and the growth of Glasgow as a city.
- SCAPE have done a stellar job working with local volunteers to record and investigate the history of Newshot. Here is their own survey report, complete with maps, pictures, and delicious archaeological detail: http://www.scharp.co.uk/media/medialibrary/2017/08/NEWSHOT-DSR-small.pdf [pdf]
- And here is a blog post all about the top-notch investigative work by Ian Sinclair in tracking down the true identity of the Diving Bell Barge: https://scharpblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/the-newshot-ship-graveyard-part-2-a-very-special-vessel/
- While here is the full story of how the schooners came to be dumped at Newshot: https://scharpblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/the-newshot-ship-graveyard-part-1-the-mystery-of-the-burned-schooners/
Oh, how I love this Crannog. And we didn’t even get to go into the fascinating, tragi-comical history of the site, full of fakes and ‘queer objects’. Trust me, it’s worth looking into:
- Start by reading this illustrated, accessible, and un-put-downable introdcution to the site by Alex Hale (who we met in the programme) and Rob Sands: Controversy on the Clyde, Archaeologists, Fakes and Forgers (out of print, but you can still find copies for sale online)
- or take a look at the site summary, complete with fabulous images: https://canmore.org.uk/site/43402/dumbuck
- And here is a nice paper on dating the Clyde Crannogs (there are at least FOUR!), by Alex and colleagues, with some context and background info: http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/148822/1/148822.pdf [pdf]
TIMBER PONDS (AND LORDS)
The Timber Lords were the money and power behind the early growth of Glasgow. The sheer extent of the timber ponds,even just the stumps in the mud that remain, are testament to this wealth. What we didn’t touch on, and what I wish we had, was the dark side to this trade wealth: slavery.
- these pictures show how eerie, and extensive the timber ponds are/were: https://www.geograph.org.uk/snippet/15258
- the Open University have a rather nice walking tour of Glasgow that you can follow, either on foot or from the safety of your armchair, focussing on the city’s Timber Lord history: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/heritage/walk-around-glasgow
- and just as a very brief insight into how slavery was a key component of the tobacco trade into Glasgow, see this search within The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History by James A. Rawley and Stephen D. Behrendt.
The Lang Dyke was the 18th Century engineering solution to the Timber Lords’ problem of not being able to get their ships close to the city.
- This blog by Scharp gives a nice overview to the problem, and John Golborne’s solution (plus some fab pics): https://scharpblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/02/exploring-the-clyde-with-britain-at-low-tide/
- and here is the potted biography of John Golborne in
A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland edited by A. W. Skempton.