Doors Open in Govan

Last weekend saw Glasgow’s Doors Open Day and we headed for Govan which is on the south bank of the Clyde. It was a lovely sunny day, so the views back across to the north were glorious.

First, we visited the Govan Stones in Govan Old Church. This is a collection of sculpture from the 9th-11th centuries which were carved to commemorate the power of the Kings of Strathclyde. The hogback stones are Viking and the sarcophagus is the only one of its kind carved from solid stone from northern Britain. However, my favourite is top right in the gallery, the Jordanhill Cross, so-called because it was presented to James Smith of Jordanhill in recognition of his contribution to the design of the new church in Govan in 1856. James Smith’s estate was the site of the library I used to work in – however, the cross had been returned to Govan in 1928 which, I must assure you, long predates my service there!

The exteriors of the next two buildings featured in a previous post (Elder Park and Govan) and I was looking forward to seeing their interiors. The Fairfield Shipyard Offices were designed by John Keppie of Honeyman and Keppie, the firm of which Charles Rennie Mackintosh later became a partner, and have recently been turned into workspaces, with a small heritage centre about the shipyards. I thought it would be a lovely place to work and will definitely go back at a quieter time to look at the exhibitions again – it was just too busy to appreciate properly.

Finally, the Pearce Institute has served the community of Govan for more than a century. It has several large halls for events and also houses offices of charitable organisations. Although it could do with some upgrading in parts, its magnificence was still evident.

Doors Open Day is a wonderful idea, and I discover something new about Glasgow every year.


  1. Love the cross and the sarcophagus. I love the carving and the whole look of that time. There was so much meaning in the pictures and the knots. Isn’t it nice to travel to a place near your home or at your home town and be a tourist.