The Changing Face of Glasgow – Pacific Quay

We have again looked through our archives to see how sections of Great Britain have changed through the 20th century (see how the London Docklands have changed). In this blog, we shall have a brief look at the extensive regeneration of Glasgow west of the City Centre. An area previously home to Govan Graving Docks and Pacific Quay the largest docks on the Clyde. This area is now home to Glasgow Science Centre and BBC Scotland HQ.

Glasgow City has been subject to large urban regeneration most famously seen in the “The Bruce Report” published in 1945. The report influenced an intensive programme of regeneration and rebuilding including, most vividly, the M8 motorway which is the only motorway in the U.K. to directly serve and bisect a large urban area. The M8 can be seen crossing the Clyde as the Kingston Bridge in the latest 2016 map below.

The area was first mapped by Geographers’ A-Z Map Company in the 1951 Glasgow Premier Map.

Glasgow was one of the largest cities in the world during the 19th century and was disputably known as “the Second City of the Empire” after London. The city became the preeminent shipbuilding and one of the biggest trading centres of the world.

Pacific Quay

Prince’s Dock was formally opened by the Duchess of York in 1897. The dock basin was the largest on the River Clyde operating as one of the principal unloading destinations for trade throughout the British Empire. However, it ceased to be used as a commercial dock by the Clyde Port Authority during the 1970s as the volume of shipping using the Upper Clyde declined with the onset of containerization.

The majority of the Prince’s dock area was infilled in the 1980s for the 1988 Garden Festival, and part of the festival site was redeveloped for housing on its completion. Festival Park is an area of green space left over from the Garden Festival.

Today Pacific Quay includes:

  • Glasgow Science Centre
  • BBC Pacific Quay, BBC Scotland headquarters and studios.
  • STV, headquarters and studios for the Scottish ITV network
  • Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre

 Govan Docks

To the immediate west of Pacific Quay lies the former Govan Graving Docks. Graving docks are a classic form of dry dock. These docks were opened in stages from 1875 – 1897 to cater for the inspection and repair of the bottom of ships. These docks remained in use until 1988.

The area is currently being considered for development, perhaps to be preserved for industrial/maritime heritage.



A-Z Maps produce a wallpaper of Glasgow and we have a host of archive and current map data that is available for purchase please get in touch with us to get more information.

Check out the Glasgow A-Z Map app for Android

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