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Govan

Wikipedia Reference Information

Govan (Baile a' Ghobhainn in Gaelic) is a district and former burgh in the southwestern part of the Scottish city of Glasgow. It is situated on the south bank of the River Clyde, just across from Partick. It was an administratively independent Police burgh from 1864 until it was incorporated into the expanding city of Glasgow in 1912.

Govan was at one stage the centre of the world-renowned Clydeside shipbuilding industry, although few yards remain today. Those that do are under almost constant financial threat. Govan remains one of two large shipyards to survive, the other being Yarrow Shipbuilders Limited (YSL). Both of these yards form BAE Systems Naval Ships.

Govan shipyard was founded in the 1860s as Randolph, Elder and Company, later John Elder and Company. In 1885 the yard was reorganised as the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd. This company continued until 1965 when it filed for bankruptcy. In response, the yard was again reorganised in 1966 as Fairfields, which was guaranteed by the government. The following year Fairfields and the other major Clydeside yards (Stephens, Connels, YSL and Browns) were merged to form Upper Clyde Shipbuilders (UCS).

In 1971 the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders went into receivership and the Tory government under Edward Heath refused it a £6m loan. Rather than go on strike, which was the traditional form of industrial action, the union leadership of the yards decided to have a 'work-in' and complete the orders that the shipyards had in place. In this way they dispelled the idea of the workers being 'work-shy' and also wanted to illustrate the long-term viability of the yards. The work-in was successful in the short-term. YSL withdrew from UCS in 1971 and Govan was sold off in 1973 as Govan Shipbuilders.

In 1977 the Labour government of James Callaghan passed the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act which nationalised Govan and grouped it with other major British shipyards as British Shipbuilders. In May 1979 Margaret Thatcher was elected as Prime Minister and her administration soon began its privatisation programme. British Aerospace, established by the same act, was privatised in 1981. British Shipbuilder's road to privatisation was not as swift, and the group was sold piece by piece throughout the decade. Govan was sold to Kværner in 1988.

In 1999 GEC's Marconi Electronic Systems division purchased the yard from Kværner. GEC's Marconi Marine division already owned YSL (purchased in 1985) and VSEL (purchased in 1995). Marconi Electronic Systems and its Marconi Marine unit were sold to British Aerospace in 1999 to form BAE Systems. The shipbuilding operations became BAE Systems Marine, now BAE Systems Naval Ships.

The complete, up-to-date and editable article about Govan can be found at Wikipedia: Govan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Govan




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