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General, Fairfield Shipyard And Engine Works, 1048 Govan Road, Glasgow

A Category A Listed Building in Govan, Glasgow

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Latitude: 55.8649 / 55°51'53"N

Longitude: -4.3227 / 4°19'21"W

OS Eastings: 254740

OS Northings: 665961

OS Grid: NS547659

Mapcode National: GBR 04K.TB

Mapcode Global: WH3P1.KVS9

Plus Code: 9C7QVM7G+XW

Entry Name: General, Fairfield Shipyard And Engine Works, 1048 Govan Road, Glasgow

Listing Name: 1048 Govan Road, Govan Shipbuilders' Store, Former Engine Works of Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company

Listing Date: 15 May 1987

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 376978

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB33357

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Glasgow

County: Glasgow

Town: Glasgow

Electoral Ward: Govan

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Angus Kennedy: 1st drawings December 1868, working
details summer 1869, completed 1871, in full production
1874. Engine Works approx 300' square, with 2 erecting
shops added to W by Wm Arrol in 1906 and 1916.
S elevation: giant classical brick facade, 9 bays, each
separated by paired pilasters. 1869 Engine Works: 7
bays masking fitting/machine shops and 3 intermediate
galleried bays. Bays fronting galleries and 4th, W,
machine shop have 2 ground floor round-headed windows
and 2 1st floor windows, all blocked. 1st E, machine
shop: round arched doorway and original massive wooden
hinged door with multi-paned iron-framed glazed light
above and 2 42-paned windows. 2nd shop bigger moulded
keystoned arch, over 30-foot tall, with multi-paned
glazing over modern roller door. 3rd machine shop
identical except blocked door.
Side Walls: 9-bay, with 3 tall arched and keystoned
doorways, part blocked, between pilasters. The other
bays had tall round-headed windows, blocked in 19th
century and false 1st floor windows (never glazed). E.
wall now behind metal cladding. W wall seen from 1906
erecting shop.
N Wall is similar to S but with a circa 1920 building
Entablature, cornice, slate roof glazed at ridge. Behind
the perimeter ridges, roofs over machine shops are glazed
and over galleries slated (all as built).
2 W bays (Wm Arrol): 1st bay 1906, built to match Boiler
Shop at E (by A Myles 1889, demolished). Paired
pilasters and large central arched doorway, flanking
round-headed windows and 4 upper level windows in
panels, all false. W bay, 1916, similar but wider, with
modern cladding to W wall.
Most windows were blocked before 1900, and those along
sides and in Arrol block were always blind.
Interior: 4 machine, turning and fitting shops aligned
N-S, each 300' long with 50' spans. 3 intermediate
gallery bays, 30' spans, formerly held 2 upper levels for
lighter work, tool room millwrights etc. (upper galleries
and parts of lower galleries removed 1938, but part
remains at S end of eastmost gallery). Internal brick
buttresses stretch about 10' into the works to strengthen
wall at ends of each row of stanchions. 6 rows of 8
cast-iron I-section stanchions. Each stanchion carries 3
pairs of bracing struts branching out to carry 2 cast-iron
box girders at gallery levels and larger top malleable iron
girder for travelling crane. Top struts are timber, and
carry timber king-post roofs. New breeze block partition
between 2nd gallery and 3rd machine shop. Some
stanchions are encased in concrete. Brick walls have
relief arches and fittings for jib cranes.
Arrol's erecting shops at W: internal steel frame carries
crane girders. Ridge and furrow steel tie glazed roof on
steel lattice girders.

Statement of Interest

"The finest surviving engineering works in Scotland and

perhaps in Britan "(Hume, 1976, p24). It is probable

that no other similar building, employing an internal

cast-iron frame, exists on such a scale anywhere else in

the world. The cast-iron stanchions are a characteristic of

Scottish engineering works, but few have survived, and

those that do (such as Linthouse and the Caledonian

Ironworks) are less massive than here. Few heavy

engineering works elsewhere in the world can have been on

this scale and even fewer would have cast-iron as opposed

to timber, wrought-iron, brick or steel vertical


Built for the biggest private shipyard in the world, this

building produced the engines for such pioneering ships


Randolph, Elder and Co, pioneers of the Compound

Engine, were founded in 1852 and moved in the 1960s to

Fairfield. From 1869 to 1888 the company was run by

William Pearce, and was renamed in 1885 the Fairfield

Shipbuilding and Engineering Co Ltd.

List excludes metal-clad, steel framed bay at W, addition

to N, internal breeze-block partition, modern stair in

front of second bay and metal cladding on E wall.

External Links

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