Exhibition captures the changing face of the River Clyde

A 1955 view across Govan, taken from the Meadowside Granary in Partick. The Harland & Wolff shipyard on the left closed in 1963. The Fairfield yard on the right is now owned by BAE Systems and is still in operation. All pictures: CSG CIC Glasgow Museums & Libraries
A 1955 view across Govan, taken from the Meadowside Granary in Partick. The Harland & Wolff shipyard on the left closed in 1963. The Fairfield yard on the right is now owned by BAE Systems and is still in operation. All pictures: CSG CIC Glasgow Museums & Libraries
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It’s the river that powered Glasgow’s transformation from a small university town to an industrial powerhouse in the 19th century.

The Clyde is synonymous with the city it runs through.

The Finnieston crane pictured in 1955. It was completed in 1931 to serve the Queen's Dock, which is now infilled and is the site of the SECC. Picture: CSG CIC Glasgow Museums & Libraries

The Finnieston crane pictured in 1955. It was completed in 1931 to serve the Queen's Dock, which is now infilled and is the site of the SECC. Picture: CSG CIC Glasgow Museums & Libraries

While it remains a working river, with two shipyards producing naval vessels at Govan and Scotstoun, much of the city’s maritime industry has vanished over the last 50 years.

Ocean liners no longer depart for North America from Yorkhill Quay, while the Queen’s Dock has been infilled to make way for hotels and an exhibition centre.

Now a photographic exhibition will chart the evolution of the waterway over the centuries and the dockside communities it supports.

Clyde Life opened today at the Riverside Museum and presents 22 striking images from Glasgow Museums’ collection.

A painting of the Govan ferry in 1835. Picture: CSG CIC Glasgow Museums & Libraries

A painting of the Govan ferry in 1835. Picture: CSG CIC Glasgow Museums & Libraries

The images chronicle the transformation of the Clyde across a 200-year period, from the early 1800s until the present day.

“Clyde Life reveals many evocative aspects of the iconic river that will delight and surprise visitors,” said Councillor Archie Graham, chairman of Glasgow Life.

“It begins with a beautiful watercolour by an unknown artist, showing salmon fishing in the early 1800s, and moves through the years.

“Strong black and white photos show the majestic Finnieston crane and the vast changes that accompanied the rise of heavy industry.

A view of the Clyde looking east in 1955. Yorkhill Quay is on the left, with the Queen's Dock in the distance. Picture: CSG CIC Glasgow Museums & Libraries

A view of the Clyde looking east in 1955. Yorkhill Quay is on the left, with the Queen's Dock in the distance. Picture: CSG CIC Glasgow Museums & Libraries

“The final images ignite a touch of nostalgia, looking back on great city successes like the Glasgow Garden Festival and the construction of Riverside Museum itself.”

READ MORE: Campaign to preserve Glasgow’s maritime history heats up

The Coca-Cola Roller at the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988

The Coca-Cola Roller at the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988

Excursion steamers and American ships on the Clyde in 1832

Excursion steamers and American ships on the Clyde in 1832

A view of the Clyde from the George V bridge in the city centre, 1955

A view of the Clyde from the George V bridge in the city centre, 1955

The Kelvin at Pointhouse

The Kelvin at Pointhouse

Salmon fishing at Govan in the 1800s

Salmon fishing at Govan in the 1800s