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Glasgow, Govan, Prince's Dock

Dock (19th Century)

Site Name Glasgow, Govan, Prince's Dock

Classification Dock (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) River Clyde; Cessnock Dock; Glasgow Garden Festival Site; Festival Park; Pacific Quay

Canmore ID 44353

Site Number NS56SE 87

NGR NS 5651 6499

NGR Description NS 5620 6493 to NS 5684 6503.

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Glasgow, City Of
  • Parish Govan (City Of Glasgow)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District City Of Glasgow
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Recording Your Heritage Online

Pacific Quay: Masterplan, 2005, Gareth Hoskins

Riverside redevelopment, on site of 1988 Garden Festival, the infilled Prince's Dock.

Taken from "Greater Glasgow: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Sam Small, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NS56SE 87.00 5620 6493 to 5684 6503

Extends onto map sheet NS56NE.

Not to be confused with Govan Graving Docks (adjacent to NW), for which see NS56NE 118.00.

For battle-axe found during dock construction, see NS56SE 8.

NS56SE 87.01 Centred NS 5651 6499 Steam Cranes

NS56SE 87.02 Cancelled

NS56SE 87.03 Cancelled

NS56SE 87.04 NS 56166 64936 Auxiliary Accumulator Tower

NS56SE 87.05 NS 56580 64958 Centre Basin and Transit Sheds

NS56SE 87.06 NS 56575 64881 South Pier

NS56SE 87.07 NS 56530 64834 South Basin and Transit Sheds

See also:

NS56NE 208 NS 56908 65009 'Four Winds' hydraulic power station and accumulator

NS56NE 4919 NS 56230 65085 Steam crane (on West Quay)

NS56NE 4920 NS 56326 65060 Canting Basin and West Quay

NS56NE 4921 NS 56625 65084 North Basin and Transit Sheds

NS56NE 4922 NS 56625 65084 North Pier

For Glasgow Tower (NS 56382 65279) and Science Centre (NS 56527 65171), see NS56NE 4850 and NS56NE 4861 respectively; both are built on the former North Pier (NS56NE 4922).

Prince's Dock [NAT] (at NS 5638 6511)

OS 1:1250 map, 1983.

Prince's Dock, Govan Road, originally known as Cessnock Dock and built 1893-7 for the Clyde Navigation Trust. The formal opening was performed by the Duchess of York on 10 September 1895. There are the basins, with a total water area of 35 acres [14.2ha], 3737 yds [3418m], and an entrance 155ft [47.3m] wide. Originally, the cranes and capstans were hydraulically operated; the power station (NS56NE 208) still stands. A second accumulator tower (NS56NE 87.04), three storeys high, was added at the SW corner of the dock in 1911-12. Alone among the Glasgow docks, all the warehouses are two storeys in height, with upper floors supported on heavy riveted plate girders, though as usual the walls are of brick. The doors on the road side have segmental arched heads. The dock cost about £1,250,000.

J R Hume 1974.

(Location cited as NS 565 650). Prince's Dock, built 1893-7 for the Clyde Navigation Trust. A large tidal dock, with three basins, lined with two-storey transit sheds. At the E end is the former hydraulic power station (NS56NE 208), with a Gothic accumulator tower and the stump if an octagonal chimney with a sculptured frieze.

J R Hume 1976.

Prince's Dock, Govan Road. Infilled and landscaped for Glasow's Garden Festival of 1988, and thereafter to be used for houses. The dock was built in 1893-7 for the Clyde Navigation Trust, and until its opening in 1897 was known as Cessnock Dock. The three basins, two-storied warehouses (unique in Glasgow) and hydraulically-powered cranes and capstans have gone, but the hydraulic pumping station (NS56NE 208) still stands at the NW corner: 1894, by Burnet, Son and Campbell. The N end is a splendid accumulator tower with machicolations in medieval Italian style. At the S end, the stump of an octagonal chimney in the form of the 'Tower of the Winds', with relief panels set in the frieze. Another accumulator tower (NS56SE 87.04) was built at the SW corner in 1911-12.

E Williamson, A Riches and M Higgs 1990.

(Illustrations include plans of dock as projected and as completed, and also aerial view in 1932).

J Riddell 2000.

This tidal (unlocked) dock is situated on the S bank of the River Clyde, within the area of the Lower Harbour. Following infilling and use as the site of the Glasgow Garden Festival, it has been redeveoped.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 15 February 2006.


Publication Account (2007)

David Logan and later engineers continued the practice of dredging and by 1871, under the direction of Clyde Navigation Engineer James Deas, a minimum depth of 22 ft at high water was available between Greenock and the Broomielaw quays, a distance of some 22 miles.

Major developments included the building of the immense Cessnock Dock to the south [later renamed Pronce's Dock]. The now-disused graving docks near the entrance of 551 by 72 by 22 ft 10 in. deep (1875), 575 by 67 by 22 ft 10 in. deep (1886) and 880 by 83 by 2612ft deep, 130 ft longer than the Prince of Wales Dock, Southampton (1897), were built under the direction of Deas and exemplify the heyday of Glasgow as a mercantile port and, in terms of population, Britain’s second largest city.

R Paxton and J Shipway

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' with kind permission of Thomas Telford Publishers.

Publication Account (2007)

This dock was known as Cessnock Dock until renamed Prince’s Dock at its opening by the Duchess of York in

September 1897. Its entrance was at the north-west corner of a 35 acre site, with an extreme length of water area of 2000 ft by 1100 ft wide, leading to a large canting basin at the east side of which were three parallel basins 200 ft wide, 25 ft deep, with more than two miles of quayage.

The total cost excluding land was about £1.5 million. Deas devised an ingenious system of cylindrical foundations for constructing the quay walls in soft ground. The cylinders were triple of pre-cast concrete and built up of ten rings, each 2 ft 6 in. deep and one of 1 ft 6 in., making, with shoe, 28 ft total height. When assembled the sand and gravel was dug out simultaneously from within the cylinders by specially designed excavators. Segmental weights of 300–400 tons were required to force each group of cylinders down to 50 ft below cope level. The cavity was then filled with concrete.

The dock was filled in during the 1980s to allow the development of the Garden Festival site of 1988.

[For the hydraulic pumping station designed by J. J. Burnett and J. A. Campbell in 1894, see NS56SE 87.04].

R Paxton and J Shipway

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' with kind permission of Thomas Telford Publishers.

Desk Based Assessment (10 August 2017)

Prince’s Dock (NS56NE 4920), located on the south bank of the River Clyde in the Govan area of Glasgow, was designed by James Deas and constructed between 1892 and 1897. With a total water area of 35 acres (14.2ha), it was built primarily to cater for general cargo trade and comprised a large canting basin with associated quays and an entrance on the NW (NS56NE 4920) and (to the ESE of this) three basins (NS56SE 87.05-07 and NS56NE 4921) that lay parallel to the river (OS 25-inch 3rd edition map: Lanarkshire 1913, Sheets 006.09 and 006.10). The dock, which was equipped with hydraulic cranes and 2-storey transit sheds, cost the Clyde Navigation Trust £995,805 to construct after purchasing the site for £285,000. Prince’s Dock ceased to be a commercial dock in the 1970s, and the basins were filled in during the 1980s to allow the development of the Garden Festival site of 1988. Today the area is part of the regenerated area of Pacific Quay, which includes the Glasgow Science Centre (NS56NE 4861) and BBC Scotland Broadcasting Studio (NS56NE 4953). Much of the Canting Basin remains water-filled and the hydraulic power station (NS56NE 208) also survives.

Information from HES Survey and Recording (AMcC) 10 August 2017.


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