The Govan Shed was built in the late 1940s by Harland & Wolff, at a time when the company's Govan yards were heavily involved in building, repairing and refitting ships as part of the efforts to build the country out of WW2. The building can be seen from above in an aerial photograph taken in September 1947 as it was in the middle of construction. It can be seen that the main structure and cladding was in place, but the windows were not yet installed, nor was the brick sections on Clydebrae Street. Prior to the building of the Govan Shed, the site was quite clearly vacant in this aerial photograph taken in 1935. Another aerial photograph taken in 1931 shows the shed location as partially a flat site, but with another lower building in place. We have no idea what the previous building was used for.

After the closure of the shipyards in the 1960s with the decline of Glasgow shipbuilding, the Shed was used by Lewis's Polytechnic as a warehouse and distribution centre (the industrial units at 21 Clydebrae Street were built as loading bays which connected into the Govan Shed) up until shortly before it was sold to the current owners in the early 1980s.

The Shed had a number of tenants through the 1980s and 1990s, including warehousing storage for the drinks and computer industries, spectacular theatrical productions "The Ship" and "The Big Picnic", and various other productions from Brith Gof and Mayfest.

The Ship The Bic Picnic

Mayfest 1995 - The Shed playing host to the above events
The Shed during the build for the Mayfest 1995 events.

However, by the early 2000s, the steel cladding was declining to the point the building was unusable and, combined with significant vandalism, the Shed was in a poor state and essentially derelict. In 2004, a decision about the future of the Shed had to be made, which could easily have resulted in the site being sold for a new housing development, but the Shed had made its mark on its owners, so the decision was made to re-clad and repair the Shed at a cost of around £250,000.

The Shed in 2004 before being re-clad

The Shed in 2004 before being re-clad

Work commenced in June of 2004, and finished in December of the same year. The finish was wonderfully marked by the "Govan Gathering Light" festival which utilised the Shed for a large party for local people.

The Shed in 2004 before at the start of re-cladding work

Comparison before and after re-cladding work

Since then the Shed has been used mainly for film and television production work.

Advert being filmed in the Shed

Advert being filmed in the Shed