The start of the idea to Ghost back the Ferry Inn at Water Row to mark the centenary of the consumption of the Burgh of Govan by the Corporation of Glasgow.
Drawing by A McAvoy
Developing the idea. The Frame drawing that provided the proportions and form of the Ghost.
Dwg by A McAvoy
The appearance of the Ghost of Water Row included a procession starting at Govan Old Church and taking ( with a Detour ) the possible "Route" of the Kings of Strathclyde between their Church, their Parliamentary Hill and their place of crossing to their Palace underlying today's Riverside Museum
Original sketch by A McAvoy
Pale object ghostly - black cobbles mostly
Photograph of the Ghosts 2nd appearance in the grounds of Govan Old Parish Church in January 2013 where it spoke for the extinguished tradition of weaving in the Northlight Heritage Project - Weaving Truth with Trust.
Photograph by Tom Manley
Ingrid Shearer invited the Ghost back for inclusion in a celebration of Govan's age of weaving greatness. The interior was fitted with Scottish Lace donated by MYB textiles.
Weaving Truth with Trust
The Ghost of Water Row was inspired by the work of one of Scotland's greatest Artists who had passed away in the months previous . - George Wyllie RSA
Following the pioneering work of Artists - Matt Baker and Tara Beall on their Govan project - "Nothing About Us Without Us Is For Us" something was missing .... and something had to be done.
Historian Tim Clarkson had given a talk in the Pearce Institute entitled "Govan and the Vikings' in the talk he sited Govan as the capital of the Kingdom of Strathclyde... for more than a hundred Years. A capitol hosting Royal Church, Royal Palace and assocaited parliamentary or Justice Hill .
Following a sketch heavily influenced by George Wyllie's Industrial lantern - The Paper Boat and some words on transience of cultures by Showman JJR Stringfellow - I imagined this lantern - The Ghost of the Ferry Inn demolished in 1928 appeared momentarily in the dark, on the footprint of where it once stood for more than 250 years.
Its appearance was witnessed by people heavily connected to Govans " ages of greatness" and who remain concerned about its fall from grace.
Namely - Medieval Historian Tim Clarkson , Jimmy Reid's Daughter Eileen Reid, Industrial Archaeologist Ingrid Shearer Archaeologists - Stephen Driscoll , Chris Dalglish ...
....to name but a few !
On that winter evening an assemblage of critical and concerned people walked the imagined but probably fairly accurate processional route of the Kings of Strathclyde. The route they would have walked between their Church (underlying the present "Govan Old" Church of 1904) and their enormous green Justice hill - The " Doomster " .
Govans Justice Hill - The Doomster defined it in a maritime age as per other green hills = like Dumbarton Rock.
The name Govan can be reduced by study of etymology into two parts - go + bhan or little hill.
You might reflect that in loosing the not so Llttle Hill (80 m's x 40 m x 13 m ) high that defined it. Its raison D'etre ( reason for being ) is gone.If you stand at the center of the car park at Water Row today ... you will most likely sense that much is missing !
Govan has a History of overwriting narrative and the Ghost wanted to say something about that.
In a torchlight procession Eileen Reid carried a Bronze and Holly wood Question Mark - QM- made by George Wyllie ...aloft. She did this to lead the procession on a route related in narrative ....to a route her late and great Father - Jimmy Reid , had traced more than once.
The Ghost appeared at the end of that procession and just for a few Hours.
By morning it was gone .!
The Ghost,s appearance in the dark, de-marked a significant moment in the consciousness of Govan, as a significant Ancient place. However it also de-marked a moment in time when much was about to change again.
It was deployed as an Industrial Archaeology and Architecture stunt and spoke for the Salmon, Weaving and Wooden Boat Building Industries and about the imposed heavyness of the metal shipbuilding Industry.... It quietly raised a George Wyllie question mark about the heavyness of top down process as a car Park was being planned for the epicentre of a once Royal territory.
In distilling the Ferry Inn and the cottages that had sat there for 250 Years,in a gentle relationship to the pre dredged river, it was reengaging with the spoken history told and retold in the missing Ferry Inn whilst waiting for a crossing. - A spoken tradition and record that would have connected back more clearly to the medieval story. A story that is only now being once again assembled.by academic study..
A story of many parts but an ecclesiastical one ... perhaps deliberately burned in reformation Scotland.
It had no budget whatsoever ! One was conjured via Arts + Business Scotland.
Materially it was framed in pale Scottish Spruce, covered in second hand Geotextile and lined with Scottish Lace provided by MYB textiles in Ayrshire - to be fleeting. The Frame structure was made with help from Carpenter Joshua Brown , Journalist Peter McLuskey, Music producer Mathew Samuel , Photographer Tim Mitchell and Actor James Pearson.
It registered the disappearance and the importance of collective memory, which included relations to places of work.
A memory of a Ferry Boat Inn that sat in a watchful manner next to the most westerly fording point of the pre-dredged River Clyde. The Inn was demolished in 1928 to make way for Harland and Wolff shipyard which managed less than 50 years of production before closing. You will find a drawing below by Muirhead Bone undertaken as the Ferry Inn and other Water Row buildings were being demolished in 1928 to make way for the Harland and Wolff shipyard.
The Ghost of Water Row won an RIAS award for its contribution to the Community Architecture debate in 2013 It was commended by Arts and Business Scotland in 2013 for contributions to community architecture + engagement. It was commended in the Andrew Doolan Award for Architecture in 2013.
It appeared again as part of a Northlight Heritage Project - Weaving Truth with Trust in the ancient Graveyard of Govan Old Church. + then In its third outing it was reconfigured and recovered with Showman's "Tilt "or cloth and presented as part of an HLF funded project called "Fair Glasgow" which charted the relationship of a percentage of Glasgow Society - "Show folk " to Post Industrial Landscape and culture. Fair Glasgow allowed the Ghost to appear in daylight, as part of a wheeled "Show Float" around part of the cycle of Scottish summer Fairs.
Show kids adopted it, set it up and used it as a device to record some of the stories of their threatened Community. At the end of 1 year of use they then placed it in their school yard and invited their domesticated " Flatty " friends to enter.
It became theirs to use. and U might say it became a Tool for Intangible Cultural Heritage.
It may well appear again.
Thank you to George Wyllie RSA for igniting a spark -
The Ghost of Water Row was imagined hand drawn and by Andrew McAvoy. It was built by Joshua Brown Peter McCluskey , Tim Mitchell and Andrew McAvoy The project was developed in collaboration with Ann NIsbet through the film of Edo
Thank you to MYB Textiles for Lace and inspiration ! Thankyou to Ingrid Shearer for help with narrative and old maps Thankyou to Lianne Hackett for constant encouragement Thankyou to Tim Clarkson for telling the story of a buried Kingdom Thankyou to Matt Baker for the role of Geotextile ( paper ) Thankyou to Tara Beall for inspiration given during Project "Nothing About Us Without Us Is For Us" Thankyou to Eileen Reid for carrying a question mark Thankyou to Jenny Loof for Sewing Thankyou to the Stringfellow Family for logistics Thankyou to Liam o Sheah for grafting under pressure in a threatened yard. Thankyou to Holly for putting up with Dad.
Early sketch raising questions abiut what is missing at Water Row
A Wylliesque question mark was raised
There have been shout outs elsewhere to save Maritime Heritage
Little is now known of the residents of Water Row
Left to right - Cottage. Ferry Inn + 2 further cottages - circa 1900 with the slipway at High Tide.
The slipway circa 1900 at Low tide A buried Slipway predating Harland and Wollf - Found in excavation by Glasgow University in 2008
Carpenter - Joshua Brown constructing the skeletal frame of the Ghost of Water Row from Scottish Spruce donated by BSW Timber in Autumn 2012
The Ghost in a trial illumination prior to taking to Water Row . Wrapped in Geotextile provided by Matt Baker.
Lights turned on at Water Row on centenary of the consumption of the Burgh of Govan by the corporation of Glasgow in 1912 following a 28 year legal saga
Eileen Reid carries a Question Mark in Holly wood and Bronze made by George Wyllie RSA who had inspired the project.
playing with the time continuum
Photographer Julia Bauer captured the intended and inherent fleetingness of a paper object trying to transcend time
A hand colored poster from circa 1900 showing the Ferry Inn and neigbouring Cottages in 1900 and prior to their demolition in 1928
Mapping exercise by Ingrid Shearer layering 1893 and the present day - Which provided the footprint for the Ferry Inn during the Ghosting process.