Glasgow's best kept secret
Did you know Glasgow was home to Scotland's largest collection of Viking gravestones? Were you aware Govan was the heart of a Medieval kingdom that stretched all the way to the English border? Have you heard about the mysterious Govan Sarcophogus which once held the remains of an elusive Celtic saint called Constantine?
These startling revelations may be new to you, but they’ve been known for years to academics who have studied and reported internationally on the rare collection of Early Medieval Sculpture that lies in the former Govan Old parish church. Known as The Govan Stones, it shines a light into a dark period of history before the nation of Scotland ever existed when warlords battled for control of the British Isles, and Viking longships caused mayhem along our coasts and waterways. The Govan monuments represent some of the best surviving evidence of the powerful Kingdom of Strathclyde from over a thousand years ago.
To protect this unique legacy we need help — urgently. The A-listed church building that hosts the monuments was to be shut, inexplicably and to public outrage, but instead has been rescued by our new independent enterprise, Govan Heritage Trust, which has kept the doors open to the public and come up with plans to develop the site as a community-run cultural, museum and business complex. If our trust is to succeed, it needs to raise significant funds.
We may be only at the start of our journey but, encouragingly, we have had some early successes. First, our name is spreading fast and in the last year we have welcomed 14,000 visitors. Second, as we plan our initial phase of redevelopment works and first step in the business plan, the public sector has responded positively with a commitment of £566,000 towards the £785,000 costs. Phase 1, the conversion of an unused, lower-ground floor into lettable business space, is all important to us because it will generate the project’s first income and secure the future of the building and its rare collection.
The task before us, then, is to raise the balance of £219,000, and we are appealing for support. Please help us secure the future of one of Glasgow and Scotland’s most important historical, cultural and heritage assets. Every single donation is important to us — large or small.
Our trust is supported and guided by social enterprise Govan Workspace which over several decades has completed a number of complex building projects involving historic buildings. Please note that all monies raised from this appeal will be used exclusively on bricks and mortar and not for day-to-day running costs or salaries.