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Clydebuilt rear, 2008
Clydebuilt rear
© Thomas Nugent
Clydebuilt, 2008
© Thomas Nugent

Clydebuilt was a museum and attraction located on the south bank of the River Clyde at Braehead, within a large shopping centre also named Braehead. Clydebuilt opened in September 1999, and closed on October 16, 2010. The name appeared as CLYDEbuilt on the building.

After 11 years of support, in August 2010 Capital Shopping Centres (owners of Braehead Shopping Centre) announced that the museum was no longer financially viable and withdrew an annual subsidy which it had been paying to the attraction. This left the Scottish Maritime Museum, which operated the museum, without a patron. The payment had been an original condition of planning permission granted for Braehead Shopping Centre.

Although it was considered to be a significant visitor attraction for Renfrewshire, said to be attracting 15,000 visitors each year, it had no support from the local authority, and lacked security as it was reliant on private sector funding.

Unable to sustain itself without financial assistance, the attraction was forced to close it doors on Saturday, October 16, 2010.

The museum

The exhibits at Clydebuilt had explored the industrial development of Glasgow and the River Clyde from the 17th century to the present day, describing both what was built on the Clyde and how the Clyde itself had been built.

A timeline was presented on the ground floor, and featured a large model of the River Clyde complete with some 300 gallons of flowing water. This began in the 1700s when the river was little more than a muddy stream which people could wade across at low tide. Following a period of sustained dredging and other deepening and widening operation carried out over many years, a navigable channel was created in the river, which allowed the river and the city of Glasgow to grow through the shipyard which built the ships, and the cargo they carried to the docks and warehouses that came with them. Displays illustrated the earliest stages of the civil engineering methods used to deepen the navigable channel in the River Clyde to enable navigation upriver to Glasgow. The city prospered as trade grew, and merchants moved to be close to the vessels carrying their goods. The Tobacco Lords had arrived, together with those who also made their fortune in sugar and rum from the colonies, bringing yet more trade and wealth to the growing city.

The modern area of the river display included a ship simulator, where visitors could try their hands at piloting a tanker into port. This was not as easy as trivial video games might suggest, as the model simulated the mass, inertia, and time delays these caused, which meant control inputs had to be estimated and applied well before their effect could be seen. Applied too late, or too fiercely, the result was always a crash into the river bank or port wall.

Visitors could follow an audio visual presentation shown every half hour which described the last century of shipbuilding on the river. Model docks were used to show the scale and type of infrastructure required to move cargo, and a mock crane provided a visual link into the second floor. Styled on the them of a warehouse, this continued to tell the story of trade and cargo handling on the river. A range of products which were traded at the time were on show, and visitors could try to make their fortune playing a cargo game. Glasgow's rise to prominence during the industrial revolution was shown by cotton, iron and steel trading. A cotton printing press was used to show images of finished goods, and chart the markets for the city's products. A model cotton mill was situated on a tributary of the River Clyde, which also features

Ironically, a working (as in moving, rather than in steam) inverted vertical triple expansion marine engine was used to tell the story of Power For Trade which described development of the marine steam engine, and allowed visitor to control the engine using a ships' telegraph. The irony of the display was that while many thousands of these engines were built on the Clyde, the example on display was built by Plenty of Newbury, and was one of a pair installed in the tug Chipchase, obtained by the museum after the tug was broken.

Many parts of the interior were cameos of river activity. Emigration was detailed on one display in the form of a section ship with a funnel having various levels of deck below. This area also served to show how holidaymakers might be found on the steamers, as they enjoyed a day visiting resorts on the Clyde coast, when they went "Doon the Watter".

Following its closure, the museum's exhibits were either returned to their owners, or placed in storage within the Scottish Maritime Museum.

Final web site text

The following text appeared on Clydebuilt's web site in the days before it closed:

Follow the growth of Glasgow and the increasing importance of the River Clyde worldwide from the tobacco lords to new Royal Navy Warships.

Experience the building of the MV Rangitane for the New Zealand Shipping Company through the eyes of the men who built her from the riveters to the
bowler hatted gaffers of John Browns Shipyard.

Watch the history of Clyde Shipbuilding from its heyday to its near demise in our award winning audiovisual display.

Pilot the MV Clan Alpine on a virtual trip up the river Clyde to the Braehead Docks or become a Glasgow trader buying and selling goods and
transporting them worldwide.

See our new exhibition on the life & history of the world famous QE2.

Learn all about her build and how people felt she was too futuristic.

Also on show is her famous 'Officers Wardroom Book', which was unveiled by HRH Prince Andrew.

Please be aware that Clydebuilt will be closing it's doors for good in October, our last day will Saturday 16th.

We would like to thank all our visitors over the 11 years we have been open. If you wish to join the Facebook campaign to try and save the museum, type in 'Save Clydebuilt' into the search bar on Facebook.

Our well-stocked shop holds a wide selection of gifts, books and souvenirs – suitable for all ages and pockets!

We are a stockist of the well known artist, Gordon Bauwens. We have many of his fine limited edition & open prints for sale, starting at £13.00. For more information about GB Marine Art & to see some of his prints, please click here - GB Marine Art

Opening Hours Until the 16th October
Monday to Saturday 10am – 5.30pm (Last Admission 4.30pm every day)
Sunday 11am – 5.30pm

Admission Prices
Adult £4.25
Concession £3.00
Family £10.00(Up to 2 Adults / 2 Children)
Child £2.50

Clydebuilt at Braehead enjoys one of the most accessible locations in west central Scotland, conveniently located off junction 26 (eastbound) and junction 25a (westbound) off the M8 motorway.

The River Link service from Braehead to the Broomielaw via the Science Centre runs Wednesday - Sunday with four sailings a day, starting at 10.15am from Clydebuilt. For more information please go to - River Link Service.[1]

Braehead Shopping Centre,
Kings Inch Road,
G51 4BN
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44(0)141 886 1013
Fax: +44(0)141 886 1015

AboutBritain.com hadn't noticed the closure in 2013, and said the following (this is an exact copy, all typos are theirs):[2]

The story of Glasgow and the River Clyde is brought vividly to life at Clydebuilt, the Scottish Maritime Museum at Braehead. A tour of the dynamic and award winning attraction takes you from the 18th century tobacco lords to the present day, using audio-visual, hands on and interactive techniques. You can navigate your own ship, safely load your cargo, take the role of a merchant, operate an engine and go aboard the 130 year old coaster "Kyles".

The museum is home to M.V. Kyles, the oldest Clydebuilt vessel still afloat in the U.K. She is now moored only minutes away from where she was built by Fullerton's of Paisley in 1863. Kyles is a rare survivor, a representative of Clyde shipbuilding dating from the 1870s - a period of expansion of shipbuilding on the west coast of Scotland and in Glasgow. Clydebuilt is ideal for kids young and old wanting an exciting day out. Go to Clydbuilt, have fun and learn about Glasgow!

For half price admmission please visit scottishmaritimemuseum.org and download the information on the Clydes navy exhibition telling the story of Naval activity on the clyde from the 1700's up to the launch of the new type 45's.


Via: Clydebuilt - a set on Flickr Retrieved April 18, 2013.

Decks, 2010
© Ben Cooper
Engine, 2010
© Ben Cooper
Ground floor, 2010
Ground floor
© Ben Cooper
Decks, 2010
© Ben Cooper
Decks, 2010
© Ben Cooper
Decks, 2010
© Ben Cooper
Decks, 2010
© Ben Cooper

Additional pics. Note the steam hammer is missing the last digit in the casting, present on the other side, it makes the date 1905.

Clydebuilt, 2007
© Darrin Antrobus
Clydebuilt rear, 2008
Clydebuilt rear
© Thomas Nugent
Clydebuilt statues, 2008
Clydebuilt statues
© Thomas Nugent
Steam hammer, 2005
Steam hammer
© Chris Allen


1 Clyde Cruises Glasgow | Boat Charter | River Cruises | Special Events Retrieved October 12, 2010.

2 Clydebuilt Scottish Maritime Museum on AboutBritain.com Retrieved April 18, 2013.

External links

Aerial views



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