The Titan Crane, which was used to build passenger liners and battleships including the QE2 and HMS Hood at the renowned John Brown Shipyard, is proving a magnet for visitors with ancestral links to Clydebank.
In 2004 a local regeneration company in Clydebank took ownership of 10 acres at the former John Brown Shipyard, including the Titan Crane. Discussions with the local community in Clydebank led to the full restoration of the crane as well as turning it into a visitor and heritage attraction. The £3.75million restoration began in 2005, opening to the public for the first time 2 years later.
As well as people interested in the engineering and architecture of the crane and keen to see the magnificent views from the top, staff have welcomed visitors keen to trace their family roots to the area.
The Operations Officer at Titan said: “We get a large number of visitors whose ancestors actually worked at the shipyard, however such is the importance of the town’s shipbuilding heritage, that Titan is also a ‘must visit’ for people whose ancestors were among the 18,000 residents who had to leave Clydebank during the 1941 Blitz. Standing on top of the crane gives them a fantastic sense of place of the town that was so very nearly destroyed more than seventy years ago.”
Visitors to the 150 foot high ‘A’ grade listed crane, the only monument remaining on the site to the shipyard era, are taken on guided tours of the old site by Heritage Guides and Volunteers who bring history to life.
A unique collection of ship models, memorabilia and historic photos are also on show at The Drawing Office Visitor Centre, showing the shipyard in its heyday.
“People love looking through the old photos and film reels. Quite a number have even recognised members of their own family or people they knew, which is always a special moment.
“Though little remains of the shipyard itself, memories come flooding back when they see the famous slipway which launched many great ships, and the fitting out basin where the vessels were completed.”
Ancestral Tourism takes people on a truly personal journey, which is memorable, emotional and creates lasting, bonding relationships for tips and advice on how to make the most of this year round commercial opportunity visit the Tourism Intelligence Scotland Ancestral Tourism Guide.