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At the bottom of the garden

December 6, 2012

At the bottom of the garden stands a Titan

Last week when considering the weeklyblogclub theme of #mydayin10pics it occurred to me that the picture I use in the header of this blog and on my Twitter account is worthy of further explanation.

screen-capture-15The crane peeking out from the rising sun is called Titan – it was commissioned into service in 1907 and has stood as a proud member of the skyline along the River Clyde ever since.

Today it is a reminder of the Clyde’s shipbuilding heritage, one of a number of such giants built for the heavy lifting required in delivering sheets of metal into the magnificent sea going ships that were ‘born’ on the river and have sailed the ocean of the world.


Titan stands at 150 feet above the grounds, although it is planted 80 feet into the ground, this allows it to lift 200 tons on its outward arm which measures 150 feet, counterbalanced by the shorter arm at 90 feet.


In looking at the history of Titan, I was diverted from exploring some of the ships it may have assisted in building,  it was impossible to miss a part of history that I knew, (in the way subconscious way you know something happened but haven’t really thought it through).  This confession is perhaps more poignant for me as I was a community psychiatric nurse in the Clydebank area for five years without every fully understanding a key element of its history and events that potentially shaped the lanscape of the area, if not the actual psyché of it.

On 13th and 14th March 1943, 460 Luftwaffe bombers flew over Clydebank and forever wrote the town into the history books as Scotland’s worst bombed town – a piece of history that I’m sure the town would happily have avoided.  The shipyards, the Singer sewing machine factory and the Royal Ordanance factory were presumably the targets, but that’s the problem with bombs, they don’t just go where you want them to go.

Someone else’s reality 

screen-capture-7The title of this blog is ‘at the bottom of the garden’ – as I stood at the bottom of the garden tonight and looked across at Titan, now a visitor attraction, I tried to imagine what it must have been like on those two horrendous nights in 1941; I couldn’t – the fear, the noise, the sustained uncertainty, the destruction all around, they are beyond what I could realistically comprehend

– but I did wonder how those far to the east from here must feel tonight, after all this is their current reality.


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