The Clyde has been strategically important for centuries, as we can see from the rich landscape of prehistoric and Roman forts, medieval castles and country estates. We less often think of the Clyde as a place of power in the 20th century. Yet this was a period that saw the building of extensive military defences along the Firth of Clyde, to protect the major manufacturing and population centres along the river during the First and Second World Wars.
Along with the Glasgow University’s Centre for Battlefield Archaeology and local heritage groups, we have recorded and researched the defences that were built to protect from attack from the sea. These sites were almost undocumented: no excavation has ever been undertaken; most had no site record, or at best a very basic one; and none of the structures were listed or scheduled. Our investigations will help local people have a better understanding of the importance of the sites, which we hope will lead to better-informed decision-making about their future.
As a second part of this project we have been recording the evidence of aerial defences of Glasgow and the mouth of the Clyde.