This interactive census map of Govan allows you to search our records for individuals living in the parish in 1911, to learn more about their living conditions, family forms, and their working lives.
In 1911, around 78% of the town’s population was Scottish born (which would have included second-generation Irish), 11% were Irish, around 7% were Russian or Polish, 4% were English and the rest were drawn from diverse backgrounds including, Austria, USA, Hungary, Germany, Turkey and France. In effect, over one fifth of the town’s population were not Scots born. The impact that immigration had on Govan is difficult to measure; undoubtedly there would have existed some xenophobia but immigrants brought with them particular skill sets and an adaptability that was vital for survival. They also impacted upon the roll-call of Glasgow surnames, many of which still exist today. This is despite the mangling of non-British surnames which occurred when census staff filled in their records struggling with phonetics along the way; tracing one family we found that their surname had changed 3 times in 3 censuses.
Districts such as the Gorbals, just over the River Clyde from Glasgow city centre, had poor reputations for overcrowding, and despite city improvements during the late 19th century, many working-class families lived in cramped and sub-standard apartments. In 1908, it was estimated that over 10,000 residents of Govan Combination parish were living more than four to a room. What is evident from our 1911 interactive census map, is that many of the residents were employed within the shipbuilding industry which thrived in Govan during this period.