Richard Oliff: How mum shipped out of Scotland

The Govan Shipyard in Glasgow. Richard says the shipbuilding industry is important to these isles
The Govan Shipyard in Glasgow. Richard says the shipbuilding industry is important to these isles

My mother arrived at Corby railway station many years ago, along with her four siblings, and a determined and protective mother.

The six of them had made the long steam train journey south from western Scotland where some of the world’s mightiest ships were built from the steel that Stewarts & Lloyds would produce.

My grandfather, who should have been with them, had died suddenly shortly before, having spent his life as a steelworker on the banks of the Clyde.

The lure of a new house and better paid jobs were all the incentive my grandmother needed to give her children a fresh start in the new town of Corby.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Nimmo family, who lived in Occupation Road, Thoroughsale Road, Crawford Grove, Welland Vale Road, Rowlett Road, Gilchrist Avenue and Studfall Avenue, to name but a few.

Mum rarely mentioned her family’s early life in Scotland, answering only when questioned that she would take me on a trip down the Clyde; one day.

Sadly, that day never came, and to my knowledge, my mum never stood on Scottish soil again from her first arrival in Corby all those years ago to her dying day in 1978.

In the ‘80s and ‘90s I would often think of mum whiledriving past Glasgow.

It wasn’t until 2003, while researching detail for a book about a ship that had been built in Govan, that I got my first real taste of Glasgow and the magnificence that is the River Clyde.

It made me realise just how important the shipbuilding industry was, and still is, to these islands.

The cynic in me can’t help but think any planned redundancies in Portsmouth, Govan or Scotstoun would all be part of a sickening political game that does nothing but undermine the vulnerable foundations on which our industrial heritage was built.