The Clyde is the third longest river in Scotland, at 106 miles. Historically it was of great economic importance, due to the industry situated along its banks in the lower sections, from the Cotton mills of Lanarkshire, upstream of Glasgow, to the ship building of Clydebank and Dumbarton towards the estuary.
Two of the world’s largest luxury liners of their time, the Queen Mary (1934) and Queen Elizabeth (1938) were launched from the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank. The Queen Mary is now moored on London’s Victoria Embankment, next to Waterloo Bridge, as a pub.
The Clyde shipyards were heavily bombed during World War II. One strategy for reducing the devestation was construction of false towns in the hills of the surrounding area. Black-out conditions, and the inaccuracies of navigation over such a long distance, not to mention anti-aircraft guns, made it possible to misdirect the German bombers with lights placed in prefab structures. The latter made for a diversion target, protecting the actual towns.