Industrial decline and its legacy

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The River Clyde was and still is strategically important. It flows through the heart of the Glasgow conurbation, with a population of approximately 1.2 million, it is Scotland’s most densely populated area.

During the 19th and earlier parts of the 20th centuries, the river was important for shipbuilding and trade and was key to Glasgow’s rapid expansion, when the city lay claim to be the third largest city in Europe (after London and Paris).

Mining and heavy industry

Other heavy industries also developed in the lower catchment of the River Clyde, and there was extensive mining for coal and ironstone, which resulted in large parts of the Glasgow area being undermined, often at relatively shallow levels.

The mining and heavy industry declined and ceased during the second half of the 20th Century, and there is now only limited heavy industry remaining.

'Stoop and Room' coal working - Cowglen, Glasgow

Post-industrial landscape

As a consequence, Glasgow has a largely post-industrial landscape with significant areas of vacant and derelict land.

The legacies of both the minerals industry and Urban geoscience since the Industrial Revolution include shallow 'stoop and room' mineworkings that are subject to local subsidence and contaminated land (particularly in infilled quarries). These represent just some of the geo-environmental issues relevant to health and safety, and to land-use planning and development in Scotland's major conurbation.

A detailed knowledge of the geology is essential to understand and predict where mine workings may be present and groundwater and other receptors may be at risk from contamination.


Please contact Helen Fallas or Fiona Fordyce for further information on CUSP.