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History film project enthuses school children about Govan's rich history of Vikings and Scottish kings


Govan Young, a new 30-minute film, takes a look at how a group of primary school children were amazed to learn about the history of Govan, with its Viking invasions and Ancient Briton kingdoms.

Initiated by Dr David Archibald, senior lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow, the film takes a group of P4 pupils from Govan’s Pirie Park Primary School on a journey. At the start of the film, when asked about Govan, the children seem to focus on the negative sides of life and appear to know very little about the history and geography of the area.
The interviewer asks: “Where is Govan near?” The boy answers: “Govan is near Asda, Pizza Hut and Macdonald’s.” 
“Would you have liked to live in Govan in the past?” “No because it was black and white.”
“Have you ever walked along the River Clyde in Govan?” “I’ve seen it from the window of Harvesters, I think” 


The film then follows the children on a learning journey, aided by Professor Stephen Driscoll, an historical archaeologist at the University of Glasgow.

The camera observes them as they gradually engage with Govan’s Viking history, through re-enacting what happened in the ninth century when the Vikings invaded Dumbarton, how the Briton King was killed and the vanquished forces were forced to retreat up the river to Glasgow, where they created a new settlement.
The children learn how the Vikings and the local Britons eventually learned to live side by side, and how their coexistence helped shape their homelands on the banks of the River Clyde at Partick and Govan.
The film shows how the group of seven to eight year olds start connecting with their past. They visit Govan Old Church (pictured above), with its ancient graveyard of Kings, a royal sarcophagus and more than 45 burial stones (Govan's hogback stones are pictured left), dating back to the tenth century, and Doomster Hill, once the political centre and spiritual heart of the Kingdom of Strathclyde, until its demise in the eleventh century.
The children are 'attacked' by a group of Highland warriors from Gal Gael, a local group that attempts to develop a sense of community through an understanding of local history.
Dr Archibald lived in Govan for thirty years and was keen for local people to learn more about their past. He said: “The aim of the film was to inform people about a part of their history that most people in Govan, and Glasgow for that matter, generally know nothing about. We wanted to try and approach it in a different way, to teach the past of Govan to the future of Govan, in an experimental but entertaining way.
Watch the trailer below…
(Images: Govan Stones copyright Deadmanjones; Govan Old Church copyright Joedkins)

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