January 29, 2023

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The Govan Cat in Glasgow, Scotland

It is no secret that Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, is intrinsically linked to the shipping industry, due to its close proximity to the River Clyde. What is not as publicly recognized, is a miniature monument dedicated to animal that saved a small community in a residential area to the north-west of the city center.

The borough of Govan is situated alongside the western banks of the River Clyde. During the reign of Queen Victoria, this area was a thriving neighborhood closely linked to the prosperity of the shipping trade. Whole building blocks would be dedicated to the picking of oakum, a type of loose fiber that would be used as caulking between planks in wooden ships.

Besides bringing well-being and security to the residents, these watery vessels also carried vermin. These undesirable pests could destroy the profitable materials, as well as carrying diseases. Enter a ferocious feline who was well known for ridden whole buildings of these destructive creatures. Unfortunately, this much loved moggie met their end defending the community from a ferocious rat king.

The citizenry was so besotted with the heroic deeds of this feline that they decided to honor them with a small memorial. Attached to the southern portion of a sandstone Category B listed building is a carved image of a cat. Ironically, the structure was initially used as Temperance (anti-alcohol) meeting place, but now houses Brechin’s Bar, a vintage watering hole.

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