Our Canal Heritage

Play Port is based in a part of Glasgow steeped in history – the gritty and industrious Port Dundas.

Industrial revolution

Our location in Port Dundas around the top of the Forth and Clyde Canal in the north of the city has a rich and fascinating industrial heritage.

Port Dundas was established in the late 18th Century around the time of the industrial revolution to help open up transport and trade links into the city.

It was named after Sir Lawrence Dundas, a Scottish businessman, landowner and politician who invested in the Forth and Clyde Canal Company.

Bustling commercial hub

By the 19th Century, Port Dundas was at the heart of industrial development and had become a bustling centre of commerce, home to textile mills, chemical works, granaries, whisky distilleries, glassworks, glue works, iron foundries, power stations and engineering works.

In 1859, a brick chimney was built at Port Dundas and at 454 feet was the tallest chimney in the world at the time. By this point around 3 million tonnes of goods and 200,000 passengers were being carried on the Forth and Clyde Canal every year.

In 1900, the coal-fired Pinkston Power Station was built to generate electricity for the Glasgow Corporation Tramways network, which our very own Pinkston Watersports Centre is named after.

Modern day

Industry in the area declined through the 20th century and the canal was closed to navigation in 1963. In the 1970s the M8 motorway was constructed to the south of the canal, cutting the area off from the rest of the city. However, the 21st Century has seen a renaissance for the canal and area that we call home. 

From Pinkston to Firhill, the canal has become a hub for creativity and regeneration, with a cluster of innovative businesses, organisations and social enterprises choosing to base themselves in the area and work together as part of the Glasgow Canal Co-operative [link to Co-op website] to help the area continue to develop.

Port Dundas is now a unique urban and water sport destination with unrivalled facilities. As well as Pinkston Watersports Centre, The Loading Bay and Glasgow Wake Park, Everyday Athlete Gym, Glasgow Kayak Club, Scuba Diving Scotland, The Adventure Academy, Outdoor Pursuits Scotland and Red Bull Neptune Steps Challenge all call the area home.