Howdens Works, found neighbouring MacKintosh’s school house on Scotland Street, was once home to a booming engineering works from 1898. They provided mechanical engineering parts to all over Scotland, and when steam engine production became more prevalent, they were able to adapt to this market. They became so renowned that they provided steam engines to some of Europe’s largest ocean liners, as well as building the machine used to tunnel under the English Channel.
Unfortunately today the same cannot be said for it’s credibility. Howdens Works moved around several times, always around the same locale of Scotland Sreet, as they grew and grew. But a time came where they even outgrew this 4 acre plot, to go on to bigger things South of the border. The factory closed its doors in 1988 and has never seen visitors since.
Until now. Thanks to GSA’s Vertical Project, Howdens has been re-explored by the fascinated architects of locale group 9. The site now is rather derelict and crumbling, with the only signs of life being the walls covered head to toe in graffiti, as well as the rushing of cars infront, the rattle of trains behind and the grumble of the diggers in between.
The area surrounding the site seems to concentrate on commuting. With so many transport links – in-between subway stops, motorway cutting through and newly built cycle lane – it would be difficult to make the locale into anything else, especially with the park and ride proving to be such a successful scheme for the area. Maybe if there had been more retail or home or leisure development here first it would be a gentrified community hub by now, but unfortunately, the realm of multi-storey carparks succeeded anything else, more or less halting the way for any other path for the area.