840-860 Govan Road
Located in Govan, just south of the River Clyde, Chapter Thirteen at The Pearce Institute is a vital part of the Govan community, providing a home to multiple community groups and social enterprises, including a dance company, a curatorial collective, an education co-operative and more.
The Institute was designed by Sir Rowand Anderson – the same architect responsible for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh and Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute – and completed in 1906. It originally held a range of activities for people of all ages – from reading rooms to a sports gymnasium and various events and workshops. Today, following significant recent renovation, the building continues to provide educational, sports and cultural activities.
The Pearce Institute was conceived as a gift to the working men and women of Govan by Lady Pearce in memory of her late husband, Sir William Pearce, who had died in 1888. Pearce, a Conservative Party politician, was a leading figure in the Glasgow shipbuilding industry of the nineteenth century. In 1869, Pearce became a partner in John Elder & Co., a firm that made both passenger and warships and had made significant profits from the American Civil War, building blockade-breaking ships for the slave-owning Confederates.
In Govan, as the shipyards grew, Dinah Elizabeth, Lady Pearce helped to set up 'Fresh-Air-Fortnight' which facilitated holidays for sick children. She was also on the school board of Govan Parish and argued for female representation on school boards.