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Pearce Institute (PI)

Facts & Figures

Organisation Name

Pearce Institute (PI)

People Benefiting

The entire Greater Govan community

Area Served

Greater Govan, Glasgow


Around 22,000 people live in Greater Govan (fallen from 50,000 in 1970s)


Govan was the centre of world shipbuilding during the industrial revolution, but subsequent closure of the shipyards lead to unemployment, a high crime rate, derelict land and a decimated business community. A grass roots kick-back against that decline has led to community-based regeneration of the area and the Pearce Institute (locally known as the PI) has been at the heart of the initiative. The PI is well linked to Govan community groups, many of which are either housed in the PI, or rent space for their meetings. The PI works to encourage training and employment, promoting Goven as a centre for the creative and media industries, while cherishing the roots and heritage of the community.

Legal Form

Company Limited by Guarantee with charitable status





Earned Income



A large multi purpose building

Roots & Links


The Pearce Institute was gifted to the people of Govan in 1906 by Lady Elizabeth Pearce in memory of her husband, Sir William Pearce, Chairman of the Fairfield Shipbuilding Company and Govan’s flamboyant first Member of Parliament. The aim of the Pearce Institute was to provide facilities in the interests of social welfare, recreation and leisure for the religious, educational, social and moral well being of the people of Govan without distinction of political, religious or other opinion. The PI was closed in 2001 due to financial difficulties, but was re-opened in 2003 with a programme that places the PI at the heart of the regeneration of Greater Govan.


A new governance structure has been developed based on the original Trust Deed established by Lady Pearce almost 100 years ago to better secure the future of the PI for the people of Govan. The PI Management Group has considered various options and decided to form a Company Limited by Guarantee with charitable status recognised by the Inland Revenue. Directors will be nominated from a range of local stakeholder groups including PI tenants, hall user groups, local community councils, housing associations, faith groups, elected Council representatives and other interested local people, providing a clear link to the local community providing direct control and accountability.

Community Links

The PI is well linked to Govan groups in the community, many of which are either housed in the PI, or rent space for their meetings. Participates in Creative Network Meetings attended by many Govan groups.

External Links

GRA have been members of the PI Management Group since regeneration got underway in 2001, along with GCC Councillor and Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS Trust. Currently seeking to form a close working relationship with Community Planning akin to that previously held with Greater Govan SIP which was central to the PI recovery.


Physical Hub

Café Pearce, at the PI is the heart of Govan. The PI also provides office space to a range of voluntary and statutory groups that share a commitment to meeting the needs of the local people. and provides space for a wide range of user groups . The PI has a range of halls and meeting rooms suitable for conferences, community theatre and social events.

Builds Local Capacity

Local people benefit from PI projects directly, enjoying healthy food and drink in Café Pearce or surfing the Internet in the computer suite provided by GRA’s Community Internet Project. Participation in the PI Management Group has attracted over £1.9m of grant income over the last 5 years. User groups provide opportunities for local people to participate in a wide range of leisure and recreational activities including karate, dance (African, Irish and Scottish), music and drama. Tenant organisations provide extensive opportunities for learning, growth and support, including ICT training for refugees, asylum seekers and indigenous population, dealing with stress, health care for the hardest to reach through home visits, childcare training and business development for social enterprises.

Delivers Services

Community café, crèche facility, Tea in the Pot – a drop-in & support service for women, gym. Accommodates groups that offer youth information, karate, fencing, alcoholics anonymous, bible classes,


Friends of the PI was launched in July 2003 to raise funds for the Pearce Institute. Friends receive a newsletter quarterly that describes recent and forthcoming events.

Main Achievements

1. Bringing in £1.9m of investment grants to deliver visible signs of regeneration to the PI and reassure local people that the future was assured. 2. Getting Café Pearce open in October 2006, doubling the number of visitors to the PI overnight and meeting a key objective and expectation for local people. Additional bonus was café achieving Healthyliving Award in May 2008. 3. Achieving Investors in People award in 2005, recognising our commitment to developing the PI staff team despite financial constraints limiting the extent to which additional staff can be recruited at this stage.

What Next

Biggest Challenge

Ensuring that progress continues quickly enough to reach full restoration as early as possible.

Lesson Learned

It’s a lot easier than it looks. You just have to believe that and things happen just when you need them to.


Full restoration within 3 years leading to financial independence for our revenue budget.



Archie Biggins


Executive Officer

Address Line 1

The Pearce Institute

Address Line 2

840-860 Govan Road, Govan, G51 3UU




Glasgow, City of


0141 440 1937