Documentary On Greenock’s Former IBM Factory To Air

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Documentary On Greenock’s Former IBM Factory To Air

IBM Documentary (Courtesy of BBC)

A new television documentary about Greenock’s former IBM factory, which pioneered the ‘Silicon Glen’ revolution in Scotland, is to be broadcast on BBC One Scotland on Tuesday 26th May at 8pm.

The plant — which at its peak employed over 5,000 people — was borne out of a meeting in 1950 between the town’s then MP Hector McNeil and a trusted friend of US President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Now production company TVI Vision, the team behind BBC documentaries such as ‘The Singer Story: Made In Clydebank’ and ‘The Town That Thread Built [about J & P Coats in Paisley], are focusing on IBM Greenock for their latest project.

The huge plant grew substantially over the years, had its own road network and social club and was an integral fixture and key employer in the area for decades.

By 1999 there were 5,500 people working, there but in the years to follow the picture changed dramatically.

As the company shifted its focus elsewhere, the Greenock operation became a casualty and was gradually run down. Its buildings were emptied of staff until all that was left was a call centre.

The sprawling site was eventually sold off, with IBM switching its remaining employees to Ladyburn Business Park in Greenock at the other end of the district.

The buildings on the site were demolished and the cleared land was snapped up by local businessmen Sandy and James Easdale and Advance Construction, who have an application lodged currently with Inverclyde Council Planners to re-develop the site.

To watch a preview clip of the documentary, click here.

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