IN A GLASS case inside the Fairfield Museum of Shipbuilding in Govan, a natty bowler hat and a soft cloth bunnet sit side by side.

They are symbols of the two sides to the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd, which in the late 19th and early 20th centuries revolutionised sea transportation, building the largest and fastest vessels the world had ever seen.

The bowler represents the managers, the bunnet symbolises the workers. And in 1967, Sean Connery visited Fairfields to make a film about relations between the two.

Sir Alex Ferguson at Fairfields.

The Bowler and The Bunnet is the only film the Scottish star ever directed.

He visited Fairfields to look into what was hailed as a new style of industrial relations. The “Fairfield Experiment” saw the workers promise not to strike for two years, while the managers pledged to retrain and redeploy staff rather than lay them off in leaner times, and to give trade unions a recognised role in the running of the place.

Connery, who was already world-famous as James Bond by the time he visited Govan to speak to staff at the yards, worked with Glasgow scriptwriter Cliff Hanley on the black and white documentary.

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In a 1967 interview to promote The Bowler and the Bunnet, which was made by STV, Connery said: “I’d never considered myself a particularly political animal at all, but when I went up to Scotland to look at this Fairfield experiment, it awakened all sorts of dislikes and likes that had obviously been dormant in me.”

In the film he says: “To the worker’s bitter eye, the situation looks clear – the boss takes the gravy when the going is good, and when things look bad, he sells out, takes his money and vanishes...

“The gulf is complete – the gulf between the bowler and the bunnet.”

Sir Alex Ferguson at Fairfields.

Connery is not the only giant of Scottish culture to have links to Fairfields. Around 2009, when Govan Workspace was launching its plan to revamp the old shipyard building into office space and a museum, Sir Alex Ferguson visited the Govan Road site.

His father and brother worked at Fairfields, the former ending his career there in the pay office, where pay-packets would be handed to workers through a window.

It was an emotional visit for Alex, who later donated £40,000 to the museum to allow them to create digital displays.

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In the same room as the bowler and the bunnet – it is the former managing director’s office - a giant screen helps visitors understand the history of Fairfields from the yard’s earliest days on the site of the acquired Fairfield farm in 1864 through its development as a powerhouse of 19th century shipbuilding into the high-tech centre of manufacturing excellence it is today.

Other famous faces to have visited Fairfields include the Queen Mother - then Elizabeth, Duchess of York – who launched the SS Duchess of York in 1928; and Her Majesty The Queen who launched the Empress of Britain from Fairfields in 1955.