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The Dennistoun Story
Let us consider our two neighbouring districts of Riddrie and Carntyne. A number of the streets in Riddrie are named after Scottish Rivers, while those in Carntyne take their names from districts of Edinburgh, like Abbeyhill, Inverleith, Myreside, but this tells us nothing about how these districts came into being. The Dennistoun Story, on the other hand, is mostly written in its street names. Find the origin of these names and you have the key to the Dennistoun Story.
Dennistoun and the Surrounding Districts in the East End of Glasgow
Dennistoun was originally drawn up to have detached and semi-detached villas. However the plans changed to accommodate the demand for what has now become Glasgow's traditional sandstone tenement.
It's not the place that's important but the people who live in it
The who's who of Dennistoun characters who have at least passed through one day of their lives here.
The Evolution of the Glasgow Tenement
Using Dennistoun as a case study, Peter Douglas charts the evolution of tenement housing in Glasgow from 1860 to 1914.
Ian R. Mitchell - Walking in Glasgow's East End
Around Brigton Cross - Glasgow's Changing East-End
Scottish Nursery Songs and other Poems
Scottish poet and songwriter William Miller lived most of his life in Dennistoun. His book published in 1863 includes the world renowned "Wee Willie Winkie".
Important Dennistoun Historical Dates
Anne Smith is the author of "TWO WEE LASSIES UP A CLOSE, Memories of A Glasgow Childhood in the 1940s and 1950s".
She has lived most of her life in the village of Pannal, near Harrogate, Yorkshire but this is her story of when she was a wee lassie called Anne Grant who grew up in a Glasgow tenement at 38 Aberfeldy Street and went to St Thomas's Primary School in Riddrie with her childhood friend Terry Murphy from 35 Aberdour Street.
James Coulter - Young Sports Person of the Year
On Friday the 28th of February 2014 the City Chambers played host to the Sports Person of the Year Awards which celebrated Scottish sport's action heroes, dedicated coaches and selfless volunteers who have given up hundreds of hours of their time to the sports they love. Around 250 athletes, sports fans, club leaders, school pupils, volunteers and coaches gathered for the celebrations as winners were revealed across 13 categories. Karate star James Coulter was presented with the Young Sports Person of the Year Award by Evening Times assistant editor Graham Shields.
Grace Anne Williamson
Works at Aberlour Child Care Trust's Running: Other Choices (ROC) Refuge in the city, has been named "Residential Care Worker of the Year" by the British Association of Social Workers in Scotland. She received her award from Children and Early Years Minister Adam Ingram at a special ceremony in Edinburgh on the 16th January 2008.
The author of "THE ANCIENT ORDER OF MORIDURA", a scientific thriller with a Scots hero and an American heroine. Peter was born in Dennistoun and now lives in a village near Edinburgh. A former human resources director in the brewing industry, he set up his own consultancy business in 1988, specialising in negotiating skills and management development, and working extensively with the Scotch whisky industry, Royal Mail and in pharmaceuticals.
Campbell Armstrong I left Glasgow for London in 1962. It was what you did in those days when you dreamed of making a living from writing. I made occasional return trips during the 1960s and then I went to the United States, initially for one year which turned, without my seeming to notice, into 20. Twenty years without seeing your native city is a long time, too long.
Jamie Allan Brown
A senior pupil at Whitehill Secondary, Jamie was headhunted by Unicef to become one of their United Kingdom youth representatives - there are only two in the whole of the UK.
Sam Reilly, formerly from Dennistoun, has published his personal account of his time as a collector salesman in Glasgow.
Peter Young now lives in Denmark and is singer-songwriter with Bluevale and editor-publisher of the educational newspaper - The School Times International.
Keep Dennistoun Litter Free
Bulk Refuse Uplift Days for Your Street
Improving Dennistoun's cleanliness is a responsibility shared by you, your family, your neighbour, local businesses and Glasgow City Council.
Consumer Views of Factoring in Dennistoun
In December 2006 we were asked by the Scottish Consumer Council to undertake a short study to look at consumer experiences of factoring services in the Dennistoun ward of Glasgow. We carried out a survey of home owners, two public events and interviews with factoring companies in the area.
Dennistoun Property For Sale
Properties in Dennistoun range from highly desirable spacious flats within traditional sandstone buildings to modern townhouse developments with en-suite and private parking. Prices range from £75000 - £300000.
Dennistoun Property To Rent
Dennistoun is located on the east fringe of Glasgow City Centre and maintains a high amenity position with good bus links, excellent local shopping, cafes, bars, schools, college, municipal park, rail stations and easy access to the M8 motorway. Easily accessible to Strathclyde and Caledonian Universities and The Royal Infirmary. Flats for rent start at approximately £94 per week.
Several Dennistoun based members of Clyde amateur rowing club competed in the recent Festival of rowing in the recently upgraded Cardiff bay. The pair of Karl Farmer and John Ritchie were selected to row for Scotland in the Home Countries Match.
Clubhouse Centenary & The Scottish Rowing Championships
Recently the Clydesdale Clubhouse celebrated 100 years of its existence and service to Clydesdale, and more newly, Clyde and Strathclyde University rowing clubs. The members of Clydesdale Rowing Club attended the Scottish Rowing Championships at Strathclyde Park. As ever the event was well attended leading to fierce competition throughout all events.
Oarsome Project launched on the Clyde
Clydesdale Amateur Rowing Club is making rowing more accessible to all communities in Glasgow with the purchase of a new club boat and oars.
Memoirs and Portraits of 100 Glasgow Men: Alexander Dennistoun
Memoirs of William Cathro
We want your article or story on Dennistoun! Fill out our online form to get published!
Anne Smith is the author of "TWO WEE LASSIES UP A CLOSE, Memories of A Glasgow Childhood in the 1940s and 1950s". She has lived most of her life in the village of Pannal, near Harrogate, Yorkshire but this is her story of when she was a wee lassie called Anne Grant who grew up in a Glasgow tenement at 38 Aberfeldy Street and went to St Thomas's Primary School in Riddrie with her childhood friend Terry Murphy from 35 Aberdour Street. The following is an extract from Anne's book:
Aberfeldy Street before the war was a lovely area as was Aberdour and Aberfoyle Streets with railings around the front and back gardens. The front ones were removed for the war effort, never replaced and I don't think ever used. Scheme houses were built on the fields at the top of the streets and the children from there trampled on the little flower gardens turning them into hard soil no plants. The areas were still good, built on a hill "great for sledging" with our "dear green green space" opposite, Alexandra Park. Our prams were trundled around their daily. A godsend for our mums. There was one entrance to the park opposite the bottom of our street and another grand entrance along Alexandra Parade. Going up Aberfeldy Street we lived on the right-hand side and at the bottom of our side were: on the corner a newsagents with the only public telephone box in the area inside the shop, Dr Louis and Dr Caldwell Surgery with very large green and red bottles in his window and the Factor's office. Opposite there was a dairy provisions shop and, at the top of our hill on our side, a shop a sort of cobblers that I never saw open. On the other side opposite, a grocers and fruit and veg shop that sold yummy cakes, six different ones in a box. Along the bottom of our street was Cumbernauld Road leading onto Alexandra Parade and the shops on there was a newsagents on the corner of Aberfeldy Street, Frank the barbers where Kathleen Brydon had her long pigtails cut off in two snips. Terry and I were with her. Ross's Dairy who had a vast selection of scones in their window "soda, treacle, plain, sultans, currant" crumpets, pancakes, pan and plain loaves and delicious strawberry tarts in season. I remember ladies saying to my mum as we were going shopping: "Strawberry tarts are in Ross's Mrs Grant". In those days no one was addressed by their first name. De Nunzio's ice cream parlour, a butchers, Gilbraith's, entering their door on the right, fruit and veg, then bakery counter, after bakers go across to a long counter with enormous cheese and cutting wire (I only ever remember Cheddar), groceries on shelves along the back wall, tins of Cock a Leekie Soup and Heinz Beans 57 Varieties - wonder the 57 varieties were in those days of austerity - on the counter slabs of butter patted into pats with a thistle on the wooden butter pat which was dipped in a stone jar of water before each transaction and pressed onto the top of the butter, sugar put into blue bags, jam 1lb and 2lbs jars - plum being the cheapest and lastly the lethal bacon slicer where we used to congregate in case anyone ever chopped their fingers off. They never did. A long brick wall then Mr Anderson's the chemist who lived above the shop and was invaluable to my parents during the war as he had a telephone and told my dad to ring him if the ship came into Rosyth and dad got an unexpected bit of leave and could get home or my mum had to go up to Rosyth to meet him. A funeral directors where Terry says we used to lift each other up to ring his doorbell and then run away - Oh no, I can't imagine that. Lastly the Savings Bank of Glasgow. Further down on the same side was Cochrane's which we sometimes used as they sold gypsy cream biscuits, then a wet fish shop where I used to be sent every week for a small piece of finnen haddie for grandma, then a drapers. My mum would send me there for half a yard of knicker elastic. I would not ask for that and used to go home and say "they havn't any". Further down from these shops going down towards Duke Street was Holden's a newspaper and toy shop, and next to it was the Co-op. Terry and I both remember our mothers Cop divi numbers 8508 and 6336. On the other side of the road past Alexandra Park and Kennyhill School was Fulton's (Rikki Fulton the Scottish comedian's fathers shop). Wee bakers shop, an optician, Conti's cafe and a transport office where the tram drivers, conductors and conductresses (who used to say as you were leaving the tram "come on, get aff") all went. Further along was a shop on the corner, then a chemist, then a place where we used to get bottles of cod liver oil and concentrated orange juice for Carol, Terry's baby sister. A bowling Green, St Andrew's church and then the main gates of Alexandra Park.
TWO WEE LASSIES UP A CLOSE, Memories of A Glasgow Childhood in the 1940s and 1950s
Published 2014. Paperback - 92pp. £4.99
You can purchase the book direct from Anne Smith. Please email Anne for confirmation of availability and payment details.
Dennistoun has had some very distinguished people either born, educated or lived in the area. This is the who's who of Dennistoun characters who have at least passed through one day of their lives here.
(1944 - 2013) Author
Campbell Black was born Thomas Campbell Black in Govan and attended Golfhill Primary School and Whitehill Senior Secondary School in Dennistoun. He graduated with a degree in Philosophy from the University of Sussex, England. He taught creative writing from 1971-74 at the State University of New York at Oswego; from 1975-78 he taught at Arizona State University. He worked for some years as a fiction editor with various London publishing houses. After living for many years in England and the United States, he moved to Shannon Harbour, Ireland. He died on 1 March 2013, four days after his 69th birthday.
His novels Assassins & Victims and The Punctual Rape won Scottish Arts Council Awards. The Last Darkness and White Rage were nominated for the Prix du Polar. His quartet of Glasgow novels consists of The Bad Fire, The Last Darkness, White Rage, and Butcher. He also wrote a memoir titled All That Really Matters, retitled in the United States as I Hope You Have a Good Life. His work has mainly been influenced by R L Stevenson and he ascribes a certain 'dark apect' of his writing to the opening scenes of Treasure Island. Among other influences he includes Kafka, Fred Vargas, Kobo Abe, and Camus. His books have been translated into French, German, Greek, Japanese, Italian, Hebrew and Polish.
Biography from wikipedia with additions and modifications
See also: Campbell Armstrong's Return to Glasgow
His website: http://www.campbellarmstrong.com/
Obituary: in Herald Scotland
(1936 - ) Football Player
Scotland International football player. He played centre-forward for Celtic 1959-71 and was a prolific goal scorer noted for scoring the winning goal for the Lisbon Lions in the European Cup final. He lived in a room and kitchen in Viewpark Avenue around 1960.
(1790 - 1874) Founder of the Glasgow district of Dennistoun
The eldest son of a successful merchant family. He went to New Orleans at the age of 30 and worked for the family business in the cotton trade. He returned to Britain and worked at the Liverpool branch before spending several years in France.
He returned to Glasgow after the French Revolution of 1830 and became the elected Liberal MP for Dumbarton in 1834. On the death of his father the following year he took up residence at Golfhill and became director of the Union Bank of Scotland.
From 1856 he purchased the neighbouring estates of Golfhill and employed the services of local architect James Salmon to draw up plans for the new suburb of Dennistoun where the first feus were given off in 1861.
(1931 - 2002) Singer/Songwriter
Born Anthony James Donegan he was raised in a tenement in Duke Street from the age of eight. He moved to London and became one of the UK's most successful and influential recording artists in the fifties. Known as the "King of Skiffle", he wrote "My Old Man's A Dustman" and received an MBE in 2000 for services to popular music.
(1924 - 2004) Actor
Rikki Fulton's parents married and set up home in a room and kitchen in 55 Walter Street. They bought a newsagent shop at 28 Roebank Street and purchased another some years later in Cumbernauld Road and for a short while lived in the back of the Roebank Street shop until moving to a room and kitchen at 46 Appin Road. It was in this top floor flat that Robert (Rikki) Fulton was born and raised in his first few years.
The youngest of three boys, he and his family later moved to Riddrie. He was a pupil at the local Riddrie primary school and then returned to Dennistoun as a pupil of Whitehill Secondary School. He left Whitehill in 1939 and his talent as a performer became evident during a turn of acting in the St. Andrews East Church Hall. He later volunteered at the age of 17 for the Navy in 1941 and almost lost his life when his ship the Ibis sank under enemy fire in the Mediterranean during the Second World War.
Rikki Fulton was compere to the big music bands, a voice on radio, and actor on stage and screen. Most notably he was one half of the Francie and Josie duo that continued for many years on stage and successfully carried over to television. He also performed in the comedy television program Scotch and Wry and the highly acclaimed film Gorky Park. His latest character, the despondent Reverend I. M. Jolly, would broadcast his melancholy remarks to the people of Scotland just before the beginning of a new year. Rikki Fulton received an honorary doctorates from St Andrews University June, 2000.
(1934 - ) Artist / Author
Born in Glasgow and educated at Whitehill Secondary School he graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1957 and taught there some five years later. A selection of his artwork is displayed at the People's Palace in Glasgow Green. He also published several plays and books:Lanark(1981), Janine (1982) and The Anthology of Prefaces(2000). His book Poor Things won the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and "The Guardian" Fiction Prize. The Anthology of Prefaces(2000); Poor Things (1992); Something Leather(1991); Janine(1982); Lanark(1981).
See Also: Lanark 1982 (An unofficial Alasdair Gray website)
(1975 - ) Professional Snooker Player
The Wizard of Wishaw, practiced at the Craigpark Masters Snooker Club in Dennistoun and turned professional in 1992. He became the first teenager to win three ranking tournaments (UK, World and Masters) in one season in 1994/5.
(1891 - 1971) Doctor, Art Dealer, Museum Director
Born in Glasgow he was a medical student at Glasgow University and became a general practitioner in Dennistoun. He later changed career after 10 years as a GP and worked as an art dealer in London. He returned to Glasgow to become the city's first director of museums and art galleries in 1939 and acquired Dali's "Christ of St John of the Cross". He was also instrumental in acquiring Sir William Burrell's collection of 8,000 art pieces and setting up the Citizens Theatre.
(1907 - 1991) Author, Journalist, Historian, Broadcaster
Raised in Dennistoun and went to Haghill Primary School. He wrote for popular Glasgow newspapers the Evening Citizen and later the Evening Times. He was a walking encyclopaedia of facts on all aspects of Glasgow that he was affectionately known as "Mr Glasgow". He was honoured with Glasgow's St. Mungo Prize in 1988.
( - 1993) Barber
Johnny and Brothers at Work
Johnny ran the Ionta barber shop with brother's Danny (Domnick) and Tommy in the east end of Glasgow. The renowned establishment was situated up a close in the Gallowgate where Johnny and his family lived before moving to Dennistoun. People would come from far and wide, not only for "the best" haircut in town, but also for Johnny's witty patter which entertained his waiting customers. The caricatures were provided by Bill (Big Wullie) Mc Ilroy who "..spent many hours at the Ionta barber shop".More on the Open Forum.
(1972 - ) Singer
Alex Kapranos lived in Dennistoun and is lead singer in the hugely successful Glasgow band Franz Ferdinand. The bands debut album written at Kapranos's flat was released in February 2004. It won the Mercury Music Prize and sold more than two million copies in its first year. The band won best British Rock Act and best British Group in the 2005 Brit Awards. They had a successful tour of America and were nominated for three GRAMMY awards. They also took top honours at the NME Awards (Feb 2005) receiving best album award and best track for Take Me Out.
(1963 - ) Actor
Lives in Dennistoun, his formal training was at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. Theatre is his first love; Pleasure and Pain (Citizens), The Slab Boys Trilogy (Traverse), Penetrator (Tron), Kidnapped (Lyceum), Driving Miss Daisy (Byre) he has also been seen on television; High Road, Taggart, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Casualty, Rab C. Nesbitt, Punchdrunk and film roles in Nervous Energy, and Riff-Raff. He plays Ally in the film Dear Frankie to be shown 2004.
John Kazek was awarded the 2003 Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland For Best Male Perfomance (Pleasure and Pain).
(1962 - ) Actor / comedian
Born in Dennistoun and educated in Alexandra Parade Primary and Whitehill Secondary. As a young boy Ford washed cars for pocket-money andÂ had fun with his impersonations, jokes and songs.Â On leavingÂ school he tried his hand at everything; driving, labouring, bar work and tailoring. He worked in the popular clothing shops of the time in Glasgow including City Cash and Mann the Tailor. It was in marketing that he gained the confidence required for stand-up comedy. Ford now brings to the television and stage his own brand of near-the-knuckle humour in Chewin' The Fat and Pulp Video. He has developed well known characters into household names such as Ronald Villiers, the worst actor in the world and Jack Jarvis in Still Game.
(1827 - 1912) surgeon
Born in Essex he made medical history with his experiments in sterile surgery using antiseptic procedures at Glasgow Royal Infirmary where he used carbolic acid to reduce infection from bacteria.
(1928 - 2001) OBE, Actor, Entertainer, Theatre Owner
Born James Allan Short at 3 Inglis Street in Dennistoun on 4th April. His grandparents lived in Bluevale Street. He left school at 14 to work in the theatre and at 19 he was principal comedian at the old Metropole Theatre on Stockwell street. His career spanned Variety, Radio, TV and Film and he also starred for many years in pantomime including the London Palladium. His one-man musical which he wrote based on the life of Sir Harry Lauder was well received in 1976. He toured Canada and the US where he appeared at Carnegie Hall in New York. He purchased a theatre in Glasgow and the actor-manager staged both variety and plays as well as a Royal Performance with Princess Margaret in attendance. His films include: Floodtide with Gordon Jackson, Captain Jack with Bob Hoskins and The Debt Collector with Billy Connolly. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Glasgow Caledonian University in 1994, an OBE for his charitable works in 1996 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 1998.
(1948 - ) Singer
Born Marie McDonald McLaughlan Laurie in November 1948 she grew up in Garfield Street, Dennistoun, where her father worked in an abattoir and her mum worked in a bread shop. She is the eldest of four children, singing since the age of three, and publicly performing at the age of nine. She had a hit with Shout in 1964 and won the Eurovision song contestwith Boom Bang-A Bang. She played Adrian Mole's mother on TV and got a guest spot on Morcombe and Wise and later in Absolutely Fabulous. She sang two movie themes, To Sir With Love for the film of the same name with Sidney Poitier and The Man With the Golden Gun, the James Bond film.
After two failed marriages she came back with a flourish with her 1993 song Independence. She has had 16 top 40 hits including her first ever number one with boy band Take That in 1993 with Relight My Fire. Latest film, Whatever happened to Harold Smith with Tom Courtney and has released a new album, Where the poor boys dance, co-written with her brother Billy. She was main anchor in Red Alert the television program that precedes the UK national lottery game. Received the OBE in the Queen's birthday honours list 2000.
(1925 - 2017) Professional Football Player
John Archie MacKenzie The Firhill Flyer was a strong, fast and skillful right winger for Partick Thistle. He was born in Dennistoun and shared his early years between Glasgow and Tiree in the Hebrides where his mother came from. He returned to Glasgow to take up an apprenticeship with a Glasgow engineering company and played for junior club Petershill. He signed for Thistle in 1944, a few months before receiving his call-up papers for the army where he joined the Scots Guards. He was loaned to Bournemouth and QPR before returning to Thistle in 1948 where he played in three League Cup Finals and was in the Glasgow Cup winners team 1951, 1953, 1955. He also played for Scotland nine times.
Johnny played for Fulham 1958 returned to Thistle and went on to play for Dumbarton 1960. He moved to Ireland to play for Derry City at the age of 37 where he helped them win the Gold Cup, Irish Cup and the Irish League Championship. He later coached for Third Lanark in 1967. The Firhill Flyer who played nearly 400 games for Partick Thistle now resides in Tiree.
Obituary - John Archie MacKenzie, the only native Gaelic speaker to be capped at football by Scotland - Herald Scotland
(1766 - 1843) Inventor
Discovered how to waterproof material using India rubber and now has raincoats named after him. His factory was in Wellpark.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh
(1868 - 1928) Architect, Designer & Artist
Outstanding architect and designer of the Art Nouveau style. His parents married and lived in Dennistoun until they moved to Townhead in 1863. He was born in Parson Street, Townhead and they returned to Dennistoun where Charles lived at 2 Firpark Terrace (c.1875-1892). He was educated at Allan Glen's and later at Glasgow School of Art. He was employed by architects Honeyman & Kepple in 1889. He was to design many Glasgow buildings: Martyrs Public School, Scotland Street School, Glasgow School of Art, Queens Cross Church, Daily Record Building and the Willow Tearooms.
( - ) Singer, Songwriter
Angela was brought up in Bellfield Street Dennistoun, moved to London where she worked for EMI Records and then later settled in New York. She performed as a solo artist and also as vocalist for bands: "The Wild Colonials", "Curio", "Triptych" (with husband Paul Cantelon) and "Telepopmusik". She also recorded film soundtracks and television ads for Mitsubishi and Wilkinson Sword. Debute album "The Things We Do" (2004), and released "You Could Start a Fight in an Empty House" (2009)
(1965 - ) Managing Director and co-founder of MEGA
David was born in Cumbernauld Road and then moved to 35 Marwick Street where he attended Haghill Primary School. David is now based in Dubai where he founded a market leading business information firm focused on the international banking and finance industry. David leads a team that has over the past 15 years built the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) into the largest gathering of Islamic finance leaders anywhere in the world. This iconic brand, which attracts more than 1,000 senior decision-makers from 45 countries, was also launched in London in 2008 as the WIBC European Summit. David has been responsible for internationally extending the portfolio of MEGA brands into Dubai, Singapore, Bahrain, London and Qatar, with a client base comprising the leading players in the international financial markets.
(1971 - ) Professional Snooker Player
Born in Glasgow, he practiced at the Craigpark Masters Snooker Club in Dennistoun. He turned professional in 1990 and in 1994 beat Stephen Hendry 9-8 in the Benson and Hedges Masters.
( - ) Folk Singer/Songwriter
Born and raised in Dennistoun and lived at 103 Glenpark Street with his two sisters. He wrote many songs often sung by others including the childrens favourite "The Jeely Piece Song". Also "Oor Hamlet", "Yellow On The Broom", "Blood Upon The Grass" and "Where is The Glasgow". He owns and manages a second hand bookshop and presently lives in the South Side of Glasgow. He sings in the group Stramash.
(1810 - 1872) Poet
Born in Glasgow he lived most of his life at No.4 Ark Lane. While working as a wood turner and cabinetmaker he also became an accomplished poet and songwriter, having works published in various magazines and also as a collection of nursery rhymes and poems. He died in Glasgow and was buried in the family plot at Tollcross. A public subscription erected a monument to his name in the Glasgow Necropolis and a bronze plaque was mounted on a wall near where he lived on 2nd September 2009 to commemorate his life and his most famous nursery rhyme is Wee Willie Winkie
(1972 - ) Entrepreneur
Born and raised in Dennistoun she attended Whitehill Secondary School. Founder of Govan-based MJM International now has a turnover of £3 million (BP) per annum. She left Whitehill Secondary School at the age of 15 and always had burning ambitions to be her own boss. Model turned business accounts manager she set up her company in 1998 after being made redundant. She invented the Ultimo bra that contains cleavage enhancing silicone pouches. Mother of three children she now intends to take her business into America and Japan where she will be launching her new range of swimwear.
(1937 - ) Actress and Singer
Renowned for her nostalgic observations from her childhood days in Dennistoun, Dorothy Pollock was born in 1937 and lived in a two room and kitchen ground floor flat at 108 Cardross Street and later moved to 2 Whitehill Street. As a young girl she attended Alexandra Parade Primary School and then continued to Whitehill Senior Secondary. She left Whitehill Senior in 1952 and worked as a Junior at the C & A. She also worked for a period with Remnant Kings at Sword Street. She started theatre work after winning a talent contest. In 1957 she played Principle Boy in Aladdin at Edinburgh's Palladium Theatre and continued in Variety working with Jack Milroy and Johnny Beattie. Two years later she was signed up for Scottish Television's The One O'Clock Gang with Larry Marshall, Jimmy Nairn, Charlie Sim and Shiela Matthews. From 1974 onward Dorothy Paul had a spot in Butlins, hosted Housecall, played in Garnock Way, The Steamie, The Celtic Story and Harmony Row and in 1991 she played her first one-woman show.
Bertie Peacock MBE
(1928 - 2004) Football Player / Manager
Northern Ireland International football player. He lived in Eastercraigs and played left-half for Celtic 1949-61. He was awarded the MBE in 1986 for his services to football. A bronze statue of Bertie stands in Coleraine Town Centre, N Ireland.
(1969 - ) Football Player / Manager
Alexander Scott Rae lived in Dennistoun and as a youngster was educated at Golfhill Primary School. He played for Scotland's under-21's and signed for his favourite team, Rangers but didn't get to play for the first team. He went on to sign for Falkirk (1987), Millwall (1990), Sunderland (1996) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (2001). He re-signed for Rangers (2004) andÂ was player/manager of Dundee FC (2006-2008). He earned a reputation as an aggressive and determined midfielder. Alex founded the Glasgow based charity Second Chance (2007) to help those with drink and drug problems.
(1966 - ) Chef
Lived in Dennistoun when he was a young boy before moving to England with his family at the age of 10. He later became a successful chef opening his own restaurants and making various TV appearances. In 2001 he opened the Amaryllis restaurant at 1 Devonshire Gardens, Glasgow where it closed three years later.
(1857 - 1945) Doctor MB CM
A noted physician as historian and a speaker of Gaelic. He lived at 375 Duke Street and for a while worked for the Royal Navy. He insisted that all his children (2 boys and 5 girls) obtain a university education. One daughter died young, the other children all graduated from the University of Glasgow. His son James became Archbishop of Glasgow in February 1964. Doctor Scanlan once said, "The best place to save your money is in your head". He died at the age of 88 while residing at 18 Craigpark, Dennistoun.
St Mungo (St Kentigern)
(520-603) Patron Saint of Glasgow
Mungo was the son of Thenew, daughter of the King of Lothian. He trained in a monastery at Culross and built a church on the banks of the Molendinar Burn in what was to become Glasgow. The site is now occupied by Glasgow Cathedral where the Lower Church houses St. Mungo's tomb. He is reported to have performed many miracles some of which are now embodied in the Glasgow coat of arms and in the popular Glasgow verse:
Here is the bird that never flew.
Here is the tree that never grew.
Here is the bell that never rang.
Here is the fish that never swam.
Charles Patrick Tully
(1924-1971) Football player
Born in Belfast he later came to live in an upstairs tenement flat at 150 Roebank Street. The flat was used by Celtic football Club to provide accommodation for its players. During his time with Celtic (1948-59) the club twice won the Scottish Cup.
(1272-1305) Scottish patriot
Chief champion of Scotland's independence. He defeated the English Garrison at the battle of the Bell O' The Brae (High Street) in 1297.
( - ) Arts Manager, Producer
Lives with his family in Dennistoun. His career has taken him from the Cambridge Arts Theatre to Executive Director of Scottish Ballet including posts at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East and English National Ballet. He was consultant for a number of arts organisations, such as The Queen?s Hall and The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. He became Chief Executive of The King's Theatre, Glasgow on 1st June, 2002 when the Ambassador Theatre Group took over operations from Glasgow City Council.
( - ) Reverend
Adah (Adamina) Younger grew up in Possilpark, Glasgow. She attended Jordanhill College and Glasgow University where she studied Divinity. She established a cafe in Dennistoun to provide work experience for local young people and was the minister for Dennistoun Central Church of Scotland 1996-2004. Adah Younger served 25 years in the ministry and was the first woman Moderator of the Church of Scotland Glasgow Presbytery 2003-2004.
On Friday the 28th of February 2014 the City Chambers played host to the Sports Person of the Year Awards which celebrated Scottish sport's action heroes, dedicated coaches and selfless volunteers who have given up hundreds of hours of their time to the sports they love. Around 250 athletes, sports fans, club leaders, school pupils, volunteers and coaches gathered for the celebrations as winners were revealed across 13 categories.
Karate star James Coulter was presented with the Young Sports Person of the Year Award by Evening Times assistant editor Graham Shields.
15-year-old James currently attends Whitehill Secondary in the East End of Glasgow and dedicates around 20 hours a week to training. Last month James attended the European Championships in Lisbon where the event was held at the, 13,000 seat, MEO arena. At the event James picked up the silver medal, matching his result from last years event. By reaching consecutive finals James became the first Scot since 1991 to do so and in the process reached a career-high of world number three.
Over the last two years James has fought in four major international events in the USA, in all of which he has reached the final. Coming out with three gold medals and a silver, after having a total of nineteen fights from the four events. The events have been held in Las Vegas' Caesars Palace and the Paris, Paris Hotel with the high point coming with James winning and then defending the US Open in consecutive years. On the domestic scene James has also won every major UK title both individually and as a member of his Eastbank karate team.
Jamie Allan Brown (17) is the only Scot to be chosen to campaign on behalf of Unicef to improve the plight of children around the world. A senior pupil at Whitehill Secondary, Jamie was headhunted by the charity to become one of their United Kingdom youth representatives - there are only two in the whole of the UK.
Jamie believes that getting involved in even the little things in your community can make a big difference. From the day he started secondary school he became an active representative on the school's Pupil Council. With five years experience in this role he is now the elected chairman with the aim of building a better learning environment for all pupils. Jamie also represents his school at the citywide Glasgow Student Council held at the Glasgow City Chambers and this led him to be involved in the Glasgow Anti-Racist Alliance (GARA) as Board Director.
Jamie is presently studying Higher English, Maths, Information Systems, Business Management and Modern Studies. In his role as a spokesperson for young people he has also been trained in Anti-Racism, Equality Law, BBC Media Training and Charity Board Directorship Management. When he heard about Unicef Youth Voice during a meeting with GARA he saw an opportunity to put his new skills learned locally to good use internationally.
Unicef Youth Voice is a new initiative to involve children and young people under the age of eighteen in the work of the global champion for children's rights. Jamie applied to the charity to become a Unicef advisor but they were so impressed at that interview they offered him the top youth representative job. Jamie said, " I felt it was a great honour to be selected as one out of two representatives for the whole of the UK".
Jamie will now be travelling to Ethiopia to learn about social land health projects and particularly, their impact on children.
Peter Curran is the author of "THE ANCIENT ORDER OF MORIDURA", a scientific thriller with a Scots hero and an American heroine. He was born in Dennistoun, Glasgow: he now lives in a village near Edinburgh. A former human resources director in the brewing industry, he set up his own consultancy business in 1988, specialising in negotiating skills and management development, and working extensively with the Scotch whisky industry, Royal Mail and in pharmaceuticals.
He has been a keen dance band musician for most of his life, playing saxophones and clarinet, and very recently, a little banjo and guitar. His twin musical idols are Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker. He regards himself as a totally authentic Glaswegian, having been born and brought up in the East End, near the heart of the old city, and more importantly, he says, "--- near Tennent's Wellpark Brewery!"
The following extracts from his book confirm that the hero, Alistair Mackinnon is indeed a Dennistoun man -
"I have a thing about structures built on rocks," he said. "My own house on Loch Lomond - West Craig - is on a wee rock, and my original neighbourhood in Glasgow, Dennistoun - has a street called Wester Craigs, and there was the Fir Park, a rocky hill above a stream, the Molendinar, where the monk Mungo was instructed by his dying master, Fergus, to build a church. That's where the city was founded and it's now the site of the cathedral and the Necropolis - the City of the Dead. When we were boys, after going to see the Frankenstein movie, we would climb over the wall into the Necropolis and play at Frankenstein among the mausoleums. I was the Monster, because I was tall. There's a great Spanish movie where a wee girl thinks she's met the Monster after seeing the film - what's it called, Santiago?"
"El EspÃritu de la Colmena' The Spirit of the Beehive," said Santiago. "It is a favourite of mine - the little girl was wonderful."
Science fiction was one of the arcane byways in Alistair's love of books, which included the printed word in forms ranging from the Incunabula to a ticket from the last tramcar to run in Glasgow. He had a very special love for the classic period of pulp scientifiction - the original name for the genre - as he insisted in calling it. His final flourish had been to indicate that he would produce Doctor Blade at the party, having concealed the good doctor in lodgings in the town.
Paul roared with laughter at Alistair's discomfiture. The big Scot contented himself with a muttered aside. "It's not the Metro in London, it's the Underground."
"Yes," added Paul, straight faced now, "and in Glasgow, it's the Subway."
Angeline clapped her hands and cried "Why, that sounds American - do you really call it that, Alistair - the Subway?"
Paul, bent on revenge now, ploughed on regardless of his big friend's chagrin. "Yes, but it's a tiny little thing, a toy - a wee Victorian hole in the ground. They used to haul the cars along on a wire!"
Alistair straightened in his chair and went into a series of Glaswegian body movements; a certain flexing of the shoulders, tilt of the head and neutral focus of the eyes which Paul instantly decoded as trouble - whisky trouble.
The Sauchiehall Street Syndrome, as he often referred to it. Falling backwards expertly from his chair onto the floor, he screamed in mock alarm, in an execrable Scottish accent.
"I'm too wee to fight - and you're too auld, Big Yin!"
Alistair was suddenly all dignity, mine host personified. Turning to Le Patron's wife, he said gravely "My dear lady, I apologise for this Sassenach - he's just a wee bit drunk!"
"MÃ©rida is over sixty kilometres south of Caceres, Paul, and Badajoz is about fifty kilometres west of it. Caceres and Badajoz give their names to the two provinces of Extremadura. It will take us over four hours to get there."
Alistair butted in again, as was his way. "Extremadura is one of the largest regions in Europe; it's about as big as Belgium and a bit smaller than Scotland. It is one of the seventeen autonomous provinces of Spain."
"Scotland's a region now, is it, Alistair?" said Paul mischievously, winking at Santiago in the mirror.
"Watch it, Jimmy - just you watch it!" growled Alistair.
"And where is Moridanza in relation to MÃ©rida?" asked Paul.
"East of the sun and west of the moon!" said Alistair.
"Is that a quote from the Old Testament or a line from a song? You're not going to tell me, then?" said Paul.
"We head in the general direction of the Sierra del Torozo, Santiago - I'll direct you from there, if my memory serves me well enough. It's been five years or thereabouts. Moridanza's a great wee place - you'll like Manuel and Fidelicia - they're a nice couple," Alistair reminisced happily.
"And are the Magus of Moridura and Mrs. Moridura a nice couple too?" interrupted Paul.
Alistair looked at the ceiling. It had an old-fashioned centre light consisting of a single bulb suspended in a glass bowl shade that hung by chains from the ceiling rose. It reminded him of his childhood in the 1940s - such light fittings had been commonplace in the tenement flats. The bowl filled up with dead flies, dimming the light, and had to be emptied regularly, a gruesome task.
He reflected on the fact that, when he was a boy, there were very few seventy-year old men about. They retired from hard manual labour at sixty-five years of age, if they lived that long, and died shortly afterwards from emphysema, asbestosis or tuberculosis. A few lived long enough to die of cancers. The women lived a bit longer. He had expected the same fate for himself - it was the way of things, yet here he was, hale and hearty at seventy, rich, but still working. Now the fate of the young people around him was in his hands.
"My mother and father were - and are - keen dancers," replied Santiago. "When I was a child, they competed in local dance halls, and took me along. When I was seven, they sent me to dance lessons - it got me beaten up at school, but it toughened me up. I told my parents that I would only continue with the dance lessons if they also sent me to martial arts training."
"I remember once being thrown out of the old Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom for trying to throw a punch," reminisced Alistair fondly. " The bouncers arrived so fast that the punch never landed. They threw me into the Gallowgate with the traditional farewell - don't come *** * back, Jimmy!"
He then realised that he had sworn, and looked at the Moridurans apologetically. They were both sitting with their fingers to their lips in gestures of reproof, then Brother Joaquin burst out laughing, followed by Mateo and Manuel. To cover his embarrassment, Alistair went off at a tangent, declaring, to the evident disbelief of his audience, that shellac - a component of the old 78 records - was made from the secretions of "a wee beastie" called the lac and that the insect had featured in ancient Hindu legends.
Lonnen met his eyes with a rueful grin. "You sure get right to it when you're in the mood, Alistair - is that a Scottish trait?"
"It's certainly a Glasgow trait," replied Alistair, unfazed by the implied rebuke.
A building within the panelling of the guest wing, the enclosed space and the eerie light reminded Alistair of the fossil grove on the west side of Glasgow, the uncovered fossilised tree and root formations from a primeval forest, sitting incongruously in a pleasant city park. As a boy, it had been one of his magical things and places, together with the jawbones of the whale in the People's Palace, and the giant statue of Osiris in the Art Galleries. He felt a great surge of gratitude that he was now experiencing more magical moments at threescore and ten.
This cannot be happening, Alistair thought, reaching frantically back into his Glasgow street wisdom for a rejoinder that would relieve the intolerable intellectual conflict he now felt. He went into automatic pilot mode, and heard himself speaking as though he were an observer.
"Are there any more like you at home, Jimmy?" he said. "If there are, God help your Mammy!"
"Come with me to the consoles and I will explain what we must do," she said, looking at the two white-faced creatures standing on the floor of the chamber, then, in the voice of Alistair's mother, "That lassie's lookin' awfy peely-wally, Alistair!"
Alistair laughed, a great feeling of relief and affection swept over him, and he took Angeline's hand. "Peely-wally means you're looking pale and unwell - it comes from the time when Glasgow imported Walloon chinaware from the Netherlands, which they called wally in the vernacular. Literally translated, it is peeling Walloon, that is to say, the glaze on your dinner service is flaking off."
Visit Peter Curran's website: The Ancient Order of Moridura
Visit Peter Curran's blogspot: http://moridura.blogspot.com/
Available EBook reading formats and sample text
Grace Anne Williamson, 33, who works at Aberlour Child Care Trust's Running: Other Choices (ROC) Refuge in the city, has been named "Residential Care Worker of the Year" by the British Association of Social Workers in Scotland. She received her award from Children and Early Years Minister Adam Ingram at a special ceremony in Edinburgh on the 16th January 2008.
The award recognises her significant contribution in helping to set up, develop and run Scotlandâ€™s only refuge for young runaways under 16. She is also an SVQ assessor who is dedicated to her own and her colleagues' continuing professional development.
Grace Anne, who is originally from the Shetland Islands and now lives in Dennistoun, is currently Assistant Service Manager at the ROC Refuge. She was one of four original core workers who started work on the project in November 2003. Since opening its doors in July 2004, the refuge has helped 160 troubled youngsters.
Before joining Aberlour, Grace Anne spent two years working with Voluntary Service Overseas in a children's home on the outskirts of Moscow. Prior to that, she worked as a social worker with Shetland Islands Council.
A young person says: "Grace Anne is really good to talk to, listens to you and tries to understand your situation as best she can. She is easy to spend time with, makes you feel comfortable and tries to talk to you as much as possible."
The BASW Scotland Social Work Awards are aimed at recognising the very best in front line social work practice. The winners receive a trophy to keep, a year's free membership of BASW and a European City Weekend Break.
Adam Ingram commented: "These new BASW awards provide a great opportunity to recognise the achievements of front line staff who are dedicated to improving the lives of others. Today we rightly celebrate their hard work, their commitment, their professionalism and their expertise."
Grace Anne said: "I feel very honoured to accept this award. It is encouraging that BASW Scotland has rewarded the efforts of residential child care workers as this is an often unsung area of social work.
"The award not only validates my own practice but highlights the hard work of all the staff at Scotland's only refuge for young people who run away. It also helps highlight the plight of an increasing number of young people in Scotland and the UK and the need for more refuges."
Ruth Stark, BASW Scotland's Professional Officer, added: "This is the first year of our awards and we've been very impressed by the quality of the social work we have seen across Scotland. We want to celebrate this expertise in a wider context and to illustrate the work that is being carried out in very innovative and exciting ways."
The other main award winners were:
Social Worker of the Year - John Black, Project Worker, CHILDREN 1st Family Support Service, East Renfrewshire
Student Social Worker of the Year - Jennifer Lindsay, MSc in Social Work Studies student, Stirling University
Aberlour Child Care Trust: www.aberlour.org.uk
In 1860 the City Officials scheduled for clearance the historical centre of the city. This should not be interpreted as an indication of buildings that had become obsolete and unused but rather that it illustrates the progressive zeal in which they embraced their work. It can be readily proven that for a number of decades such demolition succeeded in not only displacing the problem but also exacerbating it by further increasing demand on existing housing stock. The sudden demand for housing, which accompanied industrialisation and population growth, from 77,385 in 1801 to 784,496 in 1901, was met almost entirely by private rented dwellings.
From 1862 the sanitary authorities ticketed congested houses to indicate the maximum occupancy. Writing in 1869, William Holms tells of inspections carried out on these houses and cites from one instance where a house ticketed at 1643.5, in this case the number indicating the cubic capacity of the house and the number of adults (5) legally allowed to occupy the house:
It contained seven adults and seven children, most of them lying on the floor; the excuse made for this overcrowding was, that the lodgers were people who had been turned out of their houses owing to the formation of the Union Railway; and being unable to get accommodation elsewhere at a suitable rent, had taken one of the two apartments in this wretched building.
The position of housing in Glasgow at this point is also characterised by the vast differences of accommodation available at the time. However it is important to consider that in the middle of the nineteenth century over half the people in Scotland lived in houses consisting of only one or two rooms. From 1600 to about 1850, most people in cities and burghs lived in small houses. Dwellings of one or two rooms were the norm for working people and for many in the 'middle ranks'. The more ancient areas of the city, chiefly from the River Clyde in the south of the City, via Briggait, Saltmarket and High Street to the Cathedral, were a mixture of 16th to 18th century formerly middle class houses. These areas had long fallen prey to the restless nature of the mobile merchants and artisans that they had once contained. Conditions in these buildings and the attendant housing or back lands that had sprung up on the open spaces to their rears, are well documented in other accounts such as the works by Shadow. Such living conditions are captured in the candid descriptions of night time visits on these abodes.
Life in The Streets, Wynds, and Dens
Written in 1858 by Thomas Murray under the pseudonym 'Shadow' Midnight Scenes And Social Photographs - Sketches of Life in The Streets, Wynds, and Dens of the City of Glasgow describes night time forays into the closes and vennels of the overcrowded parts of the City and describes the conditions found and of the occupants of these houses:
Visiting a close in Saltmarket they follow a plain but respectable looking man up a narrow filthy close, as we enter, we are forcibly struck with the remarkable appearance of the domicile, and a group of half dressed people of both sexes cowered around the fireplace; it is small, ill lighted and worse ventilated, in a corner is a window, near the roof, just enough to grudgingly illuminate a prison cell in an obscure part of the abode is a large filthy pail, apparently the urinal common to the entire household.
Such works however were often the product of middle class reformers using sensationalism to highlight the plight of their fellow citizens. Accordingly less sensational, the insights into the newly emerged middle class living at this point can be gleaned only from such varied sources as furniture inventories published for roup or auction in the local press and the detailed family portraits taken which include room views. In addition to this, the periodic references in literature are often the only sources of illustration of conditions for the better off citizens of Glasgow at this point.
The middle class perspective of these accounts is evident in the expressions of immorality and personal weakness as the source of these peoples misery. 'Shadow' describes many visitations on abodes often expressing disdain at the impropriety of the occupants by virtue of the proximity of strangers as lodgers in houses, in partial undress and in mixed sex company. Further extending remark to offer an explanation at the cause of the social evils "to deny in the face of overwhelming authority, that intemperance is not a cause of this depravity, would be absurd".
Other commentaries, however, posited different and more objective stances. Giving evidence to the Royal Commission in 1917 with reference to the inspection of ticketed houses, Peter Fyffe, the Sanitary Inspector in Glasgow, declared it a degrading thing to have any family living under conditions where they are apt to be stirred up at any time during the night by men coming in with lanterns and books and taking notes. Extending his evidence in highlighting the difficulties in obtaining true representations of the number of occupants in houses to be inspected he further comments that:
In some streets in Glasgow they are so friendly with one and other, that, whenever the night men appear at one end of the street the word passes round right through the street, and by the time they get to the closes further on, the inmates have all got up and are dressed. Sometimes the people have got into presses, into barrels, and into enclosed places above the bed - sometimes on the roof, hiding behind the chimney head.
Typically, early seventeenth century tenement buildings would have housed a wide social mix of people. The gentry and middle ranks occupying the best rooms on the first and second floors while trades' people and craft workers occupied the less convenient flats and poorest people had garrets and cellars. However, by the middle of the nineteenth century these properties had mostly been 'made down' whereby a number of households were created from what had previously been one. Lamenting after these properties, Dr. James Russell, successor to the City's first Medical Officer, Dr. William Gairdner, appointed in 1856, protested that:
Almost without exception these ticketed houses are what we call 'made down houses'. No plans of these houses were ever submitted to the Dean of Guild Court. They may be either, as in the older parts of the city, in tenements erected long before the Police Act of 1866, for the gentry of old Glasgow, or in tenements which have passed the court recently as houses of 5, 8 or 10 rooms. In short, these houses have all been parts of houses of larger size; often parts of single rooms of houses of larger size, divided by partitions sometimes of mere wood, run across the floor of those large rooms. This means defective ventilation, defective light, dark lobbies [hallways], crowded stairs, and disproportion in the conveniences provided.
By the end of the 1860s the Medical Officer of Health was trying to ensure that water was available on the stair head at least on every second floor of tenements and that there should be one water tap to ten families at minimum. As these were for common use they would be located at the end of corridors to a window opening. This would allow the minimum disruption caused by the introduction of water supply pipes to the inside of the building and also allowing them to drain into the existing rainwater goods from the roof. There was also the concern that ineffective maintenance could often lead to water running down the stairs from leaking pipes and spillage and consequently the authorities discouraged introducing water directly into single ends and even two apartment houses. This situation would continue to influence the positioning of sanitation in flats and the creation of sculleries in later tenements of the nineteenth century, even after more effective sanitary fittings were available.
Typhus and Cholera Outbreaks
Whilst concern was levied at the implications of bad housing for the families forced to domicile in these abodes, there was a mounting body of evidence indicating that the periodic visitations of disease hit these areas more heavily than the less densely populated addresses. Commenting on typhus, Professor of Medicine at the University in 1840, Robert Cowan, identified the foul conditions in which people lived as the main cause of epidemic. "The total want of cleanliness", "the absence of ventilation", "the accumulation, for weeks or months together, of filth of every description in our public and private dunghills". The last great typhus outbreak occurred in 1869-70, after which the clearance of some of the worst housing coupled with a rigorous isolation and cleansing brought a dramatic reduction.
The periodic outbreaks of cholera in Glasgow were in tandem with the outbreaks elsewhere in Britain at the time. The first outbreak happening in 1832, the others in 1848-49, 1853-54 and 1866. Whilst the sporadic outbreaks of cholera conformed to those of other cities, the intensity and virulence in Glasgow resulted in more deaths directly from the disease than in any other city. Commenting on the outbreak of 1866, Dr. Russell bluntly explained the reason for the reduction in numbers in comparison to the previous outbreaks in Glasgow. That 'there was no essential difference in the places to which cholera led us in 1866 and thoseâ€¦in 1849; excepting that pure water abounded in the wynds and vennels'.
This last outbreak of cholera in 1866 is of particular interest. The newly laid suburb of Dennistoun was taking shape on the cities eastern side. As the actual mode of infection had not been isolated by this point and measures against the disease were based, incorrectly, on the miasmic theory of disease that spread by the transmission of noxious vapours. Dennistoun was located slightly east of some of the worst offending housing and the prevailing wind ensured a regular supply of air from the troubled parts of the old city.
The ability of the City to expand outwards and most significantly westwards provided more modern commodious abodes in less densely populated locales. In 1861, City Chamberlain John Strang was bemoaning the fact that the 'love of change, so inherently in the inhabitants' was inducing inner city residents to 'leave the older domiciles empty for others of a newer description'. Areas such as Laurieston on the south bank of the River Clyde and the Georgian developments at the westerly extremities of the city, such as Blythswood Hill and George Square had long provided a salubrious lure from the densities of the older areas of the city. However, whilst the expanding city centre increasingly encroached upon the older expansions into the countryside, the more affluent chose to move farther afield. As the nineteenth century progressed these migrations were to be further extended in areas such as Woodlands Hill and Hillhead in the west and Victoria Park in the south.
Alexander Dennistoun and James Salmon
Located less than one mile east of the High Street, Dennistoun was first proposed as a middle class suburb in 1854, when local landowner Alexander Dennistoun instructed James Salmon (1805-1888) to prepare a feuing plan for his property. Salmon's plan was one of the most ambitious and formalised among the many schemes yet devised in the Victorian suburbanization of Glasgow. Not one of the original plots was designated for tenements, indeed the corresponding advertisement for this scheme, which appeared three years later than the feuing design, described the developer's preference for 'self contained houses'. However, Peter Reed argues that the venture into the countryside around the city was the vision behind much Victorian suburbanization and the disadvantage of the east side location and the competition from the south and west soon prompted a revision in the feuing proposals. Whilst the grandeur of Dennistoun's original plans for his suburb had undergone some reduction in scale, the housing offered was at moderate rent and price although it was still intended for a comparatively affluent few.
Dennistoun provides a varied example of both skilled artisan and middle class housing. It also provides a convenient cross section of the variety and nature of tenement houses during the last half of the nineteenth century. It also illustrates the consequent buildings which arose due to different concerns in the private rented sector of the housing market until the First World War. Its earliest tenement houses dating from the mid 1860s on its western boundary and its latest pre-war building of 1910 on its eastern perimeter. Significantly the land was feud by the one family and their successive trustees. The Dennistouns themselves resided in Golfhill, the house itself surviving until the 1920s, located within the North West boundary of the area. Its location may have influenced the early development of the area, as the earlier tenements were located some distance from Golfhill House itself.
The earlier period of building in Dennistoun centred on the western boundaries of the estate. By the late 1860s several of the terraces of villas were complete and there was a concentration of larger tenements on Duke Street in the area called Kings Cross, the junction of Bellgrove Street at Duke Street. The increasing presence of the tenement buildings around the perimeter of the area and being surrounded by industrial settlements placed considerable pressure on the area's ability to sustain the venture into an exclusively suburban villa site. Thus by the 1870's the predominant buildings being erected were tenements.
Having considered some of the concerns of successive city officials at the evils, which seemed endemic in the more ancient parts of the city and the dangers of living there. It would fall upon the design of new tenements to ensure both the wellbeing of the occupants and a return on the capital expended in their erection.
Bathrooms and Water Closets
From plans inspected in a sample survey of Dennistoun tenements it was found that there is considerable detail listed as to the arrangement of both the layout and functions of the flats. This includes in most instances the appearance of the building, the mechanical construction of the building, the positioning of sanitation provisions and ventilation arrangements.
The indication of whether the back court is raised provides illustration of a mixture of land use with commercial or light industrial premises being located on the ground immediately to the rear of the building, thus requiring the back green to be located on its roof. This also resulted in the repositioning of drying greens to the roofs of tenements themselves in some instances, although Dennistoun contains no buildings of this type. In both occasions these would have been termed 'high backs' by the occupants.
The earliest plans still available for inspection are from September 1886 and the most recent from April 1910. The survey covers inspection of applications made for the erection of 130 buildings containing some 1034 dwelling houses. Of the buildings, only five list no provision for bathing whilst another two list the provision of houses with mixed arrangements and 79 flats with only the provision of a water closet. The earliest date of the properties with no bathroom is Jan 1897. The latest being April 1910 which was also the last tenement building to be erected on the site before World War 1. This would give the initial impression that the quality of the buildings had reached a peak in provisions and then a marked decline in the services provided, however, the nature of these provisions does still allow for the comparison of technical provision for lighting and ventilation.
Of all the bathrooms and water closets, not one of them was located in a position that was outside the door to the individual property and none of them were for common use. Some 540 had direct windows facing the rear of the property and 97 to the front. Significantly those having windows to the front of the building showed a high instance of being corner sited buildings where the constraints of the site often left the architect no option but to locate a window to the front, most preferences being to have only public and bedrooms facing the street. Some 11 had arrangements for light to the close itself, significantly here that in these few occasions the buildings were not fitted with a mechanical door entry system and all had stair head windows, thus allowing for a through put of fresh air, the absence of which having been much lamented at by the city officials of the 1860s. In the case of the remainder, 386 had arrangements for ventilation other than direct to the street or close. This could take the format of venting a bathroom over a scullery with the two rooms sharing the same window opening to either the front or rear of the building. This particular arrangement allowed for the restricted introduction of water goods to the houses and limited thus the possibility of water penetration to rooms other than for sanitary use.
Some had purpose built fresh air inlets for the bathrooms and a vent discharging the spent air through specific vents to the roof as opposed to above the scullery. Examples also of provision of a window between the bathroom and scullery, allowing borrowed light, although the air was provided directly from the outside. Also examples of houses with scullery and kitchen, both with rear facing windows. This provides the notion of containing the sanitary goods together and away from the main kitchen area where food would be prepared.
The importance of providing internal sanitation in the form of a bathroom or water closet, specifically for the use of one family, appears consistent in the buildings erected in Dennistoun throughout its tenement building period. Whilst the plans examined range only from 1885 upwards, the examination of buildings dating prior to this can be cited as evidence in consistency at least to the extent of sanitation being provided for each individual household. The plans submitted at various dates for the conversion of a range of ground floor flats to shops on Duke Street, provide an illustration of the lay out of buildings dated before 1885 and detail their existing layout at the point of alteration. An application for alteration, shows the layout as it was in 1893, with 8 bathrooms in the building all having windows to the rear of the property. Another three closes in the range show buildings on this occasion with light water closets to the rear and the latter building having only an internal water closet with no lighting or ventilation. None of these flats were built with sculleries of any description and would indicate both an earlier period of building by layout and an earlier standard of amenities. This would indicate that throughout the period, the importance of discrete toilet facilities remained a constant in the area, with every building containing at minimum an internal water closet although the facilities connected with the provision of fresh air, light and removal of spent air remained at variance.
Public Rooms and Bedrooms
The examination of the rooms listed as for public use according to the plans allows an indication of the class and wealth of the intended tenants. In Glasgow the historic provision of public rooms emerged during the latter half of the 18th century as the venue for significant social occasions. These were specifically within the domestic environment of the middle ranks and initially took the form of a dining room only. The use of the dining room, its table and significantly male drinking in the home provided for a vehicle for displays of wealth and allowed individuals to practice codes of civility which contributed to the allocation of status and prestige. From the survey, some twenty five buildings show more than one room for public use. The earliest flat listing the provision of two public rooms for which the data is available is dated 1886, and provide both the front elevation and plan of a neighbouring building of the following year. Significantly the larger of the public rooms is listed as the dining room and the lesser as a parlour, however the preference for three windows to the street for the parlour, has emerged by this point. It had previously been the custom to place only a single window on the parlour, this had extended to two by the 1870s and was further extended to three by the 1880s. This would continue to influence the placing of bay windows on parlours as the provision of a separate dining room fell from favour. The earliest of the flats with two public rooms also has two closed recesses for sleeping in addition to a bedroom. The preference for public rooms over bedrooms also coincides with the decline in size of middle class families, more marked after the 1870s. Public rooms with closed or open sleeping recesses were not generally built in Dennistoun after 1893 in any of the flats examined, the one exception being a corner building on Alexandra Parade from May 1902, which specifically lists an open recess to the parlour. Again the fact that this particular building is a corner sited one, indicates the ability to posit a detraction from the normal pattern which had established itself in the area.
Of the twenty five buildings with two public rooms, fifteen of them showed a variation of size within the same building, with twelve of them having only one bedroom in addition to the other rooms. Also, thirteen of the buildings were corner sited which would allow the architect some freedom in provision of rooms with windows facing the street, no public rooms were facing the rear courts in any occasion. It had been a previous fashion to locate in addition to a drawing and dining room, a small parlour to the rear, rooms permitting. Also with these buildings containing more than one public room, only eight showed the provision of a scullery, generally earlier nineteenth century flats did not provide this particular facility. The last building to be built with more than one public room was in June 1904, although this particular building provided as with its neighbours, accommodation of a particularly high standard. Its facing neighbour included the provision for the corner flats, of a fireplace in the hallway, immediately facing the front door as the flat was entered. The only other flat in the area to list a fireplace in the hall is the main door flat contained in a building also on Whitehill Street. Robert Lumsden petitioned both buildings with one designed by James Salmon.
There are however other considerations on this particular subject. The earliest plans, as mentioned previously, date from only 1885. This denies the close examination of large ranges of buildings dating from before this period; these were therefore physically examined on site.
The range of buildings on Roslea Drive all showed evidence of having two public rooms facing the street. All of these buildings were of white sandstone and the first two ranges mentioned all contained bay windows for the dining room. As a rule the provision of enriched cornice in the number of rooms facing the street indicated its intended use other than a bedroom. The dining room was frequently indicated, in addition to its location, by the nature of the enrichments in the cornice, containing fruit and vines, in addition the dining room was most often the larger of the public rooms and its door located immediately adjacent to the kitchen. Consequently bedrooms were provided only with plain cornicing which remained consistent throughout the later half of the century in all tenement flats.
The range of buildings on Roslea Drive between Armadale Street and Meadowpark Street, appear to date earlier than any of the buildings contained in the Drives, the block after Meadowpark Street on the south side of the Drive has a date stone showing 1876. The former range provide the only vista of tenement symmetry in all of Dennistoun, with the exception of one building on the north side of the street, which has its staircase located to the front of the building and has only one public room. This particular building attempts to carry the fenestration of its neighbours with the staircase occupying the centre windows. The building itself appears to be constructed in the smaller space left by the creation of its neighbours. This range is notable also for the distinct lack of bay windows, possibly harking after earlier periods of tenements buildings elsewhere in Glasgow, e.g. the pseudo Georgian frontage of Franklin Terrace in Finnieston (c.1850). The street elevation shows an arrangement indicating the dining room as the larger public room, which remained de rigour throughout the whole period of building flats with two public rooms. These blocks also indicate from their rear elevation, the provision of only a kitchen and bedroom, with the bathroom lit and vented to the close.
The Ubiquitous Bay Window
The range on the north side of Finlay Drive between Whitehill Street and Armadale Street also provide properties with two public rooms facing the street, again determined by the enriched cornicing present in the rooms, although by this point the ubiquitous bay window had established itself in regular uniformity. This range also contains internal stairwells with a cupola to the roof and upon inspection have no light closets to the closes.
Uniquely the corner building on Whitehill Street at Ingleby Drive is the only building in the survey area to list a public room as a drawing room and is further distinguishable by the use of a five turreted bay window on its corner. This particular building also lists a parlour in addition to the drawing room and marks the only departure from the dining room and parlour arrangement in the other larger flats, although its calibre conforms to the other buildings appearing towards the top of Whitehill Street at this time.
The significance to the provision of more than one public room in these flats can be related to the number of houses available to let at the time. If a builder or petitioner foresaw the potential to increase the size of the dwelling houses, accordingly the potential rental value for the property would increase. Balanced against this however, is the more intensive housing of fewer and smaller apartments that could yield a higher rental to the size of the feu. The last of the large flats built in Dennistoun were completed in 1905 and examination of the number of dwelling houses within Glasgow at the time shows a rapid rise of empty properties after 1904. The number of houses recorded as unoccupied in Glasgow during 1903 is 6,438, which jumped to 10,195 in the following year and peaked at 19,715 by 1910.
Unfortunately there is no separate record to indicate the instances where these properties were unoccupied due to their recent completion and thus awaiting the required 'drying out' period before the houses became habitable. Either way the evidence of a surfeit of housing at this point could sufficiently alter the rate and size of properties being built. Considering that they were still mostly speculative ventures at this point, the quantity and quality of housing built for lower middle class in both Glasgow and within Dennistoun, seemed to have reached its zenith with regard to number of public rooms. Another point to consider here is the financing of new buildings, which often were paid for by the sale of recently completed buildings in the same block. New buildings thus were susceptible to the demand and occupation of recently completed buildings and an inability to sell or rent out properties could considerably slow down the proposal and completion of new buildings. Indeed, the average small house builder existed on a precarious financial basis of loans or sale of ground annuals in addition to credit for materials. This compelled him to erect one tenement after another as quickly as possible during a building boom, in order to remain solvent.
The slowing down of housing demand could also account for the awkward gaps left in the drives, such as on the south side of Ingleby Drive between Whitehill Street and Armadale Street. This gap was utilised as allotments until the 1960s when local authority housing was erected on the site. Other gap sites such as Craigpark Drive between Whitehill Street and Cumbernauld Road remained unused until the 1930s when again the local authority stepped in and erected housing on these gaps. However the material in this range of buildings is of red stugged ashlar unlike its municipal contemporaries in the neighbouring estate of Haghill. This provides not too great a departure from at least the colour of the adjacent Victorian tenements, which are of red polished ashlar. This would also have considerably raised the cost of their erection and certainly could account for the necessity of the stugged finish, as polished ashlar would have made the cost prohibitive.
Natural Lighting and Ventilation
The use of cupular windows for the lighting of stairwells and landings (the stair could not take the more common form of a 'dog leg' stair, if the light was to reach the ground floor) remained in use throughout the period of building in Dennistoun. The first building for which the plans are available and those of the last both contain cupolas. There were attempts to ensure the regular supply of fresh air from the outside through the introduction of vents at floor level in the wall, which went to the rear wall of the building. There was clearly an awareness of the concerns raised by city officials at the capacity for closes to harbour disease when devoid of light and ventilation. This extended again to the reticence of placing light pantries or closets to closed wells when no stair head windows were available. The use of a cupola in the building erected on Golfhill Drive in 1904 can be readily explained by its proximity to the adjoining building, although from the plans, no special arrangement is apparent for the provision of ventilation other than the close opening at the front. All the other buildings having plans that contained cupolas were corner-sited buildings where the preferred stair head window posed particularly difficult to accommodate.
The provision of natural ventilation and lighting in the interior of the closes showed a consistent awareness by builders and architects to the wellbeing of the occupants. To the extent that where additional ventilation was not provided, no closets or presses were lit from borrowed light off the closes, and presses neither added to nor took from the possibly contaminated air from the stair. This awareness had earlier materialised in previous buildings in the area where the more typically Edinburgh arrangement, and for our purposes an endorsement of middle class exclusivity, whereby the entry into the close was by a door which was opened by lifting a lever located on the landing. The block on the north side of Roslea Drive between Whitehill Street and Armadale Street still have the levers for lifting the door latch and although also provided with stair head windows, have no lit presses to the close. Again a realisation of the limited air flow through the building. The blocks in the same position on Finlay Drive have no evidence of door entry systems in addition they have no visible additional ventilation in the close and are lit by cuppular windows.
The Buildings without Dean of Guild Plans
There are some buildings that can still be viewed but have no plans lodged in the city archives. This would immediately infer a date prior to 1885. The ranges of buildings on the north side of Duke Street after Hillfoot Street are constructed consistently of white polished ashlar. However the variety of size and complexity of lay out does allow some comparisons to be drawn from the buildings on the drives. For the first two blocks the three bay windows makes a regular appearance until the western corner at the bottom of Whitehill Street. This group of buildings is sadly missing their corner block, which was demolished in 1991, although the closes flanking the now vacant plot were part of the same construction. The remaining two buildings have a single window room that appears to be a parlour indicating a building date of circa 1875.
Proceeding along the street the next block presents a variety of different sized dwellings. Fortunately plans for alterations to four of these closes were submitted, when demand for retail space in the area pressed for the conversion of ground floor flats to shops. The earliest application available is dated December 1893 and lists the layout of the building as it was in use by the time of the proposed alterations. The plans show the flats to have only one public room with two bedrooms with a kitchen and bathroom facing the rear of the building. One of the windows is blank and its moulding serves only to allow a continuation of the fenestration. The other two submissions cover three buildings, D.O.G. 1890 and 1896. One set of plans proposing the introduction of an additional set of bay windows. These buildings all contained two public rooms fronting the street and two of them contained two bedrooms, the remainder only one. However none of them contained bathrooms, with only light water closets in two of the closes and one building having no visible means of lighting or ventilation for its water closets at the time of the proposals.
The following block on the north side of Duke Street between Armadale Street and Meadowpark Street appear to mirror the block described earlier. These have no bay windows in the entire block. The narrowness however, of the individual buildings implies only a bedroom and parlour to the street elevation. The next range follow a continuation of buildings of the same nature although they terminate on the corner and the next buildings which lead around the corner onto Cumbernauld Road indicate a severe reduction of standards from is neighbours. This continues around Cumbernauld Road and returns to a block on Roslea Drive that is dated 1876.
Unique to Dennistoun
On the north of Roslea Drive between Whitehill Street and Armadale Street, there is a range of white ashlar buildings, which contain a centrepiece. The two tenements in the centre of the block are one storey higher than the tenements that reach to and around the corner. This arrangement is unique in Dennistoun and in Glasgow rare if not non-existent. The lower buildings with only three storeys contain flats, which have both garrets and dormers in the roof. All this range have been fitted with mechanical door entry systems, have bathrooms venting and lit over the sculleries and have each two bedrooms, excepting the flats with additional dormers and garrets. Each building in this range has also two main door flats.
The range on the south of Finlay Drive between Whitehill Street and Armadale Street present somewhat of a discontinuity from the street. Although this range does not afford the continuity of its facing partner, the buildings exhibit two public rooms to the street with a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom to the rear.
Following along Finlay Drive present a diminutive version of the previous block. They contain a parlour and bedroom to the front with a light bathroom and kitchen only to the rear.
There is a block on the north of Garthland Drive between Whitehill Gardens and Meadowpark Street for which no plans are available. This white ashlar block contains, like its neighbours, two public rooms facing the street. The rapid growth of buildings in this area and the very sudden use of red ashlar on this drive could indicate the building to be by the same petitioner.
Ingleby Drive, commencing at Meadowpark Street alternates between having two public rooms and one public and one bedroom facing the street. Consequently a variety of three and two apartment flats, present a frontage that continues undisturbed for the block. These flats all have bathrooms and kitchens to the rear, with the larger flats having a bedroom located to the rear occupying the space broached from its smaller neighbour. None of these flats have visible sculleries.
The ranges on Onslow Drive commencing at Whitehill Street and on the north of the drive are all of white ashlar. One of the buildings is dated 1875 and the block indicated a parlour and bedroom to the front of the property with a kitchen and bathroom to the rear. Although nearing Armadale Street the irregularity of the close entrance infers a variety of different sized buildings. However, the block on the south of this drive suddenly shifts to very large red ashlar tenements. This could indicate that the completion of the south of this drive, as it was originally intended, was another victim of the depression following the City of Glasgow Bank crash. The difficulty with this particular block is the style, size and colour of the building itself, which accords to other buildings in the area of the late 1890s. The D.O.G. records which are still available commence in 1886 and the buildings being erected then were of white ashlar although red ashlar was being utilised on Finlay Drive but was not commonly used until later in that decade. No explanation is obvious as to why these buildings do not have D.O.G. applications available.
The Influence of the Architects
The designing of tenements was often carried out by the city's main architectural practices as one of their subsidiary activities. The contribution of these architects was also supplemented during a boom, by that of other small firms specialising in tenements.
The partnership of Frank Burnet, William Boston and James Carruthers were responsible for the planning of only two tenements on the north of Craigpark. This partnership had started in the office of John Carrick and consequently had extensive input to the activities of the CIT. These two tenements are of particular interest on two accounts. They are the closest to Golfhill House, erected in 1892 and named as Dalmeny Terrace. These were erected adjacent to the Dennistoun Baths (1883), and retained their open outlook until the building of the neighbouring tobacco factory in the 1930's, the surrounding land had been used for grazing until that point. The ground floor left flat of one tenement is unique in all of the flats in Dennistoun, being composed of two floors entered from the ground and first floor, with its own internal stair and having a full stair head window to the north gable. All other flats built over two levels were done so composing the top floor and garrets of the building. The site is also of interest due to another application to the D.O.G. for a range of buildings, which were never built.
W.G. Gardener formed a partnership with J. McKissack sometime after 1872 and produced only two tenements on Finlay Drive (1886). These two buildings are unusual in containing garret and dormer rooms in a conventional tenement of four storeys. All other tenements containing these types of rooms had been confined to buildings of three storeys aside from one solitary building on Duke Street. The building on Duke Street however, appears due to the number of flues in the west chimney head, to have been a later addition to the top storey. This partnership dissolved around 1890 and McKissack continued to produce several ranges of tenements between 1898 and 1904 for both William Anderson and William Miller. His work includes the last of the larger tenements in the area and he seems to have been particularly influential on Whitehill Street, although his work was not confined to larger properties, as his range on Meadowpark Street will testify.
James Salmon produced only two pieces of tenement work in Dennistoun, both centred around Whitehill Street. His input is particularly significant, as he had drawn up the original feuing plan for Dennistoun and indeed residing in the suburb himself. The calibre of his work on the five buildings he designed indicates his intentions of the area retaining its middle class nature. His planning of internal layouts was carefully thought out, as befitted one who prided himself on a knowledge of hygiene. His range on Whitehill Street was possibly one of his last pieces of tenement work, for although the Dean of Guild Court passed the plans in February 1889, he had infact died during the previous year. This captures one of the difficulties of working with material of this nature as only the date of authorisation is recorded, the planning and actual execution of works could span several years from conception to completion. His other piece of work is an outstanding corner tenement and its neighbour on the corner of Finlay Drive at Whitehill Street. This building lists on its north gable "Hawthorn Buildings 1887". As previously mentioned the ground floor flat of the corner building contains a fireplace in the hall which was only to be surpassed by Macwhannell and Rogerson's work of 1902 at the top of the same street.
John Thomson, son of Alexander (Greek) Thomson, paired with Robert Sandilands for partnership in 1886. Their work in Dennistoun is limited to just two tenements. Their work in Dennistoun is not characterised by any great significance although the innovative use of air intake vents to the bathrooms was being utilised in their buildings. The site itself appears to have lain unfeued, possibly as a consequence of the collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank in 1878, gauged by the abrupt end of the adjacent corner building, which is dated 1876.
Of the group of architects who specialised in the design of tenements, to the almost complete exclusion of everything else, George F. Boyd, a small one-man firm of this kind, produced a significant number of buildings in this area. From when he first went into practice in 1886 until 1901 with two large ranges of building comprising of three blocks: The western side of Hillfoot Street. The western side of Whitehill Street between Roslea and Finlay Drives and all the red coloured buildings in the block from Duke Street up the eastern side of Hillfoot Street, along Roslea Drive and starting back down Whitehill Street. These ranges of buildings are considerably smaller than those previously erected on Whitehill Street and generally compose of two room and kitchens with bathrooms venting over the sculleries.
The role of the City Officials during the last half of the nineteenth century gradually increased as the nature of local government across Britain also became extended. Its role in relation to housing in Glasgow was initially to attend to the worst of the slums, the usual response being purchase and demolition. This was intended to act as a catalyst in providing at public auctions, land at prices intended to stimulate alike the land market and local entrepreneurship in the building industry. In addition to embarking upon site clearances the municipal authority sought to appoint specific officials and lay prescriptive measures on the modification of existing and new buildings to be erected within the city boundary.
The Local Police Act of 1862 was used by a local committee to grant the deployment of temporary measures for a period of five years, in an attempt to curb the effects of some of the conditions in the most overcrowded parts of the city. This act also sanctioned the appointment of a medical officer of health. These temporary measures were however, made permanent in 1866. They recommended that all the ashes and night soil become the property of the city and also introduced the inspection of domestic dwelling houses with less than 2000 cubic feet, with a view to prevent overcrowding. In addition the 1866 Act established the City Improvement Trust, which provided for the buying and clearing of congested areas that were deemed hazardous to health. This was concerned mainly with the area around Glasgow Cross. Is has been argued that the motive force behind this early exercise in municipal socialism was middle class concern at the dangers the slums held for them. The 1866 Act also set up a Cleansing Department, which opened in 1868. The increasing legislation was a means to exercise control over the patterns of life for the slum dwellers.
Demolition of the worst offending houses began in the autumn of 1869 and by 1877 half the houses scheduled for demolition had been pulled down. New building at this point was however left almost entirely to private enterprise, albeit with strict regulations that properties should be no more than four storeys in height and have only one single apartment house on each level, the other houses being composed of two or three apartments. No municipal building took place before 1878, as private builders were ready to build on cleared sites.
City of Glasgow Bank
The collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank on 2 October 1878 had a particularly local impact. Many of the builders who had feued land from the Trust were declared bankrupt and building for some time came to a complete standstill. The slump in building activity was however symptomatic of a wider economic crisis although the building trade suffered particularly badly as a result of the recession, effectively bringing the work of the Trust to a halt for almost a decade. It ceased to demolish property and found itself the largest slum owner in Glasgow.
The 1880s was characterised by little activity either in the erection of new buildings or in the disposal of legislation affecting housing. From 1888 however, a more ambitious scheme of demolition and municipal building was embarked upon, but there was still no attempt to provide housing for the poorest classes. In 1889 the Health Committee demanded an end to privies in tenements and a new Police Act of 1890 extended the regulation of ticketed houses, such as the removal of outer doors to improve the supply of ventilation.
The Housing of the Working Classes Act of 1890, granted under part one, the right of the clearance of unhealthy areas and the provision of dwellings for those displaced as part of an improvement scheme. The Burgh Police Scotland, Act of 1892, limited the number of dwellings to each common stair and made compulsory both the provision of running water inside dwellings and the introduction of internal or shared water closets. In addition to the mandatory provision in new buildings erected after this point it also altered the rear elevation of many existing working class tenements, with the building of brick towers containing water closets, accessed from the landings on the stairs. In 1892 the first Building Regulation Act was passed and allowed the requirements for new house construction to be specified, this also moved to preventing the replication of the back land closes of earlier decades. Under this act also, the height of ceilings were specified and the number of houses in a block leading from one common stair, was restricted to 16. The use of built in beds was also prohibited.
The Improvement Act of 1897 was a consequence of the pressure by the Improvement Trust, to relieve it of the duty of making provision for the displaced, on the grounds that there was ample existing accommodation in the immediate neighbourhood. By the end of the 1890s, the Trust had built 34 tenements containing 1,184 dwellings. Initially the concern had been to get a good commercial return and to aim the housing at the artisan population, but from 1895 plainer houses were built, designed for a poorer class than the artisan.
Dennistoun - A Microcosm of Glasgow Housing
Using Dennistoun as an example of the housing erected in Glasgow during the period between 1860 until the outbreak of war in 1914, the relationship between municipal prescription and intervention in the housing market can be examined on a microcosmic scale for the city. Whilst it is fair to indicate that Dennistoun was a middle class suburb and consequently excluded the provision of housing for the very poor and semi-skilled, it was lower middle class and closer to the housing demands of more mobile lower classes on the way up the social scale. This provides a clearer image of the fluctuations of both supply and demand for housing, and can offer a closer insight into this topic than possibly its more staunch middle class contemporaries of the west and south of the city.
The activity of the City Improvement Trust in stimulating the housing market was specifically geared towards stimulating the lower end of the private housing market. Indeed, of the 134,000 Glasgow people housed by private builders in the period 1866-1874 few came from families displaced by the actions of the trust. Certainly the argument of the trickle down effect could not be borne out by this statistic alone, however, the inability of either the CIT or the Railway Companies to replace the housing it demolished put increasing pressure on the private sector to provide the needed accommodation. This would take the form of new housing for only those able to finance a move up the housing ladder. Further, evidence of the failure to provide accommodation for the poor resulted in the CIT being reported to the Royal Commission in 1885 for the failure to demolish housing it had purchased for clearance in 1866. It had elected instead to repair and re-let some of this housing. Only in 1888 was the remaining property, scheduled for demolition in 1866, finally demolished.
The displacement of population by the demolitions of the CIT was carefully studied by the Medical Officer of Health during the 1860s and 1870s and indeed much later. The view that the 'deserving poor will provide themselves with homes' was prevalent. Dr. Russell found that in general of those displaced, 40% of whom were labourers, moved to larger houses and paid higher rents.
However, to the extent that the private housing market was stimulated in the last half of the nineteenth century, evidence can still be found throughout the city in the form of Victorian tenements. The CIT did serve to provide impetus for reform in the housing for the worst off, by prescriptions such as the gradual provision of sanitation into the individual homes and the recommendations and subsequent enforcements such as the limiting of numbers occupying dwelling houses and the discontinued use of closed bed spaces. Using a contemporary suburb such as Dennistoun, the standards of amenities in housing in most cases exceeded the requirements by law. The middle class tenement housing in Glasgow appears to have been consistent in using both innovation and contemporary technology to provide, where finances allowed, housing which ensured both an initial demand and a physical longevity, which allowed their social mobility to alter as the original occupants became restless.
Whilst the private housing market was stimulated by the effects of the difficulties in the facilities available towards the bottom of the social housing scale, it underwent its own vagaries, which manifested themselves in the quantity, style and size of the properties being erected. The buildings examined in this study provide an insight into the problems facing one individual area. This however provides an illustration of the difficulties experienced elsewhere across the city. Whilst the original feuing plan for the area had been on a par with other contemporary upper middle class areas, it underwent a reduction in calibre and scale and fell susceptible to the difficulties of the letting market of nineteenth century Glasgow.
The Demands For Housing
If the activity of bodies such as the CIT resulted in stimulating the housing design at the lower end of the middle class housing market, the demand for new housing would have remained high throughout the period of Glasgow's growth, caused by the redevelopment of the more ancient parts of the city and the periodic influx of newcomers seeking employment. The data gained in this study however, points to sporadic periods of intense activity in the housing market followed by periods of inactivity. The rate of building retains a far closer link to the local and domestic economy, the most noticeable in this study being the collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank in 1878 and the surfeit of housing in both 1905 and 1910.
The nature of the houses themselves also remains indicative of the demands for housing, with the houses in this area showing an initial provision of more commodious middle class properties and then a variety of different sized properties with the last properties on the site being the smallest and least well appointed in provisions. Throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century the growing predominance of the two and three roomed apartments in Glasgow meant that working people were occupying better accommodation then their predecessors; it also meant that classes hitherto unaffected by the restrictive house letting system were progressively coming within its ambit. It is worth noting that the increased provision of houses of two apartments in this area only took place after the excess of unoccupied housing that occurred in 1904.
It has been argued that the slowing down of the housing market at this point was a consequence of the rising cost of building and a general loss of confidence amongst builders arising out of the expectation of extensive municipal intervention. Such concerns could account for the shift towards more basic and numerous properties within the buildings, as the vagaries of the letting market could be more readily accommodated in buildings containing larger numbers of small flats, at least ensuring a turn over of some description for the owner. This compares against the more typical provision in this area of buildings containing less properties of more apartments and with tentative provisions of facilities for ventilation, sanitation and light. These are the provisions which when built used available technology to exceed the basic requirements but could fall under a subsequent provision of a later date, to necessitate upgrading as the standards were brought in line with new technology and information.
The submission in 1902 of a proposal for a set of buildings to be erected on the north east side of Craigpark illustrates an example of the slackening of control exercised by the feu superior in this area and of the realisation of a housing market which was increasingly facing difficulties. D.O.G. 1/9133, a submission for the erection of four tenements containing 12 two-apartment houses, was passed but never erected. Its site was proposed on the location of two existing tenements of ten years earlier, the previously mentioned Dalmeny Terrace. It is unclear what the proposal was for the disposal of the existing buildings on the site and as to why the buildings were not constructed. But, what is clear is that the facilities proposed in the application, whilst meeting existing legal requirements, offered housing of the poorest facilities in the whole survey area. This was to be the only housing in the area, which would have contained properties that had access only to a water closet out with the front door of the individual flat. Whilst there is no explanation as to the reasons for the failure to build the range of buildings, it is possible that the proposer was both in appreciation of the difficulties facing the housing market and testing the control exercised by the feu superior over the quality of housing in the area, in order to ascertain the suitability of housing of this nature for the gap sites which had not been developed. Certainly the last housing to be built on the site (D.O.G. 2/2879, 1910) offered two room and kitchen and room and kitchen only type accommodation, with only the regular supply of water closets. Whilst this closing example of the housing erected on the site was a complete departure from the quality intended for the site it was possibly a more astute observation on the nature of accommodation in demand at the time.
The influence of the municipal authorities on the architecture of the housing erected in Glasgow during the last half of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth can be seen first in the regular nature of the building frontages and lay out of the streets. Its insistence of the open street to allow the free movement of air and light did consequently result in the ubiquity of the recto-linear street lay out across large sections of Victorian Glasgow. Its input however to the provision of services within the interior of these tenement homes was limited in the extent to which it largely affected new buildings only for the very poor and the modification or removal of more ancient buildings. The private sector housing market could only benefit from the consistent activity of the municipal authorities in displacing the poor from the more over crowded parts of the city. Unfortunately the viscidities of the local economy, combined with the natural hesitancy of prospective tenants, resulted in periodic surpluses of properties. This in turn quelled the interest of the private sector to speculatively build new accommodation to meet the changing demands of the local workforce.
To the extent then that municipal socialism altered the rate and nature of buildings being erected in Glasgow at this time, can be characterised by the real stimulation of the economic interest of the private speculative landlords. This in turn manifesting itself in irregular supplies of housing, more closely linked to demand as a consequence of local economy only. Economics combined with an inability through the continued use of inherent archaic letting practices for the private accommodation market, could only result in a failure to meet the nature of the demands of tenure type for the tenants forced from more flexible if considerably poorer quality housing, upon it. The municipal intervention, whilst intent on and indeed producing positive results in the welfare of Glasgow citizens, through prescriptive measure and failure to press for tenure reform, could have been the largest single player in the ensuing difficulties which consequently required the introduction of a central subsidy for house building, by inadvertently causing the collapse of the housing market in Glasgow during the period prior to World War I.
From an independent study project (dissertation). Hypothesis - "Using Dennistoun as a case study, charting the evolution of tenement housing in Glasgow 1860 - 1914, from the plans submitted to the Dean of Guild Court, with a comparison to the municipal prescriptions on said dwellings over economic demand."
A copy in its entirety, (end notes, plates, figures and bibliography) and appendix is lodged with the local library and the city archives.
I left Glasgow for London in 1962. It was what you did in those days when you dreamed of making a living from writing. I made occasional return trips during the 1960s and then I went to the United States, initially for one year which turned, without my seeming to notice, into 20. Twenty years without seeing your native city is a long time, too long.
I tried my best to keep in touch. First in icy upstate New York, then later in the high desert of Arizona. I received Scottish newspapers from time to time and I had friends in Glasgow with whom I corresponded irregularly - but the connection with home was unavoidably becoming thin as a membrane. And I didn't want to become one of those typical North American exiles who sip some Scotch and grow gloomy listening to accordion and fiddle music, or who attend replica Highland Games and join assorted Celtic societies.
I once attended a Scottish Gathering in Dallas, out of curiosity. I found it a melancholy affair with slightly lost people trying to come to terms with their expatriate status by joining overseas branches of clans, or buying tartan pin-cushions and souvenir tins of McCowan's Highland Toffee - so much yearning, so much unfulfilled longing. When a well-intentioned, red-haired man called Hector Suarez, of Mexican descent, asked me to join the Clan Lamont Society, I knew there was something out of joint with these assemblies.
Sometimes the occasional drink would warm up the embers of my memories of Glasgow, and what came flowing back were recollections of a big dark city with domineering grey-black tenements and little images scattered in no particular sequence, like flecks in a kaleidoscope.
There was the Govan Ferry smoking and chugging between Linthouse and Partick; the sooty air of the city that hung to your clothes and your hair and made the inside of your nose black; the mysteriously dank smell that rose out of the subway stations; tramcars clanking through the rain; the matriarchal freemasonry of backyard steamies; the cryptic relics of air-raid shelters ; the marvellous end of sugar-rationing when youngsters could gorge themselves on a technicolour cornucopia of sweeties; the perfume of tobacco being cured in the big factories in Alexandra Parade; the brilliant banter of clippies; leery street-corner bookies; the sight of the Union Jack at half-mast on the damp morning when killer Peter Manuel was hung in Barlinnie jail.
There was also the astonishing discovery around 1961 that Glasgow had a quiet after-hours world where, in certain jazz clubs, you could score marijuana, the very substance you'd only just read about in Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Or you could pilfer from some friend's mother the "diet" pills doctors were prescribing freely to housewives in those days - pure speed that helped women zip through their hoovering and dusting like time was running out - the same pills that kept you and your friends up all night long babbling about the Meaning of Things.
Oh, there was a multitude of little images, smells, tastes, glimpses, inebriations, some clear, others fuzzy, all peculiar to my sense of Glasgow in the mid-1950s and into the 1960s, I still carried around inside me during the 20 years I spent in North America. I loved this rich city. It belonged in my heart, and I in my turn belonged to it.
Was I just a nostalgic fool? I wanted to go home, but I procrastinated nervously. Would Glasgow match my memory? I wanted it to, because I longed for the past to be intact, as one yearns for a comfort zone where nothing ever changes. The same streets, the same old pals in the same flats, the same pubs, the same everything.
Besides, at the back of my mind was an idea that haunted me, that one day I'd want to write a novel set in Glasgow, about a man returning home after many years of exile.
Although that book wouldn't be written for another 11 years, in 1990 I made a visit. It was the year of the City of Culture - for me the year of culture shock. Where was everything I'd expected to see? I suspected some kind of sorcery had altered the city, and I was strolling through a holograph of a Glasgow that bore no relation to the one I remembered.
Where were the trams and the green and yellow corporation buses? And where in the telephone directory were the names of old school friends? Missing in action, uprooted, emigrated, perhaps dead - who could tell? They were lost to me. And the black tenements I remembered, how had these staunch grim fortresses been transformed into pink and ginger and honey-coloured sandstone extravaganzas? And where were those tantalising closes with tiled walls that almost invited you into the lives of complete strangers - why were so many of these closes concealed behind security doors? And the subway, why didn't it throw up that characteristic smell of burnt oil and damp and decay? And what was this roaring monstrosity slicing the city at St George's Cross, this motorway that ripped through the heart of Glasgow?
Pubs had developed airs and graces - ferns instead of spittoons. Restaurants were serving something called Scottish cuisine, which invariably seemed to include oatmeal ice-cream and a fish soup by the unappetizing name of cullen skink, and stovies. Stovies? Wasn't that something Maw and Paw Broon ate in the comic strip in the Sunday Post? I never had them at my house.
Commercial buildings had been facelifted, and delicate architraves and statuary revealed detailed architectural features formerly hidden under black grime. Old warehouses had been transformed into desirable residences. Lofts.
Something serious had happened here. Glasgow was respectable, attention-seeking, fashionable. The mutton pie culture, if it hadn't disappeared entirely, disappeared into the shadows.
I visited the street in Linthouse where I'd been born and grown up, the tenements had been airbrushed, my old primary school restructured, the local church converted into a community of sheltered houses. My secondary school, a solid Victorian edifice in the east end of the city, had been demolished entirely, the site a field of grass. It wasn't right, something vital had been plundered, it was too damn clean, too . . . douce. It wasn't the city I'd carried inside my mind for 20 years. How could it have changed this much? I felt vaguely estranged in the place of my birth, and a little uneasy.
In 1991 I left the United States to live in Ireland. I made three or four trips a year to Glasgow in the years that followed. I realised after a few visits that many of the changes that had so startled me in 1990 were cosmetic - an underlying Glasgowness hadn't been touched at all.
There was the same merciless banter, that barbed dry humour I'd never found in any other city. The give and take between vendors and customers at the Barras had never been so sharp, and the quick-witted criticism of highly-paid but hapless players at football matches was as caustic as it had always been.
Unhappily, there were still many areas of the city where the express train of Glasgow's reformation had simply whistled past. Bleak housing schemes where the despair of unemployment was overwhelmingly evident, the graveyard silence of the yards in Clydeside that had cast a pall of depression over the south bank of the Clyde for years - deprivations like these couldn't be disguised by any amount of cosmetic sparkle.
As people took up residence in modish places like the Merchant City or headed further west down Dumbarton Road, the other Glasgow stumbled along as it had always done - an impecunious cousin on the edge of a ritzy wedding party.
Something else hadn't changed in Glasgow. One night a couple of years ago my wife and I were attacked in the High Street - it wasn't quite a mugging, since no fiscal demands were made - by a young man who'd walked along behind us repeating the same sing-song spooky incantation, "Ah'm gonny KILL yooooo." I sensed it then, and it was unsettlingly familiar - an encounter with the city's darker edge, where violence suddenly looms out of shadowy doorways.
I remembered Glasgow's old reputation as a brutal city, and realised some of that attitude still prevailed, and probably always would. And I remembered how, as a boy, strange kids would stop you and ask you that scary, inevitable question: "You a Catholic or a Prod?" And while you tried to guess the response that would spare you a hammering, you lived on the edge of tension.
The confrontation with the attacker was brief and injury-free, because a passing taxi-driver stopped to rescue us, then called the police, who seized the assailant and whisked him away. I was tense and distressed, as if I'd been whisked back into those bad moments of childhood.
The taxi-driver took the matter personally, and said: "That kind of thing is just not on in Glasgow. No way."
So there it was. Good and bad, beautiful and shabby, warm-hearted and chilling - the incident contained the distilled essence of the city I loved and would always love.
Like the character in the novel about Glasgow I eventually wrote, The Bad Fire, I'd come home.
Reprinted by permission of www.campbellarmstrong.com
Someone once described history as a series of dates relating to wars and battles, so I decided to call this contribution "The Dennistoun Story" rather than "The History of Dennistoun", as although there will be a few dates quoted, they are not the most important feature and there will certainly be very little mention of either wars or battles.
Dennistoun in my opinion must be one of the most unique districts in the City of Glasgow.
Let us consider our two neighbouring districts of Riddrie and Carntyne. A number of the streets in Riddrie are named after Scottish Rivers, while those in Carntyne take their names from districts of Edinburgh, like Abbeyhill, Inverleith, Myreside, but this tells us nothing about how these districts came into being. The Dennistoun Story, on the other hand, is mostly written in its street names. Find the origin of these names and you have the key to the Dennistoun Story.
Going back about three centuries, we find that the earliest name given to the area stretching East to West from Cumbernauld Road to the far end of the Necropolis just behind Glasgow Cathedral and North to South from Townmill Road to Duke Street is "the Craigs", taken from a rocky ridge of that name, which crossed from East to West over part of that area.
If we accept the street called Craigpark, (originally Craigpark Street) as roughly the centre of the area then from Craigpark eastwards to Cumbernauld Road was known as Eastern or Eastercraigs and from Craigpark to the far end of the Necropolis, Western or Westercraigs.
Eastercraigs and Westercraigs were made up of private estates and Parklands. The street named Eastercraigs is beside the main entrance to Alexandra Park, while Westercraigs is off Duke Street facing Bellgrove Street.
The old divisions of Eastercraigs and Westercraigs were made up of private estates at one time or another, the names of nine estates and parklands can be found.
The three estates of Eastercraigs were named Craigpark, Whitehill and Meadowpark.
Craigpark, named after the Craigs was situated on the north side of Eastercraigs, stretching halfway to Duke Street. Whitehill, at the south side of the area, ran from Duke Street upwards to the boundary of Craigpark. It took its name from the fact that in the vicinity of this estate stood a large number of whitish coloured rocks. Meadowpark was the estate furthest east, beside Cumbernauld Road. It was also known as the middle Park and had once formed part of the estate of Whitehill before being sold off and becoming a separate estate. Meadowpark would appear to have stood on the site later occupied by Golfhill Cricket Club, whose ground was also named Meadowpark.
The three estates of Eastercraigs have given their names to several streets in the eastern half of Dennistoun, such as Craigpark, Craigpark Drive, Craigpark Terrace, Whitehill Street, Whitehill Gardens, and Meadowpark Street.
Three of the divisions of Westercraigs can be quickly dealt with. They were named East Park, Wellacre Park and Cack o' the Brae Park. They were probably parklands surrounded by dry stone dykes and their names have not survived.
Of the other six Westercraigs estates, the furthest west was Craig's Park, which is occupied by the Necropolis or burial ground. In 1717, after a number of fir trees were planted in the Craig's Park, the name was changed again to Merchants Park, but this name proved unpopular and the locals continued to use the name Firpark. This can be judged by the fact that in Dennistoun today there is no commemoration of Merchants Park, while along the eastern boundary of the Necropolis is Firpark Street, with Firpark Terrace at the lower end of this street.
At the north side of Westercraigs was the estate of Golfhill, remembered in Golfhill Drive. Apparently before Golfhill became a private estate, the game of golf was played there and when the new estate was enclosed, the locals were unhappy at the loss of their golf course.
The estate of Broompark has given us Broompark Street, Broompark Drive and Broompark Circus.
Hillpark estate is not commemorated by that name, but the lower part of this estate was known as the Hill Foot, which gives us Hillfoot Street.
Parkhouse estate used to be commemorated by Parkhouse Lane, which was just to the left of Tennent's Brewery and ran at an angle from Duke Street to Ladywell Street. When the Tennent-Caledonian combine took over the brewery, they put up a new building on the site of Parkhouse Lane, but the name has been preserved as they have called this building "Park House" and the name can be seen above the doorway beside the main entrance.
The original Brewery was opened by the brothers J & R Tennent in Arklane in 1780 and the name of Wellpark Brewery was taken from the neighbouring estate of Wellpark. There is a Wellpark Street, but it seems rather out of place as it is on the opposite side of Duke Street from the brewery and runs between Sydney Street and Melbourne Street.
The first person to get the idea of creating a new residential suburb in the east side of Glasgow was John Reid, a successful Glasgow businessman. In 1838 he bought the estate of Annfield, which was not one of the Craigs estates but one of the estates of the Gallowgate area. Annfield stretched from Gallowgate to Duke Street along the east side of what is now Bellgrove Street, but was originally known as the Witch Lane.
In 1841 Reid bought the property known as Scarlet Hall on the opposite side of Witch Lane. At this time Witch Lane was merely a cattle track, but Reid improved it and widened it to a serviceable street.
In 1843 Reid bought Bellfield, the next estate to Annfield, thus extending his property to the border of Whitehill Street.
Later that same year he bought Whitehill and moved from the mansion house of Annfield to that of Whitehill, which was situated slightly to the east of where the old Whitehill School used to stand.
In 1844 he bought Meadowpark, having also taken over some property in Westercraigs section.
Building was eventually started on the Annfield/Bellfield site and if John Reid's plan had succeeded, it is unlikely that there would have been a district named Dennistoun, as his intention was to call the new suburb by his own name probably Reidstown, with streets having names like Reidpark and Reidhill.
However, John Reid dies suddenly at Whitehill House in 1852. His ambition to put his name on the proposed new suburb was not realised but the first street in process being built at the time of his death was dedicated to his memory - Reidvale Street.
Now into our story comes the family who eventually did succeed in putting their name on the district -Â the Dennistoun family. Originally of Norman descent, the Dennistoun name appears in the records of the court of King Malcolm iV of Scotland and as he died in 1165, the family has a long association with this country.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the brothers James and Alexander Dennistoun were partners in a very successful shipping company with headquarters in Glasgow, a branch in Liverpool and overseas branches in America and Australia.
In 1814, James Dennistoun (1752-1835) took up residence in this area when he bought the vacant estate of Golfhill from the trustees of the previous owner, Jonathan Anderson. James Dennistoun's first move was to build a new mansion, Golfhill House, which was situated slightly east of where the present Golfhill School stands.
James Dennistoun was a keen supporter of the Liberal Party and had worked hard for the success of the Parliamentary Reform Bill, which was passed in 1832. In return for his hard work, he was offered a knighthood by the Prime Minister, Earl Grey. He refused this honour, as he felt that people might believe that all his hard work was done for personal gain. People today still refer to him as "Lord Dennistoun", but this was probably an unofficial title bestowed on him by the people when they learned that he had turned down a knighthood.
James Dennistoun died in 1835 and was succeeded at Golfhill by his eldest son, Alexander (1790-1874) who, earlier that same year had been elected Liberal Member of Parliament for North Dumbarton. He soon found that parliamentary life was not to his liking and resigned his seat.
For the next fourteen or fifteen years little is heard of Alexander Dennistoun except that he was now Managing Director of the family shipping business and a senior partner with his youngest brother, John.
Then in 1850 he made his first move. The estate of Craigpark was vacant due to the death of the previous owner, James MacKenzie. In 1806 MacKenzie had been elected Lord Provost of Glasgow and in 1820 had opened on his estate, Craigpark Whinstone Quarry, which had supplied most of the material for the making of Glasgow's macadamised roads. Alexander Dennistoun purchased Craigpark from MacKenzie's trustees and this was an interesting arrangement as it gave him as a near neighbour, John Reid, who at that time was resident at Whitehill House.
It would seem certain that these two men got to know each other and that Alexander Dennistoun was suitably impressed by John Reid's plans for a new residential suburb, because after the death of John Reid in 1852, within the next year Mr. Dennistoun had acquired the estates of Whitehill and Meadowpark, thus giving him control over the whole of Eastercraigs. He also bought up the properties adjacent to Golfhill and in 1856, he engaged the services of a local architect, James Salmon, who drew up plans of all his properties. Alexander Dennistoun not only had plans of his properties drawn up but he also indicated where he wished the streets, drives and terraces of the proposed new suburb to be placed and as he also named them, it is to him that we are indebted for being able to tell the Dennistoun Story from its street names.
The architect's plans showed that Alexander Dennistoun's territory extended from Cumbernauld Road to the eastern boundary of the Fir Park and from Townmill Road to Duke Street, all the property of the old Craigs estates with the exception of the Fir Park, which was to become the Necropolis.
In 1857 the ground was prepared for building, beginning near the foot of Westercraigs and Craigpark. While digging at Craigpark, stones and fossils were discovered of a rather unusual type. Experts decreed that these were similar to those usually to be found only in the Arctic regions and they claimed this as proof that this area had at one time been under ice, thus connecting it to the period of civilisation which we know of as the Ice Age.
The new suburb was to be named Dennistoun and Alexander Dennistoun's plan was to create a model suburb made up of self-contained or villa type houses. With this end in view the first house was built in Westercraigs in 1861 and Westercraigs, Craigpark and all the streets connecting them were built up. The locals named this part of Dennistoun - Villadom.
Alexander Dennistoun next turned his attention to what is now Onslow Drive and commenced building eastwards from the Craigpark end. It will be noted that Onslow Drive only has self-contained houses as far as its junction with Whitehill Street, the reason being that Alexander Dennistoun died in 1874. Building ceased for some years and eventually the people began to demand cheaper and more compact types of houses. Accordingly when building recommenced in 1890, the remainder of Onslow Drive and the rest of Dennistoun's streets were built as sandstone tenements. This was a blow to the architect, James Salmon, who was entirely in favour of Alexander Dennistoun's original plan.
If many of the streets in Dennistoun were named after the old Craigs estates, many of the others read like a litany of the Dennistoun family.
FINLAY DRIVE - James Dennistoun's wife was May Finlay of Moss, Stirlingshire.
There used to be a Moss Street off Circus Drive. It is now Circus Place, but the old name can still be seen on the left hand corner house.
GARTHLAND DRIVE - After the death of his wife, Mary, James Dennistoun remarried. The second of three daughters of this marriage, Isabella married William McDowall of Garthland, Wigtonshire.
INGLEBY DRIVE - The McDowalls daughter Eleanor married William Ingleby, brother of Sir Henry Ingleby.
ONSLOW DRIVE - John, youngest son of James Dennistoun, married Frances Onslow, daughter of Sir Henry Onslow.
ROSLEA DRIVE - The Dennistoun family had a country estate named Roslea at Lagarie in the Gareloch.
ARMADALE STREET - When John Dennistoun retired from business, he took over a country estate at Armadale on the Gareloch, near the old family estate at Roslea.
SETON TERRACE - Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Dennistoun was the wife of Seton Thomson.
OAKLEY TERRACE - Alexander Dennistoun's son, Alexander married Georgina, daughter of Sir Charles Oakly.
In the 1890's the house at the corner of Craigpark and Oakley Terrace was owned by Sir William Arrol, the great engineering genius, who was chiefly responsible for the building of the Forth Rail Bridge, which had its centenary in 1990.
CLAYTON TERRACE - Another daughter of Sir Charles Oakley was married to a Mr. Clayton, whose first name I have been unable to trace.
The Dennistoun Story by Edward Farren (1915-2005)
Mr Farren lived in Dennistoun most of his adult life. I gratefully thank his family for kindly giving permission to publish his article.
Around Brigton Cross - Glasgow's Changing East-End
Where would you find a Venetian palace, a Byzantine mausoleum and the Shipka Pass? In the Balkan peninsula certainly, but if you didn't want to go so far from home you could just take a wee daunder for a mile or so instead around Bridgeton Cross in Glasgow's East End.
The experience of urban rambling is sadly underrated, and mainly limited to the obviously tourist cities. This was not always the case, and before 1950 exploration in our industrial cities was more widespread. In Glasgow for example there are many books from half a century ago and more, giving its inhabitants tips about and guides to places to walk; James Cowan's From Glasgow's Treasure Chest for example. With the Urban Renaissance going on around us in the increasingly post-industrial cities, especially Glasgow, it is high time to re-invent this tradition.
The territories to the east of Glasgow Cross might seems at first infertile regions with which to begin such a project. Certainly this is an area which has had a decidedly bad press, exceeded only possibly by that of the Gorbals. Those who know Glasgow from 'No Mean City' type hearsay will associate the East End with razor gangs, Billy Boy sectarianism, and some of the worst housing in Europe. My surnamesake James Leslie Mitchell (aka Lewis Grassic Gibbon) stated in the 1930s in The Scottish Scene that hereabouts "over a hundred and fifty thousand human beings living in such conditions as the most bitterly pressed primitive in Tierra del Feugo never envisaged." An exaggeration certainly, but containing a deal of truth. One thing that would astonish Gibbon is that today the population of Glasgow's East End area is probably not a quarter of the number he quoted. Several parliamentary constituencies -including Brigton itself which was the Red Clydesider Independent Labour Party rebel John Maxton's seat - have disappeared. And it was a protest at housing conditions as much, if not more, than industrial exploitation, which swept Maxwell to power in the 1920s. Maxton was not from Brigton, but he taught in Green Street school here and represented the area in Westmister from 1922 till his death in 1946. They used to say they weighed, not counted, his votes, and he was revered and loved by the local population.
Around 1914 Glasgow had over a million people and was the Second City of the Empire; it was, as is less well known, the Sixth City in the whole of Europe in size. It produced three quarters of the Empire's ships, half its locomotives and huge amounts of other heavy industrial equipment. Since the 1960s Glasgow has haemorrhaged population; today there are about 625,000 inhabitants. In thirty years Glasgow has lost population at a rate of almost 10,000 a year. Put another way, that means that each decade since 1970 Glasgow lost more population that the entire Highlands during the whole century of Highland Clearances!
Nowhere have these effects of Glasgow's industrial decline been as visible as in the East End. Indeed, there started the ill fated Glasgow East Area Renewal (GEAR) project in the 1970s, where huge areas of substandard housing were cleared and attempts were made to attract new manufacturing industry to the area to replace the large works which had closed down or were in decline. These included Beardmore's Parkhead Forge which during the wars employed 20,000 men, the Arrol Bridge and Crane Works, Anderson Strathclyde mining machinery and many more proud names in Scottish industrial history. Half a billion pounds certainly cleared the slums, but the new industries didn't come - and the people left. It was Brigton No More! A recent OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report on Glasgow said it was developing a two track economy; bands of remarkable regeneration and prosperity, alongside areas of continuing deprivation and exclusion; this certainly applies to the East End. Let's go Walkabout. Take the train to Brigton Station and emerge into the light at Brigton Cross.
At the Cross itself is one of Glasgow's best cast iron productions, the 50ft high Umbrella, complete with clock tower, originally built to shelter the unemployed in 1875. Unlike most public cast iron work in Glasgow it was not produced at the Saracen Foundry in Possil, but by the Sun Foundry. One has to look hard, I admit, for an urban renaissance in the immediate vicinity of the Cross, but there are things of interest. In Laudressy Street, next to the Public Library stood till the mid 1980s the Bridgeton Working Men's Club. Clubs like this one, founded in 1865, though latterly becoming mainly drinking quarters, initially provided places of entertainment and instruction for the working man before 1914. And in radical Brigton there was no more popular reading than the poems of Burns. The Bridgeton Burns Club, founded in 1870 became the largest in the world, with 1,400 members, and it sponsored competitions in local schools for the recitation and signing of the bards works.
From the Cross a stroll along London Road and then up Fielden Street takes you past some of the less imaginative 1970s council housing, and some of the best of its more recent rivals at filling the vast waste sites in the area. Certainly it is a patchy picture, but Miles Better than the situation which appalled me on my arrival in Glasgow thirty years ago, well described by William Barr in Glasgwegiana (1973),You are struck by the general scene of decay and neglect that pervades the area. Street after street of tall tenements stand empty, their shattered windows open and gaping to the sky. Broken glass lies in profusion on the streets and the unchecked running water floods into the street the engineering works, mills and factories have been closed down leaving Bridgeton with the appearance of a ghost town.
Turning back west along the Gallowgate you pass on one side St Mungo's Academy, recently renovated under the controversial Scools 2002 Private Public Partnership scheme, but balanced against that on the other side of the street is the fabulous Art Deco Bellgrove Hotel - now run-down and used as a Model Lodging House. Possibly not the best image to encourage young scholars to a life of study. Next along is the former meat and cattle market, one of Glasgow's many nineteenth century civic markets, whose façade has been lovingly retained though the market is no longer used. Aside from the astounding façade there are many things around here to interest. At the back end of Graham Square is the eighteenth century inn (now housing) where the cattle dealers and drovers would reside during sales, while outside shawlie-wifies would queue for pails of blood with which to make black puddings and combat anaemia in their weans. While much of the huge site of the market remains sadly derelict and littered, Graham Square hosts a development of housing association properties of the highest social and architectural merit, which won a Saltire Award in 2001
A walk up Bellgrove Street takes you to Duke Street. Turning west you soon pass below below the Necropolis. Though technically outwith Brigton. Glasgow's graveyard for its wealthy citizens is well worth a visit, especially now that it has been largely restored. Below it is found probably the only large scale factory left in this area; the Tennent's Brewery, which, ironically, must also be the oldest industrial undertaking in the city, dating from 1556. In the Necropolis are Gothic tombs and Byzantine mausoleums some of which are bigger than the average single-end that most people in and around Bridgeton once inhabited. But that there were better class tenements here is shown by the rosy sandstone survival on Hunter Street, opposite the Tennent's Brewery, a fine building with elaborate bas-reliefs of brewing trade (the tenement belonged to Tennents). It has to be admitted though, that not many of the buildings in this area were of this standard, and few of the nineteenth century tenements remain.
Heading south again by Barrack Street (so called because troops were stationed there in the early nineteenth century as a counter measure to local radicalism) takes you back to the Gallowgate and then past the Barrowland ballroom to the Barras, the world centre of reset goods, hucksters, conmen - and the odd bargain. In the most daring move yet, a former clay pipe factory and subsequent warehouse next the Barras is being coverted into flats for sale, in the middle price range, showing that regeneration is slowly reaching the obscurer corners of the city. However a few steps further towards Glasgow Cross and you are reminded this is Glasgow, not Hampstead. The curiously named Shipka Pass (after a battle in a forgotten Balkan war) hosts a market whose proprietor Mr. Barton clearly feels the Barras has sold out to Yuppiedom. Its signs display a weird mixture of erudition and self-revelling Glasgow grottiness. How much longer will this survive? Glasgow without such gallus cheek would not be the same.
Cross the London Road from Shipka Pass and you are heading for St Andrews Square, which could be the surprise of your day if you don't know the city. A recent housing development in traditional style flanks the St Andrews Church, one of the gems of Glasgow's ecclesiastic architecture, and now an Arts Centre and Restaurant. The Church, finished in 1757, was modelled on St Martin's in the Fields in London to a design by Dreghorn and boasts magnificent rococo plasterwork inside. Just south on the corner of Greendyke Street is the Kirk of St Andrews by the Green, known as the Whistlin Kirk or the Piskie Kirk, finished seven years earlier. Apparently the first Episcopalian place of worship to be built in the city after 1689, the mason who built it was excommunicated by the Glasgow Presbytery; the fact that the Kirk had an organ gave it its name. Again imaginative thinking has restored it as Housing Association offices, and the graveyards have also been renovated. The existence of such prestigious kirks here reminds us that, unlike other industrial areas of Glasgow like Govan or Springburn, the East End developed beside, and then overwhelmed, an area inhabited by the upper echelons of the Dear Green Place. The University itself backed onto this area, till its scholars fled to the West End in the 1870s.
The Whistlin Kirk(as well as a pub of that name!) faces Glasgow Green itself. Around the Green are social contradictions you would be hard to find in any other city; Glasgow grot cheek by jowl with futuristic urban renewal. A stone's throw from the Green is Paddy's Market where the poorest come and buy things most of us would be embarassed at throwing away; throw the stone the other way and we have the Homes for the Future, staggeringly effective models for urban living built for the Year of Architecture in 1999 - and snapped up despite the six-figure price tags, showing that many people want to live city centre. And why ever not? The view over the Green and the Clyde from these houses, to the Cathkin Braes in the far south, is worth a mortgage itself.
And seeking refreshments in this region is an adventure. There is the international fusion cuisine of the Café Source in St Andrews Kirk, or under the disused railway bridge by Paddy's is a devils kitchen Snack Bar serving ham ribs and cabbage to the market's shoppers and Salvation Army residents sheltering under the bridge. Where else can such a choice of eateries - with just about everything in between- be had in such a small area?
The Green is also a salutary reminder of many of the good things about the old East End, which should not be forgotten. It was here that the early trades unions held their demonstrations, from the striking Calton Weavers in 1787 to the UCS work-in in the 1970s, and where the suffragettes and temperance fighters staged their rallies. The Green was always a demotic place, the population originally having the right to dry their clothes and graze their animals on it, and later with the Glasgow Fair spilling onto the Green from the 1840s. Generations of tanner ba football enthusiasts honed their skills there. The Green was the first home of Rangers F.C., and even today Brigton and Rangers are held, shall we say, to have a certain special relationship. It is fitting that Glasgow's People's Palace, a museum to its rich working class life, is located there, and that a major renewal programme is preparing the Green for the new century, supported by Heritage Lottery and Scottish National Heritage funding. Central to this is the restoration of the Doulton Fountain from the Empire Exhibition of 1888, at present fenced off to prevent further vandalism. Described as "an exuberant terracotta wedding cake" it celebrates an Empire at its apogee; that a bolt of lightning shattered Victoria at its summit in 1894 was possibly a reminder that nothing lasts for ever.
Glasgow's East End has traditionally put its best face to the Green, with the now vanished Monteith Row being originally composed of grand town houses; these later were converted into slum warrens and are now all gone, apart from one building which house a Hotel, often, and in this case, a euphemism hereabouts for a Lodging House. Yet a few hundred yards away is the Inn on the Green, one of Glasgow's uppest-market eateries and hotels. Another prestige address was Charlotte Street, where town mansions housed entrepreneurs such as David Dale, one of the founders of Glasgow's cotton industry. His house, built in 1782, is the only one remaining, and has thankfully been saved by conversion into housing association dwellings- winning another Saltire Award in 1990. J.G. Lockhart, Walter Scott's son in law and biographer died in Charlotte Street, while James Stuart Blackie, the eminent Greek scholar, was born there. At the eastern end of the Green there is another example of this areas rich built legacy, one of the world's most amazing factories - Templeton's carpet factory, now, like so many of the industries of the past, closed. William Leiper's 1889 design, based on the Doge's Palace in Venice, and faced in polychrome brick overcame the initial resistance of the City Council to have a factory on the Green itself, and the Kooncil duly purchased its carpets from Templeton's for decades. What is less well known is that a fault in design led to the collapse of the façade killing 29 workers, and it had to be rebuilt. The factory has escaped demolition by being converted into offices and smaller workspaces, but employing many less than its former workforce.
A short distance east of Templeton's on McPhail Street is the former Greenview School, a splendid building , originally the mansion of the cotton baron, MacPhail, and dating from 1846. The philanthropist James Buchanan left £30,000 for its conversion into a school "for the maintenance and instruction of destitute children." The year after the Education Act of 1872, which made education compulsory, the delightful Young Scholar in studious pose, was carved in sandstone by William Brodie and placed atop the building. This, along with the adjacent Logan and Johnstone School of Domestic Economy, which a Beehive bas relief tells us was "Instituted in 1890", provided instruction for generations of Brigton bairns, but have long been surplus to requirements. They are in the process of being converted into flatted dwellings, to bring new life to old buildings, and help arrest the area's depopulation. A pleasant continuation to the Shawfield Bridge brings the Green to an end. Here at Flesher's Haugh can be found a headless statue of James Watt, whose epoch-making discoveries regarding the steam engine,came to him while walking hereabouts. It was his invention that allowed industry to move into towns from the water-powered countryside, and laid the basis for the industrialisation of Glasgow. Surely his headless torso is no fitting memorial? Or maybe, given de-industrialisation, it actually is.
As one heads northwards to Brigeton Cross up Main Street, the adjoining Mill Street, Poplin Street and Muslin Street (and Dale Street) remind you that before heavy engineering this was cotton country, and hereabout lie the gaunt ruins of former mills, like the huge Carstairs Street Cotton Mill, awaiting a new use, or more likely demolition. The weaving period left its legacy of song. Many will have heard the words of the Calton Weaver which was written here; but not so many know that Alex Rodger, another weaver-poet, wrote The Muckin o Geordies Byre in Brigton. So the areas musical traditions are not only those of Billy-Boy doggerel. Around this area signs of regeneration are few, and we are definitely in the land of Dookits and back-alley Boxing Clubs. Soon we are back at the Cross where we started a couple of hours ago, and we have only scratched the surface of this fascinating area. I have not even mentioned (so will now) The Saracen Head Inn, built in 1754, where the old stagecoach used to depart for its 12 day journey to London, (or the Sarry Heid as it is locally known - even Sorry Heid - by hangover sufferers). Wordsworth and Burns - as well as Johnson and Boswell- visited here at the time when it was the rendezvous of the town's elite. A huge five-gallon punch bowl from the Sarry Heid, now in the People' s Palace, commemorates the drinking bouts of those days. The East End may never become a major tourist destination but in a couple of miles radius from Brigton Cross there is more to see and think on than in many more salubrious areas of Glasgow.
Being located so close to the city's thriving centre, with its expanding commercial activities and increased demand for housing, Brigton is better placed than many other post-industrial areas to benefit from Glasgow's re-invention of itself as a city of the future rather than the past. But real problems remain. The old Parkhead Forge will never return, and the new Forge shopping centre employs only a small percentage of its former workforce in largely unskilled low-paid jobs; the good jobs in the post industrial city are not ones for which Brigton's residents are qualified, And we cannot forget that Brigton lies within that Glasgow which is the cancer and heart attack capital of Europe. But walking around its streets, though it causes me occasional anger, does not cause me despair; I always return from Brigton uplifted. There is hope if the motto of the Bridegton Working Men's Club is followed:
Learn from the past / Use well the future
Ian R. Mitchell, 2002.
You can read more of Glasgow writer Ian Mitchell at
Getting to know Glasgow: walks, facts and historical developments.
St. Mungo, Glasgow's patron saint, arrived on the banks of the Molendinar burn in 543AD and Glasgow was born. The Molendinar flows through Dennistoun and winds its way past this old part of Glasgow on its way to the River Clyde. Not far from these banks William Wallace defeated the English at the battle of the Bell O' The Brae in 1272AD.
The residential area of Dennistoun originated from an idea by Alexander Dennistoun who was aware of the successes of his neighbour John Reid who built dwellings to the south of Duke Street. Alexander came from a wealthy merchant family. His father James Dennistoun purchased the estate of Golfhill from the trustees of Jonathan Anderson in 1814 and built his family mansion there. On the death of his father in 1835 Alexander took up residence at Golfhill and became director of the Union Bank of Scotland. In 1856 having purchased the other estates in the area, he used the services of local architect James Salmon to express his ideas of quality houses in a modern setting. He named this highly desirable area after his own family name and his ideas came to fruition in the streets of Westercraigs, Craigpark and the connecting terraces.
Dennistoun was originally drawn up to have good quality detached and semi-detached villas that stood in their own grounds. However it was short-lived, Alexander died in 1874 and when work resumed the plans changed to accommodate the demand for what has now become Glasgow's traditional sandstone tenement.
See: Time Line
The Dennistoun catchment area includes the suburbs of Milnbank, Reidvale, Wellpark, Haghill, Drygate and Ladywell and lies between the M8 motorway in the north to the rail line south of Duke Street and extends from the High Street in the west to Todd Street/Provan Road in the east.
It is an attractive and popular place to live in Glasgow's East End. It offers a variety of inner-city housing types, the majority being tenemental. The once sub-standard Victorian tenement housing in Dennistoun, Haghill and Reidvale has been revitalised by Reidvale and Milnbank Housing Associations. There are multi-storey blocks in the Bluevale, Whitevale and Drygate areas. It has a conservation designated area of Victorian villas and there is presently continual developments of new property.
This mix of tenure proves popular with people of all ages. The young are particularly attracted to the reasonably priced city tenement flats as they enter the housing market for the first time. Housing associations are also conscious of the need to keep rents at an affordable level as they have a higher proportion of tenants who are working compared to other housing associations in Glasgow. The housing associations also provide special needs housing for the elderly and other community care facilities.
This diversity along with the Necropolis, Cathedral Square, Alexandra Park and the two main arterial shopping streets of Duke Street and Alexandra Parade contribute to its character. It is close to the city centre and has easy access to schools, jobs, shops and entertainment. It also has slip-roads onto the M8 and M80 motorways and is well served by public transport.
Shopping for the area is provided byAlexandra Parade (north), Duke Street (south), an Indoor ShoppingCentre and Retail Park (southeast) and the city centre (west) which iswithin a 5-minute journey by public transport.
Leisure and recreation is provided forby means of a sports centre, sports hall, snooker club, footballgrounds, various community halls, public swimming pool, golf course,bowling greens, branch library, toddlers play area and open amenityspace areas including one of the largest parks in the city.
See: Street Map, Places of Interest
The area has a population of 23000 being mostly white with a small ethnic minority of Asian and Chinese living in some 8000 homes. In general terms half the housing stock is owner-occupied, and half is rented accommodation controlled by local housing associations, however, there is an increasing number (500 approx.) of privately rented accommodation catering for, amongst others, a growing student population.
Just under half the population are employed (10000) with an unemployed rate on a par with the rest of Glasgow. There are three industrial sites (Townmill, Wellpark and Glenpark), two major employers; British Bakeries (bread) & Tennants Caledonian Breweries (beer), various shops; Duke Street & Alexandra Parade/Cumbernauld Road, the largest office development in Scotland (City Park) with the capacity for up to 3,000 employees and schools; 4 primary, 1 secondary & 1 specialised education centre.
543 - St. Mungo arrives on the banks of the Molendinar burn
1272 - William Wallace defeats the English at the battle of the Bell O' The Brae
1814 - James Dennistoun purchases the estate of Golfhill
1835 - Death of James Dennistoun. Alexander (eldest son) takes up residence at Golfhill
1856 - Alexander purchases the other estates
1861 - First feus were given off
1874 - Death of Alexander Dennistoun
1891 - Buffalo Bill brought his Wild West Show to Dennistoun (See Ghost Shirt).
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