The minute of this meeting will be posted when it is available
Meeting held at Adelaide’s, 209 Bath Street, on Thursday 14 October 2021
Chair: President, Mr Gavin McNae welcomed everyone to the meeting. It was great to see everyone back after such a long time in lockdown.
Apologies for absence were from Margaret Thom, Brian D Henderson, Joan and Cameron Low, Freda Graham,
Minutes: Mr McNae asked if everyone had seen a copy of the Minutes of the March 20 meeting, either by email or printed copy. He asked if there were any amendments. There being none, the Minutes were passed on a proposal by Ken Benjamin and seconded by Glen Collie
There were no points arising.
Mr McNae explained why there were issues with seating due to Adelaides providing new limited seating prior to refurbishment and that at very short notice further seats were supplied and delivered from Queens Park Church for this evening’s presentation, for which we were very grateful.
As a prelude to the forthcoming December meeting, invitations were offered to the members who might wish to share the history of their house of street, by email to the Secretary.
Mrs McNae explained the struggle obtaining speakers and subjects for the 2021-2022 session but with no easy task, this had been finalised in time for issuing members’ syllabus cards. Joyce also thanked Queens Park church for their generous offer of extra seats.
Gemma Wild from the Glasgow City Heritage Trust was introduced as our first speaker of the evening.
She explained that the basis of her talk (Gallus Glasgow) hinged on the flight by hot air balloon by Mr Thomas Sulman in 1864 which resulted in images of the city which had never been seen up till then. These were widely published in newspapers and magazines at the time. A short-animated video illustrated the various industries and characteristics of the city and its people One copy of the map was found in Amsterdam in 2011 and copies can be obtained in various sizes today and an interactive map was available on line. ”Gallus” as most of the audience knew is a Scottish adjective meaning “bold”, “cheeky”, “flashy” and summed up the Glaswegians love of history and their heritage.
Further information could be obtained from gallusglasgow.glasgowheritage.org.uk
Zan Phee was our second speaker who presented an illustrated talk on her online archive of Tenement Tiles which grace Glasgow’s “Wally” closes, many of which still survive, albeit difficult to research due to security entry systems. Zan told us of experiences when doing research in many locations in an amusing and entertaining way, several examples to be found in Maryhill, Clydebank and Dennistoun. The workmanship of these Victorian and Edwardian tiling was incredible and often reflected the status of the residents “up the close”!
One question arose about when these adornments had originally been installed, but Zan tactfully explained that that was something that was still to be discovered.
Mr McNae expressed the Club’s gratitude for both speakers time and effort in their presentations and were accorded the well-deserved applause.
Tonight’s quiz was won by Anne White out of only six entries, who correctly identified the picture as being the building in Cathcart which was originally the Registry Office for the Burgh of Cathcart.
There being no further business, Mr McNae closed the meeting and wished everyone a safe journey home.
For Recording Secretary
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Attendance: 60 Members – 42 Guests - 18
President: Gavin McNae opened the meeting by requesting a short period of silence to recognise Armistice Day and then welcomed member and quests to Queen’s Park Church.
He introduced the Weather Check section of the website where members can access information as to whether meetings are happening in the oncoming winter months.
Apologies: Robin Muir
Minutes: Previous meetings approved by Cilla Fisher and seconded by Ken Benjamin
President: Continued, mentioning the success of requests for submissions on “My Street” and pointed out that this was in line with the original concept by the club’s founder, William Liddle whose vision was that members should “meet and discuss”.
The President introduced Director Ken Benjamin who urged members to back his initiative asking members to record their own views of the current COP26 conference in the city and thoughts on our planet and how we can save it. The conference is one of the biggest ever held in the city and there are hopes that it will be the catalyst for change in world leaders’ attitude to climate change.
The President then continued with mention of the publicity leaflet which he hopes will be ready by the next meeting. He also pointed out two informative walks, one at Bridgton and the other from Langside Library to Govanhill. He also introduced the Christmas raffle and upcoming meetings.
Competition: Queen’s Park was laid out by Joseph Paxton in 1857 but which Queen did it refer to. (The answer was announced at the end of the meeting – Mary Queen of Scots).
Winner of the competition was Ray.
Club Historian: Director Brian Henderson gave a short talk on Agnes McLaren Lockhart who became the first woman president of the Old Glasgow Club in 1947. She was chief of police John Ord’s daughter and she had persuaded her father to introduce her to the club becoming the first lady-vice president from 1920-23.
Main Speaker: Bruce Downie – South Glasgow Heritage Educational Trust
Bruce spoke about the development of the burghs of Govanhill and Crosshill.
Govanhill evolved from a small weaving community, Little Govan. It was first used as a park until the Gorbals took it over. Crosshill on the other hand developed from a small mining community which was based at what is now a Chinese restaurant. William Dixon was the driving force behind a number of collieries being opened.
Both communities resisted being taken over by the city of Glasgow and wanted to remain as separate entities.
Crosshill began to expand rapidly around the same time that Queen’s Park was laid out and in 1877 became a burgh.
Eventually the two communities were forced to come together by the boundary commission who organised a vote in the two areas. The results were extremely dubious but nevertheless Govanhill and Crosshill were absorbed into the City of Glasgow in 1891.
Bruce went on to show slides of the area during the 20th century and made reference to a New Police station, Govanhill Park, Hospital, Pearson’s Stores. He mentioned Barnum and Bailey bringing their circus to the south side in 1898.
Slides of the American Roller Rink (music supplied by a Military Band), Govanhill Baths and the “completed” area in 1939 sparked a deal of enthusiasm from those members who remembered and had used these facilities.
Members urged Bruce to return to talk more about the developments that happened within living memory.
Bruce finished by mentioning his latest book about the history of Govanhill Baths.
Questions: Bruce was good enough to answer questions about the local hospital (the Samaritan’s hospital) and the number of books he had available.
Closure: The meeting closed with the President thanking Bruce Downie and presenting with a gift from the club. Gavin announced the next meeting at Adelaides on “The Ghost Signs of Glasgow” by Jan Graham and Merryn Kerrigan on Thursday, December 9th.
Director’s Meeting: At Joyce and Gavin McNae’s house, Queens Drive on Thursday 2nd December at 7.00pm
For Recording Secretary
This meeting was to be held at the Renfield Centre on Bath Street but the Directors decided to move it to Zoom because of concerns over the spread of the Omicron strain of Covid 19.
There was a healthy attendance but numbers were not counted.
OGC president, Gavin McNee.
The chairman welcomed attendees, wished everyone a Happy New Year and expressed the hope that the next meeting would revert to being “Back Live”.
Margaret Thom, Stuart Little
Robin Muir one of the club’s directors was introduced by Gavin. His career has taken to the USA, Europe and China and he has now returned to his native city to be near his daughters – one in Glasgow and one in Dalbeattie. In the first of what is hoped will be a series of talks by members Robin gave a short illustrated talk on his house in Rutherglen.
He titled the talk “The House that was Saved”. It dated back to 1878 and was built for a Rope Factory owner in Rutherglen, John Todd who lived there until 1910. Information thereafter is sketchy but from 1960s the council took it over and built some ill-fitting additions. It was used as a care home for dementia patients and thereafter a half-way house for boys. It was then left derelict in a bad state of repair.
The council sold the house to a developer who converted the building which was then sold off as apartments.
As seen in Robin’s photographs the building has a very impressive elevation and we were intrigued to hear that Robin was speaking to us from his office which is located in one of the turrets of the building.
Gavin then introduced the main speaker of the evening Mr Peter Mortimer who is a former member of the club and a past President. The title of his talk was “The History of Anderston”.
Peter used slides to illustrate his talk and he started with a map from 1601 showing the area that was to become Anderston which at that time was pasture to the West of the City of Glasgow. That land was owned by John Anderson of Downhill, a local councillor who would
twice become Provost of Glasgow and it was from his surname that the area would be subsequently named.
From 1721 when the first house was built by John Stobo the area developed rapidly. Weaving flourished, a pottery was established as well as a Brewery. A Church was founded and the Verreville Works was established manufacturing glass and subsequently pottery.
The Burgh of Anderston was founded in 1824 but it didn’t last too long being annexed by the growing City of Glasgow along with the burghs of Gorbals and Calton.
The population figures are a good indicator of how the Anderston developed. In 1794 the figure was 3,900, by 1831 that had risen to 11,600 (25% of those were of Irish decent) and the population peaked in 1951 with 31,902 souls. Subsequently it declined rapidly until 20 years later there were 9,265 inhabitants.
The area grew rapidly with the City and was the centre of shipping, weaving, ship building and supporting industries and when these industries declined so did the population and the building of the Kingston Bridge and the M8 motorway meant many of the tenements were pulled down. Some of the rubble from these houses found its way into the Queen’s Dock. This had originally been built in 1877 but was filled in to make way for the Scottish Exhibition Centre.
Peter talked extensively on the facilites that sprang up to support the burgeoning community. Churches, Schools, Libraries, Shops, Cinemas, Concert Halls, Wash Houses, Fire Stations, Police Stations, all to cater for the needs of tenement dwellers.
The Bilsland Bakery brought back memories for some of the audience as did the fire at the magnificent St Andrews Halls. Memories were jogged of the tragedies at Cheapside Bonded Warehouse (1960) and John Watt street’s upholstery factory (1968) both going up in flames with the loss of 19 and 22 lives respectively.
In the 1970s Anderston was developed further with the building of the Anderston Shopping Centre, the Bus Station, the Marriot and Hilton Hotels, Skypark and the SECC Campus and Peter was keen to share with the audience his love of the Mitchell Library which continues to serve the community since its inception in 1911 and prides itself as being the largest reference library in Europe.
In a talk jam-packed with detail it’s worth mentioning the following. Annacker Sausage Factory was the source of the put-down, “Their house is like Annacker’s Midden”. Tony Roper who wrote the Steamie and Billy Connolly were both born in Anderston and were both van boys at Bilsland Bakery. The original Botanic Gardens were located in Anderston
until 1839 and Thomas Lipton (of Lipton’s Tea) opened his first shop, when he was 21 years old, in Stobcross Street. The Beatles played at the Glasgow Concert Hall (formerly the Tivoli and a whole host of names) back on the 5th October 1963 with tickets selling at a pricey 51p!
Peter brought his talk to a close by pondering how, in a way, a prediction made in 1626 by William Peden that “The cross of Glasgow will stand at the Hillhead of Stobcross” has come true. That is now the site of the Scottish Exhibition Centre and the Hydro where many of the world’s top artists come to perform and where the recent COP26 climate conference took place.
After a short question and answer session with some great memories coming to the fore from the audience, Gavin McNee wound up the meeting by thanking Peter Mortimer, inviting him to return soon and urging the members to go out there with their cameras and notebooks and record a constantly changing Cityscape.
Graeme Smith – Glasgow’s Blythswood at Renfield Centre on 10th February
Covid permitting, if not on Zoom
Directors will be informed by email
Artie Trezise, Vice President
Attendance 45 Members
Meeting held at Renfield St Stephens , Bath Street,on Thursday 10th February 2022
Chair: President, Mr Gavin McNae welcomed everyone to the meeting, reminding everyone about
fire alarm procedures and mobile phones being silenced.
Apologies for absence were received from Bill Crawford, Alastair Ross, Jane and Glen Collie, Colin
McCormack and Niall Houser.
Minutes: Mr McNae asked if everyone had seen a copy of the Minutes of the January 2022
meeting, either by email or printed copy. He asked if there were any amendments. There being
none, the Minutes were passed on a proposal by Irene Loudon and seconded by Joyce McNae.
There were no points arising.
President's Report: Mr McNae reminded those present that contributions have been invited for our
project “My Street/House”. Only one response had been received regarding our thoughts and
observations on Cop 26.
Secretary's Report: No report.
Director Artie Trezise presented an account of living in his street; Clouston Street in Glasgow’s west
End, painting an amusing and colourful description of various neighbours, places and buildings of
great historical interest.
Tonight’s speaker: Mr Graeme Smith, a member and former director of the club, gave a well
-illustrated and factual presentation about Glasgow’s Blythswood Area. Mr Smith explained that
although centred around Blythswood Square, the area under consideration stretched from west of
Hope Street to the boundary with the River Kelvin in the west and towards the river Clyde’s north
bank. Set out from various plans from the eighteenth century, Blythswood was in many ways
“Glasgow’s New Town” with streets laid out in a grid pattern. William Harley (1767-1830) was a
principal entrepreneur whose vision enabled the area to have pleasure gardens, schools and
observatory, clean water, a dairy (with its own herd of cows) a bakery and baths all within walking
distance for the residents who were beginning to occupy new property in St Vincent Street for
Such was the comprehensive talk, there was no time regrettably for questions .
A vote of thanks was made by Robin Muir.
The competition this month asked what event had taken place around Blythswood Square for many
years. The answer was the Monte Carlo Rally , the winner being Frank Covering.
There being no further business, Mr McNae closed the meeting and wished everyone a safe journey
The minute of this meeting will be posted when it is available