Old Glasgow Club

Minutes of ordinary meeting of the Old Glasgow Club held at Adelaide’s, 209 Bath Street on Thursday  9th April 2009 at 7.00pm






Mr Gordon (for President)



Mr Gordon welcomed members to the meeting.



There were apologies from Anna Forrest, Jim Gibson, Maida Gibson, Graeme Smith, Esther Connolly, Harriet Hope, Nan Millar, Janette Hardy, Norm Richardson and Terry Liddell.



The minutes of the last ordinary meeting held on 12th March were circulated and were approved, proposed by Mr Little and seconded by Mr Robertson. There were no matters arising.


President’s report

There was no President’s report, Mrs Forrest being in Cyprus.


Secretary’s report

Mr Gordon (standing in for Mrs McNae who had been delayed) brought the following events to the Club’s attention.

An exhibition entitled “The Maps of Glasgow: Historical to Digital” which charts Glasgow’s rise from a small burgh beside the Clyde to the Second City of the Empire is on display at Glasgow University Library, Hillhead St.

Tickets are still available for all the summer events this year

The Tappit Hen Tournament– Thurs 21st May, 6.30pm at Kelvingrove Bowling Greens. A light supper will be available at the Drawing Rooms from 7.30pm. Tickets cost £5.00.

The J. A. S. Wilson Memorial Walk- Thurs 4th June, 6.30pm Mr Peter Mortimer will take this years walk around the Gorbals. Meet at Gorbals Cross (junction of Ballater St and Gordon St).

Traquair House visit- Sat 13th June. Also stopping at Bigger and later at the Park Hotel, Peebles for High Tea. The coach will leave 09.30am from Mount Florida Bowling Club, Cambuslang Road and 09.50/10.00am from Cochrane St. Tickets cost £25.

See Mrs Thom for tickets to the above events.

A tour around the River City set in Dumbarton has been organised for Sat 4th July at 10.45am. Tickets £5.50 (£3.75 concession). See Miss Cairns for details.

The AGM syllabus for collection or will be posted out.

With great regret, Mr Gordon announced the sad and unexpected death of Mrs Betty Sneddon, a current director and great asset to the club, who will be sorely missed. Mrs Sneddon had been approached to stand as Vice President and had agreed to take on the role before her sad death. As a mark of our respect, the President and Directors’ propose that the role remain vacant for another year. This will be minuted at the AGM.



Mr Gordon introduced Mr Colin Mackie, who spoke on the topic of The Southern Necropolis.

Mr Mackie first became involved with the Southern Necropolis in 1990 as part of the Southern Necropolis Research Project. The project involved cataloguing and recording details of the gravestones and creating a database which was to contribute City of Culture exhibitions taking place that year.

In 1839 the Old Gorbals burial Ground was full and the decision was taken to build the Southern Necropolis from land gifted by William Gilmore who lived nearby in Oatlands House. The cemetery was completed in 1840, its first unfortunate occupant being the son of Archibald Cochrane who died of croup. The Southern Necropolis was never a poor cemetery but was the first burial ground in Glasgow to offer an affordable and respectable place of burial for many Gorbals residents. A variety of prices and layers were available and Mr Mackie is regularly sent payment books from relatives chronicling 1 shilling or 1 penny payments. Within 6 years the more affordable layers were sold and so the cemetery expanded into what is now the Eastern Section. This section contains the plots of the Lipton family and some of Robert Burns descendants. The Western Section opened in 1850. Although the Southern Necropolis refused to host pit burials there is evidence of such burials and bogus lair numbers in the Western Section. This area is the largest section which makes it harder to find lair numbers. Alexander “Greek” Thomson is interred in this part. The most recent burial was in 2008. There are approximately 250,000 inhabitants of this city of the dead.

In the 1800’s 50% of the burials are of children, reflecting the high infant mortality rates. The cause of death on the death certificates of those interred also reflect the conditions and occupations of the time e.g. sudden (sudden death syndrome), Potter’s Rot (an industrial disease causing lung congestion), teething (infections leading to septicaemia and lack of antibiotics making babies move vulnerable), screws (also known as arthritis), kinkers (whooping cough), black spit (industrial lung congestion) to name but a few.  The Mitchell Library hosts the burial books of the cemetery which provide valuable information on the person who died, the proprietor of the lair, occupation, cause of death, number of hearses, etc.

Interesting internee’s include Alexander Thomson, Thomas Lipton, the Paterson family (inventors of Camp coffee), descendents of Robert Burns, Wee Wullie White (a blind flute player and Glasgow character) and George Rogers (VC recipient). The gravestones in the Southern Necropolis depict the usual deathly symbolism of egg timers, winged vases, fingers pointing (down as well as up), burning torches and anchors. One interesting grave memorial is the “White Lady”, said to turn people to stone. The memorial is actually that of Marilyn Smith and her housekeeper Mary McNaughton who were killed by a tram. Marilyn Smith was married to the carpet manufacturer John S. Smith.

Some gravestones are in better repair than others, falling victim to vandalism and subsidence. The Gatehouse designed by Charles Wilson, on Caledonia Road, is also in a state of disrepair. The Southern Necropolis research team are aiming to raise £1 million to restore the graveyard and turn the gatehouse into a visitor and resource centre for the history of the area.

Mr Mackie concluded by inviting members of the Club to join him on a walk around the cemetery on Sat 25th April at 11.00am. Meeting at the Gatehouse across from the White flats.


Vote of Thanks

Mr Jim Robertson delivered the Vote of Thanks for another entertaining and informative talk from Mr Mackie and presented him with a centenary handbook and membership.


AOCB and close

Mr Gordon informed the club that Mr Mackie’s City of the Dead book was available for sale at the merchandise table.

Mr Gordon reminded the club members to bring their membership card for admittance to the City Chambers for the AGM and wished all a safe journey home.


P. Cairns, Acting Recording Secretary