Old Glasgow Club


Minutes of an Ordinary meeting of The Old Glasgow Club held at Adelaide’s, 209 Bath Street on Thursday 9th September 2010 at 7.30pm





Mr Gordon (President)


Mr Gordon welcomed old and new faces to the meeting.


There were apologies from Graeme and Jean Smith, Jim Gibson and Jim Robertson.


The minutes of the last ordinary meeting held on 8th April were approved, proposed by Mrs Thom and seconded by Ms Sannachan. There were no matters arising.

President’s report

Mr Gordon hoped that everyone had an enjoyable summer. Mr Gordon said he had and that the walk around Glasgow Green held by Peter Mortimer and the outing to the Secret Bunker and St Andrews, organised by the club were particularly enjoyable.

On 24th June Mr Gordon and several club directors attended an exhibit in Woodside Halls “Scotland in Pantomime”. This was a most enjoyable evening and Mr Gordon believes that many of the screen archives shown in the exhibit are available on DVD.


Secretary’s report

Mrs McNae welcomed old and new members to the club and remarked on how well attended the meeting was having 118 attendee’s.

Mrs McNae informed the club that there would be new merchandise for sale at the October meeting, including badges, pens and tote bags.

Mrs McNae recapped the summer events including the Necropolis walk on 26th April, the Tappit Hen Tournament on 27th May which was won by Mr Stuart Little and Mr Frank Gourlay, the summer trip to The Secret Bunker and St Andrews and the J.A.S. Wilson memorial walk around Glasgow Green.

Membership cards and leaflets are ready for distribution. Anyone at the meeting who has not already picked up their membership cards please collect them from Mr Gordon. If anyone would like to take some leaflets for distribution please see Mrs McNae.

The Old Glasgow Club had a stall at the Southside Festival on Sat 22nd May manned by four of the directors..

Mrs McNae announced an event at the City Chambers on Tuesday 14 September, which will launch the website www.historicglasgow.com. Historic Glasgow aims to celebrate the local history and archaeology of the city and the event will showcase projects illustrating the diversity of local projects and the pride Glaswegians have in their heritage.

Mrs McNae then handed over to Mr Brian Henderson who had received a call for help from a member of his local history society. He had been sent a photograph and wondered if anyone could identify the Hall in the picture. He would circulate the photo after Mr Gorevan’s talk.



Mr Gordon introduced Mr John Gorevan to share his research on some old Glasgow pubs and is responsible for the website www.oldglasgowpubs.co.uk.

Mr Gorevan started by saying that he was never interested in history until he started to re-visit and photograph the pubs his dad frequented in the East End and around the Barra’s. He realised the history, stories and characters these places had to offer. He started his research 20 years ago in Heilan’ Jessie in the Gallowgate. He has been in at least 10 pubs which claim to be the oldest pub in Glasgow. He will reveal the name of the oldest pub at the end of the talk.

Mr Gorevan showed some slides of old taverns such as the establishment owned by John Scott, Vintner and Stabler, on Stockwell St, which depicted a thatched cottage style building. Early taverns were established along the routes in and out of the town. The early public houses were useful for the policing of the East End since the thieves, vagabonds and conmen of the area congregated in known inns. The buildings evolved to have different entry and exit doors onto the streets and vennels around Saltmarket and Trongate. Taverns would open in many places; even the Provand’s Lordship had one- the Herb Beerhouse. There were many other notorious hostelries in the High Street area.

Taverns on the Broomielaw catered for sailors and travellers. There were 14 licensed premises along Clyde St, most called after the ships on the Clyde routes. Compared with the other city pubs at this time the Clyde St taverns were huge and cosmopolitan with foreign money being exchanged in the tills. Bars like the Imperial in Howard St and Betty’s Bar at Lancefield Quay were the last of these. The Imperial is still full of many artefacts from its sailor clientele. Its interior also boasts 3 Stephen Adam stained glass windows which are well worth a viewing. These may have originally been part of the fixtures of a local ship. The original owners of the Imperial also owned the steamers Columba and Iona.

Mr Gorevan then recounted a tale from Mackinnons in Gallowgate (originally the Royal Military Rendezvous). In 1929 one Douglas Petfield walked into the bar and shot the barmaid dead. He calmly walked out and disappeared along Gallowgate. The patrons of the bar and a mob who were queuing at a nearby theatre gave chase and cornered him on Gallowgate.  Petfield pleaded not guilty to the charge as he could not remember the incident. He was incarcerated in a mental asylum. The Royal Military Rendezvous was owned by Henry Sharp in the 1880’s. He died of alcohol poisoning as did his wife 3 years later. This must have been a hazard of the job.

Austin Chamberlain MacDonald was the landlord of the Royal Oak in Ingram Street. Prior to stocktaking he filled the contents of his barrels with tea before running off with the takings of the pub. Amazingly, he returned and the trustee’s of the pub let him take over again.

The Blarney Stone in Caledonia Road was a haunt for Irishmen. Straight off the boat at Broomielaw they would head for the Blarney Stone to look for work. The premises were one of the last pubs in the Gorbals to be demolished in the 1990’s.

Most people remember Granny Black’s in Cangleriggs, however this was not the original bar. The original was in Saltmarket and opened as Granny Blacks Pastry Shop in 1857. It started to sell wine and spirits in the 1870’s. This bar closed in 1956.

The Drummond Castle Bar (later James D. Wilson’s) in Cowcaddens was originally owned by Joseph Wardlaw. Wardlaws’ father owned the Britannia Pottery and he resided at Stobcross Mansion for a time. Joseph Wardlaw worked for his father for many years before becoming a publican.

The Crow Tavern in Bishopbriggs is another old bar. It was remodelled in 1902 but was established in 1827. It is reported to be haunted. An artefact recently found in the basement of the bar has confused archivists but is now believed to be an old potstill from an era when the alcohol was home brewed. Mr Gorevan recalled a tale from 1926 when a suspected shebeen was situated in a house in Shettleston Road. When Customs raided the property the still had been secreted behind a large sheet and was claimed to be a musical instrument.

The Auld Hoose on Gallowgate has been licensed since early 1800’s. It was once owned by Gavin Ellis who was also a partner in Ellis and Henderson, a photographic company who took the photos of Buffalo Bill and his retinue on their visit to Glasgow.

Finally, the oldest licensed premise in Glasgow is the Old College Bar on High Street.

Mr Gorevan welcomed any photos or stories for his website www.oldglasgowpubs.co.uk.


Vote of thanks

Mrs Forrest thanked Mr Gorevan and apologised for curtailing questions due to time constraints, if anyone had a question please pass it to a director and we would pass it on to Mr Gorevan.

Mrs Forrest thanked Mr Gorevan for his interesting talk and remarked that he had an obvious passion for his subject. She added that many of these early taverns also acted as brothels. She wondered what the old faces and ghosts in the photographs would make of Glasgow today and added that a booklet entitled “Up & Doon the Gallowgate” by the speaker was available for purchase at £3.


Competition winner

Mr Frank Laing correctly identified Gorbals Cross.



Mr Gordon informed directors that the next directors meeting would be on Thurs 7th October at Adelaides and the next Ordinary meeting would be on Thurs 14th October, the speaker Jane Anderson on the subject “Mr McLellan and his Galleries”.

He thanked all attending and wished all a safe journey home.


P Cairns,

Recording Secretary



The next directors’ meeting would be on 2 December and the next ordinary meeting on 9th December, when the speaker would be Mr Roddy McPherson on the Citizens’ Theatre.


Mr Gordon wished all a safe journey home.


JN Gibson, Recording Secretary



The next directors’ meeting would be on 3 November and the next ordinary meeting on 11 November.



Mr Gordon wished all a safe journey home.


JN Gibson, Recording Secretary