Old Glasgow Club

Minutes of an Ordinary meeting of the Old Glasgow Club held at Adelaide’s, 209 Bath Street on Thursday 12th April 2012 at 7.30pm





Ms Sannachan (President)


Ms Sannachan welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained the fire drill procedures.


There were apologies from Kevin Kelly, Margaret Thom, Alastair Ross, Sheila Bradley, Ruiraidh Clark , Jim Allan, Maureen McRobb, Hugh Connery and Kath Nelson.


The minutes of the last ordinary meeting held on Thursday 8th March were approved, proposed by Shona Crozer and seconded by Hugh Bonnar. There were no amendments or matters arising.

President’s report

Ms Sannachan encouraged everyone to look at the noticeboard/merchandise table and to participate in the quiz and the “Mind the Time” project which is still ongoing.

The Riverside Museum is in the running for Museum of the Year, Ms Sannachan encouraged members and visitors to support its nomination.

The Glasgow-Braehead ferry starts on 14th April, leaving from the new pontoon built on the Broomielaw.

There will be a jumble sale in the Panopticon on 6th June 2012.

Glasgow Necropolis is having an open day on 15th April 2012.If anyone is interested in becoming a guide for Friends of the Necropolis please see Ruth Johnston who is in the audience tonight.

Doors Open Days this year are the 15th-16th September 2012. The brochures  will become available during the summer.

The AGM on Thursday 10th May 2012 is again in the City Chambers. Ms Sannachan reminded members to bring membership cards to gain entry to the Chambers.

Club Events

The Tappit Hen on the 17th May will take place at Queens Park Bowling Greens and there will be a buffet available afterwards in the Bowling Clubhouse. Tickets are £7.50.

This years summer outing is to Burns Country on Saturday 9th June, priced at £16 per ticket. First stop is Rozelle House Gallery in Ayr then on to the Burns Visitors Centre. The bus leaves at 09.30am from Mount Florida Bowling Club and 10.00am from Cochrane Street.

The J. A. S. Wilson Memorial Walk will visit Maryhill on Tuesday 19th June. Mr Gordon Barr will escort the club around the recently refurbished Burgh Halls and then follow some of the Heritage walk around Maryhill, the Kelvin viaduct and the Canal. We will meet at the “Fireman Gates” at 18.30pm.

Secretary’s Report- No report


Ms Sannachan introduced Mr Bill Black who will speak on “Trongate- The Heart of a City”.

Nowadays George Square is regarded as the centre of Glasgow but 300 years ago it was in and around the Trongate. The name Trongate was first recorded in the 1560’s deriving from the weigh beam was where all goods brought in from the Clyde through the West Port were weighed and taxed. (“Tron” being the old Scots term for weighing scales). The origin of the street has been difficult to date however it is believed to follow the route of a much older Pilgrim path leading to the St Thenew’s (St Enoch’s) shrine.

This area of the city has been home to the city jail, courthouse and council chambers. Even executions were carried out in the vicinity. The site of the present day Tron Theatre has played a central role in the life of Glasgow City for nearly five centuries, during which time it has been a place of Christian worship (as St Mary’s Church and Cemetery and later the Laigh Kirk), a place of execution, a meeting hall, a market, a store house, a police station and latterly the Tron theatre. The oldest surviving part of the structure is the 16th Century clock tower.

Across from the Kirk was the Tontine Building and Coffee House. At the height of Glasgow’s mercantile boom in the 18th century the plainstanes at the front of the Tontine Building and Tollbooth were the places for the Tobacco Lords to seen and be seen. **Some of the giant faces which once decorated the building are now housed in the Physic garden at the Provand’s Lordship.

The area was once densely populated, full of Lands (also known as tenements) and a desirable residence (especially near the Saltmarket which offered a view of the public executions) but as gentrification moved westward the area fell into ruin with brothels, shebeens and pubs taking over empty premises.

Mr Black introduced a few notable residents and residences from the area.

Captain Archibald Paton- the son for Dr David Paton who owned Paton’s Land near Glasgow Cross. Captain Paton served in commission in Barbados for many years and was the subject of the poem “The Lament of Captain Paton” by John Gibson Lockhart.

James Monarth of Monarth’s Land- he was the writing master of the Prince of Wales from 1783-89.

Mrs Dalmano – Lived at number 3 Trongate, above an apothecary shop. All the medicinal plants and herbs used in the shop were grown in her physic garden near the Rottenrow. Her son was a consultant at the Royal Infirmary. Dalmano St was named after the family.

The Tron Kirk- In 1706 James Clark preached against the Act of Union and caused riots which lasted for a fortnight. In 1793 the Church was damaged by fire, allegedly started by the Hellfire Club although there is little evidence to verify this. The steeple survived, however in 1855 arches were cut through the tower to allow pavements. In 1869 three  men on a velocipede were responsible for knocking over and killing an old lady in the Old Wynd.

West of the Kirk was the original Royal College of Physicians before it moved to its current address on St Vincent St in 1858.

Several streets changed names to prevent duplication as different villages were merged into the Glasgow conurbation e.g. Nelson St became Albion St, New St became King St.

Candleriggs Market was set up in 1722.

Dr John Moore, leading member of the Glasgow Enlightenment lived at Donald’s Land. His sons were Vice Admiral Sir Graham Moore and Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore who died at the Battle of Corunna in 1809 and was responsible for producing Britain's first permanent light infantry regiments.

Moving along Trongate towards Argyll St was the City Guardhouse, the Old Post Office Court Building, the headquarters of the Paisley Bank and the editorial offices of the Glasgow Herald which once had a synagogue on the upper floors. All sadly long gone.

Three wynds radiated out from Trongate in the 1600’s – Lyndsey’s, Easter and Wester Wynds which were demolished in the late 18th century after falling into disrepute. Old Wynd was restored in 1993 and is now used for access to the Panopticon. It was once used to enter into a cobbled courtyard housing the Anchor Inn, a favoured spot of Sir Walter Scott.

The original Hutchison’s Hospital was situated just west of the Tolbooth, initially as a hostel for aged men, then as a school for indigent boys. It moved to Ingram St in 1883.

Sproull’s Land- Originally owned by a family of Renfrewshire covenanters. A business rival identified the wrong member of the family to the militia who were investigating the covenanters resulting in torture using “the boot” and imprisoning on Bass Rock. He refused to leave his prison until he had been pardoned for the crime. Sproull’s Land was demolished in 1978.

Granite House on Stockwell St was once the site of the Swan Tavern where Bonnie Prince Charlie stabled his horses in 1746. Nearby was Shawfield Mansion, owned by Daniel Campbell and later William MacDowall who sold it on to the Virginia Don, John Glassford. Bonnie Prince Charlie lived there for 2 weeks in 1746. In 1725 John Campbell (grandson of Daniel Campbell) lived there with his wife Lady Charlotte Campbell, daughter of the 5th Duke of Argyll. They were the celebrity couple of the day and were followed down the streets by crowds everywhere they went. Evidence states that once Lady Campbell went forth in extremely short skirts and caused a near riot

Q. Was the equestrian statue of William of Orange originally at Trongate?

A. Yes. It was moved about a lot before being relocated to Cathedral Square in the 1920’s. It’s now being cleaned.

Q. Was there a plaque to Sir John Moore?

A. Yes, there used to be a lot of commemorative plaques in the area, erected by the Pen and Paper Club. During various redevelopments they have never been replaced. Perhaps they are stored somewhere.

Q. When do the Tolbooth bells ring?

A. The bells are still rung at New Year. There used to be many tunes played. Tradition dictates that the bells should be rung when the Cameron of Locheil enters the city.

Q. What was the site of the Barra’s?

A. The East Port into the city.

Q. Are public proclamations still made at Glasgow Cross?

A. No. They used to be made from the steps of the Tolbooth.

Q. Was the Tron steeple once a jail?

A. No but the Tolbooth was. There was a condemned cell for those to be executed at Glasgow Cross. The jailer used to live within the Tolbooth and was known for selling spirits out of the jail.

Q. Was Rab Ha’ the Glasgow Glutton from Trongate?

A. No Robert Hall was from Paisley but moved to Glasgow and frequented the Saracon’s Head. Vote of Thanks

Mr Sam Gordon thanked Mr Black for his interesting talk and noted that it was a fitting end to the 2011-2012 session. He commented that the traffic hasn’t improved much since the velocipede incident.


The picture quiz asked where is the memorial to several engineers lost on the Titanic, the correct answer being in the HQ of Scottish Opera at 39 Elmbank St which was once the Institute of Shipbuilders and Engineers.


Next Directors Meeting-   Thursday 3rd May 2012

Next Ordinary Meeting-   Thursday 13th September 2012

Ms Sannachan wished all a safe journey home.

P Cairns, Recording Secretary.