Minutes of an Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club

Held at Adelaides, 209 Bath Street

On Thursday 12th September 2013 at 7.30pm





Ms Petrina Cairns


Ms Cairns welcomed everyone old and new to the new session 2013/14 and hoped that everyone has had a great summer. Ms Cairns complimented Ms Sannachan on her term as President and thanked her in her absence for the smooth hand over.

"This is my first ordinary meeting as President of the Club. I am delighted and honoured. It's going to be an exciting couple of years in Glasgow, I do believe that there is some sporting event or other coming up. We have lots of talks, walks and interesting things going on over the coming year".

Ms Cairns reminded everyone of the housekeeping rules, fire drill procedures and requested that all mobile phones be put on silent or turned off.


Alison Sannachan, Jim Gibson, Jim O'Kane, Ian Frame, May Adler, Gordon Kerr.


The minutes of the last ordinary meeting, held on Thursday 11th April were approved, proposed by Margaret Thom and seconded by Sallie Marshall.

 President's Report

Ms Cairns hoped that everyone that had participated in club events over the Summer had an enjoyable time. There has been lots of positive feedback from members. The J.A.S Memorial walk that past club president Mr Brian D Henderson had given around Kinning Park had been enjoyed by all that had taken part. As had the enjoyable annual OGC coach trip, which this year was to Inveraray Castle and town via The Green Welly at Tyndrum. The weather had been very kind and the informative castle tour and walk around the town had been a success.

The weather had not been so kind at the annual Tappit Hen Bowling Tournament which this year had returned to the newly refurbished Kelvingrove Bowling Greens. Fortunately the grounds-keeper had taken pity on those of us not playing and had very kindly made cups of tea for anyone that wished one. The Tappit Hen trophy was won by Anne White and her partner this year.

Ms Cairns congratulated Glasgow's Riverside Museum on winning this years European Museum of the Year and also that Paisley Abbey on celebrating it's 850th birthday.

Ms Cairns said that if there were any Facebook users among the members that there was an official page for the Old Glasgow Club which would be updated with relevant dates and interesting information. She also asked that members visit the merchandise and information table at the back of the hall which at present is a work in progress but that next month the Calendars and Poppy Appeal badges would be on sale. Also where the monthly competition takes place.

Miss Cairns also drew attention to the events highlighted on the screen behind her :

Glasgow Doors Open Day - 16th until 22nd September.

Govan Stones - more information at www.thegovanstones.org.uk/

Glasgow Museums - more information at www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums

Glasgow Libraries App - more information at libraries@glasgowlife.org.uk


Secretary's Report - none.

 Ms Cairns introduced Yvonne Grey, assistant producer for the BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets who wished to speak to the members about an idea for the second series.

Ms Grey said that she had started doing research for this series. The first series last year was on London Streets. The BBC have commissioned another 3 one hour long programmes and at least one of them will be about a Glasgow street. We are looking for a street that has a good mixture original buildings, living, industrial and shops on it. I would like to invite people to come and talk to me at the end of the evening on any ideas you might have. Or, if something comes to you later then please email me details or ask any questions. Thank you for your time, I will leave my details with the Directors of the club should you wish to get in contact with me.


Ms Cairns introduced Mrs Elizabeth Edwards, a music teacher and seasoned speaker, who along with the assistance of her husband, Timothy is going to give a talk on The Glasgow Garden Festival.

 Good evening, there were five National Garden Festivals held in Britain between 1984 and 1992 with Glasgow being no 3 and bang in the middle. Liverpool was 1984, Stoke-on-Trent 1986, Glasgow 1988, Gateshead 1990 and Ebbw Vale in 1992.

The world's first garden festival took place in Essen, Germany, in 1937. It's concept was to take a derelict, former industrial site and build on it in such a way that it could be further developed into something more permanent and viable afterwards.

The UK National Garden Festivals were a high-profile 1980s initiative by the then Conservative Government in response to criticism of their neglect of areas hit by the decline of heavy industry. Environment Minister Michael Heseltine is attributed for proposing that derelict land should be reclaimed for Garden Festivals as a symbol of the rebirth of these areas. The festivals were highly successful in attracting millions of visitors from all over the country to industrial areas long ignored by tourists. However, they did not always lead to the hoped for, long term injection of private investment in these areas.

Liverpool International Garden Festival  - work began in 1982. It was the first such even to be built Britain and was built on a derelict industrial site (a large part was a municipal dumping tip) south of Herculaneum Dock, near the Dingle and overlooking the River Mersey.

Sixty individual gardens were built, including Japanese garden and pagodas. A large exhibition space, the Festival Hall, formed the centrepiece of the site and hosted indoor exhibits. Other attractions included a walk of fame, featuring numerous stars connected with Liverpool and a light railway system called The Festival Railway. The Liverpool International Garden Festival was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on May 2nd, 1984 and closed on October 14th, 1984.

Liverpool attracted 3,380,000 visitors and was built on an area of 95 hectares (230 acres).

Stoke-on-Trent National Garden Festival - was built on the site that was formerly occupied by the Shelton Bar Steelworks, about two miles north-west of the city centre, between Hanley and Burslem.

Tim and I had met and were engaged by 1986 and visited Stoke-on-Trent Festival. We only went for one day, we later regretted not visiting again. The Glasgow Festival had been projected by this time.

Stoke-on-Trent had 87 themed gardens, a marina with canal side inn and showhouses, meandering paths through rose gardens and past sculptures, Festival Halls with the biggest flower shop in the UK. Other attractions included were the largest cable car system in the UK and a railway system with 5 stations. It was beautiful and peaceful but it lacked stuff for all the family to get involved in and I think Glasgow learned from that.

Stoke-on-Trent National Garden Festival was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 1st May, 1986 and closed on 26th October, 1986. Stoke attracted 2,184,054 visitors and was built on an area of 40 hectares (99 acres).

Glasgow National Garden Festival - was built on the south bank of the River Clyde at Plantation Quay and also on land reclaimed from the partial filling-in of the Prince's Dock Basin (once the largest dock on the River Clyde) and opposite Glasgow's SECC.

You can imagine that after our taster at Stoke-on-Trent, Tim and I were keen to apply for the cheap 15 garden season tickets. We got great value for money. We must have visited at least 25 times. The cost would have soon mounted up given that the daily entrance fee was 5. Glasgow's slogan was "a day out of this world", and I must say that it really didn't feel that you were in the middle of a city unless you were at the Govan end.

Glasgow's Garden Festival was split into six themed areas for the event : science and technology, health and well-being, plants and food, landscape and scenery, water and maritime activities and recreation and sport.

Two special area features were created, the High Street, which was decorated with outlines of Glasgow's best known spires and towers, containing more than twenty single storey shops, and Bell's Bridge. The bridge was installed to provide access from the opposite bank of the river.

There were five main rides featured on the site also. The Clydesdale Bank Tower, standing at 240 feet, what views you got from the top of that tower. The Coca-Cola Roller, extreme roller coaster. Even though half a million tickets were sold for this, it was one mode of transport that I didn't try. This structure, the scale, the noise and screams could be seen and heard all around. The tramway rides along the riverbank, featuring Glasgow Corporation Tramways tram No 22. Great views from the top of the trams.  The Festival Railway, a narrow gauge train service which ran around the site and gave an opportunity to have a rest and to get the layout of the land.

There was something for every member of the family at Glasgow Garden Festival, they had learned from the previous two at Liverpool and Stoke-on-Trent.  For the families there was the daily parade that had just the touch of Americas, play areas, Oor Wullie garden. There were many types of gardens, grass gardens, secret garden, hardy perennial garden, gardens from overseas (Shanghai, Osaka, Hong Kong, Israel). The National Trust for Scotland exhibit is now at Greenbank Gardens and The Clydesdale Bank Tower was dismantled and re-erected in the Welsh seaside town of Rhyl. There was something for everyone no matter what time of day that you went. Tim and I especially enjoyed going in the evening, it always seemed to be quieter.

The Glasgow National Garden Festival was opened on 26th April 1988 and officially opened on 29th April 1988 by Prince Charles and Princess Diana. It closed on 26th September 1988. Glasgow attracted some 4,345,820 visitors who between them consumed 22 miles of sausages, 350,000 hamburgers, 400,000 ice creams and 300,000 pints of beer. Glasgow was built on 120 acres which included 17 acres of water (48.5 hectares).

Gateshead National Garden Festival - was built on a site that had previously been gasworks, a coal depot and coking plant around Dunston Straithes and the Norwood Coke Works Site, Gateshead.

Attractions included public art displays, a Ferris wheel, music, theatre and sporting events. Several modes of transport were provided around the site. A monorail which ran between Norwood and Eslington, a narrow gauge steam railway between Dunston and Redheugh, and a road train which covered the entire site. Gateshead had learned from Glasgow queues and charged for the train going around the site. I especially liked the Sword Garden and the Bill and Ben Garden and monorail at Gateshead.

Gateshead National Garden Festival was held between May and October 1990 for 157 days. It attracted around 3,000,000 visitors and was built on an area of 200 acres (81 hectares

Ebbw Vale National Garden Festival - was built on the site of the then derelict Steel Works in Ebbw Vale, a town at the head of the valley by the Ebbw River, Gwent County. The clearing of the grounds for the festival started in 1989.

I only had one visit to Wales. The festival was in an area of very high unemployment and this was a site that the government particularly wanted to regenerate. It was very nice but completely different from the other garden festivals.

It was naturally sited in a valley and there were not so many flower displays but lots of landscaping and some very Welsh things. It was very hilly so not so good for those with mobility issues but there was a funicular railway which took you to  the hill farm which was appropriately set on top of the hill. For me the most memorable part of Ebbw Vale was the 70 metre waterfall which was absolutely spectacular and the Newport Clock in the Tarmac Piazza  which had been built especially for the festival.

Ebbw Vale National Garden Festival was held between 1st May 1992 and 4th October 1992. It attracted over 2,000,000 visitors.

The former garden festival sites have not been so successful in regeneration as was planned. Liverpool is now a mixture of housing and derelict sites. Stoke-on-Trent is now a soul-less mixture of retail and office buildings. Glasgow is now the Glasgow Science Centre and a digital media village with some derelict sites. Gateshead is now a housing estate and it is difficult to find any traces of the garden festival. Ebbw Vale however retained some of the features and included them as part of the 63 acre Festival Park.


Elizabeth Edwards thanked the members for listening to the talk and said that herself or Timothy could be reached at timedwards.meccanoindex.co.uk/index.htm


Q - Thank you so much for that talk, Elizabeth. It was a wonderful and brought back memories of a memorable Summer.

A -  You're welcome, glad you enjoyed.

Q - Do you think that the Garden Festival paved the way for the City of Culture in 1990?

A -  Well, it certainly didn't do it any harm and one of the briefs of the festival was to bring an area to attention. When    

      Glasgow does something, it does it well and I am not biased since I am not Glaswegian.


"the wonderful logo was designed by Pete Fletcher who is a local boy and I'm not biased since I'm not local either", says Gavin.


Q - Out of the five garden festivals two are riverside. Do you think that had a greater effect on people coming because

      the site is more interesting?

A -  I think so, the site definitely makes a difference to the attendance levels.

Q - I remember somebody from Glasgow Garden Festival coming to our local Community Centre. Somebody asked the

      lady if it would ever be ready and the lady replied that it would never be ready.

A -  It's never complete because it always develops, a garden, doesn't it. So, I suppose in that respect it was never


Q - How long did the Garden Festival last for.

A -  29th April until 26th September.

Q - If there's one thing I can recall, it's the smells. You always remember the smells and I remember the Bratwurst stall.

      That was my first port of call.


Vote of thanks

Mr Sam Gordon said that from the show of hands there were less questions asked because lots, if not most people had been there. We had a season ticket too, I remember the tap, crows and talking cactus but I don't remember the mushrooms. Mr Gordon thanked Elizabeth for bringing the Glasgow Garden Festival back to life with her wonderful talk and photographs.



Q - identify the interior in this photograph.

A -  Barrowland Ballroom

Won by Elaine Devlin


Any Other Business - None



Next Directors Meeting - Thursday 3rd October

Next Ordinary Meeting - Thursday 10th October


Ms Cairns wished all a safe journey home and reminded the members that next months talk was being given by a former OGC President, Joy Blair and was titled "Sail to Port Eglington on the Adrossan Canal".




                                                                                                                                                 Shona Crozer

                                                                                                                                                 Recording Secretary