Minutes of an Ordinary Meeting of the
Old Glasgow Club
Held at Adelaides, 209 Bath Street
On Thursday 13th February 2014 at 7.30pm
Ms Petrina Cairns (President)
Ms Cairns welcomed ladies,
gentlemen and councillors along to the members night of the OGC and
thanked everyone for coming on this cold night.
Ms Cairns explained fire
drill procedures, housekeeping rules and also requested that all mobile
phones to be put on silent or switched off.
Sallie Marshall, Jim O'Kane,
Maureen McRobb, Isabel Haddow, John McKnight, May Arnott.
The minutes of the last
ordinary meeting, held on Thursday 9th January 2014 were approved and
proposed by Sam Gordon and seconded by Margaret Kerr. There were no
amendments or matters arising.
Ms Cairns how much she had
enjoyed the excellent talk on The Comet and the vision of Henry Bell
given at last months meeting by Burns Shearer.
Ms Cairns reminded members to
check out the notice board which has some information on Peter Fyfe and
a print out of the original OGC minutes from his talk in 1917. There's
also copies of the quiz which we will have at a 15 minute break.
This years club Summer outing
is to the newly refurbished Abbotsford House, Melrose on Saturday 14th
June. Prices and High Tea details still to be finalised. If you would
like to provisionally put your name down then see Gaynor/Shona at the
Author Gill Hoffs has sent an
open invitation to club members to attend a reading of her book. The
book is titled 'The Sinking of RMS Tayleur : The Lost Story of the
Victorian Titanic', the talk is in Waterstones, Argyle Street on
Wednesday 19th February at 7pm. There were at least 78 Scots on board
the ship when she sank, including four families from Glasgow who may
well have descendants still living in the area unaware of their
ancestors link with the disaster.
Even Lochs Heritage Project
(which incorporates Provan Hall) has just been given a first round pass
at last weeks Heritage Lottery Fund board meeting. This means that
funding has been awarded to help develop the project towards a second
round application for
£4.2 million of
Heritage Lottery Fund funding.
The ever popular Antiques
Roadshow will be at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Galleries on Thursday 9th
Glasgow Canals Unlocked - a
new app for mobile phones by Scottish Waterways Trust and Scottish
Canals. A guide to a 10 mile stretch of the Forth and Clyde Canal can
now be downloaded onto your mobile phone. Old photos can be accessed as
well as video clips and facts about the canal. There is a free brochure
in tonights edition of the Evening Times, or, one can be picked up at
Maryhill Burgh Halls where they also have an exhibition.
Professor Donald Meek will
give a talk called 'Govan and the Gaels : Gaelic perspectives on life
and work in an industrial community' on 8th March at 2pm in Govan Old
Parish Church. The Govan Stones Project are also still looking for
Ms Cairns said that she would
like to give a special thanks to Glickmans for coming along tonight with
their collection of sweeties and also to Councillor Yvonne Cucuk for
taking time out of her very busy schedule to attend our meeting.
Ms Cairns said "The Old
Glasgow Club has, as part of it's archive collection a box of glass
magic lantern slides depicting
old scenes of Calton - still
in the original box with full annotations.
When looking into the old
Club minutes books I discovered that we are almost to the day of the
anniversary of Peter Fyfe's original talk on 16th February 1917.
Given that the spotlight is
firmly on the East End of Glasgow this year, the Directors made the
decision to digitise the slides so that we could show them to the
We still have the original
magic lantern projector but unfortunately it needs some repair work and
the obligatory Pat test for it to be used in a public area. But never
There is more information on
Peter Fyfe on the noticeboard.
Enough of me talking, let
Anna Forrest and Peter Mortimer tell you what a City Sanitary Inspector
sees.....A Tour Round the Calton."
"A Tour of the Calton" using
magic lantern slides, digitised, full property and rights of the Old
Glasgow Club (purchased 1936) - mostly the work of Peter Fyfe, Sanitary
Inspector, Corporation of Glasgow. Mr Fyfe gave a paper on this subject
which he read on 15th February 1917.
Using the essay and many of
the digitised slides in order, we have recreated the "walk" and hope to
recreate the atmosphere of The Calton of 1917.
We start at 'The Coat of
Arms' pub, Glasgow Cross where Miss Agnew meets Mr Peter Fyfe, it's
February 1917. Miss Agnew explains she has been to a ladies meeting and
is walking to the Green. Mr Fyfe explains that he is 'walking' the tour
for which he will read a Paper and show his magic lantern slides of The
Calton area to the Old Glasgow Club.
Miss Agnew says that she
plans on attending that lectures as she is a new Lady Member of that
prestigious club. Mr Fyfe is surprised at the fact that ladies are now
admitted to the Club.
Mr Fyfe explains his expert
knowledge of the area and that his is one of three Sanitary Inspectors
instructed to oversee the area and report on 'the irregular streets and
decaying tenements' of this large area. Although the area is 327 acres,
the land density is not extreme as the ward has the whole of Glasgow
Green on its southern side.
Mr Fyfe explains that the
boundaries for North are Gallowgate to Glasgow Cross. South
follows the River Clyde till reaching the bridge at Main St.
Bridgeton. East runs up centre of Main St. Bridgeton, along
Canning Street. until Abercrombie St. up to Gallowgate. West
boundary is the shortest, from Glasgow Cross down Saltmarket to the
Mr Fyfe tells Miss Agnew that
the 1695 meaning of 'Calton' or Caltoun is taken from the Gaelic
a'Chaltainn, meaning 'the hazel wood'. Old Calton is mostly weavers and
cordiners. The area is also known as 'Barrowfield' or 'Burrelfield'
where the land is set out in barrel or burrel shaped ridges. It is also
known locally as 'Blackfaulds' due to the surface coal workings making
the land area black.
However, the Calton of the
rural and leafy hazel wood and Cammlachie Burn has gone and we are now
in 1917 where much of this area will be cleared of decay and drunkenness
in this proud Second city of the Empire.
Mr Fyfe and Miss Agnew take
their tour down Salt Market, turn into St Andrew St, along to St Andrews
Church which is also known as the Tobacco Lords Church. They look at
Quarriers City Orphans' Home and the former houses of the gentry that
are now common lodging houses for "women of a very low class",
surrounded on all sides by the temptations of the "wee pawn and the
public house". Within a stones throw, down Low Green St, and into Steel
St, we see that "great hospital for souls" the Tent Hall. A monument to
the Christian endeavours of the United Evangelistic Association of
They now turn into Greendyke
St and see the 'Deil's Kirk' also known as St Andrews-in-the-Green.
Further along, at No 59 they pass the 'Old Clothes Market' which has
recently been cleared and disinfected for the use as accommodation and
training hall for the 9th Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry.
They walk on to London Road,
past the Saracen's Head Inn (an original staging post), down Charlotte
Lane and note Glasgow's most mobile piece of architecture, the McLennan
Arch in Charlotte St. forming the entrance to Glasgow Green.
Pass into Kent St. then
Moncur St. Bain Square and they are looking across Gallowgate to the
steeple of St John's Parish Church in Bell St. On Bain Square is St
Luke's Parish Church with the playground opposite. Children are playing
under the watchful eye of 'Old Bob', the park-keeper.
Mr Fyfe and Miss Agnew head
to the north corner of Bain Square, glancing along King Street, formerly
known as 'Beggars Row'. They turn into Moncur Street. walking past the
Glasgow Medical Mission where "the body ailments of our poorer classes
receive expert attention free of charge". Along Main St. to Kirk St. and
passing the Corporation 'Farmed-Out Houses' 1904 which were built to
meet the needs of the poorest for the lowest rents.
They talk about No 1 Well St.
now being used by Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College as a
Weaving School, now loomless but students have carried their knowledge
and skill to the US where this particular form of weaving durable
fabrics (denim) amassed fortunes. Other nimble fingers are spoken about,
this time at Agnew's Chocolate Factory, where the girls employed look
healthy and are shod. It's just one of the many sweet and confectionary
works in Calton as sugar, cocoa and coffee beans are easily transported.
Camp Coffee, Glickman's to name a few.
Turning into Kirk Street and
they see that the backlands are falling into decay. Moving along into
Moncur Street. and Saturday sees the kerbside is busy. The vacant
grounds are leased to two parties who sub-let stances and hire out
barrows to those who sell all kinds of merchandise. Locks, keys,
linoleum. The stances cost from 6d to 9d per barrow and the stall holder
can often clear
£1 per day. They see a
lady stall holder with a feather in her cap, Mr McDonald the bookseller,
plant barrow, clothes stalls and lino being sold by Dutch Auction. They
can also see the covered accommodation at Moncur/Kent St. "All the
heterogeneous mass of clothing, clocks, watches, hats, books - where
they have come from is one of the mysteries of City life".
Miss Agnew asks Mr Fyfe if
they could have a wee rest, maybe an ice-cream or a poke of sweeties
from Glickman's before they go back down into the old Burgh.
Break and Quiz
Green St. and they are
looking at the 'Day Industrial School' which had just been expanded and
altered in 1917 to accommodate 300 children. It was used as a huge
creche, pupils being children of parents who worked all day. The
children have breakfast, dinner and tea at the cost of 1/- per child per
From Green St. to Great
Hamilton St. which used to be a footpath known as 'The Pleasants',
rising from west to east and leading to Tobago St. On the west side of
Tobago St. is the 'Calton Cabinet Works'. They also pass The Calton
Parish Church which was built in 1793 at no 27 Tobago St. Passing now
into Stevenson St. named after Nathaniel Stevens, second Provost of
Calton. Here they see 'Backland Dwellings', built in the 1890s to ease
congestion. In 1917 they were in want of upkeep and repair and in their
last phase as human dwellings.
Turning up Struthers St. and
they are now in the centre of the hand-loom weaving area and turn into
Bell St. They stop to watch Mr and Mrs McLaughlin and Betsy McLaughlin
at their hand looms. Short pieces were produced more cheaply on the
hand-loom than on the power-looms. A good weaver could produce 8 yards
per day. Hand-loom weavers often started work at the age of 10. In the
1840s - 50s there were 34 weaving shops in Bell St. alone.
Walking eastwards to the
boundary of the north part of Calton, Abercromby St. (formerly Witches'
Lone), Miss Agnew and Mr Fyfe pause to look at the 'Abercromby St.
Common Lodging House', opened by the Corporation in 1900 as a hostel for
those men down on their luck. They continue south towards Canning St,
where they reach the foot of John St. via Landressy St and are reach the
point of the 'Landressy St. Turkey Red Dye Works'.
At the foot of James St. and
facing the Green they see the 'Logan and Johnston Institute - School of
Domestic Economics 1890'. Girls are trained in the homely arts, "make
good mothers and educated and self-reliant housekeepers".
Further along in Greenhead
St. is the former Greenhead House which had been build for Dugald
McPhail, cotton baron.
Philanthropist James Buchanan
£30,000 for the care
and education of fatherless boys. The mansion had recently been extended
and was now where some 340 boys were fed, schooled, disciplined and
trained in various crafts.
Miss Agnew and Mr Fyfe watch
the children playing near Greenhead Baths, also known as 'McPhun's Park'
or the 'Daisy Green'. They cross over the road, past the washing on the
Green and the Greenhead Baths and Washouse. The Green has been used by
Glasgow citizens for over 200 years for washing, drying and bleaching.
They now pass that brilliant
piece of Victorian advertising and architecture, Templeton's Carpet
Factory, built in 1889 and designed by Glasgow Architect, William
Leiper. They also pass 'Glasgow Green Railway Station' built in 1890 by
the Caledonian Railway Co. through the Glasgow Central Line. The station
looks onto the magnificent People's Palace, Glasgow Green which was
built 1896-7 and opened in 1898. It was designed by A.B. MacDonald, City
Engineer. The Winter Gardens is in the form of the upturned hull of
Nelson's flagship, 'Victory'.
At the end of their tour and
Miss Agnew and Mr Fyfe recall that poor looking creature in Green St.
just standing outside the public house. She just stood
Ms Cairns speaks as Annie
"My name is Annie McWhirter,
man man's name is Jimmy......Sometimes I just come here and stand
outside the pub my Jimmy drank in. He played the fiddle and when he
didna have the coin for a dram, he would take up his fiddle and come
home drunk. I usetae wish he widnae drink, me and the weans didnae
always want to sing and dance when he rolled in tae the hoose.
He's in Flanders noo, he
joined the 9th Battalion the day they came on the Green marchin' and
singin' and playin' their drums. They taught him tae fight, gied him a
gun and he couldnae wait tae go.
We manage aw right, I fill
the pirns for a weaver in the week and get 10d on a Friday, I clean in
pubs and the sweetie factory so we aye get sugar. I don't like the
Munitions place, ye lose yer fingers and wan o' the bullets might get my
Jimmy. He's promised tae bring back a medal........surely this war will
soon be over.
Sing Song: When this Ruddy
War is Over
Q How many people went to
war from the Calton ?
A There's a PDF file on
everybody from Glasgow who went to war. Calton had it's fair share.
There's a few projects
happening around the
city with the Centenary of the outbreak of the WW1 coming up. One of
them is about womens
work during the war. The
women paid a huge contribution to working, they had to step into the
breach, the munitions
factory at Parkhead etc.
They played an enormous part in the war efforts, lots of jobs that were
traditionally done by
men. Peter Fyfe's slides
are wonderful for capturing the period.
Q The McLennan Arch ?
It was originally the
centrepiece of the frontage of Robert and James Adam's Assembly Rooms on
When Assembly Rooms were
demolished it was reconstructed at the end of Monteith Row near
Greendyke Street in
1894. It was moved again
in 1922 to another site on the Green opposite Charlotte Street. There
were problems with
the foundations, causing
the arch to tilt so the arch was moved for a fourth time. Moved to it's
opposite the High Courts
Q Is David Dale's house in
Charlotte Street ?
A They demolished it in
the 1950s knowing full well that it was David Dale's house and a Robert
Adam building. There
was a huge outcry which
is probably why the less grand Robert Adam house at no 52 Charlotte
Street was left
Q What were the weavers
wages like ?
A I'm not sure what the
pay structures were like. I know that around 1820 there was a call for
reform from a lot of
weavers. The Cammlachie
Weavers, a small village where most of the population were employed in
weaving were viewed as
scabs by the wider weaving community and some nasty stuff happened. The
trade was a forerunner
to the Red Clyde. It's very hard to say what the wages were since it
depended on how many
of the family were
working the looms. They were paid on their output.
Q Landressy Street ?
A It's quite an important
street, it's a derivation from the time of Henry Menteith who brought
workers from France to
show weavers the Turkey
Red Dye process. The leader of the workers was called Pierre Papillon,
came from Landres in
France. Landressy Street was also the site of a tram depot.
Q Vinegar Hill ?
A It was the hub for show
people and the prime site for the annual carnival.
Q The present Templeton
Carpet Factory ?
A When the new factory was
being constructed in 1889, on November 1st, during a gale, the new wall
(due to insecure
fittings) collapsed on
the adjacent weaving sheds. 29 women were killed.
I have been doing a
survey at the Southern Necropolis and found a headstone for Maggie
Shields, one of the women
killed in the disaster.
Q Councillor Yvonne Cucuk
would like to know of anybody that is related to any of the women
involved in the disaster ?
Vote of Thanks
Ms Cairns said "thanks to all
Directors for their hard work this evening, thanks to Anna and Peter for
their time, effort and their Oscar winning performance. Thanks also to
Gavin, as always, for his technical genius. And thank you, the members
for watching, but, the stars of the evening are definitely the slides
The well deserved winner of
the quiz is James Hane
Next Directors Meeting
- Thursday 6th
Next Members Meeting
- Thursday 13th
Ms Cairns thanked everyone
for coming and wished all a safe journey home.