Old Glasgow Club
Minutes of an Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club held at Adelaide’s, 209 Bath Street on Thursday 14 February 2008 at 7.30pm
Mrs McNae welcomed members and visitors to the meeting.
There were apologies from Carol Thomson, Isabel Haddow, Jim Gibson, Jo Reed, Anna Forrest, and Graham Smith.
The minutes of the last ordinary meeting held on 10th January, having been circulated, were approved, on the motion of Mrs Thom, seconded by Mr Cunningham. There were no matters arising.
There was no president’s report.
Mrs McNae remarked on how much she enjoyed the members night supper evening held on the 10th January and hoped everyone else had a great fun too. Some photos from the event have been donated by Mr Cunningham and Mr Henderson and will appear on the website. Mrs McNae advised that if any members are interested in participating in the maintenance of the website could they see Miss Cairns.
The summer outing will take place on Saturday 14th June and will visit Falkland Palace. A high tea will also be included at a venue yet to be decided. The ticket will be less than £26. The names of anyone interested should be given to Mrs Thom.
On Sunday February 17th at 1pm a vigil will be held in Pollok Park in protest at the proposed Go Ape development in the North Wood. Hopefully 1,000 protestors will form a human chain to demonstrate opposition to the development plan.
Mrs McNae introduced Mr Murray Blair who spoke on the topic of Glasgow Washing Greens accompanied by slides and personal artefacts.
Water and wells have been important in the location and development of many major cities not just as a source of sustenance but also for developing industries. People congregate around water, evident in the duplication of area names in different cities, e.g. Ladywell. Such gathering places have historically been where women in the community met to wash, drink, meet their friends, wash their clothes and launder for employment.
Mr Blair showed several slides of early rural scenes incorporating early washing greens for example at Mauchline. Glasgow was fortunate to have several washing/drying greens along the banks of the Clyde and the Molendinar. One of the largest was Glasgow Green.
In the late 1700’s when Glasgow was expanding and the tobacco lords/captains of industry were making their millions, the larger houses and households ensured that laundry was a full time job and many big houses employed local girls and girls from the Highlands coming down to work in the big city. This was no easy job since laundry was mainly linen or flannel, which was heavy and it was often a considerable distance from the house to the drying green. The laundry would have taking a thorough beating to get clean and would then have been bleached on the green in amongst the local wildlife often needing another wash after being left in a field of sheep. Some larger houses built their own wash-houses e.g. Pollok House. Several slides depicted “Scotch washing” where the laundress would stand in the tub/byne and pound the laundry with her feet.
Mr Blair showed several maps and pictures of drying greens on Glasgow Green from an 1800-1810 depiction showing the position of the Molendinar and Camlachie Burns followed by the 1813 layout after landscaping by James Cleland. By 1840 washing poles had appeared. The wash house is still standing and is now the rowing club house.
Prior to the meeting Mr Blair furnished the hall with his personal collection of washing artefacts (many of his own grandmother’s) e.g. irons of different weights and purposes, a goffring iron, an early electric and an early gas iron, a washboard, a selection of soap, linen nightshirts and nightdresses, flannel shirts and an army blanket.
Mr Blair finished by introducing the North Parish Washing Green Society of which he is a member. The North Parish washing green was situated on the banks of the Molendinar at the back of the Cathedral. Mr Blair described the tariffs for using the greens and latterly the steamie or wash house. The expense was paid by the “big houses” or employers and the wash-house was rarely used for personal washing. The land was sold in 1873 and is now part of the Royal Infirmary. The society is now the only washing green society in existence and is used to raise funds for senior citizens outings and other charitable enterprises.
Mr Blair then answered questions from the floor.
Vote of thanks
Mr Gordon thanked Mr Blair for his interesting and informative presentation.
Mrs McNae reminded members of the next meeting on 13th March and wished all a safe journey home.
Acting Recording Secretary