Minutes of an Ordinary Meeting of the Old Glasgow Club
Held at Adelaides, 209 Bath Street
On Thursday 14th March 2013 at 7.30pm
Ms Sannachan (President)
Ms Sannachan welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained fire drill procedures and housekeeping. It was reqested
that all mobile phones be put to silent or turned off.
There were apologies from Jane Collie, Margaret MacCormack, Sheila Broadley, Jim Okay and Gaynor MacKinnon.
The minutes of the last ordinary meeting / members night held on Thursday 14th February were approved, proposed by
Petrina Cairns and seconded by Anna Forrest. There were no amendments or matters arising.
Ms Sannachan extended a big thank you to all the members who had attended the members Valentines night and for making
it such an overwhelming success. Ms Sannachan also said that it was much appreciated by herself and the other Directors
that so many members had made a point of saying how much they had enjoyed the evening.
Ms Sannachan said that Susan Grant of Caledonian University, has been in contact to ask if any members of the OGC
has memories, maps or photographs of Cowcadens before the University had been built there. The information is for
Glasgow Community Archives that are held at the University. Ms Sannachan asked that members have a think about it
for next months meeting when more information and contact detail would be available.
Mrs McNae asked if everyone had taken a note of dates and events for their diaries and reminded us what events were taking
place in the near future.
Glasgow Museums -
Kelvingrove – More Than A Game : How Scotland Shaped World football, running from 27th March – 18th August. Tickets are
£5 adults / £3 concessions..
Peoples Palace – Red Road : Past, Present, Future. The exhibition is running from 28th February 2013 – 10th February 2014.
Entry to this exhibition is free.
Scotland Street School – Competent At Peever – An Exhibition by Liz Lochhead. Running from 22nd February – 7th April.
For more information on Glasgow Museums visit www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums.
Glasgow Library App – you can now find a title, reserve, borrow or renew it on your mobile email@example.com
Bridgeton Library – The library is now opened in the refurbished Olympia building in Bridgeton. As well as the library, the
Aye Write – Glasgow’s Book Festival is on from Friday 12th April until Saturday 20th April. More info at www.ayewrite.com
Govan Stones - discover this unique collection of early medieval stones or you could become a volunteer guide.
More information at www.thegovanstones.org.uk/
Govan – a new web site dedicated to all things Govan, past and present has been launched www.getintogovan.com.
South Glasgow Heritage Environment Trust – a conference entitles Music, Mirth and Magic on 23rd March at the Premier Inn
Ballater St, Glasgow. More information at www.sghet.com/
Club Diary Dates –
Tappit Hen Annual Bowling Tournament – taking place at Kelvingrove bowling green with a buffet afterwards. You don’t need to
bowl to take part.
JAS Memorial Walk – Mrs McNae introduced Mr Brian Henderson to give more details.
“Good evening ladies and gentleman. For those of you who don’t know me my name is Brian Henderson, and I am a Past-President
of the club.
Last September I led a walk around Kinning Park and Plantation, as part of the Doors Open Weekend; I was surprised and
delighted to have a turnout of over 50 participants.
I have now been invited to lead the walk, for the Club, on Saturday 1st June : we will begin at Kinning Park Underground
Station in Cornwall Street, Plantation, at 11am, and will cover the former Police Burgh of Kinning Park before crossing to the
Plantation Ward of the Old Govan Burgh – between Paisley Road West and Govan Road; returning then to Kinning Park.
I am aiming to finish at approximately 12.30pm.
Numbers might be limited to 30, but I do hope to see as many of you as possible, on the day”.
Annual Club Summer Outing – Taking place on Saturday 8th June, our outing to Inveraray Castle and town of Inveraray. Mrs McNae
reminded members to give their names and money to Mrs Thom if they would like to go on the trip.
Mr Sam Gordon requested that he come to the stage with further details on the trip.
Mr Gordon said that High Tea had been booked at The George Hotel at a cost of £11 per person if any of the members were
interested. He requested that members give their names and full payment of £11 to himself or Mrs Thom by the next meeting
on the 11th April. Mr Gordon also stated that it is not compulsory and that there were other places to eat if members would
rather do their own thing.
Mrs McNae thanked Mr Gordon and before handing back to Ms Sannachan for a very special presentation.
Ms Sannachan announced that there was to be a special presentation to honour Mr Bob Dunlop, who as a past president
and past librarian of the club was celebrating 50 years of membership. Ms Sannachan said that she was delighted to see
Bob and his wife, Nancy. A presentation of a Club certificate, signed book Glasgow Central Hotel and a framed photograph
of Mr and Mrs Dunlop taken at members night, marking the women’s centenary n 2008 were given to Mr Dunlop.
Flowers were also presented to Mrs Dunlop. Ms Sannachan said that everyone at the Old Glasgow Club really appreciated
everything that Mr Dunlop had done for the club.
Ms Sannachan introduced Professor Michael Moss from Glasgow University who will speak on ‘West End Delusions of Grandeur’
A story of fraud, bankruptcy and skulduggery in the development of Glasgow’s West End.
A Richardson’s map from the late 18th century shows a number of estates. Park, Kelvinside and Dowanhill are the three estates
that make up tonight’s talk.
Glasgow at this point in time was up to it’s neck in slave trading and plantations in the West Indies and trading with India.
Kelvinside Estate, acquired by Dr Thomas Lithan, who had been Lord Hastings sidekick in Bengal India. I came across letters
from 1787 that said that he wanted to come home. He had amassed £50,000, worth 5 million in today’s value. This money
was made from opium trading. Dr Lithan married and bought Kelvinside Estate in 1787.
The adjoining estate was Blythswood Estate,which was owned by Colonel John Campbell of Blythswood. He was killed at the
siege of Martinique in 1794. Colonel Campbell had only been granted the powers to feu his estate for development in 1792.
In the Mitchell Library there are plans showing how the estate was to be developed. Roads were planned and built and
the houses were laid out on a grid iron pattern.
The principal developer of Blythswood area was William Harley, a wealthy textile manufacturer. He laid out a garden on top
of Blythswood Hill and built a tower, named Harley’s Folly. He planned grand streets leading up to Blythswood and there was
advertising for the elegant new square. Things didn’t work out and in 1814 Harley’s developments were put in the hands of
trustees who subsequently went bankrupt. Blythswood Estate was taken over by The Garden Family.
Meanwhile, over at the Kelvinside Estate Dr Thomas Lithan died in 1807. He has left the Estate to his widow along with
an annual income of £1500. Mrs Lithan remarries to one Archibald Cuthill, a writer.
Archibald Cuthill becomes involved in the development around Blythswood Square with Hamilton William Garden and
mortgages his wife’s estate up to it’s hilt. Disaster strikes again in 1826. Garden and Cuthill have borrowed and raised money
through the bank which they have not paid back.. Amid all the debt and charges of fraud, Garden disappears to U.S.A and
Cuthill to France a little later. This leaves Mrs Cuthill (formerly Lithan) destitute. Her brothers bail her out and take over
the running of Kelvinside Estate.
In 1839, just as the building of Great Western Road is completed, Kelvinside Estate is sold to Matthew Montgomerie, in
partnership with John Fleming (junior partner in Montgomerie & Fleming Law firm) and James Beaumont Neilson, inventor
and patentee of the ‘hot blast’ process for smelting iron ore. All 3 are related by marriage. They bought Kelvinside, along with
it’s debts for £53,354-5-0d.
Kirklea Terrace was the first to be built and it took over 10 years to build. They were built as they were sold. It was very
difficult to sell such large properties that were well beyond what most people could afford. Building began in 1841 and wasn’t
finished until around 1851.
Next came Grosvenor Terrace, designed by John Rochead in a striking design, inspired by Venice. This too was beset by the
Same difficulties. Incentives were offered regarding mortgages and despite numerous endorsements there were hardly
any takers. A number of these properties became schools. As a result, debts mounted and by 1856 the estate had borrowed
Hillhead begins to be developed by The Gibson Family in the 1820s.
South Woodside Viaduct was built to allow coal from the Bell pits in Hillead to be transported to Glasgow. John Gibson was
a big geological owner who went bankrupt in 1828.
The Gibsons built many villas. Leebank House in Glasgow University precinct is one of the original villas. There was also
Villas built for the Blackies publishing family. They had their own idiosyncrasies incorporated into their villas. John Hamilton
of Northpark who was a wine merchant and a 5 times Lord Provost of Glasgow had Northpark house built. This was at,
the now Hamilton Drive.
Tenament buildings were not built in the Hillhead area until the 1870s. Sauchton House was demolished to make way for
Sauchton Terrace, which dates from the 1870s and 1880s. The Gibson family were now mostly bankrupt.
The focus is the big estate, Kelvinside Estate, taken over by John Brown Fleming and Matthew Montgomerie.
A new loan was taken out for a whopping £120,00 from Standard Life. John Park Fleming (son of John Brown Fleming)
married Mary Pritchard, whose father was the last man to be hanged in Glasgow. St Bride’s Episcopal Church on
Hyndland Road is funded by John Brown Fleming..
Fleming now had to decide about the building at Kew and Hyndland Terrace. There had been a myth perpetrated regarding
the fresh, healthy air of the West End. It was complete nonsense. There were large amounts of bings and coal works
in the West End. They caught fire and there was a terrible stench in the air for most of the 19th century. At Kew and Hyndland
Terrace there was the problem regarding what to do about the coal mining on the site. Ground had to be made up to build
on it. What happens when the buildings settle, the buildings crack.
Also, what was Fleming to do about the railways from Botanic Gardens to the docks that were already there, he wanted
further routes. Would have liked a railway closer to the houses, making it easier and quicker for people to commute to Glasgow.
A route across Great Western Road (over Pond Hotel). Expensive but easy to do. What to do about the bings? A quarter of
a million tons of bings had to be disposed of. They were mostly shale, which could be used after it was burnt. As an experiment
the smaller bing was set alight. The stench and quality of air was so appalling that residents took legal action to stop the
burning of the bings. The bings were eventually removed at much greater expense.
Although building did not progress easily, large houses were built right up until the First World War even although they were
very difficult to sell.
Dowanhill Estate,was acquired by Thomas Lucas Paterson in 1853. He had started working life as a brewer but had become
heavily involved with the Glasgow textile trade in the East End of the city. Paterson had turned property developer and had
already successfully developed Newhall Estate in Bridgeton.
The Paterson family were involved with the Fleming family in the proposed developments for Dowanhill
His ambition was to build villas, in an area that he stated was healthily situated. His vision was for a middle class suburb
even although it was not a great time for property speculation.
Dowanhill Estate ends at Dowanhill Church and Botanic Crescent. Paterson got involved in a furious feud with Kelvinside
Estate, who didn’t want Paterson to have access through the estate. Kelvinside Estate built a wall to restrict access, meaning
that anyone wanting access had to go the long way round. The wall is still there to this day.
The original layout plan, prepared by James Smith, was modified to omit several villas in the centre, making way for the grand
Terraces designed by James Thomson, around Crown Circus. The first four houses were built in 1858, they were not complete
which is why there are strange looking additions.
Thomas Lucas Paterson got involved in enormous speculations that involved trades with cotton materials and sugar which were
shipped on account. Goods were sent on speculation, mostly cotton, to sell them on. T L Paterson & Co to Fleming & Co and
Claremont of Bombay. Two more rogues you would never meet.
T L Paterson & Co ceased trading and went into liquidation.in 1871. His entire estate was given into trust for his creditors and
Dowanhill Estate was sold to a consortium for £135,847. Paterson, however, did manage to persuade them to release him the
unfeued lands at Dowanhill following his arrangement for a loan of £55,000 from the Scottish Union Insurance Co and of a
large investment from Robert Cassels, with whom he entered into a joint venture. He refused to face up to his problems and
still wrote to Fleming, moaning and saying that in a few years his debts to Fleming would be paid. That proved not to be the
case and he was formally declared bankrupt.
He had been dealing with rogues like himself.
The Fleming brothers had huge loans too. James Nickel Fleming had fraudulent borrowings from the Glasgow City Bank.
He had disappeared and when he turned up two years later he was formally imprisoned for one year.
1878 and the collapse of the Glasgow City Bank, due to extensive loans on poor securities and speculative investments.
In addition, false reports of gold holdings were made to the authorities, balance sheets and profit and loss statements falsified.
Scores of Glasgow businesses failed as a result of the banks collapse. The directors were arrested. They were tried at the
High Court in Edinburgh. All were found guilty and sentenced to terms of imprisonment.
How long did it take for property prices to get back to the equivalent price that they were in 1878. It was 1960!!!!!
The most beautiful areas is the Park area. One of the reasons this is the most beautiful is because the Cooperation had a hand
In developing it. The Park District was part of a planned development created by the architect Charles Wilson in the 1850s.
The layout is reminiscent of the Georgian new town in Edinburgh.
The lands at Woodlands Hill were acquired to create the terraces, centered on Park Circus at the summit of the hill. The adjacent
West End Park, now known as Kelvingrove Park, was laid out at the same time by the celebrated landscape gardener,
Sir Joseph Paxton, as part of Wilson’s overall plan. The realisation of the scheme was supervised by the City Surveyor,
These large houses were not suited to domestic living after 1918 and indeed were white elephants. Building in the West End
was now confined to tenaments.
Q In the late 1960s / early 1970s there was a company called Montgomerie, Fleming Lawyers. Is that the same company?
A Yes, that was them, that’s the company. They were an eccentric lot.
Q Did the moving of Glasgow University to the West End have any affect on housing in the area?
A Where the University is now was previously a pleasure gardens. In 1870 the University was very small and the Professors
lived in Professor Square. The Square for the most part remains unchanged.
On an entirely different note, I recently found out information that may be of interest to the Old Glasgow Club. Next year
Is the 100th year anniversary of the declaration of the First World War. Grants are available for commemorating the war
from the Imperial War Museum, London. More information can be found on their website www.iwm.org.uk.
Vote of thanks
Mr Sam Gordon thanked Professor Moss for a wonderful and very interesting talk. Mr Gordon went on to say that it was of
particular interest to him since he worked for the University for most of his life and knew the area well.
Q To celebrate the launch of the Fire Fighters Heritage Trail, which year was the Cheapside whisky bond fire?
A 1960. Winner – Aileen Campbell
Ms Sannachan said, on the subject of quizzes. If you were one of the people with perfect 10 scores, I have prizes for you on
the way out. I have your names!!!!!!!!
A big thank you once again to Bob and Nancy for coming along tonight. Safe journey home everyone. See you next month.
Next Directors Meeting – Thursday 4th April Next Ordinary Meeting – Thursday 11th April