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Nitshill and Surrounding Area part 1
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Alex Glass
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:00 pm    Post subject: Nitshill and Surrounding Area part 1  Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

I have some material relating to Nitshill and hope to have something to post on the WetPaint section at some point.

The first group of maps I am posting were part of a school pack prepared by Bellarmine Resource Centre with information on the Victoria Pit Disaster in 1851. For years the actual location of the pit remained a mystery. A friend has recently done some work with the maps and has been able to locate the site at Shilton Walkway which if anyone knows he area they will know is paralel to Linnhead Drive about 100 yards from the north of Cleeves Road.


1864



1898



1938



This next group are taken from the Environmental Impact Study carried out on behalf of Stewart Milne, developers of the greenbelt at the end of Parkhouse Road. This was done in 2002 and included an historical section. These map sections were included for the site area.

2002



1857



1897



1912



1939



2002



There was some discussion on another site about the Darnley Fire Station which was located on Nitshill Road near Parkhouse Road. This can clearly be seen on the 1939 map section.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:39 pm    Post subject: Some old Nitshill Personalities Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

An extract taken from a booklet I have on Nitshill. The booklet is called "Some Notes on Old Nitshill" written by CRW (don't know who this was). The booklet was held by the old Bellarmine Resource Centre which was based in Bellarmine Secondary School till about 1990.

I have a couple of other booklets that I am in the process of re-typing and as the original booklets didn't include photos I hope to add some old and new photos of Old Nishill and the surrounding area.

Some Old Nitshill Personalities

The people of old Nitshill seem to have called themselves variously Nitshillonians and Nitshillites. Which of these is best is hard to say but as in all villages the older citizens talk affectionately of notable friends who have gone.
Jim Currie
Perhaps the best-known of these was Jim Currie the Gasman. Who lived in his cottage next to the gasworks on the west bank of the Levern where it flowed under the Nitshill-Hurlet Road. Mr Currie although he had lived for more than ninety years in the village was an “in-comer” having been born elsewhere. He had been for many years the manager of the two-man gasworks which drew its coal from the Waterloo and Watermally Pits at Hurlet. The two men worked about the retorts and the gasholder which was a well-known part of the industrial landscape. Jim and his assistant knew every nook and cranny of the village for every house was regularly visited in the course of their duty. It was Mr Currie who emptied the pennies out of the gasmeters into his Gladstone bag for transfer to the two-wheeled money-box outside.

Old Jim died a few years ago at the ripe old age of one hundred and two. Many were the tales he had to tell of his long association with Nitshill. He remembered the Old Toll Bar at Darnley, where the road tolls were collected. He had helped as a lad at the milling of grain at the Darnley Mill Farm. He had watched the prowess of Sergeant Middleton, the local crackshot rifleman at the Darnley Firing Ranges, behind Darnley Main Farm. He had seen the building of Darnley Hospital in the eighties and of the Fire station later. He told of the limestone quarries that belonged to the Kirkwood family who lived in the historic Darnley House until it was pulled down. This house and Queen Mary’s Tree opposite Darnley Mill Farm are traditionally associated with the wooing of the young Queen by Lord Darnley.

He told also of how the Misses Cranston of Househill were driven daily in their coach-and-pair to Nitshill Station on their way to their restaurant in Glasgow. Mr Donohue their coachman-gardener also had the pleasure of delivering flowers and plants from their beautiful gardens to the restaurant for the delectation of their customers.

He related the pranks of the boys about Howden’s Lawn and the Tap-o’-the-Knowes, round the pitheads and on the railway tracks that criss-crossed the district. He told of the drowning of two children in the “lade”. This was a small canal which left the Levern near the Levern Church and carried water at a higher level than the falling river. This water was used to supply the Dam which was used as a curling pond, and to drive the mill-wheel in the alum works whose site is now occupied by the English Electric Company. Thereafter it rejoined the river on its way to meet the White Cart.

On his hundredth birthday, 15th October 1960 Jim was the proud recipient of the Queen’s congratulations. To his relatives and friends who gathered in his cottage to be with him on that day, he was reported by the “Barrhead News” to have asked what all the fuss was about.

Mr Currie’s house lies right in the path of the new highway coming down from Hurlet Cross and I fear that its days are numbered.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Thanks, Alex, for all of this. I would really like to have a walk through Nitshill, with some work done beforehand to map out a route that would show us the most important places and help us to appreciate the history of the area. I lived in Cleeves Road for a year, and often cycled or walked to Barrhead, so I have some knowledge of the landscape, but would really enjoy a walk through the area, with some preparation that made the most of the journey. Thanks again, and best wishes,
Ronnie
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Alex Glass
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:19 pm    Post subject: Some Notes on Old Nitshill Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

There are some interesting locations but unfortunately not much of Old Nitshill remains.

I think you are right about the preparation and I have been doing some research using the booklets I have so I am sure I could come up with a walk that would provide some detail and I am sure Neil would be happy to help.

When I have finished the prep I will let you know.

Here is another extract

The Victoria Pit Disaster 1851

Over a century ago the name of Nitshill was on the lips pf everyone throughout the land for in the Victoria Pit there occurred one of the most tragic catastrophes in the industrial history of Scotland. The Renfrewshire Statistical account in 1845 drew attention to the fact that all the mines in the Nitshill area had contained what it called “inflammable air” which had been the cause of quite a number of fatalities, especially in 1814 when seventeen men were killed. It also stated that great improvements had been made in sealing off derelict workings underground and in introducing the very latest equipment for keeping a free circulation of fresh air throughout the whole pit. The owner and workers were proud of the fact that the pit had been chosen as an example of all that was best in mining and that working models were being designed to send to the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace in Hype Park.

Despite these precautions a few years later between half-past four and five o’clock in the morning of Saturday 15th March 1851, a fearful explosion took place underground in the mines between the main shaft and the Free Trader Pit half a mile to the west.

Sixty-three miners were underground at the time and of these only two were saved. Great efforts were made during the next week to reach the other men. Volunteer parties of men from the day shift at the Victoria and from Hurlet, Nether Pollok, Cowglen and Govanhill found their work hampered by the fact that the winding gear had fallen to the bottom of the main shaft and that the pieces were to embedded in the gallery mouths that the men were unable to enter the level where the victims were known to have been at work. Besides this, fires were still raging and minor explosions still taking place.

Among the victims were two pit ponies whose Stable had been blown up and whose bodies had been carried by the explosion a distance of fifty yards along on of the underground roads.

Round the scorched entrance to the pit were scenes of harrowing distress. The bereaved women and children had hoped against hope that their menfolk would be brought out alive. But during the three black days of 22nd, 23rd, and 24th March a succession of bearer parties and hearses carried the bodies to the churchyard of St John’s Church in the Darnley Road at Barrhead. The mangled corpses of fifty three men and eight lads had to be laid out awaiting identification. Some of the poor widows had to identify not only their husbands but two of their sons.

The Glasgow Herald drew attention to the plight of the men’s widows and families and expressed the “earnest hope that the Public would not forget that these poor men had left widows and sixty-five orphaned children in a state of utter destitution.” Very considerable sums were collected after The Lord Provost of Glasgow and the owners, Messrs Coats had put up substantial sums. This may have been some consolation but only those who have experienced such tragic losses can appreciate the magnitude of the horror of such a disaster.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Thats a great wee read :)
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

That was a great read Alex can't wait to go on your tour of the area.

I wouldn't be too fussed if little remains to be seen today after 150 years. A rough idea of these locations is all that's needed and let the minds eye do the rest, the devils in the detail as they say.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Excellent read.
My granny lived in Househillmuir, we used to play on the "Black hills" " Red Hills" around there, I was very young so its a very distant memory now, but after reading this, I'm keen to find out more about the brick works there.
And it sounds like a great day out coming up regarding this thread
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:34 pm    Post subject: Victoria Mine Disaster Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

A couple of photos relating to the Victoria Mine Disaster.

Thanks to Neil we have discovered the location of the Victoria Mine. It was near Shilton Walkway which goes from Glenmuir Drive at Cleeves Road to Elliston Drive. I don't have a photo yet but will try and ge one soon.

However the disaster took place somewhere between the Victoria and the Free Trader which was located over where what is now called Craigbank. This area was previously known as Househillmuir.

My estimate is that the Free Trader was located in Newfield Square.



About here.

Some of the dead where buried in the St John's Church Graveyard.





There is no evidence of any grave stones here. As the church was demolished it may be that the grave stones were relocated to another cemetery.

For Wee Minx

The old brick works were located here where a new school is currently being built.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Re: Freetrader Pit; I've already checked the 1897 County Series map shown below against the current Ordnance Survey map, and can confirm that this pit was on the North East side of Nitshill Road, exactly half-way between the shops on Craigbank Drive and the corner of Nitshill Road and Peat Road. You'll need to take my word for it as I cannot reproduce the OS map for obvious copyright reasons.

Looking at the 1897 map below I was surprised to see that, as well as the Volunteer Arms, the Railway Inn and the Royal Oak, there was also a pub called the Nitshill Inn. You can see that it was located on Nitshill Road just about 10 yards down from the junction with Cleeves Road, right next to the 'big tree' at that corner. Although the building occupying the site is shown on the 1857 and 1913 maps, it is the only one of the pubs not indicated as such on those maps, so couldn't have been in business for as long as the others.

You'll notice that Dove Street was called Dunlop Street at the time of this map - the change of name came when Nitshill became a suburb of Glasgow - but did you know that Cleeves Road was once called Victoria Road, and the path across Nitshill Road from the Railway Inn was part of Salterland Road?
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Alex Glass
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Yes Neil now that I see the larger map it is clear that the Free Trader was on the site of the Craigbank Shops.

I noticed the Salterland link on some of the other maps although I did find it strange.

There seemed to have been a lot of activity nearer the Hurlet and Barrhead Road if you look at some of the old maps. It is also near here the Jim Currie lived, at the bridge across the Levern on Nitshill Road. I think it is where there was a recent planning application to build a nursing home. There is what looks like a compound on the banks of the Levern on the North side of Nishill Road.

Unfortunately I will have to wait until Monday to post any more of the Booklet "Some Notes on Old Nitshill". I saved it on a pen drive and left it in the Chambers.

There is another booklet with more detail and covers a wider area. I will try and find time to retype it and post some of it up.

Neil Thanks for clarifying the location of the Free Trader Pit.
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