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Glasgow in the 1970s - Last days of the Old Gorbals

Ok, by popular demand, a first public airing for some b&w photos I took with a Yashica 44 (from Charles Frank in the Saltmarket) in 1973. The destruction of the Gorbals was well under way by then, some tower blocks already built and most of the remaining tenements and churches  derelict and not long for this world, but enough, just enough, remained to give a hint of the atmosphere of the area.

Cathcart Rd and Crown St. W.G.Rowan’s fine neo-Romanesque St Ninian’s Wynd Church stood, a dark red sandstone half-kirk half-fortress, guarding the eastern south entry to the Gorbals. Built in 1888 as the Wynd U F Church, it united with St Ninian’s Parish Church after the reconciliation between the Free and Established churches.  April 1973




Along with the integrated manse and medical mission and the linked tenement block it made a very satisfying composition, and it survived for longer than most of the Gorbals did, but it was all ruthlessly swept away some time in the 1980s.  April 1973

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Cathcart Rd and Thistle St.  April 1973




Thistle St, south end.  April 1973

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Cathcart Rd and Caledonia Rd. Alexander Thomson’s wonderful Caledonia Rd U F Church (1856). It is one of Glasgow’s greatest buildings - indeed one of the greatest 19th century buildings anywhere; yet in a way only too characteristic of Glasgow, the church, after years of ill-treatment amounting to dereliction, has been gutted by fire . . .   In almost any other country than our own, so great a work of art would call out enthusiastic and complete restoration as a matter of course.   (Architecture of Glasgow, Gomme and Walker).  April 1973




Caledonia Rd and Hospital St.  November 1973

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Some details of the Caledonia Rd church.  December 1975



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Hospital St, what was left of the south end.  April 1973

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Maxwelton’s braes are bonny, whaur early fa’s the dew . . . . The last of the back-court singers, behind the tenements on the west side of Crown St.  April 1973




Crown St, south end of the east side.  April 1973

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Kidston St at Crown St.  April 1973




Kidston St. Camden St School, which had been closed for some time.  April 1973

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Crown St, east side at Kidston St. St Ninian’s Parish Church.  Crown St was still reasonably well populated (though not for much longer), as can be seen from the number of people making their homeward way at about 5pm on Thursday 30th August 1973




Crown St, east side, south of Caledonia Rd.  August 1973

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Crown St, west side, south of Caledonia Rd.  April 1973




Crown St, west side, north of Cumberland St.  April 1973

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Crown St, west side, south of Cleland St.  September 1973




Crown St, west side, north of Cleland St.  March 1973

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Old Rutherglen Rd, looking west from Crown St. Some of Lennox’s prices: Margarine 6½p / Tea biscuits 3p / Sugar 7½p for 2lb / Condensed milk 8½p.  April 1973




Crown St, west side, south of Ballater St.  January 1974

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Crown St from Ballater St.  July 1973




Old Rutherglen Rd, north side at Florence St. Hutchesontown Parish Church.  April 1973

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Ballater St and Florence St. The building adjoining the tenement in Florence St was an Industrial School.   September 1973




Ballater St, looking west from Florence St.  April 1973

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Ballater St , south side at Thistle St. Cunninghame Memorial U F Church (H. and D. Barclay, 1898). This richly decorated Gothic building was gutted by fire and demolished the following day, in early December 1977.  May 1974




The Thistle St elevation of the Cunninghame.  March 1974

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Ballater St at Hospital St.  September 1973




Hospital St, east side between Ballater St and Old Rutherglen Rd.  Hutchesontown U F Church (1799), separated from the Cunninghame by 100 yards, 99 years and a world of architectural taste.  September 1973

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Hospital St and Old Rutherglen Rd.  December  1975




Old Rutherglen Rd at Hospital St.  Pearl Bloch, grocer and baker, next to James McKell’s Turf Bar - this had a real touch of the old Gorbals about it, but its destruction was all too imminent.  December 1975

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Hospital St, west side, south of Old Rutherglen Rd.  September 1973




Hospital St, east side at Cleland St.  September 1973

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Hospital St, looking north from near Cumberland St.  April 1973




Where Cathcart Rd meets Gorbals St, at Cumberland St. The Granite City is still there, under a different name.  April 1973

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Cumberland St, looking west from Gorbals St. The neat red-and-white brick building (1910) was an office and retail outlet for the Gorbals Grain Mills in Surrey St, which were demolished in 1970 (SCRAN has a fascinating set of John Hume photographs illustrating the mill).  April 1973




Gorbals St, east side at the railway bridge.  September 1973

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Gorbals St, east side, north of the railway bridge.  November 1973




Gorbals St, part of the east side south of Cleland St.  November 1973

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Gorbals St, west side at Bedford Lane. The buildings are 1, a small warehouse of c1907 which was distinguished by a pair of cast-iron grotesque faces at first-floor level (wish I had thought to photograph them); 2,  the splendid art nouveau British Linen Bank building (James Salmon jnr, 1900); 3, Gorbals Public Baths and Washhouse (John Carrick, 1885), to which the chimney belonged. All three survived for a decade or so after the rest of Gorbals St had been redeveloped, but now only the Bank building remains, derelict and with an uncertain future.  October 1973




Gorbals St, Linen Bank building.  January 1977

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Bedford Lane, with the south side of the steamie and baths, and Lipton’s (monumental masons) yard.  April 1973




Gorbals St and Cleland St.

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Gorbals St, looking north from south of Cleland St.  April 1973




Gorbals baths.  September 1973

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Gorbals St and Cleland St.  September 1973




Gorbals St, east side from Bedford Lane.  April 1973

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Gorbals St, east side. The Citizens’ Theatre is still there of course, behind a new and much less impressive façade.  November 1973




Gorbals St at the Cross.  July 1973

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Ballater St at Gorbals Cross.  May 1974




Ballater St, south side, east of the Cross.  September 1973

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Ballater St, south side, east of  the cross.  May 1974




Norfolk St at the Cross.  April 1973

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Norfolk St at the Cross.  August 1973




Gorbals St, east side, from Oxford St to the Cross.  April 1973

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Oxford St from Gorbals St. The handsome brick building at 26-36 was built c1865 as E.& S. Scott’s shoe factory.  April 1973




Gorbals St and Oxford St.  December 1973

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Oxford St, south side at Gorbals St, demolition under way.  May 1974




Gorbals St, west side north of Oxford St.  April 1973

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Gorbals St, west side south of Carlton Place.  September 1973




Old Rutherglen Rd, looking west from near Hospital St to Dunmore St.  April 1973

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Dunmore St, looking east from Portugal St to Old Rutherglen Rd.  April 1973




Same view, after the demolition of Dunmore St.  July 1973

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Norfolk St, north side, after the demolition of the southwest corner of the Cross.  November 1973




Norfolk St, north side, west of the Cross.  April 1973

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Buchan St and Norfolk St.  November 1973




Norfolk St at Buchan St.  April 1973

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Oxford St, north side between Buchan St and Gorbals St. Scott’s shoe factory again.  September 1973




Buchan St and Oxford St. Gorbals School.  April 1973

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Oxford St and Buchan St. This charming little building, by James Sellars in 1884, belonged to the Glasgow Medical Mission, who dispensed from it much-needed medical services to the poor of the Gorbals. The Mission was in funds at the time, having sold their previous premises to a railway company for a good price, so could afford to splash out a bit.  September 1973




Oxford St, looking west from Buchan St.  April 1973

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Buchan St, looking south from Carlton Place.  April 1973




Buchan St, west side. This unusual (unique?) tenement bore the words ALBION PLACE on the façade, in large elaborately carved stone letters in the Gothic style.  September 1973

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Carlton Place, with Gorbals School and Gorbals Parish Church (David Hamilton, 1810). The church tower once carried a slender elegant steeple 174 feet high, but it was lost to a lightning strike some time in the 19th century.  Demolition of the tenement and school was imminent.  September 1973




Albion Place and the church in December 1973.

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Albion Place.  December 1973




Oxford St and Buchan St. A Baptist Church.  November 1973

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Buchan St, south of Oxford St. The central building here was a brass works built in 1890 for John Wilson & Son, brass and bell founders.  September 1973




Oxford St, south side east of Nicholson St.  September 1973

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Oxford St, south side between Nicholson St and Buchan St. This fine warehouse
was built in 1882 for James Wilson, iron tube manufacturer.  May 1974




Nicholson St, east side south of Oxford St.  September 1973

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Nicholson St Reformed Presbyterian Church ( and cadet WPC).  June 1975




Nicholson St, west side south of Oxford St. Originally the Southern Police Office, later a training facility.  April 1973

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Nicholson St, looking north from Norfolk St.  April 1973




Norfolk St, north side at Nicholson St.  September 1973

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Nicholson St and Oxford St.  ‘Kirkfield Corner’.  July 1973




Nicholson St, north of Oxford St.  April 1973

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Nicholson St at Carlton Place.  April 1973




Carlton Court East, looking west from Nicholson St. April 1973

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Oxford St, north side west of Nicholson St.  September 1973




Oxford St, north side between South Portland St and Nicholson St.  September
1973

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S. Portland St and Oxford St.  April 1973




North end of S. Portland St, from Oxford St.  April 1973

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Carlton Court, looking east from S. Portland St.  April 1973




Carlton Court, looking west from S. Portland St. The tall building was erected c1895 as stables for the Clyde Shipping Co., with wooden ramps at the back to give the horses access to the upper stalls, and a hoist at the front for raising feed to them. It has been renovated for use as offices.  April 1895

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Oxford St, north side between Bridge St and S. Portland St.  Tenement dated from around 1815.  November 1973




same, December 1973

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Oxford St from Coburg St.   July 1973




Coburg St South, from Bedford St to Norfolk St, past the rear of the Coliseum.  April 1973

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Oxford St, from Coburg St to Bridge St.  April 1973




Carlton Place from the Suspension Bridge.  May 1974

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Bridge St, east side, south from Carlton Place. The Bank building at the corner was by John Burnet sen., 1857.   August 1973




Bridge St, west side, south of Carlton Place.  May 1974

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Carlton Court and Bridge St.  April 1974




Oxford St at Bridge St.  May 1974

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Bridge St at Oxford St.  April 1974




Bridge St, east side, south of Oxford St. The tall building (Bruce & Hay, 1903) was a warehouse for the Kinning Park Co-operative Society.  August 1973

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Coburg St, west side between Norfolk St and Oxford St. Another Bruce & Hay warehouse for the KPCS, added in 1909, and backing on to the Bridge St one. The Co-op was the dominant force in retailing at that time, and expanding rapidly. This warehouse survives, though neither its big brother nor its immediate neighbours do.   April 1973



Bridge St, west side at Kingston St. The Sou‘ Wester is still there, the building cut down to a single storey, and so, remarkably, is its neighbour which probably dates from c1795 and originally had a nepus gable.  December 1973

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Bridge St and Norfolk St. Stevenson Taylor corner, now The Glaswegian.  September 1973




Norfolk St, north side between Bridge St and Coburg St.  July 1975

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Norfolk St, south side at Eglinton St. The further building was yet another Kinning Park Co-op warehouse, c1896.  May 1974




Norfolk St and Eglinton St.  August 1973

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Norfolk St and Eglinton St.  July 1975




Eglinton St, west side, north of Wallace St.  The tall building beyond Nelson St was the second Bridge St railway station (1890), with hotel accommodation on the upper floors.  April 1973



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Eglinton St, west side between Wallace St and Nelson St.  The Wee Red Shop.  April 1973




Eglinton St, west side at Wallace St.  September 1973

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Eglinton St, east side at Wallace St.  August 1973




Herbertson St, or what remained of it.  April 1973

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Eglinton St, west side between Cook St and Wallace St, after some recent demolition. The Coliseum Bar was notable for a collection of photographs on display, showing stars of music-hall and cinema who had popped in for a quick one after a show or a premiere at the Coliseum across the road. I suppose the roof in the foreground must have belonged to the old Bridge St subway station.  December 1973




The Great Synagogue in South Portland St, which opened in 1901 and had only recently closed.  July 1973

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Bedford St, north side at Coburg St.  August 1973




Eglinton St, west side, north of Cook St.  May 1974

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Langbank St and Eglinton St. Langbank St enjoyed the distinction of being the shortest street in Glasgow, being only the depth of a tenement block long. No-one lived in it, but I think a scrappy operated from the railway arch which terminated the street.  September 1973




same, demolition imminent.  May 1974

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Eglinton St, east side, south of Cavendish St.  August 1973




Eglinton St, east side at Devon St. In January 2000, after celebrating its year as European City of Architecture and Design, 1999, Glasgow ruthlessly destroyed one of Burnet's few remaining churches, the French Gothic Eglinton Congregational Church, 341 Eglinton Street, which included the destruction of pairs of fine Mossman angels and dragon gargoyles (1866). [Glasgow - City of Sculpture]   June 1975

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Eglinton St, east side, south of Devon St.  The majestic Queen’s Park Terrace,  Thomson’s finest tenement block, built 1856-60.  One of the most notable in a city of tenements, it was A-listed,  but  was allowed to fall into dilapidation, was condemned, and in the face of much protest the council went ahead with its demolition in 1981.  August 1973.




Eglinton St, east side, south of Turriff St.  August 1973

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Eglinton St, west side, north of the Toll.  September 1973  




Eglinton Toll.  November 1973

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Pollokshaws Rd at the Toll.  September 1973




Turriff St, south side opposite McKinlay St. This building  by John Honeyman was from 1876 to 1912 Hutchesons' Girls School, and when they moved a few hundred yards to Kingarth St it became a Hebrew School. Later it was the premises of the Jewish Echo, and it was demolished in !976.  April 1974

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Turriff St, east of McKinlay St.  April 1974




Pollokshaws Rd and Turriff St. I believe this was the Labour Exchange.
October 1973

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McKinlay St and Turriff St. Elgin St U F Church.   September 1973




Turriff St and McKinlay St, with the south end of Queen’s Park Terrace.  August 1973

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Turriff St from McKinlay St.  August 1975




Indeed it must.

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McKinlay St. Elgin St U F again.  July 1975




KcKinlay St and Devon St.  October 1973

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Devon St and McKinlay St.  Abbotsford Parish Church (1873), which had been secularised since the 1930s.  August 1973




McKinlay St from Abbotsford Place.  July 1975

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Devon St.  April 1974




Pollokshaws Rd, west side, south of Devon St.  September 1973

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Pollokshaws Rd, east side, south of Devon St.  August 1973




Devon St, north side, west of Abbotsford Place.  August 1973

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Abbotsford Place, east side at Devon St. Abbotsford School (H. and D. Barclay, 1882) is one of the most handsome in the city, and happily survives. Sir Thomas Lipton was a pupil here.  August 1973




Cumberland St, north side between Eglinton St and Abbotsford Place.  April 1973

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Cumberland St, Renwick U F Church (1869). The architect does not seem to be known, but he made good use of a grotesquely narrow site (the main body of the church was at right-angles to the façade, behind the church hall) This fine hall was added later, in 1914  by J J Burnet, in a modernist style which respected the calm rhythm of the Georgian tenements.   August 1973




Details of the Renwick Church.  April 1974 and September 1973



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This is a stitched panorama, which is why the gent in the overcoat appears twice.  November 1973




Cumberland St, south side, at Eglinton St.  September 1973

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Cumberland St.  May 1974




40 Cumberland St. With steps leading up to a Doric portico, this house had some pretensions, and it is mentioned in Architecture of Glasgow. ‘49 District HQ’ is painted on the lintel, but HQ of what is not stated. Masonic Lodge maybe?  May 1974

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Cumberland St and Salisbury St.  The railway stations, lines and companies serving the Gorbals are the source of much confusion. This, though in Cumberland St, was not Cumberland St Station (which was in Eglinton St). According to SCRAN this was Main St Station, though some way from Gorbals Main St (where there was another station). It seems to have opened in 1872 (or 1877) and closed in 1900, but after 109 years of disuse this structure still stands. The actual station buildings are said to have been removed in 1969, but there is clearly still some sort of superstructure here.  April 1973




Cumberland St, west of Abbotsford Lane.  April 1973

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The monumental stair towers at the back of Abbotsford Place.  April 1973




Abbotsford Place, east side, north of Cumberland St.  April 1973

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Abbotsford Place, east side, north of Cumberland St.  July 1973




Abbotsford Place, east side.  Abbotsford Place, more than anywhere else in the Gorbals, anywhere else in the city, had an air of faded grandeur. It was a ruined, down-and-out aristocrat of a street. Built, without uniformity but harmoniously enough, between 1820 and 1830, it was to be a douce New Town for professional people, just a step across the river from the city. The width of the street was generous, each flat had an interior wc and a bath, which was an exceptional luxury in these days, and generally five spacious apartments, the dining room around 22ft by 16ft. For 30 or 40 years it was a ’good’ address, but the coming of the railway gave the middle classes the freedom to move further afield, to leafy suburbs far from the city slums, and the decline of Abbotsford Place (and Cumberland St and Nicholson St and others) was rapid. The size of the flats meant they were highly suitable for multiple occupancy, and successive waves of immigrants, Irish, eastern European Jews, Italians, and more recently Asians found in them a foothold on the property ladder.

These tenements were soundly built, and could have been refurbished. The lack of imagination which led to their removal was shameful.

July 1973




46-50 Abbotsford Place, west side, south of Bedford St.  April 1973




46-50 Abbotsford Place.  I don’t think it was still formally occupied at this late date - were they squatters at the top floor window? or urban explorers?  December 1975




Abbotsford Place, east side, south of Bedford St.  August 1973


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