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Glasgow in the 1970s - The City

I never carried out any systematic coverage of the city centre, just wandered about snapping this and that, with a bias towards buildings that looked to have a limited future - some did, some didn’t, and some shots are more interesting than others. There is also much that I missed, and this is regrettable, but there you are.

Putting them into any sort of logical order was problematic, like trying to drive a herd of cats, but  I start with the area round the Cross (dull, as not that much has changed) and thread a course that is erratic but not entirely disjointed, ending up at the old Cowcaddens.

West end of the Gallowgate.  November 1973

Glasgow Cross Station, built 1896, rebuilt 1923, closed 1964, demolished 1977.  April 1973


Please post any comments about these images >> here <<.

James H

Cross looking south.  April 1973

Saltmarket and Trongate.  October 1973


St Andrew’s St, north side.  March 1973

St Andrew’s St, south side.  March 1973


St Andrew’s Square. Laid out in 1768, this was the first of Glasgow’s squares - St Enoch’s followed in 1782 and George in 1787. The white painted building was one of the few remaining original houses, and now seems to have been replaced. The taller block has been handsomely restored, with that nightmarish lift shaft removed.

Turnbull St, west side at St Andrew’s St.  March 1973


Saltmarket and Bridgegate.  January 1977

Bridgegate, north side. All new housing now, as far as the block facing the Saltmarket.  July 1973


Bridgegate, south side at St Margaret’s Place.  March 1973

St Margaret’s Place.  January 1974


Paddy’s Market.  September 1973

Merchants Lane.  March 1973


Goosedubbs at the Bridgegate.  This one took a bit of working out - it must have been taken from a few yards east of  Merchants Lane. Aird’s Lane is entering Goosedubbs from the left, and on the far right is the end of Howard St.   The roof of, I think, the locomotive shed shows above the railway arches, and a 1929 map indicates a wash-house in Osborne St which may account for the chimney (though wash-house chimneys are generally round).  The tall brick structure to the right of the cars has a hand-painted sign beneath the smoke-blackened aperture: NO NEED FOR ALARM - FISH BEING CURED. The Fish Market was of course just across the road, for another few years anyway.   March 1973

Clyde St. The Fish Market, opened in 1872, moved to Blochairn in 1977, and after lying empty for some years this building had a brief and unsuccessful career as the Briggait shopping centre.  January 1977

These are usually referred to as sea-horses, but this seems inadequate.  They certainly have the head and shoulders of manic-looking horses, but the front feet are both webbed and clawed, while the scaly body tapers into a serpentine tail the end of which is also webbed and perhaps clawed. The roundel bears a crowned female head which has not even a passing resemblance to Victoria. The architects were Clarke and Bell, but the name of the sculptor is not known.   January 1977


Stockwell St from the south. The railway bridge was removed in the summer of 1978.  March 1973

Near the end for the Victoria Building at the corner of Clyde St and Stockwell St, making way for Carrick Quay. The future looked uncertain for the handsome block on the right, but happily it has survived. January 1977.


Corner of Stockwell St and Bridgegate.  January 1977

Stockwell St, west side south of the Bridgegate. Next to the Old Scotia is the former Metropole Theatre. It started in 1862 as the Scotia Theatre (Stan Laurel's father was the manager in the early days), changed its name in 1897, and was gutted by fire in 1961.  November 1973


Clyde St west of Stockwell St.  September 1973

Rear of the warehouse at 130 Clyde St. In that year [1806] Allan Dreghorn's nephew and heir, Robert Dreghorn of Ruchill, better known as "Bob Dragon," and celebrated for his peculiarities of feature, person, and habits, took his life with his own hand within the walls of his town house. For that reason the mansion, which forms the back part of a furniture warehouse at No. 20 Great Clyde Street [later 130 Clyde St], was for many years reputed to be haunted—a sad sequel to the story of the brilliant craftsman and architect to whose genius the city owes the beauty of St. Andrew's Church. Regrettably  I never made any effort to see inside the warehouse - did anyone else? With the adjoining tenements it was swept away for the Carrick Quay development.   May 1974


Stockwell St, west side  south  of the Trongate. Utterly changed now.  August 1973

The little building with the three half-dormers deserved to be better known and to meet a kinder fate, for being dated 1678 it was the second oldest house in the city, after Provand’s Lordship. Probably part of  a larger town house erected by a wealthy  merchant, it spent most of the 19th century and part of the 20th as the Garrick Temperance Hotel, and as such it earned a small but honourable footnote in history as the meeting place of the Abolitionist party at a time when the abolition of slavery was a contentious issue in the city - much of Glasgow’s  wealth was founded on slave labour.  Latterly the building was neglected, and its last owner made repeated unsuccessful applications to have it demolished , until one night it conveniently - woops, I mean unfortunately - caught fire and was flattened a few days later.

28 Stockwell St.  August 1973


Stockwell St and Argyle St. There was much building around here in the later decades of the 18th century, unplanned but harmonious, of simple dignified four-storey tenements, and this corner block, its neighbour, and the one further down Argyle St were among the few that remained. They didn’t survive much longer.  October 1973

The plain building next to the Royal Bank is worth noting, for it was Spreull’s Land, and had a curious origin. The previous house on the site, which adjoined the original Hutchesons’ Hospital,  belonged to   Margaret Spreull, born in 1700, the daughter of John Spreull, a man of affairs better remembered as Bass John from the years he spent imprisoned on the Bass Rock, having backed the Covenanters at Bothwell Bridge. Margaret, a spinster and the last of her line, wishing to perpetuate the family name bequeathed the house to her nephew James Shortridge, with an entail stipulating that if he wished to inherit he must change his name to Spreull. This he did on her death in 1784, and he immediately pulled down the old house and erected the fine building which became known as Spreull’s Land. A letting concern, as James already had a villa at Linthouse, it commanded a good rent and was for half a century one of the smartest addresses in town.


A cloud of dust is all that’s left of Spreull’s Land.  August 1978


North side of the Trongate, opposite the New Wynd. The further, Italianate building survives, but not the nearer tenement of c1800.  August 1973

North side of the Trongate, opposite the New Wynd. Architecture of Glasgow, by Gomme and Walker, was published in 1968 and remains the most authoritative general work on the subject, so for many years I thought that this was Spreull’s Land, as the map at the back of the book places it here. Other sources make it clear that this was a mistake. August 1973


Candleriggs from King St.  July 1973

Parnie St and King St.  July 1973


Parnie St east of King St.  July 1973

King St, west side between Osborne St and Bridgegate.  If the sign on the door said Car Park it was prophetic, for that is what it is now.  July 1973


Dunlop St, east side, just before it passed under St Enoch Station, a wall of which can be seen above the roofs.  September 1973

Trongate and King St.  May 1974


Trongate east of Brunswick St.  September 1973

Trongate east from King St.  July 1973


Fruit and veg. stall (R Moore, Pinkston Dr.) at the foot of Albion St. on a Saturday morning.  July 1973

Trongate.  July 1973


Trongate, south side east of Chisholm St.  May 1974

Bell St, north side east of High St.  Built in 1882-3 by the GSWR as bonded warehouses to be let to distillers, and backing on to College Goods Station, it had almost fallen into disuse by this time and demolition seemed likely, but was saved by conversion into flats in the mid 80s.  July 1973


Blackfriars St, north side. If I’m not mistaken, this is the building that is now Babbity Bowster’s.  June 1975


College St, north side.  June 1974


College St, south side west of Shuttle St.  April 1973

Shuttle St, between College St and Ingram St. The view hasn't entirely changed - the dome at the corner of Albion St and Trongate is still there. (Poor quality image, scanned from a 4x4cm contact print.)


Montrose St, west side south of George St. All the early 19th century buildings have gone.  October 1973

Looking south from Margaret St to Martha St. On the right is the back of a very plain U. P. (later Apostolic) Church which faced on to N. Frederick St. The gate on the left reads 'Martha St Motors - Body shop'. Margaret St was very short, only running north to Love Loan, a not noticeably romantic (though who knows what went on after dark?) alley just south of Cathedral St.  April 1973


North Frederick St, west side north of George Sq. The building next to the George seems to have been the Glasgow office of the Irish Weekly and Ulster Examiner, a Belfast newspaper which closed in 1982.  September 1973

George Square and North Frederick St.  September 1973


George Square, north side.  November 1973

Date was Sunday 11th, hence the uniforms. The two blocks on the north side of the square were the last, and best, of the Georgian buildings which once surrounded it. They would have been worth preserving, as contrast  to (and relief from) the mighty public buildings which came to occupy the other three sides, but little regard was ever given to their integrity. An absurd porch, added around 1850, upset the balance of this east block, while the west block acquired an extra storey when it became the North British Hotel in 1904. Within spitting distance of the municipal offices, the east block was allowed to fall into decrepitude and was demolished in 1974.

A familiar building from an unfamiliar viewpoint. Enough time elapsed between that demolition and the erection of George House in 1979 for the council to lay down some turf and set up a few park benches.  June 1975


City Chambers.  July 1976

Truth (torch) with Victory (laurel wreath) and Prosperity (cornucopia) top the pediment, which is occupied by the Queen-Empress (looking quite shapely and much younger than  the 69 she was in 1888), flanked by acolytes bearing the arms of the four nations and being paid homage to by a very motley crew indeed.


Cochrane St, south side from the Square. This bit seems to have escaped the developers . . .   May 1974

Cochrane St, south side from John St.  . . . but this bit hasn’t, apart from John St Church (Rochead, 1859), which in those days was a night shelter for homeless men.  July 1973


Wilson St, south side east of Brunswick St. The Hangman’s Rest was a pub with character.  May 1974

Wilson St, south side between Brunswick St and Candleriggs.  July 1973


Ingram St, south side east of Hutcheson St.  May 1974

Ingram St, south side west of Albion St. June 1975


Ingram St west from Albion St.  July 1973

Ingram St, south side east of Candleriggs.  All gone.  July 1973


Albion St from Bell St.  April 1973

Corner of Virginia St and Virginia Place. c1800 town house, now a car park.  September 1973


Virginia St, west side.  May 1974

Candleriggs.  April 1974


Candleriggs, west side south of Ingram St.  September 1973

Candleriggs, west side.  The low block, which looks like a missing tooth, has been sympathetically raised to roughly the level of its neighbours.  September 1973


Brunswick St, west side south of Wilson St.  The nearest and furthest buildings are still there, but not the ones between.  October 1973

Argyle St, south side at Stockwell St.  May 1974


Argyle St, almost opposite Virginia St. Another of the 1790ish houses. Someone in the planning department must have had a grudge against them.  September 1973

From another angle.  May 1974


North Drive at St Enoch Square. I think the hotel had only closed only recently.  May 1974

The hotel lay empty for three years (urban exploration nirvana?) before demolition, but it was 1985 before it was decided that what the city really needed was a monstrous glasshouse.  


The famous ‘boon and a blessing’ sign is partly obscured by a railing.

St Enoch Square, west side.  May 1974


Howard St, south side at the Square.  May 1974

This gloomy arcade with its massive pillars carried an extension to the station over the Howard St pavement.


Former United Presbyterian church on the south side of Howard St, a little west of Dunlop St.  September 1973

Argyle St, south side east of Robertson St. A little different now - Radisson SAS.  July 1975


Robertson St, east side.  April 1974

Broomielaw east of Robertson St.  April 1974


Broomielaw west of Robertson St.  April 1974

Argyle St and West Campbell St.  April 1974


Argyle St west of West Campbell St.  April 1974

West Campbell St, east side at Holm St.  April 1974


Bothwell St, south side west of Pitt St. The Eagle Building (Kirkland, 1854) was under threat of demolition, but the developers were prevailed upon to include this façade, complete with eagle, within the new structure.  June 1975

West George St,  north side at Holland St. Glass boxes now.  June 1975


West George St, St Jude’s (Stephen, 1839) before it became a restaurant.  June 1975

West George St, north side east of Wellington St.  This lovely late Georgian house (probably by John Brash, who built Blythswood Square) has had  its windows restored to their original form, divided by astragals into small panes,  which is a great improvement on the wall-eyed look it has here.  June 1975


100 West Regent St. The former Masonic Hall, with its statues of the St Johns, Baptist and Evangelist, looked in danger, but it has survived.  August 1977

Gordon St, north side opposite Central Station. The Grosvenor Building (1862) by Alexander Thomson was a speculative venture with his brother, and it almost ruined them.  August 1977


Drury St, south side. Pubs may come and pubs may go, but The Horse Shoe goes on for ever, or let’s hope so anyway.  August 1977

West George St, south side west of Anchor Lane. Just in time, or just too late, depending on which way you look at it, with demolition imminent.  October 1975


West George St.  August 1975

Buchanan St before pedestrianisation above Gordon St.  August 1975


Dundas St, west side. There were two churches opposite each other, above Cathedral St. This was the Evangelical Union . . .   October 1973

Dundas St, east side.  . . . and this was the United Free Tron.  November 1973


West Nile St and Sauchiehall St, northeast corner. This fine church, said to have had an equally fine interior, was St John’s Wesleyan Methodist. It was demolished a year or two later, and the southwest corner of the Buchanan Galleries now occupies the site.  March 1974

Hope St, west side south from Bath St. Little changed.   October 1973


Renfrew St, north side between Renfield St and Hope St. If this building was ever symmetrical (and old maps show a school at the vacant east end) it must have been very handsome indeed.  November 1973

McPhater St. Cowcaddens United Free Church (Campbell Douglas and Sellars, 1872) was under severe threat at this time, but it survived to become the Piping Centre, with its adjacent manse the Piper’s Hotel. The palazzo-like building beyond (Orient House, by W J Anderson, who also built Napier House in Govan) survives too, now flats. In fact, in a reversal of the normal order, only the tower block has gone.  October 1973

Corner of Dunblane St and Dobbie's Loan, Dobbie's Loan School, later an annexe of Stow College.   March 1974


Corner of Airdrie St and Cowcaddens St. The Kiwi Bar was a busy local, owned by two ex-Navy  stewards who named it in memory of their many voyages to the Antipodes.  October 1975

Cowcaddens St, southeast of Airdrie St.  March 1974

Cowcaddens St leading to the top of Buchanan St. Buchanan St Station had been just round to the left at the far end of this block, and across the road.  October 1975

Corner of Cowcaddens St and  Renfield St.  Shops in Cowcaddens St, from the left: Picture Framing / the Loughswilly Bar / Fishing Tackle Cafaro Bros. / Agent for all Durex requisites / Brownsville Electronics.   October 1975 Forum Index -> Glasgow in the 1970s
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