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Glasgow's High Rise
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ken198960
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:05 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote Report this post to Mods


woodside flats by kennygraham1, on Flickr
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Half-Way, Paisley Road West

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Half-Way, Paisley Road West

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Disappearing Glasgow: documenting the demolition of a city's troubled past (© The Guardian)

A quarter of Glasgow’s high-rises have been demolished in less than 10 years. Throughout that time, Chris Leslie has
photographed and filmed the condemned housing schemes of his home city for the Glasgow Renaissance project



“The skyline of Glasgow is set to be radically transformed, as swatches of high-rise tower blocks make way for thousands
of new homes across the city. Glasgow is enjoying a real renaissance. We’re delivering on better housing and we have
regained our sense of ambition. This is an announcement that looks to the future and we are determined we will not repeat
the mistakes of the past” – Glasgow City Council (2006)



Demolition is familiar to Glaswegians. In the previous round of mass demolition in the 1960s and 70s, tens of thousands
of Glaswegians were decanted from slums into new schemes and high-rise flat developments. These represented a utopian
vision for social housing – complete with kitchen and indoor bathroom, central heating and mixer taps, they were seen
as a solution to some of the worst slum conditions in Europe at that time.

By the turn of the 21st century, many of these high-rise flats were the solution that had become the problem. The simple
wrecking ball was replaced with multimillion pound demolition contracts, explosives developed by Nasa, half-mile exclusion
zones and demolition spectacles for all the community to watch. But the simple ethos of “knock-em-down and build-em-back-up-again”
remained the same.

Glasgow has the highest concentration of residential flats in the UK and, since 2006, a quarter of the city’s high-rise housing
has been demolished. Councillors, officials and local media celebrate the death of a high-rise as progress. There is little time
for contemplation or nostalgia in a city that markets its renaissance through trendy bars, bistros and shops, servicing a
booming and diverse cultural scene.

For many of the residents in the deprived and failed housing schemes in the north and east of the city, the reality of this
“renaissance” is hard to credit. Dalmarnock lay derelict and forgotten for 30 years before its salvation via a two-week
mega-sporting event: last summer’s Commonwealth Games. High-rise flats were marked as unfit for purpose and demolished
while flats of the same build and design in the same scheme were pardoned – and then seem to prosper.

And what of the new-build schemes that replace them or the scattering of communities across the city? Besides bricks and mortar
and 1960s architectural “disasters”, Glasgow is also losing part of its history, its communities, homes and memories – just as it
did in the 1960s in the last round of Glasgow regeneration.

No one can argue with the fact that Glasgow needs regenerating, or that a “renaissance” could usher in positive change. But
does this renaissance have an end-game, or is Glasgow poised for an endless cycle of demolition and new-builds? In 50 years,
will we be witnessing the same dispersal of local communities and whole scale demolition of the houses we are building today?

I have spent the past eight years documenting the condemned and disappearing housing schemes of the city: the thoughts,
memories and lost livelihoods of residents; the disappearance of entire communities. Most of these areas have now been
removed, or will be soon.


Plean Street - the ‘Towers of Terror’



“My whole life there, in the flats, was heaven to start with – but then it ended up hell,” recalls John, a former resident of
the Plean Street high-rise flats in Yoker. One of the first to move into the flats in the mid-60s, he and his family had been
decanted from Cowcaddens by the then Glasgow Corporation. Coming from a room and kitchen with no hot water, no
central heating and no indoor toilet, John described moving into Plean Street as “complete elation”.

He was one of the tens of thousands of Glaswegians who were uprooted from the worst slum conditions in Europe to
a “completely new life”. “There is an old saying in Glasgow that went: ‘We never knew how poor we were until someone
told us.’ It was only then, when we entered our new home on the 14th floor, that we realised the slum-like conditions we
had been living in.”

John remembers Plean Street in the 70s as a place defined by aspiration and community spirit; a place where you could
leave your doors open and families looked out for one another. As with other high-rises across the city, people fought to
be allocated a flat. Three references were required before a person was even considered.

By the late 90s it was a different story. The Plean Street flats were now labelled the “Towers Of Terror” by locals and the
press. Heroin dealers and thieves were running riot and a man was stabbed to death in the entrance lobby. Former resident
Leslie, who lived in the flats for 10 years, experienced the worst of it: “Everyone in the flats knew who the dealers were,
and so did the authorities, but nothing was done to sort it. In the end we gave up complaining. We were all demonised.
You were embarrassed to say you came from Plean Street – we were all classed as junkies.”

David recalls a happy childhood in the flats in the early 80s – but by his own admission, he was too young to notice what
was going on around him. By the middle of the decade he and his family were witnessing riots in the foyer and people covered
in blood in the stairways. “Everything changed when they changed the points system that allowed people to move in – they
effectively downgraded the flats. We had all sorts of vulnerable people moving in, ‘undesirables’ you might call them.” He
and his family had moved out of the flats by 1986: “I can only imagine that as the years passed, the situation got even worse.”

In June 2007, after a petition from residents, Glasgow Housing Association decided to demolish the flats and, in 2010, both
blocks were brought down piece by piece by the UK’s tallest “state-of-the-art” demolition machine. Midway through the
process, John returned to Plean Street: “With one half of the building brought down, I counted up 14 floors and could see
the interior of my old flat. It was a strange and sad experience to see your former home exposed to the world in that way.
It’s sad to see it end like this.”


Dalmarnock - ‘on the cusp of something great’?

When I started photographing in Dalmarnock in 2008, much of it was a ghost town but there was an air of excitement.
Glasgow had just been named host city of the Commonwealth Games, and Dalmarnock was the area where much of
the new developments would be built.

The young people I documented, while sceptical of others “moving into their territory”, were excited about the prospect
of new jobs and apprenticeships. The pensioners in the Dalmarnock Community Centre, meeting for their weekly bingo
and food bank, were just thankful that something positive was planned for the area after 30 years of neglect. The local
councillor for the area, George Redmond, told me Dalmarnock was on the “cusp of something great”. Deindustrialisation
in the 1960s and 70s had left the area in ruins. Once a thriving community and the engine room of Glasgow’s industrial
might, its population decreased from 30,000 in the 1950s to just 1,700 in 2008.

The Commonwealth Games were still six years away and, in the beginning, there was little change in Dalmarnock.
The centre, Springfield Road, was mostly empty and consisted of boarded-up, damp and crumbling red sandstone
tenements – sought-after property in the rest of the city but, in Dalmarnock, left to rot. Around the corner on
Ardenlea Street, it was total devastation: empty buildings, smashed windows, decay and danger.

As I photographed the broken and empty tenements on Ardenlea Street, I heard a voice calling hello. Scanning down
the buildings, I noticed net curtains and small windowsill ornaments, signs of life amid the destruction. A woman was
hanging out of the window and wanted to speak to me. Margaret Jaconelli and her family had lived here alone in the
dereliction for the past five years. All of the other residents had been moved or rehoused but Margaret, who purchased
her home in 1976, was not eligible for rehousing and, when her home was valued at £29,000 by the district registrar,
she couldn’t afford to move elsewhere.

With the Commonwealth Games announcement and subsequent land deals taking place across much of the wasteland
that was Dalmarnock, Margaret and her family presumed that they would get a reasonable payment for their home.
But the city council and the games organising committee had different ideas; for the next five years, she fought a
long – and ultimately unsuccessful – campaign against a Compulsory Purchase Order served on her property. On 24
March 2011, she and her family were evicted by more than 100 police and sheriff officers and, a few weeks later,
her home was demolished along with the rest of Ardenlea Street.

People in Glasgow were divided about the Jaconellis. Some elements of the local media branded Margaret greedy,
claiming she was “holding back the games”. Councillor Redmond told me that the area was in dire need of regeneration.
Its people had suffered 30 years of decline and no one should prevent the positive changes. He said that “someone
had to take it on the chin”.

But “taking it on the chin” didn’t seem to apply to the large-scale property developers making sizeable fortunes as
brown-field sites turned into gold mines. One property developer was paid £17m for land which cost him £8m. Another
deal resulted in former Rangers owner David Murray’s company being paid £5.1m for land for which it had paid £375,000
a few years before. Council-owned land was given away free to another property developer, only to be bought back
three years later with £1.3m of public cash.

Dalmarnock in 2015 is a very different landscape, with a shiny new velodrome, new train station and a new athletes
village waiting to be filled. Old Dalmarnock has disappeared entirely – even the street names no longer exist. Margaret
Jaconelli now lives in nearby Rutherglen, as she continues her fight to take her case to the European Court of Human
Rights in Strasbourg. She also researches and protests against Compulsory Purchase Orders across the UK.


Gallowgate – Glasgow’s ‘modernist housing revolution’

No European city embraced social housing towers as Glasgow did after the second world war. In the east of the city, the
Bluevale and Whitevale flats stand as icons of this era, reaching higher than any of the other tower blocks and earning
the accolade of Scotland’s tallest residential buildings. The 31-storey blocks were built in 1969 as part of Glasgow’s
modernist housing revolution – the new homes for the working class families of the slum clearances; a new era and a
new start for those who would occupy the 348 flats.

Both towers are unique in their brutalist architecture and look like no other high-rises in the city, or, indeed, in the UK.
Loved by many architects and photographers for their unique, bold and powerful brutalist structure, they were loathed
by residents and Glasgow City Council as being terrifying bleak, depressing and out of date. In 2011, after years of
mismanagement and poor maintenance, the flats were rendered unfit for human habitation and it was announced they
were to be demolished.

In the early 1980s, Glasgow was a city on the brink and the Whitevale and Bluevale flats became one of the city’s many
theatres of despair. Billy, who lived on the 20th floor of Bluevale describes the scene: “As soon as one dealer moved
in that was the start of the end. With no concierge, people were free to come and go as they pleased. They were shooting
up on the stairs, the families living here all wanted out and when other dealers moved in, it was beyond anyone’s control.”

In 2012, when I began to document the last residents in the final days of the blocks, there were only a handful of people
left living in the Bluevale block. Brian, one of the last residents on the 19th floor, was waiting to be rehoused elsewhere
in the city. “It’s a scary place at night and freezing in the winter,” he said. “ You hear the wind rattling through the empty
flats below and above, the young team break in and smoke drugs in the stairwell. All my neighbours have left – they took
the first house they were offered, regardless – that’s how bad these flats are. I’m stuck here waiting in this box, waiting
to move on. It feels like a prison – it’s never been a home for me.”

With the 2014 Commonwealth Games approaching, the last residents presumed that the blocks would be demolished well
before the opening ceremony. But, as time passed, it became evident that the flats would survive throughout as several
demolition companies tried to devise a demolition strategy. Being so close to a railway line and surrounded by smaller
maisonette flats, some only 20 metres away, it became evident that bringing these buildings down was going to be a very
difficult task.

Demolition on the Whitevale and Bluevale Flats finally began in late 2014. They will be demolished using what is known
as a “top-down” approach – brought down meticulously floor by floor, the same way they were constructed – taking around
two years until they disappear from the city’s East End skyline.


Balornock - ‘a humanitarian disaster’



In April 2014 The Red Road flats were famously spared from mass demolition at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth
Games by a 17,000-strong petition. The people of Glasgow clearly felt blowing up a failed social housing scheme in
front of an audience of millions to be in bad taste.

In December 2014 I toured this post-apocalyptic wasteland. The empty flats were all wrapped in a mesh cladding – like
a thin red skin over their skeletal structure. But, among the debris, one block – 33 Petershill Drive – remained full of residents.
It was, in fact, full to the point of bursting, even as it awaited its final death blow. Its residents were all newly arrived asylum
seekers and the block was temporary accommodation until they were either deported or sent on to other areas of Glasgow
for rehousing.

All the residents of 33 Petershill Drive were supposed to have been evicted by December 2014, so that demolition preparation
could begin on this last block. Plans to rehouse these families were halted when local residents, near the potential temporary
accommodation on an industrial estate on Balmore Road, objected. No-one, it seems, had told the locals about the proposals.
But then, no one had given the asylum seekers any advance notice either. Posters depicting aeroplanes and suitcases were
put up in the flats, giving orders to pack bags. Later, the asylum seekers were told to unpack and stay where they were.

With this last block in Petershill Drive at full capacity, there were reports of families having to share apartments. Their lives
were fraught with anxiety; residents complained of damp, sporadic hot water, and the stink from the blocked drains on the
ground floor foyer, unattended after several months. By late March 2015 after an intensive last push by the Home Office
and housing provider Orchard and Shipman this last remaining inhabited block was finally emptied; its residents decanted
into various other high-rise flats and hostels across the city.

The explosive demolition planned for the Commonwealth Games looks increasingly likely to happen this summer. In its
last days the Red Road has been more than an eyesore of a failed housing scheme; it’s been a humanitarian disaster in its
failure to house human beings, and a PR disaster for a city council whose best solution was mass destruction for entertainment.


Sighthill - a ‘by-word for deprivation’?



Built in the late 60s and originally made up of 10 high-rise blocks, the Sighthill estate was once home to more than
7,500 people. By the mid-80s it was labelled a “sink estate” with high levels of unemployment, crime and drug abuse.
Local press and the city council described Sighthill as a “by-word for deprivation”.

When I first started documenting the estate in early 2009, demolition was already under way. Two blocks had already
been taken down and three were due for removal that year. There was an eerie silence to the scheme: you could walk
about for hours and only pass a handful of people.

I was given access to the empty blocks that were next in line for demolition. “They were only supposed to last 40 years
anyway,” was the first thing that Andy, a demolition contractor and Sighthill resident, said to me. Like most people in
the area he was content with the idea that high-rise living was no longer “fashionable”; that they had “served their time
and purpose”.

Deborah, another former resident, offered her explanation for the flats’ fall from grace – heroin. In the 1980s, when the
drug arrived on Clydeside, it spread rapidly across Sighthill and the rest of Glasgow. This was at a time when Margaret
Thatcher’s Conservative government was tearing apart the city’s old industries, leaving thousands without jobs and hope.
Heroin was seen as a cheap and easy escape.

“It became intolerable,” Deborah said. “We had people shooting up everywhere, in the lifts, no one was working and a lot
people were getting wasted. There used to be a morning rush-hour commute in the flats – a rush to get the lift, to get to
the car park and then to get to work, but that all stopped when no one had jobs. I knew my son and I had to get out of
there. High-rise living was no longer conducive to family living.”

Even after losing half of its homes and residents, the remaining Sighthill community ploughed on for years in a state of
part-demolition limbo. Residents even campaigned successfully to have two of the high-rise towers saved and refurbished.
But, in 2012, the lure of staging another mega-sporting event changed Sighthill’s fate.

Despite ultimately losing the bid to host the 2018 Youth Olympics, investment money of £250m was put forward for a planned
redevelopment of the complete area. Sighthill’s two remaining blocks will be emptied and demolished in late 2015. The council
leader, Gordon Matheson, said: “Let’s not kid ourselves. This is an area that has been going downhill for many years.”

Less than 50 years after Sighthill was established as a modern solution to the need for social housing, the overhaul of the
area will be the largest regeneration project to be undertaken in Glasgow since the Commonwealth Games developments.
Sighthill’s last residents wait in anticipation to see if this latest vision will be realised.

This is an edited version of the Glasgow Renaissance project, by Chris Leslie. To see the full multimedia project,
including short films, visit www.glasgow-renaissance.co.uk




James H
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Gallowgate Twins IX by D1gitAl Imagez
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods


Vews from 111 Prospecthill Circus (2) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Vews from 111 Prospecthill Circus (33) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Vews from 111 Prospecthill Circus (43) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Vews from 111 Prospecthill Circus (259) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Views from 32 Pinkgston Drive (122) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Views from 32 Pinkgston Drive (113) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Views from 32 Pinkgston Drive (67) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Views from 32 Pinkgston Drive (33) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Views from 32 Pinkgston Drive (12) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Views from 32 Pinkgston Drive (235) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Views from 32 Pinkgston Drive (244) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Views from 32 Pinkgston Drive (245) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Views from 32 Pinkgston Drive (273) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr


Views from 32 Pinkgston Drive (276) by Alex J Glass, on Flickr
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Flats. by John McKnight, on Flickr
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