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East of the Cross - Discussion Thread
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 7:31 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

iangr wrote:
Here is a picture taken by myself in 1975 of a sign factory situated on the corner of Gallowgate and Abercromby Street. I think the address was 470 Gallowgate. This building has now been demolished and new housing built in it's place. I worked here off and on from about 1961 until the end of 1971 in a drawing office situated on the second floor. After I had changed my job I still kept in touch with workmates who were still there and that was when I took this colour slide. I was told it used to be a convent but I have never been able to find out it's history. It was a very old building and my recollections of the interior were that the staircases were on their last legs. You could see gaps between the stone steps. Also you could feel the heads of the floor nails dig into the soles of your shoes, as they stood so proud of the floor boarding. The ground floor held the metal bashing shop, the first floor the plastics shop, the second floor was offices and the third top floor was the glass bending shop.

It was a cold place to work in the winter as the heating was grossly inadequate, partly due to spaces in the window frames and the feeble storage heating. Some of the staff used to play football in the old cemetery (opposite) during the lunch break. To myself it was a rather bleak building but the operatives who worked there were a good lot to work with. The entrance was through a cobbled pend from the Gallowgate. The only cheering aspect here was the sight of a pub on the left of the pend as you went in. The area in the foreground was once the space where 'Paterson's Cleansel Works' stood and it would not have been possible to shoot the above picture from this angle before these premises were demolished.

Laird Signs factory 1975
Photo: I Russell


Great piece of relevant info to go with the photo Ian ... Can almost feel the cauld and those nails maself now  
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Ian, I think your old workplace was (or was part of) St Mary's Industrial School, see here
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 3:13 pm    Post subject: East of the Cross Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Streapadair: Thanks for the link to the Canmore site. I was amazed to find such a good photographic record and accurate information about the origins of my old workplace.

This site revealed some excellent black and white photography taken by the university professor called John R Hume for the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments. The site record tells us that the sign factory was once an Industrial School called St. Mary's. The school was for the benefit of ‘waifs’ or children who were ‘wayward’ and it may have been funded by the Catholic church. I wasn't aware of this at the time when I worked there. I had been told it had been once a convent. The building we were in was possibly the dormitory for boarders, this suggested  by the simpler layout of windows. The building just south and next to our factory is the school building. I'm not sure if this building was still standing when we were there. I have a suspicion it was. Another interesting note is that on one of the pictures on Canmore it shows a fire escape which I am sure wasn't in place when I first worked there as early as 1961. I'm sure this was put in some years later as a result of safety legislation. It's quite creepy to think that long ago some of the school’s pupils slept in that building and possibly lived there if they were separated from their parents. What anguish, tears and strife must have went on in that dark building. What ghosts would have inhabited it, the creaking noises on the stairs, overnight, when we workers were at home?  
More thoughts on this are; although it was once an 'industrial school' ( I suspect that this name was covering for ‘workhouse’ and was a misnomer of the times) I think these places operated using 'part-timers' where children worked for several days and were schooled the remainder of the week. I am driven to wonder when was it built? Was it built as a school of this type initially? Were other uses made of this building prior to the company called ‘Neon Products’ using it just after the Second World War and followed by Laird Neon Signs? There must be church records that reveal a lot more. Iangr
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 8:15 pm    Post subject: East of the Cross Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

I did a wee bit of research on the NLS map website and looked at a Glasgow 1852 survey OS map. This large scale map showed clearly that my sign factory building had not been built at the time. The building to the south of it, facing the cemetery, is shown and marked as St Mary's Convent. The site of my factory building appears to have been a landscaped garden with regular pathways on it, probably belonging to the convent. A look at the 1892 edition of the mapping shows a different scene. Where the garden was situated, now stands my 'factory' and the south building that was marked as a 'convent' is now the 'boys' section of an industrial school. My factory building is now the 'girls' section of this same school.  So I have worked out from the survey times that the girls industrial school building (that which was to eventually become the Laird Neon Sign factory) was built some time between 1857 and 1892. iangr
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

Happy to help.

Canmore gives a chilling definition of 'Industrial School' - A boarding or day school for children who had committed minor crimes or who lived in circumstances where they were likely to commit crime
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

1913 valuation rolls show a shop at 470 Gallowgate which housed the Anderson Brothers, Beam Makers.

570 Gallowgate was the afformentioned Industrial School
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 6:56 pm    Post subject: East of the Cross Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

You'd think after working there over 12 years I would remember the correct address. 570 Gallowgate is the correct address. It was 1971 when I left Laird signs and recently I got thrown by Google Earth when it showed 570 Gallowgate a bit further to the east and I began to doubt my recollection, hence 470 Gallowgate. Google is obviously not very accurate in this regard.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

HollowHorn wrote:
I contacted the guy who runs this site:
http://realcaltontongs.freewebspace.com/

& he states that "The guy on the far right is none other than Bertie Alphonsus Clark, aka the Gallagate American, he lived above the Saracens Head pub at 211 Gallagate"


Here is a later photo of Mr. Clark:


He also said that he will ask around to put names to the other faces.


When I drank in the pubs in the Gorbals this guy was also drinking in them, he was a good guy.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:54 pm    Post subject: Re: east of the cross Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

caslon wrote:
streapadair wrote:
Suspicious at first, they soon became friendly and insisted that I take their photo.


the guy with the stick is tony drummond of well st. the guy to his next to him with the bunnet is john hill ,idont know the name of the saeted guy but i remember his face ...

The guy sitting down is Jimmy Spencer

do you know of any old black and white photos of the calton from ross st. to green st. london road, to gallowgate. p.s. in the late sixties i remember a group of students photographing the whole of the calton,any idea what happened to the photos. there was a rumour that they ended up in the peoples palace storeroom.....  

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Report this post to Mods

growler wrote:
HollowHorn wrote:
I contacted the guy who runs this site:
http://realcaltontongs.freewebspace.com/

& he states that "The guy on the far right is none other than Bertie Alphonsus Clark, aka the Gallagate American, he lived above the Saracens Head pub at 211 Gallagate"


Here is a later photo of Mr. Clark:


He also said that he will ask around to put names to the other faces.


When I drank in the pubs in the Gorbals this guy was also drinking in them, he was a good guy.


I drank in the Glaswegian and the SouWester and he hang about those pubs in the late 70s and 80s, he seemed a decent guy.  

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