Saturday, March 23, 2019

Glasgow

Not having previously  been to Glasgow, the request to undertake some professional work there intrigued. 

Seeing how keen many Scots are on another independence vote also about remaining in the EU, or if the UK leaves, rejoining the EU as an independent state, I assumed that the visit would be difficult.

Add to the above, many reports of poverty and the Gorbals old photographs of which I had seen and  at the time (many years go) found  very unattractive, I wondered what to expect. 

For example the following is a  1912 photograph of the Gorbals illustrating its extreme poverty then. My understanding was that such scenes had improved but only through the building of hideous tower block flats after WWII though these too thankfully have largely gone. The Scotsman Newspaper reports:

Today, almost all its 19th century tenements have gone and so have many of the 1960s tower blocks built to replace them. A new wave of housebuilding is underway, with the population of the area beginning to climb. Located a short walk from Glasgow city centre on the south bank of the Clyde, the Gorbals is undergoing another period of reinvention. From its origins as a small village centred on one street, the area grew rapidly from the early 19th century as thousands of migrants arrived from the Highlands of Scotland, Ireland and continental Europe to work in the city’s labour-intensive industries. While much of the resulting housing was of poor quality, parts of the old Gorbals were considered fashionable. ...In 1931, 85,000 people were living in the Gorbals - an area that covered only two per cent of the city. The post-war period would be the end of the old district. The Housing (Repairs and Rents) (Scotland) Act of 1954 required councils to undertake slum clearance and plans were drawn up to sweep away the crumbling housing

Nicholson Street and Apsley Place in November, 1962


Upon my arrival,  Glasgow Central Station  turned out to be an attractive Victorian Station well equipped for the traveller. Walking from the station to the hotel was remarkably enjoyable with no difficulty about securing directions when google maps seemed to give up. From there Garnethill and the Glasgow School of Art were only minutes away.

I read "Pilgrim Soul" on the train up to Glasgow. That is a book by Gordon Ferris third in  a  series about private detective Douglas Brodie. 

The  book's plot concerned the Jewish community who lived around the area where the Glasgow School of Art is currently located. The issues concerned post WWII Nazis some of whom had fled to Glasgow and who the local Jewish community began to fear following  a series of burglaries. The prime star of the novel is Douglas Brodie who was recruited by the locals to assist in finding and stopping the thefts.

However the book good reading though it was, is a digression. Reverting to Glasgow, it is clear that much of the city has benefited from investment to bring it up to the standards of C21 yet without detracting from the  historic attractiveness of the streets and their architecture. 

I had expected poor people to be everywhere yet although as in any city, there were beggars, the number of those who appeared impoverished, seemed no greater than the numbers in cities elsewhere.

Overall a very interesting and historic city, to which a  return next week now seems likely.

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