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St Mungo's Medals – Short Film Clip of Gorbals 1950's and Outskirts of Glasgow



this is glasgow city of a million souls Glasgow once a huddle of Hamlet's round a Cathedral Church of Kentico now the gray anvil of Scotland on which the Hammers of native industry have run through long centuries of progress Glasgow once the dear green place of the Malin Dinah monks now the third largest city in the United Kingdom straddling 50 square miles of the strap of Clyde a maritime City with its lines of communication reaching out across the seven seas to the four corners of the world a proud City – with its great University high up on Gilmour Hill representing 500 years of learning and beneath it in the green Valley of the Kelvin the art galleries and museum a shop window for the rich treasures of many lands many people further down still the impatient Kelvin Polly's over its stone we're on it's urgent race to creep under the sheltering skirts of old mother Clyde glass goes dark river of work and wealth of want and woe here the sons of Glasgow build their mighty ships and from here they go down to the sea in them to bring home the rich harvest of the earth climb the hill from the dark and noisy River and not a mile away you're in another world these Victorian terraces once the homes of Glasgow's elite are now mostly occupied by the office staffs of big business they stand as a monument to a way of life that is gone forever and maybe little about these respectable houses to call our Rhapsody's in the heart of poet or painter but there is familiar to the place of this old gray city as a stamp on a letter the people who lived in them were once the envy of their fellow citizens as they set out for work or enjoyment in their carriages behind high-stepping horses they carried with them some of the solid enduring qualities of the war that shouted them across the river on the other side of the city the tenement dwellers live still in four-story monoliths that have endured the wear and tear of wind and rain through many generations of family life but many of glass cos million souls live in houses built over a hundred years ago to absorb the hordes of country-folk drawn to the city by the lure of the factories the shipyards and mills children play in a derelict battleground of broken-down wash houses behind them their homes crumbling buildings that make only the crudest provision for hygiene for too long daily life has been a fight against overcrowding sickness disease death places like this a window box expresses the challenge of the human spirit against all his ugly and squalid people behind this window have created a home in the heart of a hovel for here they have held out bravely and now the long siege is nearly over in this one-room house the liberation is celebrated born in this building they're glad to be leaving it at last but there is a sadness to in parting from old neighbors for very soon these folk will be a war to bite a war each to his or her own place in the scheme of a new and better Glasgow to these to the uncertain future is just beginning to unfold like a forgotten dream coming true for over half a century they have lived loved laughed and sorrow to this Gorbals tenement from this dark decaying Street they have launched their children into the world and through all the years they have dreamed of having a window that looked out on a tree and a bit of grass to them tomorrow will seem like beginning life all over again the farewell tea looking after the VIPs how many sleepless nights have she and her husband spent worrying over the health of their growing beds how often have I longed for a bathroom a modern kitchen bedrooms for the children and fresh clean air for them to breathe tomorrow the young parents will be like barons themselves tasting the joy of a Christmas morning and what about her sitting there quietly smiling to herself all she is wanted for years now has been a door he can shut in the world she can hardly remember a time when she wasn't the stranger in some other person's home half her leisure life has been spent as a fugitive from noise in public libraries art galleries and museums little wonder that she smiles to herself at the promise of peace and independence in a place of her own ah here is one whose needs are simple the warmth of mother love the care and protection of a home and a place to play with his bricks his ambition to build and build and build and build and build until walks down nikka and done to comes close on a century of domestic history these old stones so rudely and suddenly tumbled have sheltered generations of glass regions in good times and bad they have run with a laughter of children and groaned with the loneliness of the ages now they must go and not stone by stone is in the old careful days of demolition but urgently pulled and tumbled over by men impatient to clear a space and start anew we have left the battleground now and moved to base headquarters the housing committee's room in the city chambers here on the table are the blueprints of the future the result of a long and protracted campaign which began in the glow of victory after the first world war with the grand resounding slogans homes for Heroes and every man his garden at his own front door homes like those in Moss Park were built in the first year as a piece to meet the needs of people who had grown tired of tenement life it was an age of ideals a victorious nation owed its tired warriors a new life victorious city owed its people new homes they were built and they covered a lot of land Moss Park green head Canton grew and spread in Knights wood a whole new town sprawled over land that had been farmed for centuries precious acres of arable land pasture land disappeared under streets and pavements the supply of new houses increased but the demand seemed insatiable as the 20s and 30s passed and more and more of the green land was swallowed up it became evident that Glasgow must stop spreading and devouring the time had come to tear up that no tenements resolution of 1934 and start building flats with up-to-date amenities communal gardens and greens then came the Second World War and new restrictions and building by 1945 a serious problem had become critical the slums must go the people be rehoused but how and where here is one part of the answer for two elderly people a new beginning a new dimension of living this quiet corner of Glasgow with its trees blonds shows one of the ways in which the city is providing for its elderly people a sanctuary in which they can carry the best of the past into the warmth and light of the future the cottages of this small community one the Festival of Britain award the new boy and girl are welcome to their future home any pier they may have had that this last move was out of the tide and onto the beach I swept away the full flood of their welcome they're joined a happy lively community we laid a camera ambush for this happy citizen coming home from work and for the first time in all had adult life she is really coming home not to a noisy corner in some other person's house but to her own home where she can shut out the world where she can sit and read watch your television listen to a record player or just close her eyes and enjoy being alone after years of living at lodgings even the simplest chore in your own kitchen can be a true and a moment before a mirror in a bedroom is a luxury that can only be appreciated by those who for years have had to share such moments with strangers behind another door others young parents who spent so many sleepless nights worrying over the health of their children in this house with all its modern amenities the mother can care for her burdens as she's always wanted to she's no longer haunted by the fear that they may have wandered away to some traffic filled street although their breathing germs of disease in her refuse litter back court when they come into this house from play she has hot water on tap to wash away the healthy dirt they've collected now there is room to live no longer that all their possessions cluttered together in one apartment later the children will go to bed in their own rooms by day from a Moss Heights balcony the mother can see and hear her children at play these plaited houses are sorely another part of the vast problem of glass goes under house thousands but as the city grows the expansion reaches its limits other and more drastic measures are necessary to prevent Glasgow bursting at the seams sell out go the planners into the highways and byways to seek sites for new towns that will accommodate Glasgow's overspill population this quiet little village of East Kilbride wakened one morning to find that on paper it had grown into a town covering many acres of land here and in other areas like come Bernard and Johnston many x plus regions are making new homes striking new roofs and forging new communities nearer home Glasgow is reaching out to the perimeter of her expansion under the blades of the bulldozers the rolling farm lands of Renfrewshire and Lana cha have been planed down to cradle the new communities of so milk Easter house and many others here under the hands of the builders the walls of a New Glasgow were rising and soon there will be another pilgrimage of covered vans bringing escapees from the dark tenement areas of the inner city to the sunlight and healthy living of outer Glasgow and as the walls grow up these Tyler's prepare roofs for the heads of the new invaders healthy bodies to make good citizens but B tenant in by active and well-informed minds striking this necessary balance is a problem which Glasgow is facing and solving with bright new schools these well-designed buildings with their attractive surroundings and up-to-date equipment are making education a pleasant preparation for the responsibilities of adult life and here is a history lesson in three dimensions cruson castle surrounded today by the work of the 20th century builders and for this fleeting happy moment of a summers day in childhood she's the queen of the castle a handful of miles away thus it's another queen in her castle at the opposite seasons of life they share the same moment of triumph meanwhile the queen of many castles visits her horrible subjects in their tenement homes but a few hours the dark narrow streets glow with the brilliant colors of many flags the grey old buildings have broken out in a rash of bunting even the sunshine shoulders away through the smoke and cloud of the grey city to lighten up this day of ceremonial history looking at these people with their waving flags and smiling faces it's hard to believe that this is indeed the Gorbals of Glasgow the most talked-about district in the whole of Britain imagination has built its own composite picture of Gorbals based on sensational reports of minority behavior here in this sunny street where a queen walks and talks with her people is a place of Gorbals that the world seldom sees and he had another relic of the past trembles at the pool of the demolishers sways like a drunken man and crumbles to the ground in a cloud of dust the Queen and her consort are told exactly what is happening in Glasgow is relentless war against slum conditions they are told what is being done to transform scenes of desolation and decay like this to this and this to this these houses one assault I'd award for design other corporation houses in various parts of the city of one Festival of Britain awards and other sort out awards but this is only one part of the great saga of housing and rehousing which has been going on in Glasgow for over 40 years since the end of the First World War new houses have been built for a hundred and nineteen thousand families Glasgow has a proud record in rehousing a record unsurpassed by any local authority in Britain if not in Europe today that program is costing approximately fifteen million pounds each year of that some about half goes on new building a necessary outlay because this is not just a building project but the culmination of almost half a century of war against dirt disease and human degradation these houses with the modern facilities are the victorious battlefields of that war since 1945 62,000 families have turned their backs on the old tenement life of the past and now live in happy communities and in the next year it is estimated that another 2,500 houses will be built for escapees from the conditions of last century many of them will be housed in huge modern blocks like these multi-story flats which tower over the Royston district of the city they combine every comfort of modern living with a tremendous saving in ground space and now back across the river to Gorbals not long ago this huge plot of Earth was covered by broken and condemned houses today it is the cradle of the new Gorbals another experiment in better living Gorbals turns its scarred face to the dawn of a fairer and finer future as Her Majesty the Queen unveils a foundation stone the tumult and the shouting dies the captains and the Kings depart but behind them they leave the memory of a great day at Glasgow for this is the day of a second front against the insidious enemies of a free and happy society the beachheads have been established the order is advanced today the bulldozers tomorrow the builders today the dust of the past tomorrow the soaring phoenix of the future as blaster climbs to the skies and to a better way of life for her children the captains and the Kings depart there down the long long road of today and tomorrow goes a captain and his queen to where do what follow them and see follow them closely for these are the very important people of this royal day of history follow them into the future then indeed in Glasgow where the festival of Britain and salty rewards with all the pride of Mungo's Midlands

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Comments
  • Gets ye right here…I lived in a similar tenement in Dalmarnock Rd. Bridgeton til I was 8 (1954). At 18:42 you see the back showing 6 toilets for 16 apartments and each apartment had around 6 people, so that's 96 people sharing 6 toilets and I mean toilets…no sink, shower or bath -that was the kitchen sink… that life spawned us tough resourceful Glaswegians, yet full of laffs. Then moved to Toryglen (Glasgow new suburb) until 15 (1960) and then to Toronto til now (2019). 'Wha's like us'…

  • No question that a certain character was lost when so many of the old tennaments were demolished and replaced by modern tower blocks but it has to be said, living in them is not particularly easy. As someone who has lived in multiple old tennament buildings they are tremendously difficult to heat, with single glazed windows and high ceilings, have tiny kitchens and bathrooms, often without windows because they were retrofitted, and can have major issues with old lead pipes and bugs from the crumbling sandstone. Remember the past always looks better when it's not your everyday reality.

  • I was a Pollokshields baby and when I view what’s happening up the road I just see The Gorbals and Laurieston in such a state. What a mess the regeneration is doing; There’s nothing unique about the area and it looks to have lost the majority of its community which is a shame. The new housing should have been offered to those that were placed in other areas/towns. The clearance was a grave mistake by yet again this useless council then known as Glasgow corporation… and those responsible should been put on trial for what they done

  • The results give the term escapee a new meaning. Vandalism and cultural manipulation are unwittingly well documented throughout this video.

  • Twerp sure loves his exagerated condescending english accent, chewing on his words like like a self satisfied stranger. Spoiled it for me

  • Excellent old footage, with an over-optimistic and patronising commentary, and the hoped-for shangri-la never materialised, though it is true that the standard of living in Glasgow now is vastly higher than it was then, when the country was strapped for cash and impoverished by war. What, I wonder, did the young queen really think, living in a palace and travelling in her huge limousine, about the people and houses of the Gorbals, where, according to the voice-over, three generations could live in a one-room dwelling? A country which allowed such inequality had no reason to feel satisfied with itself …….. and though we are far better off now, we have the foodbanks, the homelessness and the child poverty. It certainly makes you think.

  • 56 seconds in you can see the tenement I lived in, on Govan road at the Graving Docks, sadly unnecessarily demolished in 68 – Not all tenements or schemes were as run down or deprived as the Gorbals

  • To think…..the Easterhouse estate was once thought of as desirable. Just Google the images of it to see it now.

  • Mum was born in 1929 in the tenement at 13 Crown St, (which appears centre of screen at 16:54) ,and lived there till leaving for Australia in 1950.
    I've stood at that spot, when I took her back in 2007, but this is the first glimpse I've had of her much talked about and much loved home, which is now just a small grassed park. Her old school in Adelphi Tce / Florence St, is still there, but I'm hoping to find some old pictures of this end of Crown St.
    And of the Swiss Cafe in London Rd, where she worked as a teenager, which is still there, next to the Tolbooth Bar, as the Val Doro Restaurant, still serving fish and chips, which we just had to have for a nostalgic bit of fun, sitting at the same Swiss Cafe furniture from all those years ago.
    Black Pudding Supper, well that's something different for this Aussie. Yum!

  • Hi, 
    I am doing a research project on the Gorbals area, to do with the tenements at Mathieson street, Sandyfaulds street and South Wellington street (later named Lawmoor) running North to South in the area and also the tenements of Rutherglen Road, Cumberland Street, Caledonia Road running East to West. I am also looking at the Basil Spence block which replaced them, I would be grateful if anyone has information of these blocks to get in touch with me or reply to this comment. Thanks 

  • In this period some of the worst architectural vandalism was carried out in many areas in Glasgow in the name of progress.

    Those council planners should've been arrested for some of the desecration they carried out.

  • There were very many sad times, Williamina, but the folks then didn't have much therefore didn't miss what they didn't have, and I know you don't hear the worst of it on here… I remember my childhood being happy, and we certainly didn't have much, but we were poor but maybe more fortunate that some… Sad times too… 🙁

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