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Archiver > LANARK > 2002-04 > 1018589869

Subject: [LKS] (Fwd) Gorgeous Gorbals [part six]
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2002 15:37:49 +1000

Forwarded message:
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 16:10:42 +1000
Subject: Gorgeous Gorbals [part six]
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Gorbals has always had the reputation of being a fighting quarter
and this is true in vastly different ways.
During the depression of the 1930's, many street gangs came into
being and they adopted colourful names often associated with their
area or street. The South Side Stickers, the Cumbies from
Cumberland Street, the Coburg Erin from Coburg Street and the
Strangely enough, they usually confined the fighting to their own
ranks and seldom molested outsiders.

On the credit side, and according to Duke Metcalfe the boxing
promoter, Gorbals was the most famous nursery in Scotland for
producing sportsmen, especially boxers and footballers.
But many notable people, some of international fame, and in
different fields of endeavour have been born in Gorbals.

{ please refer also to earlier postings entitled "Sporting Gorbals"
and "Gorbals Swimming".}

William Simpson, R.I., otherwise known as "Crimean" Simpson,
was born in Anderston in the 19th century and has many fine
water colours of old Gorbals on display at the People's Palace in
Glasgow Green. Included among them are one of Buchan Street
showing John Knox Church and Carlton Place, and another of the
Elphinstone Tower, Main Street, Gorbals.

The derivation of many of the street names in Gorbals gives one a
clue to the local history. For instance, Hospital Street is named
after St. Ninian's Hospital which was founded by Lady Lochow in
the year 1350. The railway running parallel to Eglinton Street was
at one time the bed of the Paisley and Johnstone Canal which had
a Port Eglinton at this point.
The port and adjacent street were named after the Earl of Eglinton.
Adelphi means, in Greek, two brothers, and Adelphi Street was
opened at the beginning of the nineteenth century in memory of the
Hutcheson brothers.
Waddell Street was built on the Stonefield Estate and called after
the proprietor Mr Waddell.
Gorbals has the distinction of possessing the shortest street in
Glasgow. It is Langbank Street, which is 30 feet long, and runs off
Eglinton Street.

Before Gorbals became an industrial area, it was, in common with
other districts in the Clyde valley, covered with beautiful estates.
For example, between Butterbiggins Road and Gushetfaulds, lay
Larkfield Estate, after which the Larkfield Corporation Transport
Depot is/was named. It is said that the last person to live in the
now demolished Larkfield Mansion was a Mr Barr who was
manager of Dixon's Blazes.
Illustrated on a map of the Barony of the Gorbals is Butterbiggins
Estate which lends its name to Butterbiggins Road.
There are also the lands of Gallow Know, Bryce Land, and Gushet
Faulds [fields], and it is noted that Inglefield Street perpetuates the
name of the Inglefield Estate.

A consortium of railways eventually took over this area, covering
the land with a vast network of steel rails, consisting of the oldest
railway on the south side of Glasgow namely the Pollock and
Govan Railway 1830 which had earlier been used by William Dixon
for transporting coal from his Little Govan coal pits to the River
Clyde, the Glasgow Southern Terminal Railway 1846 which joined
the Glasgow City Union Railway 1864 and the Caledonian Railway

The lovely tree lined estates rapidly disappeared to make way for
such businesses as the Strathclyde Distillery, Adelphi Street and
the Co-operative bakery. Their first loaf of bread was baked in 1869
in a small Scotch oven in a bakehouse at 50 Coburg Street on a
site where the Coliseum theatre/cinema now/then stands.
In McNeill Street, in 1887, the U.C.B.S. [United Co-operative
Bakery Society?] opened a large bakery which was then called the
Garden bakery. It was reported that 30,000 people attended the
opening of the bakery which could have supplied all Glasgow with
{ The writer believes that the Strathclyde Distillery, herein
mentioned, was earlier [c1887] named the Adelphi Distillery. If any
Lister has an interest in this distillery and its workings, I would be
pleased to assist.}

Gorbals Burial Ground at Rutherglen Road was opened in 1770 and
many who died in the cholera-epidemics of 1832 and 1848 are
buried here. Around 1973 the burial ground has been made into a
rest park and the tombstones have apparently disappeared except
for a few which are situated against the boundary wall. Four
remaining tombstones have the insignia of the old times trades
sculptured on their stone faces. Three of them are dated 1723 and
the other 1741.
John Wilson, a friend of Robert Burns, who represented Wilson in
his poem "The death of Doctor Hornbrook", is buried here, and a
stone is erected to John's memory with an inscription stating this
fact. It is also reputed that a man who was hanged for stealing a
sheep was buried in the Gorbals graveyard.
The Southern Necropolis burying ground in Caledonia Road,
originally a part of the Estate of Little Govan, was bought by a joint
Stock Company around 1840. Many well-known citizens of Gorbals
and other districts are buried in this cemetery. A fine polished
granite stone marks the last resting place [lair 3791] of Sir Thomas
Johnston Lipton, K.C.V.O., who died on 2nd October 1931, and
who is buried with his family in a tomb much visited by American
In the central portion of the cemetery is a granite stone with a
metal plaque with the features of John Robertson embossed upon
its surface and an inscription which clearly states: "This monument
erected in 1912 by members of the Institution of Engineers and
Shipbuilders in Scotland to the memory of John Robertson,
Engineer, born 10 December 1782, died 19 November 1868, maker
of the engine of the "Comet", 1872, the first steamboat that plied
regularly in Europe".

A few yards away is a memorial to Hugh McDonald, author of
"Rambles round Glasgow" and "Days at the Coast".
A tombstone situated against the wall to the left of the main
gateway brings back shades of Sir Walter Scott.
It is stated there-on: "Rev. Nathaniel Paterson, D.D. a grandson of
Scott's Old Mortality and the author of the 'Manse Garden' born in
the Parish of Kells, Kirkcubright 1787. Died at Helensburgh 1871".
Another stone states: In loving memory of George Halket M.D.
F.R.F.P.S.C., one of the founders of the Royal Samaritan Hospital
who died 6th Oct 1928 aged 79.
A picture hanging on the wall of the board room in the Royal
Samaritan Hospital, Victoria Road, was of the original Samaritan
Hospital which stood in South Cumberland Street from 1886-1890.
This is probably the hospital with which Dr. George Halket was

One tombstone is to the memory of Rev. James Smith, M.A. who
was the author of the "Divine Drama of History and Civilisation" and
"Moral and Religious Essays of the Family Herald".
The Rev. Smith was know as "Shepherd Smith", he was also
considered a prophet and expounded a doctrine of his own which
today may have been described as mystical universalism.
Half a million people read his weekly essays for the "Family

But the story of Gorbals rolls on, her great contributions to the
world far outweighing her liabilities. She appeared in her 1970's bi-
centenary of the parish, to be ever striving to live up to her ancient
motto SANS TACHI "without spot or blemish".


John Duncan, Melbourne, Australia.

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