Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Drygate 1: Fort Weetabix to the Ladywell Flats

'How these curiosities would be quite forgot, did not such idle fellowes as I put them down.'

- John Aubrey

'Oh roads we used to tread, 
Fra' Maryhill to Pollokshaws - fra' Govan to Parkhead! 

- Kipling, 'McAndrew's Hymn'

'Photography can be a mirror and reflect life as it is, but I also think that perhaps it is possible to walk like Alice, through a looking-glass, observe the puzzles in one’s head and find another kind of world with the camera.' - Tony Ray-Jones

Welcome to my wee photoblog on Glasgow, where we feature the  joys and unjoys of walking and cycling through a fascinating, beautiful and often badly run city. For the blog's origin and a  list of all posts see the  'Introduction' post  -

 Feel free to drop me an email with suggestions, offers of £20 notes etc. The address is I have had to start watermarking the pics as I have come across one big website using a pic without permission - I suppose there must be others.

If you are a private individual and want to use any of the pics for non-commercial purposes please get in  touch and I will usually be happy to say 'Aye' for free - just give the Album a credit. If you want to use a pic for commercial purposes a small mutually agreed fee and a credit will suffice. And you can follow me on Twitter if you wish: Edwin Moore@GlasgowAlbum.

Today is 30 September, 2013 and we are walking from the High St down the Drygate to begin clearing my brother's flat -  and walk around the Ladywell flats

The St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art in the High St. Supposedly called 'Fort Weetabix' by taxi drivers though I am not sure if they actually do or of this is just something that people say people do, like calling the Glasgow Underground the 'Clockwork Orange'.  Anyway website here -

Provand's Lordship, oldest house in Glasgow. For more on Townhead see 

Looking down the High St

Moving into Cathedral Square

Will do an entry on the  Square at a later date.  For more on Cathedral Square see

I love this comment -

'The area in front of the Cathedral is dotted with unremarkable portraits of locally renowned benefactors. However, there is a splendid portrayal of David Livingstone, the famous medical missionary, leaning on a palm tree, below which is a set of discarded leg-irons. On the plinth are pictorial reliefs of grateful natives. It was erected in George Square in 1875-9 and is by John Mossman. It was moved from George Square in 1959.'

Peace. I tried to get a more in context photograph  at this point but it would have involved getting the junkies on the bench (on our left)  in the picture

Looking back

No Football

Drygate down there

Looking back

Now in Drygate, which goes in a loop round the flats on left

Looking down Drygate to John Knox St and the Necropolis

Looking back at the steps we came down

We are going into the entrance on right

For the Necropolis over there see
John Betjeman called the Necropolis the greatest legacy of the greatest Victorian city

Looking back up

Colin's flat is on the top storey

A note from  Ladywell and High St Residents and Tenants Association

This is a tightly knit community, Townhead and Duke  St folk

Back down with bags for recycling

A guide to the Drygate area

We are donating much of  the clothes and household goods to Emmaus; rest for  Poppy Scotland textile  bank

View across to Cathedral Square. Let's have a quick look that side

Rottenrow up there across the High  St. For what you would see from here  in the 18th century see the Urban Glasgow link further down among the prison wall pics

Back into the Drygate

On we go

I chat to a nice young couple of European (German I think) students who ask about a top-floor flat for sale on right -  the flats on sale here seem to me to be cheap and well maintained (check the service charges) - as for the rest, well as for everywhere else,  it is  the neighbours that matter, and there are many good neighbours here 

On our left is what is left of the outer wall of the old Duke St prison

From the excellent indeed indispensable Urban Glasgow site -

From the Urban Glasgow site -
'The best remains are to be found in the middle of the scheme. The retaining wall of the older north yard cells is still standing from 1871'

For the wiki entry on the prison see

From wiki -

'Duke Street Prison is one of 8 prisons which used to stand in and around Glasgow. By 1840 most of these were closed except Duke Street Prison (also known as Bridewell or the Northern Prison) and Glasgow Green Prison (known as 'Burgh' or the Southern Prison) which closed in 1863. Between its first prisoners arriving in 1798 and 1872, various improvements were made to the structure but not to the terrible living conditions which were mentioned in the Glasgow street song sung to the tune of 'There Is a Happy Land'.

There is a happy land,
doon Duke Street Jail,
Where a' the prisoners stand,
tied tae a nail.
Ham an' eggs they never see,
dirty watter fur yer tea;
there they live in misery
God Save the Queen!

After the transfer of responsibility to the state from local authorities, HM Prison Barlinnie was built in the Eastern suburbs of the city in 1882 in order to take over from 'Bridewell' which eventually remained open as a women's prison until 1955.
As Duke Street prison held women prisoners from around Scotland, many Suffragettes and political activists were imprisoned here whose protests at the living conditions would eventually lead to the closure in 1955. It was demolished in 1958 to eventually make way for the  Ladywell housing scheme which was built on the site from 1961–1964 and stands till this day. The only remaining structure of Duke Street Prison is some of the boundary wall[1]
A total of 12 judicial executions by hanging were carried out at the prison between 1902 and 1928. All those executed had been convicted of the crime of murder. The list of executed criminals includes the last woman to be executed in Scotland and at the time the first in over 50 years[2] who was hanged after being convicted of strangling a paper boy.'

Me and Colin and friends played inside the prison when it was being demolished. We found what we thought was the execution area - a square hole in the ground - and played at executions. Golden days for sure 

Tennent's Brewery

Looking down at the former Great Eastern Hotel in Duke St. For more on this bit of Glasgow and the Molendinar burn see

The Molendinar Burn: many Stepps to Glasgow Green

Looking up John Knox St

A view of the prison, Great Eastern and Drygate - from near where Colin's  flat is.  Taken 1950s I think

Thank you for browsing, dear visitor. 

My other wee blogs are

Reviews of Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know


'I love it - I'm giving this copy to a friend and buying another for myself' - Darren Adam, Presenter, Radio Forth, 17 November 2008

‘It’s a great wee book’ – Stephen Jardine, introducing Edwin Moore on Scottish Television’s Five-Thirty Show

'A fantastic book' - Scott Wilson , talk 107 Breakfast Show host 

'A great read' - Dougie Jackson, Drivetime host, Smooth Radio 105.2


'Despite its apparently humorous format, this is a serious and extensive dictionary on all things Scottish; from Jean Redpath to Lorne sausage, from Flodden to the Corries. Is particularly good on history and minutiae. There's a useful chapter on famous Scottish legal cases and another on literature. Excellent' - Royal Scottish Legion, Feb 2009

'This is the ultimate Scottish reference book' - Waterstones Christmas catalogue, 2008

'This is a fascinating look at the history of Scotland: its languages, politics and great achievements, from its origins in the ancient landmass of Laurentia 400 million years ago, to devolution and Billy Connolly. Edwin Moore has collected a thousand important facts about this beautiful country, covering Scottish history and culture, correcting misconceptions, and examining the mysteries of haggis and bagpipes with insight, warmth and impressive attention to detail' - The Good Book Guide, November 2008

'This is a recipe for revealing how horribly ill informed you are about your country. Although, if you are skillful, you can nod sagely as you read some new fact and mutter 'Ah, yes!' as if recalling the information from your excellent schooling. Where else will you find a real recipe for making haggis from scratch side by side with a potted biography of David Hume; a section of the Declaration of Arbroath and the curiously touching fact that Lulu was only 15 when she had a hit with 'Shout'? The whole thing is of course, silly - but oh so addictive.' - Matthew Perren, i-on Glasgow, December 2008

'. . . well crafted and witty' - Bill Howatson, Aberdeen Press and Journal, 18 October 2008

‘While most of Edwin’s entries are entertaining and scholarly – he writes like a Scottish Bill Bryson – it is when he takes an interest in the backwaters of history, the details lost down the back of the sofa, that he is at his best’ – Jack McKeown, The Courier, 27 October 2008

'History, it is said, is written by the victors. Trivia, meanwhile, is written by the guys with the smeared spectacles and the breathable rainwear. The first discipline is linear and causal; to quote from Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys, history is “just one f****** thing after another”. Things look different, though, when viewed through the prism of trivia. The past is reduced to one big coleslaw of fascinating facts that in their randomness tell a more mixed-up tale entirely.
The first approach leads to big, frowning books by the likes of Tom Devine and Michael Fry. The latter results in small, cheerful books such as Scotland: 1,000 Things You Need to Know, Edwin Moore’s valiant attempt to navigate the more trivial contours of enlightenment and clearances, crown and parliament, dirt and deity.
Moore proceeds from a sincere and controversial first principle: Scotland is really a rather pleasant and interesting place. . .As a work of popular scholarship, though, it’s in a different league to the Scottish novelty titles that get stocked next to the bookstore tills as potential impulse purchases, those little handbooks of parliamo Caledonia and regional braggadocio, such as Weegies vs Edinbuggers.' - Allan Brown The Sunday Times, 21 September 2008

'In his book, Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know, Edwin celebrates all that sets us Scots as a race apart - our language, law, flora, food, and of course, our people. From our poets, architects and inventors, to our artists, entertainers and fighters. But he doesn't shy away from the more unpleasant aspects of our history. . .' - Robert Wight, Sunday Post, 14 September 2008

‘We think we know all about William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and the Union of the Crowms. However, according to Edwin Moore, author of , Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know, we’re still in the dark about many aspects of our history and culture. . . The Big Issue looks at 20 of the most astonishing examples of secret Scotland.’ – The Big Issue, 18-24 September 2008

'What's the connection between Homer Simpson and Larbert, and why are generations of lawyers grateful to a Paisley snail? Need to know more? Author Edwin Moore has gathered 1000 facts like these about Scotland in a quirky new book. Brian Swanson selects a few favourites. . .' - Scottish Daily Express, 13 September 2008

'The palm for Christmas-stocking books seems to have passed recently to popular science, with best selling titles every year such as Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze? This year there has been a gallant attempt at a historical fight back. Scotland: 1,000 Things You Need to Know(Atlantic Books, £12.99) asks (and answers) such post-turkey questions as ‘How many kings of Scotland died in their beds?’, ‘Who on earth decided that the Declaration of Arbroath was the cornerstone of modern democracy?’ or ‘Why is iron brew spelled Irn-Bru?’ Mark Mazower,History Today; The Best of History in 2008, December 2008

'A real treat for the serendipitous Scotophile' - Reginald Hill

FROM THE INTERWEB (on the new paperback edition)
Book of the Month, May 2010
'Whether it's Scottish lochs or Enlightenment philosophers, the facts of the devolution referendums or the mysteries of Irn-Bru, myths will be debunked and truths revealed in this light-hearted but rigorous overview of Scottish history and culture.'

Also available for download on Amazon's e-book store is my 100 Brief Encounters

Here are some reviews of the print edition (published by  Chambers in 2007) -

Edwin Moore's quirky collection of a hundred encounters between (mostly) important historical figures is a gem of a book. Where else could you get concise enlightening accounts of Henry VIII wrestling with Francis I, Geronimo surrendering to General Miles, Ernest Hemingway presenting Fidle Castro with a fishing trophy or (as seen on the books cover) a baby faced Bill Clinton shaking hands with John F Kennedy. A marvelous 'little window on human history. ' - Dominic Kennerk, Waterstone's Product Planning and Promotions Co-ordinator (From the Waterstone's 'We Recommend' list for 2008)

Witty, light and packed with information -- The Sunday Herald

In 1936, in the wake of winning a clutch of gold medals at the Berlin Olympics, the great athlete Jesse Owens was snubbed by an imperious leader, on racial grounds. Popular belief would have it that the leader was Hitler, who is said to have stormed off, furious to see a black man beating European athletes. In fact the man in question was President Roosevelt, who worried that paying attention to Owens' triumphs might be a vote loser. Although Owens and the German Chancellor never talked, Owens claimed that Hitler greeted him with an enthusiastic wave. Such near-misses, shakings of hands and ships-in-the-night meetings are the subject of Brief Encounters – Meetings between mostly remarkable people, a likeable new book by Edwin Moore (Chambers £7.99). Flicking through the index, you will find some expected encounters (Dante stares at Beatrice, Corday stabs Marat, The Beatles strum along to a Charlie Rich record round at Elvis's house), and the book's intriguing and memorable cover shows a baby-faced Bill Clinton manfully gripping the hand of JFK. But Moore has navigated past some of the more obvious collisions, collusions and confrontations of history (there is no Dr Livingstone, I presume) and much of the book's pleasure derives from lesser known incidents.

Inevitably, some of the accounts of earlier meetings are somewhat sketchy but Moore offers some piquant speculation, laced with humour (the book is tagged Reference / Humour, rather than History and this feels right, but the book, though wry and opinionated, never stoops to wackiness). I was intrigued to discover that, though Attila the Hun did die on his wedding night, it was not in drunken and lecherous debauchery, as his enemies maintained, but supposedly because he was generally a simple and clean-living man who had a few too many which brought on a particularly bad nosebleed.

Moore's book is full of such tales – it would be wrong of me to steal the tastiest morsels of his research and pepper this article with them, but look out for a subsidiary reason for the Gunpowder Plot (too many dour and powerful Scots in Parliament); a great meeting of great beards, as Castro wins the Hemingway prize for sea-fishing; Dali bringing a skeptical Freud round to the art of the surrealists; Buffalo Bill's wife claiming an aged Queen Victoria had propositioned him; Oscar Wilde getting a kiss from Walt Whitman, while Walter Scott was more taken with Burns's charismatic eyes. This is an enjoyable and vigorous rattle through some fascinating and believable yarns. My only quibble is that it's a little on the short side – let's have Volume 2 please Chambers! - Roddy Lumsden, www.Books from