Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Pollok.Priesthill.Nitshill.The Bundy.Gowanbank.Silverburn.Schools, Memories, and Pubs.

We might as well start this Pollok post at the place it all began for me as an individual person. Gowanbank Primary School. Before this I hung around my local scheme with my mates and usually didn't stray far from the enclosed back rectangle of tenements or the short grass play areas at the front of the house.( Well, I was only four years of age and a slow developer so I knew little of the  larger district around me. ) I'd been a couple of places further afield but only with my parents or big sister.
All that changed when I turned five and had to go to school. This was it. Gowanbank in the heart of Pollok near the western termination of Priesthill Road. As the primary schools in upper Nitshill hadn't been built yet (early 1960s) we were transported down to here. These are photos from last year as I happened to be back in Pollok just as the school was demolished. I don't remember it being so child friendly looking  when I was there and it was a real shock to the system to be shoved onto a bus at five years of age then dumped here along with an assortment of wary, bewildered children from the other schemes without a school. The teachers looked just as pleased to see us as we were to see them and I remember discipline being strict. Maybe this had to be the case as class sizes were large. Unlike attending a school in your own scheme I only recognised a handful of my young neighbours in my class, and none of them belonged to my immediate back court so they weren't exactly friends yet and in the main it was kids from the surrounding Househillwood, Priesthill, Central Pollok and Craigbank  that made up the majority of the unlucky inmates. It was only at this point I realised for the first time that all my friends I played with in my back were mainly Catholic and they went somewhere else aged five so I was totally alone for the first time in my life in a strange environment for an entire day. A big shock we all go through at five years of age but how much harder it must be for rich children sent off to boarding school at a young age and only allowed back to visit their parents on school holidays as at least we were able to escape our gloomy prison, nights and weekends and return to our families. I'm no psychologist but that must mess with your head big time for the rest of your life if you don't have a good experience there and perhaps explains why children from that background sometimes have a reserved, detached attitude with little empathy for others. How can you feel loved inside when your parents get rid of you for most of your childhood? Thank God I was born into poverty :0) .Just a thought. Mind you, that sort of long term separation and trial by fire might give you drive and a burning ambition to prove yourself, depending on the person.
Although modernized this is one of the few original (well 1960s) tenements left on Priesthill road which used to have the typical three story flat roofed post war 1950s variety running along it for half  its length. Beyond the lamp post is where the local row of shops once stood, now newly built low level housing. Priesthill is a decent looking scheme now and fairly upmarket in places with newly built back and front garden bungalows and semi detached properties.

 Maybe it was simply because it was outside our own area and we were regarded as unwelcome incomers by some of the local kids but a few five year olds from my scheme in the early days even jumped from the bus while it was moving and did a runner before it reached the school gates. Well, the lucky ones did as one of them ended up with a broken leg as a result of a mistimed departure at too fast a speed on exit. Although painful this meant extra time away from Gowanbank so it wasn't entirely the reckless move it seemed.
 I didn't find it that bad and only escaped from the school grounds once while being chased by a gang from another scheme. I managed to climb up then jump over a high wall into another compound nearby and ended up in what I presumed to be a  boys remand home surrounded by much older children who all sported close shaven haircuts and looked really hard. Looking at an old map however the only building sited that close to the school grounds with a high wall was a priests house so maybe it was a bunch of visiting young recruits for the priesthood I'd bumped into. Anyone else remember another adjoining courtyard near Gowanbank in the early 1960s that would have a bunch of black attired teenage male skinheads exercising in it? I was so young at the time its hard to remember what it actually was but it left a strong impression on me.
Anyway I was soon persuaded by them to climb back over the wall again and take my beating like a five year old. Great advice guys. Thanks! What's for you will not go by you I always say. How true!

St Paul's High School in Pollok. After a couple of years the new primary schools in Nitshill opened and we were spared the chamber of horrors that was Gowanbank and allowed to finish our primary school education in them instead. I remember I actually enjoyed going to school after that for the first time.
This school used to be called Craigbank Secondary and was a Protestant school at that time. It changed to St Paul's to take the place of nearby Bellarmine, which closed down in the late 1990s? I think.
The other large secondary school in Pollok was Crookston Castle which was situated right beside Crookston Castle itself. This school is also long gone but a range of photos can be found on the web by typing in Crookston Castle secondary school then- images. Judging by some of the old photographs of pupils it seems slightly more upmarket than Craigbank or Bellarmine but I didn't know it that well. Due to the declining numbers of families living in the Pollok area which has almost halved its population in 30 years St Paul's is the only large secondary left in the area with Protestants going to Rosshall Academy in Crookston road.
Discovered this interesting link here about Sick Building Syndrome in Rosshall.
Silverburn shopping centre now sits where the original Bundy scheme stood. This was a tight triangle of three story tenements and lower cottage type houses. Good link and photo here.
As I was visiting Silverburn anyway I nipped across to visit the Pollok Kist which is a small room of exhibits like a local museum in the Pollok Civic Realm building nearby. Unfortunately the room was  shut when I visited as it was late on in the day and I had to be content with the other exhibits of old Pollok on displays outside. Bellarmine School stood near here until it was demolished. The Bundy stood within the triangle of Cowglen Road and Barrhead Road. We used to wait for the bus right beside the first row of  tenements in the Bundy and it had some reputation, maybe because it was one of the oldest parts of the scheme and looked as if it had been built by the Romans. I seem to have a memory of all the tenement close windows being bricked up instead of having glass in them but that would have been around the early 1970s when it was half empty and going downhill fast. As a scheme it didn't last long. Built around the late 1940s and demolished in the late 1970s to make way for the Pollok Shopping Centre which opened in 1979. This is now Silverburn and I'm convinced  it's named 'tongue in cheek' after the number of shopping trollies that used to lie abandoned in the grey waters of the nearby Brock Burn as no-one looking at the Brock Burn now ( named after the badgers that used to roam its banks) as it flows and sometimes floods through Pollok  has the word 'silver stream' in mind.

The partly subterranean 'Silver Burn.' On a good day dishwater grey is the best it gets. 'Rancid Trickle' doesn't sound as attractive a name though for a shopping centre.
It was only when I took these photographs I realised the striking appearance between the two different entrances. The car entrance where a percentage of the visitors will presumably be arriving from areas outwith Pollok, like Newton Mearns and Clarkston have a pleasant modern glass and steel entrance as Silverburn's aim on its own web site is to attract more upmarket customers from a larger area. It's actually a shopping centre that doesn't really want to be situated slap bang in the middle of Pollok but cheap free land within the city without a major competitor nearby is hard to come by these days. This entrance above is the original bus and local population entrance facing Pollok. Peeling wallpaper and clock design! What were they thinking? It looks like a doss house or a collection of  empty cardboard boxes sitting beside a skip. As they are at opposite ends of a long shopping mall containing 95 shops and 14 restaurants very few folk from the car entrance side will ever visit this entrance.
Car entrance again. It's ironic how nowadays they cover large areas of land with concrete, steel and glass then do their best to pretend its still countryside. At the current rate of population growth and cyber world introspection mind you, this might be the nearest we get to genuine countryside in the future as there will not be much of the real stuff left to go around and the remainder will then be fenced off for the elite to enjoy. Silverburn is well on its way to becoming one of the biggest retail outlets in the UK with a cinema complex and yet more restaurants planned for the near future which will at least transform the tired Pollok entrance as it's at that side the new development will be situated.
Having said all that the day I was there, just after Christmas, it was mobbed and all the visitors seemed to be doing as much eating as shopping as every restaurant was mobbed. That's where the big money is nowadays for these centres which is why there's so many food outlets with a children's play zone right next to them usually to trap the unwary spender. Total money spent by me? Zero. Not having any kids in tow I had no inclination to visit any of the shops as they held nothing of interest for my tastes. 95 retail units and 14 restaurants yet none of them enticed me in the slightest. Is it just me? Every other shopping mall I've been in like Braehead, The Fort at Easterhouse or Irvine,s Rivergate, both of which I like, I've at least been tempted to go into some shops just out of curiosity(usually book or DVD outlets) if nothing else. Didn't see one shop here that came close to pulling me in. Every penny still a happy prisoner in my wallet :o)
Some views around Pollok now capturing the parts that haven't changed much. Braidcraft Road Shops at the junction with Corkerhill Road. This has always been a nice area to live in.
Corkerhill estate itself This is taken near where the well known pub used to stand called 'The Cart' at the entrance of the estate. Separated from the rest of Pollok by green fields and the large and deep White Cart Water it too had several long rows of flat roofed tenements. These are now gone but the more modern 60s style tenements have been modernised and still remain in this fairly compact and well kept estate. Ironically, this area now has a larger concentration of four story tenements than the rest of Pollok where most of the original tenement building stock has been removed.
Before Pollok got its own pub, The Pollok Inn, thirsty drinkers either had to travel by catching a bus into Shawlands or walk up to Paisley Road West for a pint, or Old Nitshill, either at the Levern Water Hotel, The Cavendish or the Royal Oak. These three well frequented watering holes were all on Nitshill Road very close to each other.
 This photo is taken on the site of the Leven Water Hotel at Nitshill. Cult pub band Dr Feelgood played a gig here back in the day. Nitshill shopping arcade still remains open with a few shops still doing business here.
   This pub was formally the Cavendish, now the Hazelwood. It's the only pub left in Nitshill. The Nia Roo still remains further up Nitshill road, but the Tradewinds and the Cuillin Bar at Arden also join the long list of abandoned pubs in the area. Apart from a falling population( no pun intended) and the availability of cheap drink in supermarkets I think the smoking ban had an unforeseen effect in the death of many pubs as I know from experience it kills and disrupts conversations when smokers leave a group to go outside. It definitely changed the atmosphere of a group night out for me and that's a view from a non smoker.

Brockburn Road. If you lived in North Pollok it was probably easier and quicker to walk up to Paisley Road West at Cardonald where a scattering of pubs awaited you. The Pines, The Argosy and the Quo Vadis were always popular haunts.http://www.oldglasgowpubs.co.uk/quovadis.html
A cracking and bizarre link here to a local character. See drunk dog halfway down the page. You couldn't make it up! A normal day out in Pollok! (Giving alcohol or human chocolate to dogs by the way is a very bad idea as it can seriously damage both health, internal organs and temperament in a short space of time.)
This view above was taken recently and shows the converted flat roofed tenements on the left hand side of Brockburn Road. On the right just out of frame is the Pollok inn which is still open.

Pollok main roundabout. Not much changed here apart from the glass fronted 'Wedge'
Pollok Fire Station on Brockburn Road.
Brockburn Road Housing Office still remains.
And the TSB at Braidcraft road still does business and serves the community.
Not many of the distinctive clusters of post war flat roofed buildings remain in Pollok. 20 years ago  Linthaugh (seen here) and Dormanside, Priesthill, Craigbank, Nitshill and South Nitshill were all areas characterized by their streets of three and four story tenements where many of the residents grew up but to the casual visitor much of Pollok looks affluent now and largely trouble free compared to the bad old days.
This is Lyoncross Road in North Pollok, once a major cluster zone of old style tenements but now its a fairly sedate street of decent looking mixed level houses. A grove of old handsome pine trees in the distance is where the old bus terminus used to be in the heart of the Dormanside.
Some of the old Pollok still exists however. This is the alternative Pollok swimming pool taken during the summer heat wave last year. Don't know what it is with warm weather but the street water mains stop cocks always seem to melt open during long spells of high temperatures in certain districts of Glasgow.
Maybe some things don't change that much then.
As I have enough photos for two more posts this final essay on Pollok will be split into three.
Here endeth the first part as I'm away for my dinner now. Switch to a picture of  Oor Willie's empty bucket..... Part two to follow next week.
For anyone interested two previous posts on Pollok can be found on this blog July and August 2013.
Maybole Street in Nitshill. Not much altered from when they were built.
Galston Street. One side still original houses other side low level new build.
Darvel street. Nothing left of the old houses and even the street doesn't exist anymore as the layout has changed into an S shape development along with Pinmore Path which looks similar to this. It's all low plan now.


Carol said...

I hated my secondary school but my primary school was really nice (I suppose that's 'cos it was a small village school though).

Terrible to get a dog drunk - I'm pretty sure they can have a bit of beer without harm - horses certainly can - but nothing stronger that's for sure. Very cruel!

That scheme didn't last long did it? 30 years!

As to the smoking ban, I have to say that I never went in pubs before it came into force but will do now so it possibly works both ways. I know a lot of people don't like it. I always thought they'd have been better just having a separate enclosed room for smoking rather than people hanging around the doorway...

As for shopping centres - I hate them. In fact, unusually for a woman, I hate shopping full stop!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
that was fast as I'm still working on it. Certainly puts the labour into labour of love as it's now 10'oclock and I started this post at five pm thinking it might take me two hours at most!

The Glebe Blog said...

Very interesting Bob, you've highlighted some of the differences being raised in the metropolis and being out in the country. My oldest scar is from falling on a sharp stone as a four year old in a ploughed field. I'd guess you were a little older before you saw your first ploughed field.
I agree about the kids sent away to school, look at the mess they've made of the country ha ha
Primary School was just about OK, I got the strap once and a thrown pen stuck like a dart in my desk. My biggest moment in primary school came when our class was listening to the schools only radio and I was given the task of running through to the headmasters class to tell him that the king had died. I was eight and a bit so it was quite moment. I'm still shaking to this day.
Talking of Catholic/Protestant we only had two Catholic Families in the village, and when I was about thirteen one of the men of these families gave me the advice 'Never marry an Irishwoman'. Strange how life turns out eh. I'm still a heathen though.
Drink and pubs were always part of growing up so the country/city had that in common. We were allowed to start first footing as fourteen year olds. We started smoking about then too. I gave up sixty a day in 1986, must have spent a fortune.
Silverburn retail centre ! I remember when all towns had unique shops. You could be anywhere in the world now.
I see you've uploaded part two.

See you over there.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Probably because you tend to eat in pubs after a hill day whereas I always went there just for a drink so any smoke never bothered me although I wouldn't like it if I was eating in a smoke filled pub.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Jim,
I spent most of my free time over the fields anyway after I turned six or seven but we didn't have many ploughed ones as it was dairy farms, black and white freisen cattle and horses interspersed with mature deciduous woods, dams and river gorges. It really was and is a fantastic landscape that exists nowhere else in Glasgow or Edinburgh as I've explored every part of the central belt and nothing comes close...Fade out with Sinead o'Connor tearfully singing a Prince cover and violins wailing :o)

liz stewart said...

I love all your photos , do you have any of Darvel St , I was born there in 1955

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Liz,
You're the 2nd person to ask me about Darvel Street.If I'm in the area I'll take a couple of it as I know one side of it is new houses now and I'll post them on the end of this memories post so come back to here in a months time. Nostalgic photography's hard work :o)

Sean Damerseannachai said...

Hi Bluesky Scotland

I know I'm a bit late to arrive on your blog, but I'm a retired sociologist from Glasgow Uni, and I'm writing a book called "Scheming: A Social History of Glasgow Council Housing, 1919-1956." In this book I am analysing the development of six Glasgow housing schemes, four prewar and two postwar. The postwar schemes are Craigbank and South Pollok ("The Bundy.") I have detailed data about therse two schemes from oral histories of pioneer tenants and contemporary Hosuign Department officials, along with archival material from the Mitchell Library. What I don't have are any photographs of Craigbank and only one of The Bundy.

I wonder if you can help me with any photos of these two schemes?

Further, can you tell me the names of the streets which made up Craigbank? This is proving surprisingly difficult to find.

All help and suggestions would be most welcome!



blueskyscotland said...

Hi Sean,
I don't have any photos of The Bundy or Craigbank from the early days as I didn't live in that part of Pollok and cameras then were mostly for photos outside your house or in the garden as a treat to keep and not the ubiquitous image collectors they are today.
I do know the Bundy scheme consisted of Fairhill Avenue, Lawside Drive,Linbank Avenue,
Nerst(n) Avenue,Dykefoot Drive, Bridgend Road and Cowglen Road. (Nersto(n) is a map abbreviation of a longer name probably. I know this as I have an old 1960s street map.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Sean, Doing this answer in two comment posts as it's not the first time I've written a long comment then had it rejected and disappear. Bummer when that happens.
From the same map Prestwick Street, Newfield Square,Drumbeg Drive,Craigbank Drive,Househillwood Road, Glenlora Drive, and Glentyan Drive all in Craigbank Scheme and these streets held the flat roofed tenements.

Glenlora Drive(other half of a horseshoe street) Lunderston Drive, Overtown Avenue, Glentyan T (terrace?) held the cottage style houses and were also part of Craigbank.
(I didn't live there but that's what I thought of as Craigbank- locals might add on more or disagree though. Looking at the map it makes boundary sense at least as a distinct separate area or scheme.
Hope this helps.
I have several other posts on Pollok which you can find by typing Blueskyscotland then adding... Priesthill, Nitshill, Arden, South Nitshill, etc to get a result. Hidden Glasgow also have members who came from the various estates and the first chapter of my book Autohighography (available to read for free on the side panel link is all about growing up in Pollok in the 1950s and 1960s. Pollok Kist (google it online) is also worth a look.
Cheers and best wishes... bob.

Sean Damerseannachai said...

Hi Bob

I have come across a photo of Prestwick Street, Craigbank, taken by GAVIN McKINLAY, but I have been unable to trace him to ask for permission to reproduce his photo. Can you help me??



Faith Moreland said...

I used to live in Househillwood Road and went to both Gowanbank and Craigbank.I have very fond memories of playing in the park and making swings over the burn.I'm 61 now and how the years have flown.It wad great reading your blog it certainly jogged a few memories.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Faith,
Glad you liked it. Between this post and the other Pollok posts I've written on here it's well over 40,000 page views making them the most popular posts by far on the blog. If you'd like to read the others just google Blueskyscotland South Nitshill, Nitshill,Darnley, Arden etc or you can read my chapter on growing up in Nitshill in the 1960s in Autohighography my book on the sidebar which has three free chapters to read. The South Nitshill, Nitshill post has loads of comments from Nitshill folk you may be interested in, recalling their own early memories of growing up there.
Best wishes. Bob

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Sean,
Asked around. Don't know Gavin at all,

Jimmmy C said...


You call Craigbank School "a Protestant school". Craigbank was a non-denominational school.

I don't believe there is any "Protestant"schools in Scotland.

Unknown said...

Only just came across this, I was born in Priesthill Road in 1951.The flats you featured on Priesthill Road were not refurbished, there were no houses in that space of land in the fifties or sixties, they were new build houses