Arden from Carnwadric Road.
One of the reasons for knowing people here is that all these districts on the outskirts of Glasgow grew up to accommodate the citizens displaced by the slum clearances from Govan, Kinning Park, The Gorbals, and other south side ancient tenement clusters many of which were crumbling relics of the Victorian era. With large families and marriage between folk who didn't travel much then it was normal to know people in adjoining estates as cousins, aunts, uncles or workmates who all seemed to live closer together in the days without cars, and factories employing hundreds or even thousands of people from the local area still existed and helped cement bonds. This was the real 'Big Society' a community spirit which came about from people having a lot in common and all being, more or less, at the same level. Nowadays, with a fractured and increasingly multi-cultured and economically diverse UK where people are forced to move around frequently to find work or can start relationships online countrywide there is no way on earth you can get that community feeling back despite all the rhetoric from politicians. This is not being racist as the same close knit communities that bonded over generations existed in Indian cities, Irish, Polish, Russian, American and most parts of the world.
Ironically, as the opportunities to travel increase we seem to be getting further away from each other individually, and not just in a physical sense but in a mental one as well. Given the choice we no longer want to live in each other pockets and usually the first thing folk do if they buy their own council house is throw a large fence up to separate themselves from any neighbours.
This pub 'Cuillins', privately built in the heart of the scheme in the mid 1960s may well have been the first one of its kind in Glasgow, as housing estates often took decades to get their own pub. The folk in the schemes obviously couldn't be trusted with alcohol, or any other form of entertainment for that matter, close at hand, as none were included in the original blueprints. Fortunately, for the residents, it's shut down now, so they are safe from themselves at last. With cheap supermarket drink house parties are the new pubs which must please the neighbours next door even less.
It was rumoured then that they were built in part to house the flood of workers needed to staff this massive bank and it kept the current Queen busy as she opened it and also this Park/ Playing fields.
Carnwadric is still a decent scheme of low rise cottage type houses, Like most of Mosspark, Carntyne and Knightswood these older schemes are still desirable places to live with upstairs/ downstairs two level houses and back and front gardens. This design is popular as it's the way most people want to live. Arden is one of the few estates left in the area that still has most of its original tenements standing but that might be because it's still a housing association and, I think, is funded by rents that require a large population base in order to carry out repairs and maintenance. I was up there recently and a lot of renovation work and small new building projects are going on with the result that it looks a well kept area again after a dip in the 1980s to the 2000s.
Billed as high amenity area, with a local library, shops, bowling green and other facilities it seemed like lessons had been learned. Sadly the architects and planners were still out of touch with human nature and built a deck access estate on what used to be green fields. This remaining long wall of multi story houses has been extensively upgraded and the open corridors closed in but it's enough to get a feel of what the old estate looked like. I was a young teenager in the late 1960s early 1970s and watched with interest as long rows of uniform grey buildings appeared at the bottom of my hill. Interest changed to disbelieving excitement as I realized this new estate had an unusual layout which meant that you could walk practically unhindered from one end of it to the other without coming down to street level. Open corridors ran all the way through the two, three, four, and seven story blocks and many of these had high level pedestrian bridges connecting several block together. As a thirteen year old this was the biggest ,most mind-boggling, most complex, adventure playground I'd ever seen and I couldn't wait to explore it. Well.. you would, wouldn't you.
Like most of these deck access estates the Darnley didn't have any boundaries as it was all open plan then with no door entry systems and the tenants couldn't say "this is my private property- your trespassing in my space- go away". All they had was a front door in a communal corridor that anyone could wander up and down in. The entire scheme was like that and almost from the minute it was built it started to go downhill like most of the other notorious deck access estates in the UK and abroad.(South Gate in Runcorn springs to mind.)
http://hughpearman.com/the-naked-and-the-demolished-the-scandalous-tale-of-james-stirlings-lost-utopia/ This estate is actually far more attractive looking than the original Darnley but it failed to save it as the design concept was a failure from the start as soon as you put people into the equation.
If you read this link and look at the photos inside you'll get some idea of what it was like as I don't have any photos of the original blocks anymore apart from this one. On reflection it takes a bold person to be an architect or town planner and this link highlights that: commissioned to design mass housing for large groups of people within various constraints of budget, size of land available, speed of erection and always at the whim of the people holding the purse strings who can change whatever they submit to suit their own remit at the last minute. As they work in a visual and tactile medium ordinary folk always have a strong opinion on the finished product, but when they get it wrong bad architecture can have a profound psychological effect on the people living there for decades to come. I loved the Darnley- but only as an adventure playground.
Even before the Darnley was built the three established gangs in the area from Priesthill, Arden and South Nitshill used to have occasional battles in the fields during summer if they met one another, team handed. Now that they had the Darnley to fight in undercover ( a purpose built all weather concrete battleground) things escalated rapidly and it became notorious for gangs rampaging up and down the corridors or charging across the walkways at night. Metal gates in the corridors were erected at intervals to try and stop this but the damage was already done and few wanted to live in an area with teenagers fighting and stamping above their heads as they lay in bed trying to sleep due to the strange construction of the buildings, where if I remember correctly, you went down interior stairs into the living rooms in some of the flats.
Original Park Hill residents in Sheffield would also find this outcome depressingly familiar.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_Hill,_Sheffield Good photos of 'Streets in the Sky' architecture here particularly the ones right at the very bottom of the page in this link. .'Brutalism' at its finest. The kids soon showed the architects the human face of 'Brutalism' and like the building themselves, it wasn't pretty. 'Psychogeography' in a very real sense as if the negative and inhuman scale of the urban landscape around them was feeding directly into teenage minds.
Anyone from a council housing estate background could have predicted this would happen. Flat roofs in a country like Scotland were not the brightest idea either and many homes soon suffered from dampness. The Darnley estate was intended to be even larger in size than it ended up and I remember them knocking down a few streets before any residents had a chance to occupy the just completed buildings. Maybe they suddenly realized, with horror, the full magnitude of what they had constructed. Most of these concrete jungles went the same way and the old style Darnley was gradually demolished after only 15 to 20 years as it lay half empty by then and was a favourite for squatters. I wish I'd been into photography in those days as it was something else at the end.
Now it's a totally different estate and apart from this one remaining block which is now residents only restricted entry it's all low level housing with back and front gardens and looks fairly upmarket as a lot of them are bought. It's the way most people want to live- with defined boundaries that plainly state to anyone else: This is mine- you've crossed the fence/line so you are now trespassing on my property. As easy as that yet its taken us decades of mistakes to realize that is the way housing should always be. I see online some of the remaining buildings that are left in other estates UK wide are being done up then marketed towards young professionals or students without children which would be suitable but they were never ideal living areas for families or anyone elderly as they could be pretty isolated places years ago.
To sum up. Council schemes and estates often get a bad press but sometimes the planners need to shoulder some of the blame. From a personal point of view growing up in one, the majority of folk around me were just like people anywhere else. Most of them worked hard to raise families, often in low paid unsatisfying jobs -semi skilled or unskilled mostly then. The majority of people around me were also honest and reliable, prepared to graft all their life on the bottom rungs of society with little to show for it at the end. Unless you were extremely talented, determined, lucky, or academically clever it was hard to get out of a scheme once you were in one thanks to the points system and the subtly corrosive way of life there.. The reality of life for most folk at the base of the big pyramid is that they are there to make up the foundation for others to climb on. When I read recent headlines like "most people are better off now than in the last few years." I think 'Good to see Pinocchio's reinvented himself again'. Or another recent cracker. "Together we will built a better Britain! " For who exactly? 90% per cent of average citizens will always be poor no matter what happens. The gap between rich and poor used to be slowly shirking but now its as wide as the Atlantic Ocean again. Maybe that's the real reason why we have recessions as it gives the rich an opportunity to gallop ahead while sending the rest of us down a dead end short cut. Call me a cynic but I'm reminded of a line writer Johnny Speight put in the mouth of his character, the elderly working class Alf Garnett. Can't remember the exact wording as it was so long ago but it was pretty close to this.
Stated proudly after an election victory:- "I've served under six different Prime Ministers now, man and boy." He reflects on this fact for a second then it slowly dawns on him... raging now. " And I've been poor under every bloody one of them! "
Ever wondered how the rich get richer during a recession while the rest of us take cuts in our income?
Such is the fate of the common man,...or woman. I rest my case. Off on a tangent, some of the reasons why we should treasure nature? It's usually free, it regenerates itself at no extra cost, it's always full of unexpected surprises and if you treat it well and give it respect it will rarely let you down throughout your life. Well, unless you live in an area prone to flooding, tornadoes, mudslides etc...
Just to give people a look at what the run down area of Arden and the other schemes looked like back in the day here's a Scottish Eminem with a tongue in cheek gangster parody. I'm not usually a fan of rap and judging by the comments he got a lot of criticism and stick for this but the lyrics are clever and young folk growing up anywhere always draw on their environment for inspiration. (no pun intended) These are probably the same much photographed couple of streets scheduled for demolition that interior decorators Colin and Justin used. Couldn't find an empty building then without a film crew in it :)
Needless to say it doesn't look anything like this now...It's a good estate again. But don't tell anybody as it keeps unwanted visitors and casual tourists away.
And a more theatrical classic by Alex Harvey. A Glaswegian legend who grew up in the Gorbals and Kinning Park..