OBSCURE 250805



OBSCURE 250805
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25 V
Accompanying the “Obscure History Plaques”
Deep beneath the modern
streets of the Merchant City
lurks an obscure history.
placed in pavements of the area your quest is to
uncover the Merchant City’s hidden history.
From the tales of colourful characters to the grisly
murder of a flea - the Merchant City vaults have
been plundered for this leaflet. This leaflet
accompanies “the Merchant City Visitor Guide”
listing the various amenities and visitor
attractions and “the Merchant City Architecture
Trail” which celebrates the rich architecture of
the area that you will pass by on your quest.
High Street, 19th century
Glasgow Cathedral, mid-17th century
In the
...There was a monk
called Kentigern
who was visited by
an angel, who told
the monk to head
west. So west the
monk went. He
found himself on a
hill, gazing down a
verdant valley and to
the sparkling waters
of a river. He said
‘Glaschu’ (what a
dear green place)
and decided to stay.
The people who
lived in the “dear
green place” took a
shine to this monk
and nicknamed him
Mungo, which
means “dear friend”,
they even made him
their patron saint,
and so the history of
Glasgow began...
(or so legend has it).
The Necropolis
1. Cathedral
Missing Relics
In 1560, the Reformation
of the Church sent the
Bishop Beaton fleeing to
Paris. Before he fled he
rescued a number of
sacred items from the
Cathedral. Amongst these
relics were: pieces of the
Cross of Christ, a casket
containing some of the
Virgin Mary’s hair, part of
the girdle of the Virgin,
a fragment of St.
Bartholomew’s skin, a
bone of St. Magdalene,
milk from the Virgin, part
of the manger in which
Jesus was born and fluid
which seeped from the
tomb of St. Mungo.
2. Cathedral Precinct
The precinct in front of
the Cathedral was used for
burning witches and
heretics. Glasgow had it’s
own Witch Finder General,
the Reverend Cooper, who
was so efficient at
catching witches and
gaining their confessions
that he became known as
“Burning Cooper”.
Also within view of the
Cathedral are:
3. The Necropolis
In 1831 it was decided to
turn an old pleasure
ground into a garden
cemetery. It was named
Necropolis (City of the
Dead) and makes an
impressive backdrop for
the Cathedral. It was
designed to be a place of
peace and inspiration for
the local populace. Today
High Street Close, 19th century
St. Mungo
Mary, Queen of Scots
it is a popular haunt for
the Glasgow chapter of
the Vampire Society. Open
to the public from dawn
till dusk ...and best avoided
after that!
4. Cathedral House
Hotel 28/32
Cathedral Precinct
Established in 1877 as a
hostel for prisoners being
discharged from the Duke
Street Prison. The prison
stood where we now see a
modern housing estate.
Cathedral House was a
hostel for both men and
women for more than 80
years and contained murals
painted by the ‘Glasgow
Boys’. When the Duke
Street Prison closed, so did
the hostel and the murals
were moved to the new
prison, Barlinnie, where
they were subsequently
destroyed in a fire.
Not surprisingly, this
building is believed to
be haunted.
The Magai by
Peter Howson one of the new
Glasgow Boys’.
5. Provand’s Lordship
The Casket Letters
The story goes that Mary
Queen of Scots stayed
here when visiting her
husband, Darnley, who
was ill with the pox. She
and Darnley were far from
happily married, in fact
Mary was having an affair
with the Earl of Bothwell.
Soon after her arrival in
Glasgow she decided to
dispatch the ailing Darnley
to Edinburgh, where shortly
after he was murdered.
It is believed that whilst
staying in the Provand’s
Lordship she wrote the
“Casket Letters” which
revealed her affair with
Bothwell and implicated
her in the murder of her
High Street
The High Street is one
of the oldest streets in
the city. Continuing
from Castle Street, High
Street ambles down the
hill towards Glasgow
Cross, carrying with it
tales of poetry,
mercantile wealth, body
snatching and squalor.
Two fires in the 17th
century almost
completely destroyed
this area, which cost a
small fortune to rebuild.
The new buildings
inspired Daniel Defoe to
write “the four principle
streets... are the fairest
for breadth and the
finest built that I have
ever seen... ‘tis one of
the cleanest, most
beautiful and best built
cities in Great Britain.”
Sadly this beauty did
not survive. In 1853
Hugh MacDonald wrote
“Sin and misery are
indeed here to be seen
in loathsome union.”
Glasgow University, 17th century
1822, The dingy
Bookshop of Duncan
McVean arrived here
after a spell at 70 High
Street. 1860, James
Ballantyne operated his
Pawnbrokers Shop from
this site. 1880, Miss J
Boyd’s Drapers and
Milliners Shop. J & A
Kay, Tobacconists and
6. Ye Mariners of
215 High Street: (at the
corner of Nicholas Street
just south of the Old
College Bar) On the north
facing wall of this
beautiful red sand-stone
building (the old British
Linen Bank building) is a
plaque commemorating the
poet Thomas Campbell.
Campbell was born in July
1777, the youngest of 12
children. He was a
boisterous lad, always in
fights and prone to pranks
and mischief. His chief
works included “The
Pleasures of Ope”,
Ramshorn Church
A. 175 High Street
“Gertrude of Wyoming”,
“The Battle of the Baltic”
and “Ye Mariners of
England”. His friends were
amongst the greatest
writers of the age and
included; Sir Walter Scott,
Wordsworth. Coleridge,
Byron and Keats. Campbell
has a statue in George
Square and is buried in
Poet’s Corner in
7. Raising the dead
Travelling a little further
down the High Street we
come to College Street.
College Street led from
Albion Street to the gates
of the old University on
the High Street*. Like its
neighbouring Schools of
Anatomy, the University
was involved in sensational
anatomical experiments. In
1818 Professor Jeffrey
publicly demonstrated the
journey of electricity
through the human body
using the newly invented
Galvanic Battery. For the
experiment he used the
body of a murderer,
Matthew Clydesdale.
Clydesdale’s corpse was
placed in a chair and
when the Galvanic Battery
was switched on the body
appeared (to a horrified
audience) to come back to
life. Legend has it that
Mary Shelley was in the
audience and this incident
may have influenced her
famous gothic horror
book, Frankenstein.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
*The University sold this land
to the City of Glasgow Union
Railway Company in 1864
and after that date moved to
it’s current location in
Gilmore Hill.
who turned a rams head
into stone on this spot.
The burial ground attached
to the church was a
popular haunt for the
“Resurectionists” who made
a living robbing graves.
B. 24 College Street
A Christian Leg?
A leg is believed to be
buried somewhere in the
Ramshorn. The leg was
found in the garden of a
gentleman who lived on
the Candleriggs. Unsure
what to do with the leg,
he thought to seek the
advise of the minister at
the Ramshorn Church.
When the minister looked
at the leg, he said that he
couldn’t be sure that the
leg was Christian, so it
was buried without
ceremony or epitaph to
mark its plot.
1813 Medical Students
would remove bodies from
their graves to study the
anatomy of the human
form. The focus for these
resurrections were the
anatomy rooms of Mr
Granville Sharp Pattison.
Their actions were
discovered on the 13th
of December when half a
jaw bone and the ring
finger, believed to belong
to Mrs McAllister, buried
the previous day in the
Ramshorn Churchyard,
were found in Pattison’s
rooms. Mr Pattison and
3 other stood trial for
the felonious abstraction
of the body of Mrs
McAllister. All 4 were
later released as it could
not be proven that the
body parts found were
those of the deceased,
Mrs McAllister.
8. Ramshorn Church
From the High Street, turn
left onto Ingram Street
and just beyond Albion
Street is the University of
Strathclyde’s Ramshorn
Theatre, formerly the
Ramshorn Church. There
are many theories behind
the origin of the name
‘Ramshorn’. One of the
popular beliefs is that it
originated from a miracle
performed by St. Mungo,
The Battle of Culloden
A Grave Situation
Beneath the Pavement
Under the pavement
outside the Ramshorn
graveyard are the graves
of the Foulis Brothers,
appointed as printers to
the University in 1743.
As publishers they were
responsible for the
“Glasgow Courant” the
predecessor of the
Glasgow Herald. The
Courant gave a first hand
account of the Battle of
Culloden when it was
headline news.
Candleriggs Market
Virginian slaves, 18th century
9. The Candleriggs
Across the road from the
Ramshorn is the
Candleriggs. This historic
street extends from the
Trongate to the site of the
old candle makers, hence
the name. If you take a
walk down this pretty
street, look at the
pavement outside the City
Halls, where you will find
a poem carved in the
paving slabs and a list of
the fourteen Incorporated
Trades of Glasgow. The City
Halls line one side of the
street and is attached to
the old Candleriggs Market
(now Merchant Square)
and the Fruit Market. City
Halls were used as a venue
for music, exhibitions and
entertainment. Amongst
the celebrities who have
appeared there are:
Charles Dickens, Niccolo
Paganini, Oscar Wilde
(pictured below) and
Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Harriet was in Glasgow to
gain support for the
abolition of slavery. The
people of Glasgow were so
taken with her cause that
they began a campaign on
her behalf called “Uncle
Tom’s Penny”, wherein a
penny would be donated
for every reading of the
book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.
C. 78 - 82 Candleriggs
1800, the Bowling Green
could accessed through a
lane on Bell Street with
an entry fee of one penny.
The edges of The Green
would often fill with
stagnant water in which
the local children would
drown stray cats and
dogs. 1817, the Bazaar
was constructed to the
design of Clelland. 1851,
the Bazaar was occupied
by 1 Cheesemonger,
8 Fruiterers, 9 vegetable
dealers, 2 Onion
Merchants, 1 Gardner,
4 Egg and Butter
Merchants, 6 Ham
3 Stocking Dealers,
1 Brush Maker,
3 Booksellers and 3 Boot
and Shoe Manufactures.
Records show that the
payment for slaves go as
far back as the early 1500’s.
In the 1770’s a Mr. William
Colhoun wrote the
following in a letter,
“We shall sail tomorrow
with a hundred and fifty
slaves for Potuchan River
in Virginia in a very fine
vessel which I am chief
mate of...it is a very
precious cargo as for me it
is the first time... plenty of
noise and stink.” It is
horrifying to think of all
those people, crammed
together, many of whom
died of suffocation and
By the end of the 18th
century, people were
beginning to see slavery as
a barbaric and evil practice
and some personal slaves
in Britain gained their
freedom. One such slave,
Joseph Knight, appealed to
the Sheriff Court in
Glasgow for his freedom.
The case finally ended at
the Court of Session where
Joseph was declared a
freeman and his master,
an early aboloshionist, told
that he ..”Shall lose the
property by the mere
circumstance of his bringing
the said Negro to Scotland.”
10. First Take-away
Candleriggs boasted
Glasgow’s first fast food
shop, Granny Black’s. The
proprietors realised that
after a few drinks the
customers would have a
craving for greasy food, so
they started selling pies to
carry out. Sadly Granny
Black’s ‘fell down’ a couple
of years ago.
Glasgow’s first restaurant
was Sloan’s in the Argyll
Arcade. The menu offered
the discerning customer
sheep’s brains and pig’s
At the corner of
Candleriggs, turn left into
Bell Street.
City Halls
D. 4 Bell Street
1667, possibly the first
Sugar Works in Scotland
was founded here by
Peter Gemmell, Frederick
Hamilton, John Caldwell
and Robert Cummings
c.1820, previously 90
Bell Street called the
Herald Close. The second
floor was occupied by the
offices of the Glasgow
Herald and Advertiser.
The paper cost sixpence a
copy. Glasgow’s second
Police Office, overlooking
Candleriggs and the
Bowling Green occupied
the first floor. John
Gardner, Mathematical
Instrument Maker,
Measurer and Optician
ran his shop from the
ground floor.
E. City Halls
1847, Charles Dickens
attends a ball at the City
Halls opposite after his
opening speech at the
new Athenaeum in
Ingram Street. He
commented that he had
never been more heartily
received anywhere as he
had been in Glasgow.
1858, Charles Dickens
returns to give 2 readings
of his works, for which
he was reportedly paid
£600.00. 1882, Bell
Street numbering
reversed to allow
continuation of Bell
Street beyond High
Charles Dickens
The Tollbooth
F 2 Albion Street
G. 37 Bell Street
1855, the City of Glasgow
Bank Building, designed
by JT Rochead, who also
designed the Wallace
Monument in Stirling.
1878, the Bank fails
spectacularly with debts
of £6m due to fraud,
embezzlement, and false
book-keeping. The Bank
was not a Limited
Company and thousands
of Glaswegians were left
penniless. Of almost 2000
shareholders, only 250
were not bankrupted.
1820, Wallace Court,
home to the shop of
John Graham, Wine and
Spirit Merchant who was
charged 3 guineas as libel
damages against a fellow
and his lady friend for
accusing them of stealing
2 bottles of Port. 1900,
shop and office of William
McEwan and Company,
Tobacco and Snuff
Manufacturers. 1921,
office of James Robb,
Agent to the Glasgow
and South Western
Railway Company.
11. First Electric Sign
On the corner of High
Street and Bell Street was
Bow’s of Bell Street (now
Bed Shed), the first shop to
have an electric sign. A year
later they were the first
shop to receive electricity
which was supplied to
Glasgow in 1890.
From the end of Bell Street,
turn right, back onto High
Street and head down to
the Cross. Bell Street
continues east of the High
Street where these Plaques
can be found:
H. 105 - 153 Bell
1882, built for the
Glasgow and South
Western Railway Company
as the main storage
warehouse for the
recently constructed
College Goods Yard, the
creation of which caused
the removal of the
Medieval Blackfriars
Church (also known as
the College Church) and
the 15th Century
buildings of Glasgow
University.c. 1986, the
warehouse was converted
into apartments.
12. The Tollbooth
The High Street ends at
Glasgow Cross where the
17th century Tollbooth
stands on an island in the
middle of the traffic. The
Tollbooth Steeple is all that
survives of a much larger
building that once housed
the early City Chambers,
courts and prison.
The Tron by Peter Howson
Bow’s, early 20th century
*The last public hanging
attracted an audience of over
100,000 people in 1865. They
had come to watch Dr. Pritchard
swing for the murder of his wife
and mother-in-law. There are
still men who believe it was a
miscarriage of justice.
Crime, Punishment &
the Gallowgate
Evidence of punishments
meted out at the Cross are
still visible on the walls of
the Tollbooth Steeple,
where metal rings survive
to remind us that people
were chained to the wall
here as a punishment.
Another reminder of this
area’s grim past is the
name Gallowgate, a street
east of the Tollbooth,
which means the way to
the gallows.
The punishment of criminals
was a great source of
public entertainment. It
was once recorded in the
Burgh records that the
practice of lug-pinning
(nailing a criminals ear to
the Tollbooth door - as
illustrated above) must be
banned because it
“corrupted community life,
weavers will leave their
looms and children play
truant” in order to jeer-on
the lug-pinned victim.
Opposite the Tollbooth is
the Third Step Gallery
which showcases the work
of world renowned artist
Peter Howson and his arts
collective of which many of
his pictures are shown here.
Nothing was more well
attended than a good
execution*, but for all that
it was the most popular
amusement, the purveyor
of justice himself was the
city’s most vilified pariah.
When the job was
advertised in 1605, no-one
would take the position, so
the post was offered to a
prisoner, John McClelland,
in exchange for his life.
Until April 30th 1630
hanging was used to
punish minor crimes whilst
murderers suffered
beheading. After this date
hanging was introduced
for murderers too.
Between 1765 and 1850,
107 people were executed
in the city, of which only
27 were murderers.
The first Glasgow Police
force was instituted in
1778 with the appointment
of an inspector who was
paid £100 a year.
The Execution of a Bear
In June 1880, a bear
belonging to the visiting
performer, Antonio Delore,
was arrested and placed
on trial for harassing a
Bailie whilst he was going
about the city for the
“Guid” of the people. The
bear was sentenced to
death by musket and
Antonio was forced to sit
in the stocks with the skin
of his beloved bear around
his shoulders. It made such
a pitiful scene that not
one Glaswegian had the
heart to demonstrate their
approval with the usual
jeers and rotten fruit.
Continuing the line of the
High Street from the Cross
to the Clyde is Saltmarket.
Lord Horatio Nelson
The Steamie
Saltmarket, 1930s
Glasgow Green Market, 1870s
Britannia Music Hall
13. Filth & ‘Nestiness’
(nastiness) on the
There were no sewers
before 1790. Instead, the
waste would be thrown
out of people’s window’s
and left to flow down hill
to the lowest part of the
city where it would collect
and form dung hills or
‘middens’. The midden of
Glasgow was located in
the Saltmarket and was
recorded on one occasion
to have grown to 15 feet
in height and so wide it
blocked the street of
traffic. This mountain of
effluent caused the city to
be fined for ‘not attending
to it’s middens’. It is
believed that the midden
was sold at auction to
settle the debt, perhaps
prompting the magistrates
and town council to pass a
statute against ‘nestiness’.
Extract from the Burgh Records
16th January 1696
The magistrates and town
council, taking to
consideration the many
complaints made by the
inhabitants of this burgh
of the growing and
abounding nestiness and
filthiness of the place at
present, doe therefore
statute and ordain as
follows; Imprimis, that no
master or mistress or
heads of families or their
children or servants or
others lodging or residing
in their families shall at
any time heiraftir cast out
at their windows, aither
upon fore or back street or
in lanes or closes, any
excrement, dirt or urine, or
other filth or water, foul or
clean, under the pain of
fyve merks Scots money...
To get away from all this
filth, many people would
take the fresh airs available
at Glasgow Green, the
main gates of which are
on the Saltmarket.
14. Glasgow Green
Glasgow Green is known
as the site of a thousand
battles. These battles were
fought by the people.
The battle for “one man
one vote”, “one woman
one vote”, “a fair days
pay for a fair days work”,
campaigns against poverty
and the demon drink.
The Green was also the
site of the annual fair,
festivals, entertainments
and sport. In short, this
ancient park is the heart
and soul of the social
history of Glasgow, a fact
that is commemorated by
the People’s Palace and
Winter Gardens
(Glasgow Green open dawn till
dusk; People’s palace and
Winter gardens open Mon-Thur
& Sat 10 - 5pm, Fri & Sun
11- 5pm ).
The annual fair on
Glasgow Green attracted
travelling troupes and
local talent who would
entertain the crowds.
Some entertainers would
erect temporary theatres
called ‘Geggies’. These
Geggies would present all
manner of entertainment,
but melodrama’s and
Shakespearean death
scenes seemed to be the
most popular!
Glasgow Green is the
original home of both
Rangers (1873) and Celtic
(1888) football clubs,
Glasgow golf club was
founded here in the 18th
century and whilst the
wealthy putted the washer
women gossiped in the
‘steamie’ and pegged their
linens out on the public
washing lines.
conductors for the tall
buildings of the city.
The first lightning
conductor had been
erected on the old
University Steeple on the
High Street under the
direction of Benjamin
Franklin in 1772
James Watt once wrote:
“I had entered the Green
by the gate at the foot of
Charlotte Street and had
passed the old washing
house. I was thinking upon
the engine* at the time
and had gone as far as the
herd’s house when the
idea came into my mind
that, as steam was an
elastic body, it would rush
into a vacuum and, if a
communication were made
between the cylinder and
an exhausted vessel, it
would rush into it and
might be condensed
without cooling the
cylinder... I had not walked
further than the golf house
when the whole thing was
arranged in my mind.”
*Thomas Newcommen’s
Industrial Steam engine
Nelson’s Monument
The foundation stone for
Nelson’s Monument was
laid on Friday 1st August
1806. The needle-like
monument cost £2075 to
erect. Tragedy struck the
huge column in August
1810 when, during a
ferocious thunderstorm, a
bolt of lightening struck
the monument and the top
20ft of masonry collapsed.
This storm highlighted
the need for lightning
15. The Whistling
On the North side of
Glasgow Green is a lovely
little Episcopalian church
(now offices). Originally
known as St. Andrews by
the Green, this was the
first church in Glasgow to
use an organ since the
Reformation and has been
nicknamed the ‘Whistling
Kirk’ or ‘Kist of Whistles’
St. Andrews Square
Trongate, 1826, by John Knox
Bishop Boyd harangued
Cromwell soundly from
the pulpit. Boyd’s hatred
of Cromwell incensed
Cromwell’s secretary who
suggested beheading the
Bishop might cure his
rudeness. Cromwell
declined and instead invited
the Bishop to dinner.
16. St. Andrew’s
Around the corner from
St. Andrews by the Green
is St. Andrews Square, a
spectacular classical
church, St. Andrews in the
Square (recently converted
into a venue for Scottish
dance & music). Prior to
the church being built,
Vincent Lunardi amazed
an audience by inflating a
huge balloon in the square
and flying over the city to
finally land in Hawick in
November 1785 (one of
the first solo balloon
flights in history).
From St. Andrews Sq,
St. Andrews Street leads
west and back to the
Saltmarket. On the north
east side of Saltmarket is
Parnie Street, which takes
the wanderer from
Saltmarket to the New
Wynd via King Street.
I. 4 Parnie Street
1650, from this point,
you would have been able
to see Silvercraig’s land,
the country residence of
the Bishop. The Mansion
sat opposite the mouth
of the Bridgegait. In this
year, Oliver Cromwell
stayed in Silvercraig’s
land during his time in
Scotland. 1756, one of
the first 2 front hat shops
in Glasgow was opened
nearby by John Blair.
During Oliver Cromwell’s
visit to the area, he
attended a sermon at the
Cathedral where the
Behind King Street
17. Paddy’s Market
J. 57 Parnie Street
1851, previously called 70
Princes Street, it was the
premises of Mrs Jarvis, a
Leather Merchant. 1895,
the street was renamed
and renumbered Parnie
Street, Mrs Jarvis’s Shop
still operated from the
same premises. 1902, the
Shop of J Jarvis & Son,
Leather Merchants and
Shoe Furnishers.
K. 83 King Street
1821, King Street was the
market place for sheep,
cattle and fish with
dozens of permanent
stalls set up along its
length. Fleshers who
worked in the King Street
Beef Market included:
Thomas Atkinson,
William Flemming,
Thomas Fleming, George
Fleming, Robert Gilmour
Jnr; William Kilpatrick
John Patrick; James
Kilpatrick; Matthew
Kilpatrick; Robert
Kilpatrick; James Neilson;
Thomas Reid; John
Scouller; John Sugar;
Matthew Watson; James
Watson; William Watson,
86 King Street, Mutton
Market, 108 King Street,
Fish Market.
Although these old markets
are long since gone,
Paddy’s Market (founded in
the first half of the 19th
century by Irish Immigrants)
continues as Glasgow’s
only daily (except Sundays)
flea market. The traders
sell their wares on the
pavement and even though
they had been offered
more salubrious premises
away from the street, the
following week the traders
were back in the old lane
with their wares laid out
in the traditional manner.
Glasgow’s other surviving
historic market is the
Barras on London Road
and Gallowgate.
They entered the session
house where an open fire
blazed. The gentlemen
began to boast on how
hot they could take the
fires of hell. To prove their
boast they built the fire up,
fuelling it with benches,
tables and whatever they
could find, until the fire
spilled out onto the
wooden floor and set the
whole building alight.
The Hell-fire starters fled
the scene of their crime
and left Glasgow, never
to return in fear of
retribution. James Adam
designed the current
building soon after.
18. Trongate
King Street leads north
from the Briggait to the
Trongate. Facing east,
towards the Cross you can
see the Tron Steeple,
which once housed the old
weighing machine. The
Tron Steeple is attached
to the Tron Church, which
has now been converted
into a theatre, restaurant
& bar.
The original Tron Church
was burnt down in
February 1793 by a gang
of drunken gentlemen
known as the Hellfire Club.
Bearded Ladies, Basement
zoos and the great escape
of the Himalayan bear.
Just west of King Street
stands the oldest music
hall in the UK, the
Britannia Panopticon (113117 Trongate). Britannia
Panopticon holds a
veritable catalogue of
bizarre and entertaining
stories, from famous
debuts like that of a
sixteen year old Stan
Laurel, to mermaids and
bearded ladies in the attic
and a zoological collection
in the basement.
The basement zoo was
named Noah’s Ark and
amongst the exhibits
paced a Himalayan Bear.
In 1911 the bear escaped
onto the Trongate where it
terrorised the populace
until it was shot by it’s
owner, A. E. Pickard.
L. 159 Trongate
In 1824, the Glasgow
Coach Office of Messrs
Lyon & Fraser Coaches,
they operated a service
from Paisley to Glasgow
through Renfrew leaving
Glasgow at 12 noon, 3,
half past 3, 5, 6, 7 and
half past 8.
Lang Tam, a wandering
imbecile beggar, would
often wait for the coach
to leave its Glasgow
terminus and then set out
walking for Paisley. He
would generally be waiting
for the coach to arrive
where he would receive
congratulations and
coppers from the
passengers. Tam was also
known to run alongside
the coaches of the
wealthy, patting the front
wheel and saying ‘guid
wee wheel, guid wee
wheel, big wheel canny
catch up on ye’.
19. The Case of the
Murdered Flea
The Masons’ Arms (which
once stood on the
Trongate) advertised
‘S. Boverick and his
Miniature Circus’. A huge
John Glassford & Family
‘Bonnie’ Prince Charlie
Hutcheson Hall
crowd gathered to see this
latest oddity. One lady in
the crowd, however, was
unaware of the nature of
the performers she was
about to see. When she
entered the Inn, she saw a
table which had upon it a
number of miniature items
including a small carriage,
which appeared to be
pulled by a flea. In her
dismay, the lady crushed
the parasite with her
thumbnail. Mr. Boverick,
the owner of the flea
accused the woman of
murdering the animal and
demanded justice. The
case, surprisingly, doesn’t
appear to have made it
to court.
M. 26 Hutcheson
1835, Jamie Begg’s was
the leading Tavern of the
period. The Proprietor
was Alex Miller. Men of
substance went there at
night to discuss the
topics of the day, or
special subjects, as well
as ‘Welsh Rabbits, Finnan
Haddies and Rationals’.
20. Love at first sight
The Trongate ends at
Glassford Street and on the
corner you will find two
plaques commemorating a
building that once stood
on this site, the Shawfield
In 1910 the Pen & Pencil
Club mounted the first
plaque announcing that
this was where Prince
Charles Edward Stewart
stayed when he was in
Glasgow. Although his stay
was brief, it was enough
time for him to fall for the
charms of Clemintina
Walkinshaw, the daughter
of a wealthy merchant.
Clementina later joined
Charles in exile and
together they had a
daughter, Charlotte, who
was endowed with the
title Duchess of Albany.
N. 2 Glassford Street
1711, site of Shawfield
Mansion built by Daniel
Campbell of Shawfield.
1725, following his vote
for an extension of Malt
Tax to Scotland, a mob
descended on his house
on the 24th of June and
virtually demolished it.
The following day,
2 companies of foot
soldiers entered the City
and in the ensuing riots,
7 were killed and 17
were injured. Campbell
received £9,000 damages
with which he bought
the Islands of Isla and
Jura. 1745, Bonnie Prince
Charlie stayed from the
26th December till 3rd of
January, where he fell in
love with Clementiana
Walkinshaw. They later
married in France. 1793,
the House was removed
for the creation of Great
Glassford Street which
continued the axis of
Stockwell Street.
21. The Greatest Love
Story Never Told
On the corner of Glassford
Street and Argyle Street,
stands Marks & Spencers
on the site of the Black
Bull Inn. The Black Bull is
where Robert Burns stayed
when he wrote to his lover,
Agnes Mclehose. Because
Agnes was a married lady,
they feared their affair
would be discovered, so to
conceal their identities
they signed the letters
“Sylvander” and “Clarinda”.
Before she died, Agnes
wrote in her journal:
“I parted with Burns in the
year 1791, never more to
meet in this world, may
we meet in heaven.”
This affair inspired Burns
to write one of the most
romantic poems in Scottish
literature ‘Ae Fond Kiss.
The Burns Club
commemorated Burns stay
at the Black Bull Inn with
a plaque at the corner of
Argyle Street and Virgina
The Pen & Pencil Club was one of
many clubs in Glasgow. Others
were: The Hodge Podge Club, The
Hellfire Club, The Face Club,
42 Miller Street
Trades Hall
P. 191 Ingram Street
The Grog Club, The Pig Club,
The Beefsteak or Tinkers’ Club,
The What You Please Club, The
Sma’ Weft Club
Another Burns plaque
can be found in Virginia
Street, which runs along
the west side of Marks &
Spencer on Argyle Street.
It is recorded that Burns
bought 15 yards of black
silk from John McIndoe,
Silk Merchant, of Horns
Land off Virginia Street to
give to Jean Armour for
her wedding dress.
O. 2 Argyle Street
30th October 1821,
Donald Davidson, a
discharged Sergeant of
the Rifle Brigade who
had lost his left arm at
the siege of Badajos
under Wellington,
fraudulently wrote a note
for £90 while acting as
Sir Thomas Maitland, an
Admiral of the Royal
Navy. He withdrew his
money from the Cashier
of the Ship Bank, Mr
Michael Rowand. After
noticing several spelling
mistakes on the note,
Davidson was later
caught while making his
way north on the
Caledonian Canal. 1822,
Davidson stood trial in
April, was found guilty
and sentenced to
execution for fraud on
29 May 1822. Following
the actions of Michael
Rowand, Davidson
received a respite from
King George III and the
sentence was commuted
to transportation for life.
22. Trades Hall
On Glassford Street is
Trades Hall, the last
building to be designed by
Robert Adam. The Trades
Hall was built to face the
Merchants House which
once stood at the top of
Garth Street (and now
stands on George Square).
Trades Hall was built for
the 14 Incorporated Trades
of Glasgow and is open to
the public.
23. Rab Ha The Glasgow Glutton
‘Rab Ha’ or Robert Hall
was best known as the
‘Glesga Glutton’ he was
forced from his home by
his mother who could no
longer afford to feed him
and made his living by
winning eating
competitions. He gained
his reputation by beating
English glutton of great
renown, the ‘Yorkshire
Pudding’, in a pie eating
contest at the Saracen’s
Head Inn. The spirit of
‘Rab Ha’ is celebrated at a
restaurant on the corner of
Hutcheson Street and
Garth Street.
24. Ingram Street
Ingram Street travels from
the High Street to Queen
Street, the western
boundary of the Merchant
City. On the way to Queen
Street we pass Virginia
Street, named after the
Virginian tobacco
plantations. Beyond that is
Miller Street where a
couple of buildings survive
to remind us of the area’s
busy mercantile past.
Site of Virginia Mansions,
built in the early 1700’s
by George Buchanan. It
was then taken over by
his son, Andrew (after
whom Buchanan Street is
named), prior to residence
by Colin Dunlop of
Carmyle in 1796. 1842,
Dunlop’s Mansion
removed to make way for
the Union Bank Buildings.
1876, the Ingram Street
Façade was replaced and
extended with 2 pairs of
statues added to flank the
existing 6, all by Glasgow
Sculptor John Mossman.
From left to right, the
Statues represent
navigation and commerce,
Britannia, Wealth,
Justice, Peace, Industry,
Glasgow and Mechanics
and Agriculture. The
Scottish place names in
each of the window
arches are the places
where the Union Bank
had its main office.
R. 7 Miller Street
1840, Tobacconist’s
Shop, owner George
Baird. 1861, Workshop
and Warehouse of T & J
Stewart and Company,
Rope and Sail
Manufacturers. 1880, 5,
7 and 9 Miller Street,
Robert W Cairns Outlet,
Wine and Spirit
Merchants. 1961, 5 - 15
Miller Street, R W Cairns
Ltd, Wine Merchants.
Q. 48 Miller Street
1820, Offices of J & A
Sandeman, Sugar Brokers;
William Connal and
Company, Brokers;
Grierson Lockhart and
Company; Manufacturers;
R Anderson, Commission
Merchant. 1860, home to
Stirling’s Library, Librarian
Thomas Mason. 1920,
Offices and Works of
Sands and Graham Ltd,
Button Manufacturers
and Factors, makers of
Leader and Gem Buttons
and covering machines.
1977, Wholesale
Warehouse of William
McReadie. Miller Street is
named after Robert
Miller, Maltman, who in
the 1760’s, built 24
identical mansions on his
lands, 12 on either side
of the street. Number 42
remains with the date
1775 on its Apex.
The ‘Smoke’ Room
S. 194 Ingram Street
1796, the Assembly
Rooms, opened at a cost
of £4,800. The Robert
Adam Building was
funded by a subscription
of £20 shares. 1847, it
became the Athenaeum,
opened by Charles
Dickens. 1889, the
building was removed to
make way for the Post
Office Buildings, the
centrepiece being
re-erected as the
MacLennan Arch on
Glasgow Green. 2002,
the building is converted
to apartments and
Royal Exchange Square c.1880
Winston Churchill
Turning right onto Queen
Street, a short walk brings
you to George Square,
originally laid out as a
residential square.
26. George Sq
T. 205 Ingram Street
W. 73 Queen Street
1886, Miss Cranton’s
second Tea Room opened
and operated at this
address. The famous
commissioning of C R
Mackintosh came in
1900. 1920, the Tea
Rooms stretched from
205 - 217 Ingram Street.
The proprietress was
Miss Drummond. 1940,
Cooper’s Tea Room
operated from this
address, then 205 - 209
Ingram Street.
1778, the Town House of
William Cunninghame of
Lainshaw. One of
Glasgow’s 4 young men,
was constructed at a
reputed cost of £10,000.
Cunninghame was a
Merchant who made and
lost his fortune with the
expansion (after the
Colonial Wars) of the
Tobacco Trade with
America. 1789, the
whole building passed
into the possession of
William Stirling and Sons
on the 3rd of November.
1817 the Royal Bank of
Scotland bought the
building and added an
ornamental staircase on
the east making the first
floor the entrance level.
1827 sold to the
Committee for forming a
new exchange. The
building was extended to
the west with the Portico
being added to the east.
1880 Edison Telephone
Company set up in
Exchange. 1915 Stuart
Cranston opens a
restaurant in the
basement. 1949 Council
buys the Exchange back
from Shareholders for
£105,000 as a home for
the Stirlings Library
(named after Walter
Humphry Stirling who
died in 1791, leaving
804 books and £1,000
for the upkeep and the
constant existence of a
Public Library for the
citizens and inhabitants of
Glasgow...). 1994 Library
moves to Miller Street
but returned in 2002.
1851, the shop of
William Lang,
Confectioner, Tea and
Wine Merchant. 1920,
Lang’s Confectionary
Shop. It’s stylish 1930’s
art deco frontage still
surviving. A second shop
selling wines and spirits
operated from 79 Queen
Street. 1962, Lang’s Ltd,
this Self-Service
Restaurant was the first
of its kind in Glasgow.
It operated an honour
system of payment,
wherein you declared
what you had eaten and
paid at the end of the
meal. Prior to 1766,
Queen Street was known
as the Cow Loan. The
Town Herdsmen would
drive the cattle along
Trongate and turn up
Cow Loan on their way
to the grazing land,
known today as
U. 224 Ingram Street
1818, Mr William Angus,
the author of a number
of school books ran his
school from this address.
The building was a little
dark, self-contained
house of 2 storeys. 1839,
Both Angus’ School and
the neighbouring Gaelic
Church were removed to
make way for the British
Linen Bank, as designed by
David Hamilton. 1969, the
bank was demolished to
make way for the present
office development.
25. GOMA
At the end of Ingram
Street can be seen the
Gallery of Modern Art
(situated on Queen Street),
built originally as a Tobacco
Lords mansion house. The
house was built so that
Ingram Street would end
at the front door.
Merchants House stands
on the north west corner
of George Square and is
the home to the oldest
Chamber of Commerce in
the World (founded in
The north side of the
square is dominated by
the Millennium Hotel, all
that remains of the
Georgian Terraces (built
1807-18). The Churchill
suite and Hopkins Suite
(Hopkins was the
Secretary of Commerce
and Special Advisor to
President Roosevelt)
commemorate the famous
meeting between these
two men, in the hotel,
which resulted in the
agreement that the USA
would become directly
involved in WWII.
27. City Chambers
Encompassing the entire
east side of the square is
the magnificent City
Chambers, regarded as one
of the finest civic buildings
in Britain.
Furher up towards Argyle
Street is another plaque at:
X. 48 Queen Street.
1802, office and works
of Robert & James
McNair, Sugar Merchants
and refiners. 1941,
46 - 50 Queen Street,
office of Wiggins, Teape
and Alex Pirie (Sales) Ltd,
Papermakers. They occupy
the first floor. 1962,
offices’ of the Standard
Bullion Company and
Werner, Jewellery and
Bullion Merchants.
City Chambers
The Last Supper by Peter Howson
AA. 31 John Street
1812, Workshop of James
Bogie, Tallow Chandler.
1851, office and shop of
Robert Oliphant, Printer
and Stationery. 1883,
removed for development
of City Chambers to the
designs of William
Design by Cactus www.cactushq.com
Text by Judith Bowers, Britannia Music Hall Trust.
www.britanniapanopticon.com tel: 0141 553 0840
Y. 107 George Street
1835, William
Motherwell, Poet, died of
Apoplexy. Found dead on
a Sunday morning, the
previous afternoon. He
had been one of a gay
party and apparently, in
the enjoyment of perfect
29. Hutcheson’s
Z. 151 George Street
30. The Star Inn
c.1820, formerly 183, the
house of Stephen Miller,
who was the wonderful
wean of the Poem of that
name, by his father,
William Miller, author of
the famous Wee Willie
Winkie. 1851, House of
Thomas Wylde of the
manufacturing firm Roger
Wylde and Son. 1957,
John Player and one office
development for their
branch of the Imperial
Tobacco Company.
28. John Street
John Street takes us
through the middle of the
City Chambers and back to
Ingram Street. John Street
derives it’s name from
the number of Georgian
notables who had the
Christian name John.
The John’s of John Street
On the corner of John
Street and Ingram Street
is Hutcheson’s Hospital,
founded in 1639 by two
philanthropic brothers to
give shelter to the destitute
men of Glasgow.
Just beyond Hutcheson’s
Hospital is all that survives
of the old “Star Inn”,
which was licensed to
Henry Hemmings. The
Glasgow character Blind
Alick once wrote of this
establishment, “And first
they gave me brandy, and
then they gave me gin,
here’s long life to the
worthy waiters of Mr
Hemmings’ Hotel and Inn.”
And so dear reader,
that brings us to the
end, so here’s long life
to you, or as they say
in Glasgow, “Lang
may your Lum reek”.
Translation “Long
may you have enough
money to pay for coal
for your fire”.
Also, thanks to Ross Hunter and John Martina
Graven Images; Peter Howson and John Mullin;
Third Step; Steve Hosie and Jane Baker DRS
Glasgow City Council; Barbara Keenan CLS
Glasgow City Council.
©2005 Glasgow City Council (Museums)
©2005 Glasgow City Council (Achives and Special
©2005 Glasgow City Council (Development &
Regeneration Services)
© The Third Step Gallery

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