History of Glasgow district crosses

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History of Glasgow district crosses

Postby ant » Sat Oct 09, 2004 5:48 pm

I was wondering if anyone knows the history of the "Crosses" in several Glasgow districts.
Why do some areas have them; Govan, Partick, Shawlands, Parkhead, Gorbals etc and other areas don't?
Why are some named after the district and others seem to have no connection with the area: Charing, Queen's, Saracen, King's & St Georges?
It would also be interesting if anyone had any old/new pictures to see how they have fared over the last 40 years.
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Postby Schiehallion » Sun Oct 10, 2004 11:17 am

Then there are the lesser mentioned ones such as Victoria Cross in Victoria Road and St Andrew's Cross which is Eglinton Toll.

I'd imagine they only appear in certain areas as they will occur only where main routes historically crossed.
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Postby red_kola » Sun Oct 10, 2004 10:17 pm

Schiehallion wrote:Then there are the lesser mentioned ones such as Victoria Cross in Victoria Road and St Andrew's Cross which is Eglinton Toll.


I always figured that St. Andrews Cross was so-called because of the shape of the junction. It is like a saltire, not a 'traditional' cross. That said, I have only ever seen it called St. Andrews Cross on street maps. Everyone I know calls it Eglinton Toll.

There is a statue of George slaying the Dragon at St. Georges Cross (I believe it was more prominently sited before this area was destroyed by the M8_)*. Chicken and Egg, however. I don't if it's because the area was already called St George's Cross or the reason why it was so named...

(* Edit: Don't close parenthesis after "M8" :D )
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Postby Apollo » Mon Oct 11, 2004 12:04 am

No evidence for this, but I would suspect that Cross might have been awarded in Ye Olden Days, when there were far fewer roads, and therefore cross roads. They would have been more important then and have been a convenient and well known place to have meeting, markets and the like.
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Postby Schiehallion » Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:09 pm

red_kola wrote:
Schiehallion wrote:Then there are the lesser mentioned ones such as Victoria Cross in Victoria Road and St Andrew's Cross which is Eglinton Toll.


I always figured that St. Andrews Cross was so-called because of the shape of the junction. It is like a saltire, not a 'traditional' cross. That said, I have only ever seen it called St. Andrews Cross on street maps. Everyone I know calls it Eglinton Toll.
(* Edit: Don't close parenthesis after "M8" :D )


It's not just on street maps - you'll see St Andrew's Cross written around the tenement above the covered tram stop.

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Postby ant » Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:34 pm

I've never noticed the lettering on this building. "Is St Andrews X still on it?"
The reason given why this cross is so named does sound plausible, but what about the other crosses: Why are they so named. I did think it had something to do with each district in the past being separate villages with their own individual X, but that doesn't explain why Maryhill used to have a burgh hall but no X.
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Postby Schiehallion » Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:46 pm

Aye the lettering is still there - Victoria Cross is also still on the tenement in Victoria Road.

I still think it's not how big/wee or independent a settlement is that determines whether it has a cross. It is to do with the merging/crossing of main arterial routes. If a village had no meeting of major routes then it had a main street but no cross.

Shawlands Cross is a perfect example where the once major route south from Glasgow Cross, which ran through the next biggest village, Gorbals before heading out towards the ancient lands of Nether Pollok (Pollokshaws Rd) is crossed at Shawlands by the main route heading west from Rutherglen which avoided the marshy boggy lands south of the Clyde, a road so old and important that the battle of Langside was fought on it (Langside Road.) It just so happens that Shawlands is the place where they happen to cross, so Shawlands (an area named only from a significant house) gets a cross while proper villages like Pollokshaws, Langside and Cathcart don't.
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Postby Ronnie » Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:39 pm

ant wrote:I've never noticed the lettering on this building. "Is St Andrews X still on it?"
The reason given why this cross is so named does sound plausible, but what about the other crosses: Why are they so named. I did think it had something to do with each district in the past being separate villages with their own individual X, but that doesn't explain why Maryhill used to have a burgh hall but no X.


Maryhill *did* have a cross.
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Postby ant » Tue Oct 12, 2004 5:05 pm

Where was Maryhill X? I have never heard of this before.
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Postby Ronnie » Tue Oct 12, 2004 8:19 pm

ant wrote:Where was Maryhill X? I have never heard of this before.


Top of Skaethorn Road, which used to align with Fingal Street.

Don't forget Victoria Cross on Byres Road, and the one nearby where Gardner Street and Muirpark Street intersect, both inscribed on the buildings. Neither of these involved two arterial roads crossing, or the locations of markets.

Apollo: not sure about crosses being "awarded".

red_kola: what was that about St George and the chicken?
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Postby Schiehallion » Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:31 pm

Ronnie wrote:Don't forget Victoria Cross on Byres Road, and the one nearby where Gardner Street and Muirpark Street intersect, both inscribed on the buildings. Neither of these involved two arterial roads crossing, or the locations of markets.


The roads may not be arterial now but they may lie on previously important tracks which linked churches, wells or vantage points. As mentioned earlier, Langside Road is quite a run of the mill road now but was once a very important route.
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Postby Apollo » Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:38 am

Ronnie wrote:Apollo: not sure about crosses being "awarded".

Just a word that came to mind, as old and crusty (sorry, not a hint :) ) as Glasgow Council may be, I didn't think the normal process of assigning street names would have applied all them hundreds of years ago I'm thinking of when there were only a few major arteries crossing.

My thought that was that the names/definitions would have come about through common usage, and stuck to the present day.
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Postby ant » Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:14 am

If most of these districts were at one time outside the Glasgow city boundary, would not the individual burghs/villages have had more of a say in street names,tolls, crosses etc. A secondary point when the city expanded and "engulfed" these areas, were they offered some kind of financial incentive/compensation to give up their autonomy. I'm just thinking about present day politics and how areas such as Bearsden, Eastwood etc have made it clear they have no desire to be "swallowed up" by the city. What made the difference in the past?
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Postby sou-wester » Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:41 pm

If you look at the oldest cross in Glasgow, which is Glasgow Cross, where the toll booth is, then it appears to have been simply where the main throroughfares met. Glasgow until pretty much the mid 18th century was 2 main streets; the high street and the trongate.

Smaller areas tend to mimic larger centres, so the older crosses in modern day Glasgow will be probably be the main routes around which these areas began. Especially in the cases of places like Partick and Govan which were still villages of there own as late as 1912 (Partick).

The expansion of Glasgow's boundries in the 19th century would have meant many districts started as their own wee crosses before they were swallowed up by the overpopulated city. An interesting point was raised about how the outlying areas would have felt about being engulfed. As Glasgow was proudly seen as the second city of the empire and economically booming in the 19th C many were probably proud to be integrated.

I think newer crosses, from the 1800 onwards were probably just because the developers felt the name added some grandoise to the new streets.
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Postby ant » Wed Oct 13, 2004 2:15 pm

I can agree that Charing, Queens, Victoria King's and Albert X sound a bit more "upmarket" than some obvious alternatives.
"Govanhill X doesn't have the same ring to it."
A property developer even in the 19th century would probably like his development to be associated with royalty or have some kind of upper/middle class pretensions, also I assume it would be fashionable to have some kind of link to London place names.
Where did Saracen come from? Why not Possil/park X.
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