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Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:07 pm
by Julie1212

I'm writing a book about how ordinary people prepared for nuclear war during the Cold War. I've found some great info at The Mitchell, such as using Ibrox and The Kelvin Hall as rallying points in evacuating the city. I've also found draft railway timetables which had trains leaving Queen St and Central every few minutes, round the clock for days, to evacuate people.

But I wanted to ask if anyone here had personal memories of nuclear fear in Glasgow? Did you attend any protests? Was there a siren on top of your school? Did you ever hear it tested and get a fright? Did you play near a nuclear bunker as a child? Did your parents (or you) prop a door against the wall in trying to make a shelter?



Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:47 pm
by octavia
yep remember that time , I recall seeing stickers on pedestrian crossings telling of impending doom all around Glasgow , but staying in east Kilbride ,also there was a great deal of mystery around the n.e.l circa 1982, nuclear bunker built for the elite ,.

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:13 am
by Delmont St Xavier
The Cold War was at its zenith when I was at school in the early 1980’s and the talk was of the ‘5 minute warning’ which was just a farce to begin with. We never saw nuclear bunkers, nor did we focus on such survival issues, as our thoughts were ‘what would we do with the 5 minutes we had left?’ As schoolchildren, with hormones raging we had all decided that we grab the first member of the opposite sex and have sex with them – that was seriously the main focus on our minds at that time of the Cold War.

My issue was what I’d do with the remaining 4 minutes after having sex….. :wink:

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:44 pm
by gent2012
I remember waking up some nights during heavy thunderstorms wondering if the thunder was a "bomb" hitting Glasgow - I think I was an imaginative little soul then!

IIRC, the nearest siren to us was on a building in Bellshill opposite the old George cinema - it was rarely operated, but when you were waiting quietly for a bus home after the Saturday matinee, the wail did encourage many an unplanned underwear change!

Ironically, some years later I lived in the "People's Republic of South Yorkshire", which declared itself both a nuclear-free and a demilitarized zone. Not bad for a county that hosted at least one nuclear bomber base and several other military facilities.

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:52 pm
by War Baby
I was born in 1943, and when I was a boy in the early fifties, Russia, America, and Britain were building up their stocks of Nuclear weapons all the time, and the threat of war seemed to be very real. It seemed to be on the front page of the newspapers nearly every week that yet another Russian test had been detected.

It was always at the back of my mind that war could happen any moment.

I used to have this same queer, really vivid dream, every now and then. I was trying to get away. In the dream, I imagined that one of the main targets would be Glasgow, but if I could just make it to the Campsies, and get over the top I would be safe.

...From the top of the Campsies, I looked back towards Glasgow and saw the bomb go off ... the mushroom cloud billowing up. Sheer terror!!! Heart pounding! I would wake up in a sweat.

As with so many dreams, it didn't make sense. For a start, my parents and sisters weren't in the dream. Secondly, would I have been safe making it just over the top of the Campsies - I doubt it! And thirdly, how did I get there ... I had a bike, but in the dream, I just SOMEHOW made it to the Campsies but wasn't aware of any bike in the dream.

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 11:48 am
by hughie
I remember while a retained fireman back in the early sixties going to lectures on how to prepare for the bomb. One suggestion I seem to recall was to white wash the windows to perhaps deflect the horrendous flash that accompanied the explosion. Now how were we to stop the blast after the flash? 8O

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 11:25 pm
by octavia
nuclear war, remember seeing sticker on traffic lights at pedestrian crossings, around trongate area warning of impending doon , maybe about 1983 ,84

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 12:22 pm
by banjo
I think it did actually happen in that area around those dates.naebody noticed.

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:56 am
by RoryChamberz
octavia wrote:nuclear war, remember seeing sticker on traffic lights at pedestrian crossings, around trongate area warning of impending doon , maybe about 1983 ,84

Same here, around 1984.

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:44 pm
by Cabbage
War Baby wrote: In the dream, I imagined that one of the main targets would be Glasgow...

That was real. Glasgow, being one of the industrial centers of Uk at the time, would have been a prime target along with London and Manchester.

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:14 pm
by Vinegar Tom
Well, Holy Loch would have been the primary target and Central Scotland would have been a glass ashtray.

The "would" "s" in the above are reassuring but the machine is still in place.

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:52 pm
by Cabbage
I lived on the other side of the Iron Curtain at this time. We were taught that the American government aided by the British government puts nuclear missiles on British territory. Not many of the Brits will know about the Greenham Common military base, but I still remember the name as there was a Bulgarian song about the British women who supposedly protest against the missiles there.
We did not take any of it seriously in the 1980s. Naturally, we despised those leftist women percisely because the communist propaganda was praising them.

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:28 pm
by escotregen
An incidental return visit to this board and seeing this post prompts a few comments from me. There are some declassified UK Government papers released several (many?) years ago that are revealing about the Cold War and Glasgow’s prominence as a USSR target for nuclear obliteration. Seems that metro Glasgow was always in the USSR’s top ten priority UK targets. Just released UK Govt papers this week reflect the ludicrous Cold War thinking; for example, there were plans that ‘strong sweet tea’ would be dispensed to the population following a nuclear attack. This was on the basis that there was ‘medical evidence’ that strong sweet tea was a good antidote to shock. This thinking was as perverse and unreal as the idea that Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall would still exist after a nuclear attack as a clearing station. Another revealing source of information is the ‘Secret Bunker’ up in Fife. The sheer scale and sophistication of the complex is instructive on the depth of the secret state and the extent of preparations for a supposedly fightable nuclear war. I actually laughed out loud on reading at an extract from a 1960s edition of the Glasgow Herald displayed in the bunker. In it a University of Glasgow academic opined that Glasgow was well placed to withstand a nuclear attack due to its ‘traditional substantial tenement housing’ – tell that the the victims of the WW2 Blitz on Clydebank, Whiteinch etc.
An almost disappeared aspect of the history of this period was the activities of the Royal Observer Corps (Civil Defence). I know of the existence of at least one small underground bunker within the Glasgow south side. The plan was that this small (usually 2 person) bunkers would be utilised in the aftermath of a nuclear attack to map and report the impact of nuclear attacks and the subsequent zones of radioactive contamination. This was another part of the perverse cold war thinking – the idea that there would be such a thing as ‘radioactive free’ zones in a post nuclear attack UK.
BTW, ‘many Brits’ did know about the USA nuclear presence at Greenham Common. In fact, for many years there was a high profile womens’ protest peace camp outside the perimeter of the camp. I think it’s fair to argue that the British public were more aware of the nuclear facilities in their country that the populations of Eastern Europe under USSR/’communist’ regimes.

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:51 pm
by Cabbage
My girlfriend, born and bred in Glasgow, hasn't heard of Greenham Common and I, who lived in a People's Republic, have.

Of course, we were never told of the Soviet nuclear bases, just of these of the enemy. The impression the commie propaganda wanted to leave was that the enemy is arming while 'we' are not. In fact, it was the other way around, the West began to arm itself as a response to the Soviet menace.

As for the propaganda, it was not working well in the 1980s. We assumed that the truth must be the opposite of what we are told.

Re: Nuclear war in Glasgow

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:58 pm
by escotregen
I recently watched a dated (early 60's?) black and white British 'gangster' film on the talking pictures channel. What fascinated me was how much stuff was relayed in code for 'those in the know' about what was then really going on in society - but that film producers dared not openly portray. One glaring example was what seemed a detailed but unattributable referencing to the now-notorious corrupt Lord Boothby and his organised crime connections and protection (Kray brothers). The film for me was a reminder about just how much 'we' the public were never permitted to be told... even more so, how much are we currently not being permitted to know?