Tenement Life

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Tenement Life

Postby Mori » Sun Jun 04, 2006 11:30 am

I came across this little artefact i aquired quite some time go, i found it in my attic the other day and have decided to post it up as a starter to a subject on tenement life in Glasgow.

I was born in a ground floor tenement in bridgton (Greenhead Street) i have fond memories of that place with Glasgow green accross the road and richmond park just along the rd... but of my best memories was playing in the back yard climbing the bin sheds and drainpaipes with the local kids and racing bogeys(Home made go-carts) through one close to another.

My parents moved to a teraced house in the 60s but i always went back to my previous house as it had so many great memories

Who has memories of their tenemental life and that have moved on to terraces later in life. :)

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Postby Toby Dammit » Sun Jun 04, 2006 11:59 am

I see you're tenement has been through the wars a bit Mori. Maybe it's a Clydebank tenement? There were still plenty around like that until the late 1980's when they started to be pulled down.

Before we moved to a council flat, I spent the first couple of years of my life in one just like it on Dumbarton Road, Dalmuir. The end had been torn off by a Gerry bomb in the Blitz, with 1942 wallpaper and fireplaces still hanging out into the street. It even had a dairy, the "Kippin Dairy" at the foot of the stairs, and at the other corner, Patterson's newsagent.

I'm sure there was a pub in the same block, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was called now.

My mum's sisters family (all 6 of 'em) lived on the landing below, and stayed there well into the 1970's, so I have clear memories of the building from almost daily visits to them (pub excepted). The entire building is gone now. Used to be where there is now a big shelter with a metal cat stalking a bird on top.
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Postby Tamandee » Sun Jun 04, 2006 2:36 pm

I was brought up in a tenement in Maryhill (Burnhouse Street). Our house was on the ground floor and with the block being on a hill the toilet was down dark stairs in a dark cubby hole opposite the coal shed. I hated that bit. It was always cold. We too climbed the midgys. In the summer it was blazing hot but bitterly cold in the winter. But always smelling of fire ash and vegetable peelings. Under our house was the wash house which, looking back, was a bit odd as the steamie was literally across the road. At the bottom of the street there was a chip shop, and next to that a sweetie shop which sold bundles of sticks for the fire, shoe polish, string, sachets of shampoo, brushesand loads of other stuff all in wee boxes stacked up behind the counter. The floor was dusty bare planks and the counter was wooden too. He had the penny trays which, on reflection, I think were tin biscuit boxes and had glass lids so you could see but not touch. Possibly the only concession to hygiene at that time. I speak from experience as at the age of seven I got food poisoning.

Next to that was a Coopers (I think it was Coopers) and round the corner a butcher and dairy. The Coopers was brilliant, there were large blocks of butter on wooden counter. Your bit was taken off with wooden paddles and then shaped into blocks. It was then wrapped in greaseproof paper. The tea was sold loose too as was the coffee. There was a box in the corner where you paid the cashier. The floor was bare wood. Fabulous!

If we weren't playing in the back court we spent our time wandering the nolly. The Maryhill locks were not too far. I loved the swimming pool which was part of the steamie. There was a public baths too where I was sent once a week with my wee sachet of shampoo to have a bath and wash my hair.

On coming out of the swimming pool we'd go across the road to the chip shop for a poke of chips with a chip onion. Burning hot, straight from the fryer. Bliss!

The above was in the late fifties, early sixties. When I was about twelve my parents got a chance to move to a new house in Cumbernauld and took it. It had an indoor toilet and a bath, a utility room, two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room. Under the house there was a garage. The only thing wrong with it was that it was over three floors. My poor mother managed as best she could. Her arthritis had really started to get bad then and it must have been torture trying to keep that place clean. There was loads of space but no back courts, no nolly, no swimming pool and the shop was disappointingly modern. Oh well, such is progress. I moved out of Cumbernauld as soon as I was able and I don't want to live there again.

Sorry to drone on. Next!
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Postby Dexter St. Clair » Sun Jun 04, 2006 5:18 pm

Next to that was a Coopers (I think it was Coopers) and round the corner a butcher and dairy. The Coopers was brilliant, there were large blocks of butter on wooden counter. Your bit was taken off with wooden paddles and then shaped into blocks. It was then wrapped in greaseproof paper. The floor was bare wood. Fabulous!


Butter came in wooden Casks or if 56lb boxes. Fresh and unsalted. The Irish Dairy Board came up with the brilliant idea of a nationally advertised single brand, Kerrygold probably taking it from Denmark and Lurpak. However sales dropped dramatically in the Calton branch of Curley's when they decided to sell it in pre wrapped half pound portions. The well designed label was not enough to overcome the suspicions of regular shoppers who still preferred coin to notes. I was then given the task of unwrapping the portions of butter, stacking them in a cube shape and smoothing out the gaps and joins between the slabs of butter using the wooden paddles.

After a week of me wasting my time in the back shop we just broke the news that the auld country had stopped making it 56lb slabs.
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Postby Toby Dammit » Sun Jun 04, 2006 10:14 pm

Tamandee wrote:At the bottom of the street there was a chip shop, and next to that a sweetie shop which sold bundles of sticks for the fire, shoe polish, string, sachets of shampoo, brushesand loads of other stuff all in wee boxes stacked up behind the counter.


We had one of them as well, I still remember the bundles of sticks wrapped together with a strand of metal wire, and the pallavar of getting 'em lit on freezing mornings, with a sheet of newspaper held up in front of the fire while you stood there chitterin'.

"Masie's" it was called. If I could wish to see a photograph of the inside of any shop on the planet ever, with the sisters who ran it, it would be that one.

Spoke to my mum earlier, and she said the pub was Mackintosh's, which is still going in that name but in a slightly different location. It got so shite, even my brother in law, who was a hardcore regular stopped going. The nearby "Horse and Barge", a romantic name for what's basically a glass in the face dump, used to be the classy "Ace of Clubs" in the sixties and seventies.

I'm sure the Kippin Dairy used to have a big set of scales on which all the local babies were weighed for free, to see how they were doing. Certainly, I remember this happening to my baby sister, not 100% sure it was in the Dairy though.
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Re: Tenement Life

Postby Jupiter-Returns » Sun Jun 04, 2006 10:32 pm

Mori wrote:I came across this little artefact i aquired quite some time go, i found it in my attic the other day and have decided to post it up as a starter to a subject on tenement life in Glasgow.

I was born in a ground floor tenement in bridgton (Greenhead Street) i have fond memories of that place with Glasgow green accross the road and richmond park just along the rd... but of my best memories was playing in the back yard climbing the bin sheds and drainpaipes with the local kids and
racing bogeys
(Home made go-carts) through one close to another.

My parents moved to a teraced house in the 60s but i always went back to my previous house as it had so many great memories

Who has memories of their tenemental life and that have moved on to terraces later in life. :)

Image


Heh, heh, the ol Bogeys - oor wullie style. Rope, pram wheels...they were the days...they were the days...
"Ma kin ah dae a jobby?" Jobbies, jobbies are funny a bit.
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Postby Mori » Sun Jun 04, 2006 11:45 pm

Aye the Old bogeys were the playstation pastime of my day, kids dont know what they are missing these days, skined knees by god , i kept my tin of Elastoplasts with me at all times :).

These bogeys are quite advanced by my standards, we had an wooden orange box for the seat 2 large pram wheeels at the back and 2 small wheels at the front on a plank for the chasis and a rope for the steering. :wink:

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Postby riot grrl » Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:15 pm

I don't really remember our old place, I was too young. We had a ground floor 'room and kitchen', and no bath, but I don't think my mum ever really settled after we had to leave it behind and go and live on a housing scheme.

I used to visit my cousins in the Gorbals and they still lived in an old tenement due for demolition. It was completely different to life on a housing scheme, and I loved going up there to play and to hang around.

I remember my brother taking me to the site of our old place in Pollokshaws and we were walking around this site that had been cleared of all the rubble, and him telling me, our house was here, this was where we used to play out the back. I remember there was a sandshoe lying on the ground in what was left of the debris.

My sister would sometimes drag me back to Pollokshaws on the bus, but I wasn't allowed to tell anyone we'd been, and my mum liked to go shopping up at Shawlands Cross. I've heard (and witnessed) that a lot, people going back to their old areas all the time, like they never really left.

As for bogeys, my brother told me he stole a pram to make a bogey and he chucked the baby in a dustbin. :twisted: Of course he was talking complete shite, but at the time I believed him. I told my pal and she said that it was a good idea to steal a pram but she thought that putting the baby in the midden wasn't very nice. ::):
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Old tenements

Postby mairead » Tue Jun 27, 2006 4:38 pm

Tamandee,
All the places you spoke of brought back many memories. I was born around the corner from you in Balfour Street and remember well the chippy, Carsons wee shop and the 'baths' etc. I left there in the 50's but it will always have a place in my heart.
I think too that with the demise of the tenements Glasgow lost a bit of it's culture. Each tenement was a village on it's own and full of warm Glasgow folks. There was always a 'mammy' about who would help if you fell and skint your knees and your own mammy was elsewhere, like the steamie. Those were the days my friend.
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Postby Tamandee » Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:11 am

Mairead
My parents lived in Balfour Street before they moved round the corner into Burnhouse Street. That was before I was born. My brother also lived in Balfour Street after he got married but that was in the 60s. Can you remember the name of the shop on the corner of Gairbraid Avenue and Burnhouse Street? I thought it might have been Coopers but then again it might have been Galbraiths. Or something totally different. Carsons. That would be Fred's, yes? The sold everything shop? I remember the name but didn't put the two together.
Do you remember the sweetie shop opposite the end of the baths on Gairbraid Avenue? They used to have a display of a pile of sweeties on doilies on (I think) cake stands. The only ones I can remember are Jaap (Japp?) Desserts. I think it may have been a fruit and veg shop as well but the sweetie window was more interesting.
Happy days. Only wish the memories were a little clearer.
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tenements

Postby mairead » Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:14 pm

Tamandee,
I think you must mean Sibbalds. They sold sweets and things on one side of the shop and fruit and veg on the other. Also I remember Dobbie's the butcher, and Mary Whitelaw's wee grocery shop which was on Burnhouse St at the top end of Balfour St., MacNeilly the newsagent was at the bottom of Balfour st and a wee dairy was opposite that. My gawd but you've got my brain working overtime here Tamandee. :D
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Postby Mori » Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:54 pm

Midgy bins and back yard.

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Postby Sharon » Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:59 pm

The bins out the back of mine look not unlike that. Utterly manky. In fact i should complain really....
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Postby glasgowken » Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:50 pm

Could be worse, the family upstairs from us used to throw their rubbish out the window.
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Re: tenements

Postby Tamandee » Thu Jun 29, 2006 7:18 am

mairead wrote:Tamandee,
I think you must mean Sibbalds. They sold sweets and things on one side of the shop and fruit and veg on the other. Also I remember Dobbie's the butcher, and Mary Whitelaw's wee grocery shop which was on Burnhouse St at the top end of Balfour St., MacNeilly the newsagent was at the bottom of Balfour st and a wee dairy was opposite that. My gawd but you've got my brain working overtime here Tamandee. :D

Wow Mairead! What a memory. I remember Sibbalds but don't remember the butchers' being Dobbie's nor Mary Whitelaw but do remember where the shops were. I vividly remember the green pool at the back of Coopers (?) and the butchers' shop. Winter and summer it was there. Don't want to think why it was green but a lot of back courts had them.
On another track I used to love Saturdays as the church quite often had a wedding and there would be a scramble. I could see the church from the bedroom window and into the minister's garden which was surrounded by trees. Only now realising how unusual a garden was in amongst the tenements at that time.
The nolly was a favourite haunt. I loved walking along it towards Temple and down Lovers' Loan. There were masses of wild flowers growing in the summer. I suppose there still are. An unpleasant memory is of the pigs squealing at the piggery across the canal.
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