Clydebank Past & Present.

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Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby HollowHorn » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:20 pm

A Journey up Kilbowie Road

From Dumbarton Rd. Looking North, Undated:
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1913:
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Circa 1943:
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June 2008:
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Canal Bridge (undated):
(I was saved from drowning at this spot by two old ladies sometime around 1959, eight lives left.)
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June 2006:
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Kilbowie Rd. (just past the canal bridge, looking North, undated)
Postcard view of Kilbowie Road showing, in the middle distance (right of centre), one of the two turrets of the old Palace Theatre on the corner of Graham Street.
The theatre building began life in 1905 as a restaurant, when H McGregor opened dining rooms and a "first-class commercial restaurant" in Graham Street. The dining hall, which could accommodate up to 1,000 patrons for wedding receptions, soirees and conversaziones and other events, was said at the time to be the largest and most up-to-date dining hall in Scotland.
A few years after opening, the building was converted for use as an American Roller Skating Rink. There was another change of use in 1913, when it became a variety theatre called Cinem Varieties. The popularity of the theatre can perhaps be illustrated in the following ditty: Clydebank has a little hall, Cinem is its name. Every week do thousands call, For such is now its fame.
In December 1915 the theatre was renamed the Palace. It subsequently became the Palace Cinema, which was badly damaged in the Clydebank Blitz and never re-opened.

Just south of the Picture House there was a café where we ‘Mods’ would gather, all smart blazers, stay press trousers & silk cravats. At that time there was a bloody rivalry between the Clydebank ‘Bundy‘ & the ‘Derry’ from Drumchapel, nothing to do with us of course, we were a peaceful lot. One evening as some of us were standing outside having a smoke & a laugh, a bus pulled up opposite the café and a dozen or so ‘Derry’ boys poured off it and came sprinting in our direction screaming bloody murder, being much younger than our assailants we scattered in all directions. I headed for the road with two eejits hot on my heels. I turned right and flew uphill towards home. In hindsight not the best decision I‘ve ever made. Just where you can see the tram there was a giant moron swinging a large knife with the obvious intention of removing my head from my shoulders. I ran straight at him, feinted left then right and got passed him, the blade missing my napper by inches. I never knew I could run so fast, fortunately I was built for speed. They kept up the chase for a while & eventually gave up as the distance between us increased. Seven lives left.
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June 2008:
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Middle of Kilbowie Rd. Looking North. 1930's
(The Billiard Hall to the right was used as an Air Raid Shelter during the Blitz of March 1941. I spent many a Saturday morning down there in the late ‘60s)
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June 2008:
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Middle of Kilbowie Rd. Looking North. 1930's:
The Bannerman Place tenements to the right contained the New Kinema picture house and the popular Singer Cafe. The former, known locally as the "Kinch" or the "Bug House", opened in 1914. The main entrance was on Kilbowie Road, although there was also access from Bannerman Street. In the 1930s, the New Kinema was upgraded in the 1930s to enable "talkies" to be shown there, but it had fallen into diuse by the late 1940s.
The Singer Cafe was owned by the Tedeschi family, which also owned the Regal Cafe at the foot of Kilbowie Road.

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Singer's Station & Factory from Kilbowie Rd. (undated)
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June 2008:
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Singer Factory/Business Park
Isaac Singer, an American of East European extraction,
built his first sewing machine in 1850. It was patented in 1851
and was immediatelya success. Factories were set up in America
and in 1856, to satisfy the market in Europe, a factory was
established in Glasgow.
The Glasgow factory couldn’t keep up with the demand
so Singer decided to set up in Clydebank. Building started in
1882 with Robert McAlpine and Co. as the builder and was
completed in 1885.
The famous Singer clock, which was 190 feet high was installed
the following year. The clock face was later increased in diameter
to 26 feet making it the biggest in Britain and the second biggest
in the world.
By 1900 the factory was making 13,000 sewing machines a week.
t its peak in 1913 Singer employed 14,000 people.

After the Second World War, Singer steadily declined as the
competition increased and it eventually closed in 1980.
The famous Singer clock was demolished in 1963 during a
modernisation programme.
With the closure of Singer and the decline of shipbuilding,
Clydebank witnessed high unemployment. In 1980 a Task Force
was set up by the Scottish Development Agency to look at
regeneration. In August 1981, Clydebank was declared Scotland’s
first Enterprise Zone. The SDA bought the Singer site and set up Clydebank Business Park.
Radio Clyde was one of the first businesses to locate there.

Top of Kilbowie Rd. Looking North. Circa 1912:
Prior to the Clydebank Blitz in 1941, the Kilbowie Hill area was considered to be a shopper's paradise, boasting around 100 shops including sixteen grocers, fifteen confectioners, eleven dairies, ten newsagents, two posts offices and a bank. The red sandstone tenements on the left were an impressive sight, once stretching in an almost unbroken line to the top of the Hill. Sadly, with the exception of one incomplete tenement at the corner of Kilbowie Hill and Radnor Street, these tenements were totally destroyed during the Blitz.
On the right are some of the small cottages (including the Kilmeny Cottages) that were built on Kilbowie Road from the late 1890s.

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June 2008:
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Top of Kilbowie Rd. Looking South (undated)
The tall red sandstone tenements on the right of picture stretched from Radnor Street to Second Avenue. All except for a rump at the entrance to Radnor Street (right foreground) were destroyed in the Clydebank Blitz in March 1941.
As a schoolboy, I stood near this spot to watch the Queen pass by on her way to launch the QE2.
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June 2008:
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Last edited by HollowHorn on Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby HollowHorn » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:23 pm

Part two:
Along Glasgow Rd, heading west to Kilbowie Rd.

Atlas Cottages, undated:
(South of Glasgow Rd.) looking west from Clyde Street, across the junction with Cunard Street (right). The Clydebank Shipyard in the far distance.
The Atlas Cottages were built in Atlas Street in 1904 for foremen employed at the Clydebank Shipyard, and take their name from John Brown & Co's Atlas Works in Sheffield.
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June 2008:
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To the left of the Cottages (outside photo) stands the booking hall of the old Riverside Station which was part of the Caledonian Line:
Clydebank Riverside Station, undated:
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Thomson brought their workers down from Glasgow daily by boat until 1882 when the Glasgow – Yoker – Clydebank railway was opened. Initially this terminated to the east of the shipyard but when the “Cart Cut” of the Forth and Clyde canal closed in 1893 it presented an opportunity to extend the rail link to Dalmuir. The extension opened in 1896, the station building having been designed by Sir J J Burnet. The line was closed in the Beeching cuts of 1964. The building is now residential housing.

June 2008:
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Postcard view of the Empire Cafe, early 20th century (behind the advertisement hoarding) at the corner of Glasgow Road and Canal Street:
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In 1901, the Simeone family opened its first cafe at 429 Glasgow Road near Yoker Athletic's football ground. Their second was the Empire, which was opened at 147 Glasgow Road in 1910. The cafe was located in a wooden building that had been the Clydebank Co-operative Society's smiddy, built on ground rented from the London & North Eastern Railway Co. The wooden building was replaced with a more substantial brick building in the 1920s. The cafe was demolished in the late 1970s during the widening of Glasgow Road.

June 2008:
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John Brown's main gate on Glasgow Rd. Undated:
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Started by J & G Thomson in 1871, businessbuilt up steadily,
employing 2,000 by 1880. However it ran into financial problems
and in 1899 was taken over by the Sheffield steelmaker
John Brown and Company. The shipyard prospered under the
new management and in 1907 it launched the Lusitania, which at
that time was the largest ship ever built. As well as building
ocean-going liners it also built warships including HMS Hood,
launched in 1918.
The prosperity lasted 20 years but following the Great War
the yard went into decline. The gloom was lifted with the order
for the Queen Mary, launched in September 1934. The
Queen Elizabeth, followed in September 1938.
The last great ship under the John Brown name was the QE2,
aunched in September 1967. In 1968 John Brown & Co.
became part of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders. It was bought by
Marathon, an American oilrig firm, in 1972 and by UIE in 1980
but went into decline and closed for the last time in 2002,
by this time as part of the Kvaerner Group.
The yard is now demolished:
June 2008:
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Co-op offices to the north of Glasgow Rd. Undated:
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This building on Hume Street, built in 1903, contained the offices and meeting hall of the large Co-op store (built in 1917) that still operates on Alexander Street to this day. The street of my early childhood.

June 2008:
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Glasgow Rd. 1940's:
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The first opening on the left is Wallace Street. In 1940, the properties at Nos 2 and 4 Wallace Street were demolished to make way for a Woolworth store. It was referred to by the locals as the "sixpenny store" since, when it was first opened, no item cost more than sixpence. It is now a Snooker Club.

June 2008:
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Glasgow Rd. 1958:
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June 2008:
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Fire appliances at Hall Street Fire Station on VE Day, 8 May 1945:
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Hall St. is just to the west of Kilbowie Rd. (Clydebank Cross) where Glasgow Rd. becomes Dumbarton Rd. Fire appliances at Hall Street Fire Station on VE Day, 8 May 1945. The building to the left of the fire station housed Hall Street Swimming Baths, and one of several entrances to the Clydebank Shipyard is on the far left.

Clydebank Fire Service started in 1887 with premises in Whitecrook.
It moved to Hume Street in 1897 and then to the Hall Street
building in 1904. A full time firemaster was appointed in 1907.
It remained in Hall Street until the present fire station in Kilbowie Road
was opened in 1962.

June 2008:
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Last edited by HollowHorn on Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby HollowHorn » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:26 pm

All available from Clydebank Library. They also have oodles of photographic albums & microfilms of the local papers. The staff are wonderful too.
These items are also available online.

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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby red_kola » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:37 pm

Cracking stuff (as ever) :D Around the world but? ::):
Destroy All Monsters
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby HollowHorn » Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:42 pm

Mods please remove this to the ........err.....whatever thread :D
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby Dugald » Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:56 pm

Great set of pictures here HH. Found the pictures of Kilbowie Rd especially interesting. I use to use the single-deck tram cars on this road and it was always a novelty... the dark shape of a "single-decker" is visible on two of the pictures. All the way from Govan out to Duntocher for a penny!
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby elgee » Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:26 am

Greatpics, HH. The ones of Glasgow Road and Whitecrook St are actualy Glasgow Road and Canal St though. Whitecrook St is a bit further East.
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby tobester » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:42 am

Another cracking thread there HH.
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby HollowHorn » Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:45 pm

elgee wrote:Glasgow Road and Whitecrook St are actualy Glasgow Road and Canal St though. Whitecrook St is a bit further East.

Well spotted Elgee, cheers :wink:
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby Vinegar Tom » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:08 am

Thanks , that was worth recording. Nice one HH
Glasgow ya bas!
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby Toby Dammit » Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:52 pm

Fantastic stuff, HH, though as somebody who grew up in and around Clydebank a bit depressing.
travel, films and stuff https://freakydog.wordpress.com/
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby HollowHorn » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:46 pm

Toby Dammit wrote: as somebody who grew up in and around Clydebank a bit depressing.

Too right, Toby. Dammit!
Next time you are up, pop down to the research room in the Library. They have loads of photo albums from all periods of the town's history, some are photocopies but many are originals that will astound you in the level of detail shown. The staff are very friendly & helpful & there is a nice wee pub across the road that offers some good food & beer if you need a break, it's amazing how time flies when you are lost to another time & place.
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby Ally Doll » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:59 pm

Fascinating HH, great work! Really interesting, and nice to have the personal touch. 8)
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby Socceroo » Sat Jul 05, 2008 9:02 am

Superb posts HH, just found this thread tucked away in Around the World. ::): Maybe we should have a new Section - Glasgow's Satellites.

I find it incredible the total lack of any meaningful investment in Clydebank. It must be one of the few places in Europe which was not properly rebuilt after the damage it suffered during the War.
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Re: Clydebank Past & Present.

Postby The_Clincher » Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:11 pm

Excellent pictures.....good work!!
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