Author: Andrew Downie (page 1 of 20)

The shop at 70 Nithsdale Road

This article is in response to a query from the new owner of the ground floor flat at 68 Nithsdale Road. 68 originally referred to the tenement flats above, and the ground floor flat was historically a shop, No. 70.

Matilda Place

The Old Shiels Road became Nithsdale Road when Pollokshields was developed, but once on the Strathbungo side of the railway, was named Nithsdale Street. A new road was created from Strathbungo Station (which opened in 1877) to Pollokshaws Road, and is now known as Nithsdale Road. In 1877 when newly laid out it was named Matilda Place, as required by the feu document of 1860. The name most likely derived from Sir John Maxwell’s late wife, Matilda Harriet Bruce, daughter of Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, he who misappropriated the Elgin Marbles. Matilda had died in 1857.

The land of Strathbungo was originally bought from Sir John Maxwell by John McIntyre and William Stevenson. McIntyre died in 1872, and the title deeds state that at year’s end 1874 the land on the north side of the new road passed from his estate to his younger brother, Andrew, on condition that a tenement was raised on the site. Andrew McIntyre (1835-1881) was a builder and brickmaker, whose brickworks was in Moss side .

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Theft by Housebreaking

Margaret Robertson appeared in court in August 1881 for the crime of stealing 18 bottles of porter from a cellar in Matilda Place, Strathbungo. As reported in the Glasgow Evening Citizen, she had several previous convictions but she had apparently been straight for several years, had married and had a child. Nonetheless she received nine months imprisonment for her crime .

Newspaper cutting

Glasgow Evening Citizen, 16 August 1881. Credit: BNA

Matilda Place is the tenement on the north side of Nithsdale Road, and given my previous story about Robert Adam the grocer selling beer from the shop in the rotunda (now the New Anand), one might surmise it was his cellar she broke into.

In the 1880s the Police came up with a new technology for keeping track of criminals, the mug shot. Margaret’s picture was taken when in HM Perth and was published by Aberdeenshire Archives for an exhibition in 2019 .

As a reflection on how society treated different classes, James Nicol Fleming, a director of the City of Glasgow Bank, was convicted for “complicity in the notorious bank frauds of 1878”, being found guilty of “falsehood, fraud and wilful imposition, as also fabrication and falsification”. The failure of the bank was catastrophic for Glasgow finance, and ruined many upstanding Glasgow citizens who as shareholders were held wholly liable for the debts, which amounted to £6m (perhaps £500m now). One such shareholder, Jane Fenwick, lived in Moray Place.

According to one account, the directors were recklessly lending to themselves. When the bank collapsed, unlike the other directors of the bank, Fleming did a runner He turned up in Spain and the US before returning to face justice .

Fleming got eight months, less than Robertson. I don’t think 18 bottles of porter and £6m are quite equivalent.

Sepia mughsot of James Nicol Fleming

James Nicol Fleming, a director of the City of Glasgow Bank, convicted of fraud in relation to the collapse of the bank. Credit: Aberdeen Archives

References

1.
Biographies | James Nicol FLEMING (#2728) - The Cobbold Family History Trust [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jun 10]. Available from: https://family-tree.cobboldfht.com/people/view/2728
1.
Mugshots of Scotland’s Victorian criminals to go on show. BBC News [Internet]. 2019 Feb 12 [cited 2022 Jun 9]; Available from: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-47211731
1.
Theft by Housebreaking. Glasgow Evening Citizen [Internet]. 1881 Aug 16 [cited 2022 Jun 9]; Available from: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0001458/18810816/027/0003

13 Moray Place – William Stevenson

11-17 Moray Place was the second terrace constructed along Moray Place, and said to be a poorer imitation of Greek Thomson’s style for the first, though its architect is unknown. It was completed soon after the first terrace however, within a year of 1-10.

No 13 was taken by William Stevenson, the 35 year old quarrymaster of Baird & Stevenson. It was Stevenson, with John McIntyre the builder, who had purchased the land of Strathbungo from Sir John Maxwell and began the development of the area.

The house remained in the Stevenson family for the next 60 years, and this article largely concerns the dynasty built by William Stevenson and his sons.

Many are aware of the two-tone nature of Glasgow’s buildings – blond sandstone in the 19th century, increasingly replaced by red sandstone in the 20th, allowing buildings to be roughly dated before or after the 1890s. However few are aware that, blond or red, the odds were the stone was supplied by the Stevensons. No one person can claim to have made a greater mark on Victorian Glasgow’s architecture and appearance than William Stevenson; Glasgow University, the City Chambers, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and countless others were built from Baird & Stevenson stone. Yet apart from a brief contemporary obituary in the Barrhead Times, virtually nothing has been written about William Stevenson, and he seems completely forgotten. So here is his story.

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