Category: Alexander “Greek” Thomson (page 1 of 3)

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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One Moray Place

This is the first in a series looking at the history of a particular property in Strathbungo and its former residents, and illustrating how the database and other resources can be used to trace the history of a house. Where else to start than the first house in Strathbungo, and the one occupied by Alexander “Greek” Thomson himself – One Moray Place.

See the property record for One Moray Place on BygoneBungo.

There are many excellent biographies of Thomson, including one on Bygone Bungo, so this account of him is brief, looking at his origins, and his family, as well as those who followed him in the property.

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The birth of the Strathbungo Society

Fifty years ago, Strathbungo was under threat of demolition as part of Glasgow’s then fascination with urban motorways. At the same time the idea of conservation was gaining ground, with the Civic Amenities Act of 1967 enabling new “Conservation Areas” to protect the historic environment. The tide was begining to turn.

In Strathbungo, the area was in chronic decline but the local community was buoyed by several developments. Several buildings had been listed, including 1-10 Moray Place in 1966, and many of the other sandstone terraces in 1970. Lord Esher published his 1971 report “Conservation in Glasgow”, recommending this “gem” of a neighbourhood should be protected . There was increasing recognition of Alexander Thomson’s work, with 1-10 Moray Place being described as “with little question the finest of all nineteenth-century terraces” (Henry-Russell Hitchcock).

A group of local residents set about doing something to save Strathbungo, and proposed an “Amenity Society for Moray Park and Regent’s Park”.

Their press release and proposal are reproduced below. They placed adverts were placed in the papers, and leafleted the residents of Strathbungo from Nithsdale Road to Titwood Road, inviting to a meeting on 6th December 1971 at Camphill Queen’s Park Church (now the Baptist Church).

The first meeting

Approximately eighty people turned up, and the meeting was chaired by Bob Angus of 16 Moray Place. Mrs Jarvis, representing the Scottish Civic Trust, explained the nature of Amenity Societies and Conservation Areas, and then introduced Peter Bradford’s BAFTA nominated film “A Future for the Past” . Sadly I cannot locate a copy.

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