Only on the margins of Strathbungo, but having grown up on the margins of an aircraft factory, I love a bit of aviation trivia. This is the story of the crash, the pilot, the flying school, his plane, and a meander into the beginnings of unpowered flight.
On this day, 25 May, almost 100 years ago, East Pollokshields was witness to a “thrilling” plane crash .
The news even reached Portsmouth. But they couldn’t get the pilot’s name right. Portsmouth Evening News, 25 May 1927. Credit: BNA
On 25 May 1927 Leonard Falla set off from Renfrew Aerodrome in his Bristol Type 89A Jupiter Advanced Trainer. He was flying over the city of Glasgow when his plane developed engine trouble. Searching for a suitable landing place, he eyed up the tracks north of Pollokshields East railway station, which were a lot wider then than now. However he caught his right wing on a large signal post, demolishing it, and spun round to crash on the embankment, apparently in a railwayman’s garden. He came to rest opposite the art nouveau Millar & Lang’s Printworks (now McCormick House) on Darnley Street. Excited onlookers were amazed to see the pilot escape with little more than an injury to his nose, and to his pride. He was taken to the infirmary but later released .
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.
If you like a little more recent Bungo history, I have compiled an archive of over 20 years of Strathbungo Society newsletters. Thanks to the sterling efforts of the newsletter editors – John Devitt, Laura Moodie (nee Jones), Dee Miller, and especially, Sharon Schweps – the Society has been keeping in touch with residents for all these years, and at the same time documenting the events, issues and changes in the community over that time.
There may still be the odd issue missing, but I’m working on it, and it is pretty complete already.
The archive has it’s own permanent page, also accessible from the top menu, so go have a read…