This is a story of Glasgow allotments, prompted by Andrew Greg’s discovery of this previously unseen old photograph of Strathbungo, on, of all things, the cover of an obscure Jazz CD.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, the idea of garden plots for city residents developed. The idea was to grow flowers and vegetables for recreation, and no traders or market gardeners were permitted.
Recently Douglas Robertson posted a query on the Bungoblog – did anyone else remember the Victorian drinking fountain on the Nithsdale Road roundabout, opposite Salisbury Quadrant?
“I’m sure it was Victorian, as made of metal and was substantially built. I don’t know the dimensions but would estimate (from memory) that it was approx. 10-12 ft high on a circular base of slightly larger dimensions.
It was situated on a roundabout opposite the old red telephone box nr. Sammy Dows and The New Anand Restaurant. I am sure it was still there about 20 years ago when I lived in Pollokshields. Did anyone see it being dismantled? Where did it finally end up? I have searched and searched (google uk) and cant find anything relating to it. I’m sure there must be someone, perhaps a Glasgow Council dept., who could throw some light on this. Again, a photo of it from someone would be an ideal start.”
A couple of residents replied, recalling the time the council came and took it away, or destroyed it, when the new roundabout was constructed, probably in the mid 1970s.
Then the Strathbungo Society’s chair flagged it up to @OssianLore on Twitter, and the following is a summary of what he discovered.
I have long been aware of a story that Strathbungo was threatened by a motorway in the 1960s, and this was a crucial event in the formation of the Strathbungo Society, but I have never understood how this could be. The M77 perhaps? But that was always going to be further west. So what was the story?
There were occasional hints. A neighbour gave me an old article from Scottish Field dated 1977 in which Mike Stanger, then chair of the Society, described how properties were blighted by the planned South Link motorway, with no one able to get a mortgage, not even on 1-10 Moray Place.
A Society booklet of 1984 recounts the same story.
But what was the South Link? And why did it threaten the very existence of Strathbungo? With thanks to Stuart Baird, of the Glasgow Motorway Archive, we now know. Read on…
Wandering around Strathbungo, I often wondered why the houses on the south side of Carswell Gardens were different from all the others – a different design, and painted white rather than built in sandstone. Investigating further, with the help of documents from a couple of residents, I have found the answer:
They aren’t actually part of Strathbungo at all.
Before I cause any political upset down that end of the Bungo, I had better explain.
The line of the boundary between the railway line (Network Rail’s property) and Moray Place has been an issue of debate for some time, most notably when Network Rail began clearing vegetation from the line in 2004-05.
18-25 Moray Place 2004
Same view, 2005 after vegetation management. The one remaining tree was removed shortly after.
More recently they proposed further vegetation clearance to renew the boundary fence in January 2015. They planned to remove the metal hooped fence and replace it with a 1.8m high weldmesh fence in the same location. However residents suspected the hooped fence was not on Network Rail’s land.
Railings after fence and concrete repair and painting, circa 1990
Negotiations led by the Strathbungo Society centered on two points; firstly the need for a more appropriate fence design, and secondly that it needed to be on their land, further back than the existing fence. Eventually Network Rail conceded, leading to the new fence design erected in February 2017. The following is the historical research that led to their concession regarding the position of the fence. It is recorded here for posterity.
Ordnance Survey 1:500 Town Plan of Glasgow mosaic, 1892-94 showing Strathbungo developing into the area we are currently familiar with.