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 .
Sometimes it’s the little details that are of interest, but easily passed over during renovations. Here’s an account of one day’s finds.
While repairing a floor in the house after some central heating work, I found a fragment of card in amongst the rubble between the joists. It was an old train ticket, from Maxwell Park to Glasgow Central. Issued by the British Railways Board, it looked ancient, but only carried the date of 8 November, and no year.
This was an Edmondson train ticket . It was invented by the station master at Brampton on the Newcastle to Carlisle line, and widely introduced in 1842, replacing hand written tickets. It came to be adopted all over the world, but to my surprise was only withdrawn in the late 1980s, when it was replaced by the modern orange and cream credit card sized ticket. I also found a 1979 copy of the Evening Times stuffed into a gap in the wall, so maybe the ticket wasn’t quite so ancient after all.
However the same day a neighbour told me of a find amongst the joists in his attic. It was a Strathbungo beer bottle.
This Where am I? entry provoked responses split 50:50 between this being Pollokshields West or Maxwell Park. So here’s some more evidence.
Although only Maxwell Park Station building survives after a careful restoration, it wasn’t the only island station house on the line. Pollokshields West had a station house of the same design, as seen here, until the late 1980s.
Pollokshields West Station seen from the Terregles Avenue entrance, in 1987 (Ewan Crawford, Railscot), and again in 2018 .