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.
Hutchesontown Gardens was originally an area of land given over to garden plots in the Gorbals, between Cumberland Street and Caledonia Road around 1840 . Blackfriars Primary School now occupies the site.
It moved in 1866 to a field between Victoria Road, Butterbiggins Road and Cathcart Road (in the vicinity of present day Govanhill Park and the former Samaritans Hospital). It covered 7.5 acres, with 157 plots. The following excerpt from the Glasgow Herald of 10 August 1866 describes the new location:
Hutchesontown Gardens – Our readers will observe that these extensive new gardens are to be opened to the public tomorrow for a grand promenade. From their present high state of cultivation, their fine situation and proximity to the town, as also the ample accommodation for promenading, we have little doubt a large number of our citizens will avail themselves of an opportunity only afforded once a year to witness the successful efforts of these highly intelligent and enterprising amateur horticulturalists. The splendid band of thee 21st Regiment has been kindly granted for the occasion by Colonel Stuart, C.B. and officers, which will add much to the day’s enjoyment.
From the same edition
In 1876 it moved again, to a plot of land in the south east corner of Strathbungo village, south of Allison Street, and formerly known as the Spittal Croft . There were 194 plots over 8.75 acres.
In 1886 the first part of the Cathcart District Railway line opened, with the new Queens Park Station cutting through the southern end of the gardens, and reducing the size by a couple of acres. This photograph of Strathbungo taken in 1895 shows the gardens behind the station, with the centre of Strathbungo, including the last of the old whitewashed buildings, in the background .
The gardens remained there until the 1890s, when they were displaced once again by encroaching development. In 1891, when Strathbungo became incorporated into the expanding city of Glasgow, the Corporation chose this as a site for new fire, police and lighting departments, and purchased the land.
In addition to the police and fire stations, Strathbungo School (now St Bride’s) was also built on the site, c 1894. The open space on Cragie Street was apparently left that way due to unsafe mine workings beneath.
The OS Map of 1896 shows the new streets being laid out before building began.
The new tenement block built on the site along the south side of the newly formed Prince Edward Street was originally known as Hutchesontown Gardens ; you can still see this designation on the building, above the street name.
The Gardens looked again for a new home, settling on 7 acres south of Crossmyloof Station, between Shawmoss Road and the railway line, leased by Sir John Stirling-Maxwell for £7 an acre. The management was entirely voluntary, with no paid staff.
Note the bandstand centrally within the gardens.
The Gardens were eventually redeveloped in the 1960s into the Crossmyloof Gardens estate, between the ice rink (now Morrisons) and the scout hut and railway bridge.
Albert Gardens opened in 1854, east of the Southern Necropolis. They survived as Caledonia Gardens until 1961, when they succumbed to the wholesale regeneration of the Gorbals .
Victoria Gardens began on the east side of Cathcart Road in Govanhill around 1865, but moved to Pollokshields in 1871. In 1878 they were reduced in size when Maxwell Road cut through the plot, but unlike the other garden allotments mentioned, New Victoria Gardens thrives to this day, and you can follow their activities on Facebook . If you want an allotment though, the current wait is 10 years. The Victorians knew what they were doing, and we could do with more such spaces.
The Hidden Gardens
A much more recent addition, on the site of the old Glasgow Tram Depot off Albert Drive, another place you can hone your horticultural skills.
Locavore and the Bellahouston Project
Quite by chance as I was about to post this, I came across Locavore’s proposal to take over from the council the disused nurseries in Bellahouston Park. Maybe these are the extra spaces we are looking for?