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Renovation revelations

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.

Tickets please

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.

Old rail ticket

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 It came to be adopted all over the world, but to my surprise was only withdrawn in the late 1980s, when it was replaced by the modern orange and cream credit card sized ticket.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.

Time, please

However the same day a neighbour told me of a find amongst the joists in his attic. It was a Strathbungo beer bottle.

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Rev William Rattray

The Rev William Rattray was the owner and occupier of 21 (then 33) Queen Square between 1905 and 1925. The previous occupier had been the builder of the terrace, Alexander Thomson.

Rattray was the minister at Abbotsford Chalmers Parish Church at 100 Pollokshaws Road . The church and adjacent Abbotsford School survive, the former converted to supported residential use for young adults, as Quarriers James Shields Service, the latter as Al Khalil College.

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World War 2 Roll of Honour – Strathbungo’s fallen

In 2017 on Armistice day I wrote of Corporal Aitken, a former resident of my house who gave his life at the Battle of Loos in the Great War.

Glasgow honoured all its fallen in a Roll of Honour published in 1922, and from this I put together a Roll of Honour for Strathbungo, published on Armistice Day in 2019, 101 years after the war ended.

For World War 2, VE Day marked Victory in Europe on 8th May 1945, and so for the 75th anniversay of VE Day I have compiled the Roll of Honour for Strathbungo’s fallen of WW2. The following is a list of those linked to Strathbungo who gave their lives, sorted by their address. Click on their names or scroll down further for a more detailed biography of each.

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Strathbungo in more maps

In the previous article we saw how Strathbungo, or Marchtown, began to appear on early maps of Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire. We ended with the first detailed OS map of the village, reproduced again here. Surveyed in 1858, this was after the construction of the railway line to Barrhead, to the west, but just before the redevelopment of Strathbungo as a suburb of Glasgow.

On the map the parish church lies to the north, within the village boundary (marked in yellow), but just north of the Renfrewshire-Lanarkshire border (dashed black line). The school is on the site of what is now March Street to the west. Weavers’ cottages are set back from the road on the south east plot – the Duncan Brown photograph below shows these cottages still there 30 years later. Plot 1790, the field to the east of the weavers’ cottages, became Hutchesontown Gardens, until the Cathcart Circle line was cut through the village, and Queens Park Station opened there in 1886.

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The birth of Strathbungo – George Washington Wilson, 1877

George Washington Wilson

This photograph of Strathbungo was taken by George Washington Wilson (1823-1893), a pioneering Scottish landscape photographer. After his studies in Edinburgh and London he returned to his native Aberdeen and began work as a painter of portrait miniatures.

George Washington Wilson, self portrait.

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Nithsdale Mission Hall

The Queen’s Park United Presbyterians

One of Alexander “Greek” Thomson’s great masterpieces was the Queen’s Park United Presbyterian Church on Langside Road, built in 1868 (though sadly destroyed by incendiary bombing in 1943).

Queen's Park UP Church

Queen’s Park UP Church

The Queen’s Park U.P. congregation subsequently arranged the construction of another beautiful church, Camphill Church on Balvicar Drive, completed in 1876; although this church subsequently passed to the Church of Scotland, and then to its current occupants, the Baptists.

The U.P. Mission Hall

Not satisfied with two churches, they then constructed the much smaller Nithdale Mission Hall in 1887-8. It was designed by architect Alexander Skirving (c.1849-1919) who worked under Alexander Thomson in the 1860s. Skirving was also known for Langside Hill Free Church (the “Church on the Hill”) and the adjacent Battlefield monument, and Skirving Street in Shawlands is named in his honour .

Alexander Skirving

Alexander Skirving

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Strathbungo Parish Church

This is the story of the first church to be built in the village, which served the community until the late 20th Century. In the 21st Century it was saved from destruction by conversion into flats, but the grand facade still looks down on Pollokshaws Road. The article is based largely on the account of a former minister, Rev John M Munro, who wrote his history of the church and the village on the occasion of the congregation’s 100th anniversary in 1933. The book is reproduced in its entirety here, for those who wish to study it further . I’m grateful to Morris Scott of St Andrews, who acquired the book by accident in his work as a removals man. He sought me out and donated it.

Cover, Strathbungo & its Kirk, 1833-1933

Cover, Strathbungo & its Kirk, 1833-1933

In the early part of the 19th Century Strathbungo was a poor and somewhat remote village of miners and weavers in the south east of Govan Parish, with a long trek to Govan Parish Church for the Sunday service. There was already a second church in the parish established in the Gorbals, and in 1833 Dr Leishman, the new minister of Govan, established a mission in the village of Strathbungo. They probably met in the school house initially, and efforts were begun to raise money for a church.

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The Builders of Strathbungo

Biographies of most of the major players in the building of Strathbungo including land owners, builders and architects.

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From Regents Park to modern Strathbungo

A shift of direction

As noted previously, Strathbungo changed radically from 1860 onwards, as the rural village gradually vanished beneath urban expansion. Not only did the buildings vanish, but the location of Strathbungo shifted too. Although Strathbungo was then outside Glasgow, the Corporation of Glasgow had purchased Pathhead Farm for the purposes of creating a major public park (Queens Park), which was laid out from 1857 to 1862. Land in the vicinity of the park became valuable for speculative building. This was particularly so in Crosshill immediately to the north of the park, an area previously farmland with few dwellings. As it grew it became a self-governing police burgh in 1871, its western boundary extending roughly to Niddrie Square. Govanhill followed suit as a police burgh in 1877, and the Gorbals, annexed to Glasgow in 1846, already reached Strathbungo’s northern border at the parish church.

Strathbungo had no special status of its own, just a small village in a small corner of Renfrewshire, and the neighbouring communities were already encroaching on it when Glasgow expanded massively in 1891, annexing large parts of the southside including Bellahouston, Crossmyloof, Langside, Mount Florida, Polmadie, Shawlands and Strathbungo. This may explain why the village of Strathbungo rather lost its identity. I believe even now it has no legal status, except as part of Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council.

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Strathbungo Village

The village of Strathbungo was a small rural hamlet consisting of coal miners, weavers, flower growers, and a number of public houses, up until the major urban expansion of Glasgow and its suburbs circa 1850-60.

The village in the early 19th Century

The best accounts of early Strathbungo are probably found in Alexander Scott’s articles for the Archaeologcal Society of Glasgow, Notes on the Village of Strathbungo , and An Account of the Kinninghouse Burn . Although written in the 1880s, he spoke to many elderly locals to produce an account of the village in earlier times.

Map of Pollok Estate excerpt. Robert Ogilvy. 1741

Map of Pollok Estate excerpt. Robert Ogilvy. 1741

Robert Ogilvy’s map of 1741 is the first detailed record of the village. It shows buildings all along the west side of the main road to Pollokshaws, from the boundary with the Gorbals in the north down to the Crosshill Burn in the south, named as Marchtoun. Plots of land include North Cammeron, north of the present Nithsdale Street, and two smaller plots behind it across the Kinninghouse Burn. South Cammeron is to the south of Nithsdale Street, west of Pollokshaws Road, and bounded by the two burns west and south.
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