This article is in response to a query from the new owner of the ground floor flat at 68 Nithsdale Road. 68 originally referred to the tenement flats above, and the ground floor flat was historically a shop, No. 70.
The Old Shiels Road became Nithsdale Road when Pollokshields was developed, but once on the Strathbungo side of the railway, was named Nithsdale Street. A new road was created from Strathbungo Station (which opened in 1877) to Pollokshaws Road, and is now known as Nithsdale Road. In 1877 when newly laid out it was named Matilda Place, as required by the feu document of 1860. The name most likely derived from Sir John Maxwell’s late wife, Matilda Harriet Bruce, daughter of Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, he who misappropriated the Elgin Marbles. Matilda had died in 1857.
The land of Strathbungo was originally bought from Sir John Maxwell by John McIntyre and William Stevenson. McIntyre died in 1872, and the title deeds state that at year’s end 1874 the land on the north side of the new road passed from his estate to his younger brother, Andrew, on condition that a tenement was raised on the site. Andrew McIntyre (1835-1881) was a builder and brickmaker, whose brickworks was in Moss side .
The tenement was designed by Alexander “Greek” Thomson’s partner Robert Turnbull after Thomson’s death, although many believe he was working to, or adapting, a Greek Thomson design . It was completed in 1877 and named Titwood Place. It started slightly round the corner in Nithsdale Street as No 1, the rotunda on the corner was 6 & 7, Niven’s was 8 and this property was 9 Titwood Place.
Meanwhile the land on the opposite (south) side of the street was sold by William Stevenson to the builder William Howie, whose new tenements were completed the following year and named Matilda Terrace.
The use of Matilda Place to describe the street appears to have been shortlived, being replaced by Nithsdale Road almost immediately. Only the buildings at the north eastern corner, including the side of the tenement of Elgin Place on Pollokshaws Road (where The New Regent now sits), retained the name as 2-10 Matilda Place.
Nithsdale Road was renumbered c. 1894 to reflect the modern practice of odd numbers one side of the street, even the other, and the shop became 70 Titwood Place, Nithsdale Road, and later just 70 Nithsdale Road. The names Matilda and Titwood slowly faded from memory.
Ownership of the Titwood Place passed through the family. Andrew’s son Archibald (1851-1891) married Janet Auld (1852-1916), and first Andrew, then Archibald, Janet, their son William Stevenson McIntyre and finally his cousin (& daughter of Archibald’s younger brother George) Mary Armour McIntyre owned and rented the properties from 1877 to at least 1925, according to the valuation rolls.
The shop – something fishy
The terrace was designed with shops at ground level, and tenements above, to produce a bustling commercial street. Previous articles have mentioned the original shops at 76 Nithsdale Road (Robert Adam, grocer and wine merchant, currently the New Anand) and 72 (William Bennie, butcher, now Niven’s by Cafe Source) so what was at No 70?
The first shopkeeper was Thomas Ferguson in 1877, a fishmonger and poulterer, who lived at Queens Park Place (not an address I recognise). By 1879 the fishmongers was run by Robert Rose of Crosshill, and later Elcho Place on Pollokshaws Road. I have yet to find out much about either.
From 1882 to 1905 the Post Office Directory fails to mention 70 Nithsdale Road at all, but the Valuation Rolls identify May Gibbs as the tenant and shopkeeper. It seems the PO Directory simply omitted women much of the time, unless they were completely independent of any man. A little digging revealed James Gibbs, a bootmaker and leather merchant from Dundee, who lived with his wife and several daughters of whom May was the eldest, born in Hawick on Christmas Day 1866.
They lived at 70 Eglinton Street in 1881, 1 Nithsdale Street in 1891, and 619 Pollokshaws Road in 1901. She was already the tenant of the fishmonger’s shop by 1885, when she was only 18, and continued to run the shop at least until 1905. And yet she never gets a mention in the Directory as all this time she was living with her father. What became of her after 1905 is unclear.
By 1910 the shopkeeper was Alex Reid; a fishmonger, poulterer and game dealer. He also had a shop further down Nithsdale Road at 126, and shops at 235 Kilmarnock Road and 437 Victoria Road. His other Nithsdale Road shop is notable; now Stevenson’s Dry Cleaners, it retains the original fishmonger’s tiled frieze. The tiles depict sailing ships and frolicking mermaids, and are the finest example of work done by James Duncan & Sons in Glasgow. The famous ‘Fish Girl’ panel that originally decorated the shop’s entrance is now in the Glasgow Museums collection . Niall Murphy reports (Jan 2022) it is currently on display in Kelvin Hall.
Alex Reid remained at the shop at least until 1930 but later gave it up to concentrate on his other Nithsdale Road and Victoria Road shops. In 1939 J Maule was the tenant, but I know little of its subsequent use. A turn of the century occupant was Strathbungo Design Features, a kitchen outfitter, and there was Beckett & McLean the joiners, who have now moved to Torrisdale Street. In more recent years the shop was converted to its current residential use.
If anyone has any more details, I would be happy to include them.