The Gorbals

 However, I was pointed in the direction of an article by Ian R Mitchell  on the Gorbals History ( )  and here is an extract;

A little south Cavendish Street, where Eglinton Street and the Gorbals - ends at St Andrews Cross, lies a row of rather scruffy shops. Here until 1992 one of the premises housed the offices of the Jewish Echo, Glasgow's own English-language weekly Jewish newspaper, published since 1928, when it replaced earlier Yiddish publications. As the Glasgow middle classes left Laurieston, their houses became sub let and occupied by new arrivals, amongst whom the Jews from eastern Europe were to be the most prominent. By 1885 half the children at Gorbals Primary School were Jewish. The community about 10,000 souls - was large enough to support the building of a synagogue in South Portland Street, the establishment of a Talmud Torah school and a Zionist reading room. But organisations which integrated the Jews into Glasgow life were also founded, such as the Oxford Star Football team, and the Jewish Lads Brigade, which boasted the only all-Jewish pipe band in the world. Greens Kosher Hotel in Abbotsford Place was a point of arrival or transit for many Jews fleeing persecution first from Czarist Russia and then from Nazi Germany. Glasgow Council organised meetings in 1892 to protest against persecution of the Jews in Russia, and in 1933 boycotted German goods in protest against Hitlers anti-Semitism. Many of the Jews worked in the sweated trades and were active in the early trades union and socialist movement, like Manny Shinwell Glasgow's adoptive Jew and Red Clydesider, while others like Isaac Woolfson made their mark on the business world or in the arts, such as the sculptor Benno Schotz.

Gorbals street 1890

At the gushet of St Andrews Cross, Pollokshaws Road leads back north towards the Gorbals, passing the fine old Abbotsford School (up for sale) on our left, set amidst piecemeal housing development and land that has lain derelict for over 30 years before arriving at Gorbals Street, where we enter territory with a much more ancient pedigree than Laurieston, which we have just walked through.

The Gorbals has medieval origins, and was at one time Glasgow's leper colony. It grew to a population of 5000 by 1800, and had swelled to 36,000 by the time it was annexed by Glasgow in 1846. At this time Gorbals Cross was still a cluster of buildings many dating from the seventeenth century. But the old baronial dwellings had been subdivided into festering slums and the back lands were breeding grounds of squalor. This situation worsened when Gorbals became one of the favoured settlement areas for the impoverished Irish immigrants who poured into Scotland from the 1840s. One observer commented,

We are really grieved to part with some of these old landmarks of the city, and we cannot help urging the proprietors of such houses as exist to pay some little attention to them, and above all to prevent them falling prey to the hordes of Irish immigrants who have a fancy to burrow in these ancient spots.

But those which did not fall into ruin were swept away by the City Improvement Trust from the 1870s, and by 1900 the area around Gorbals Street was entirely tenement built. The amazing thing is that this Gorbals too has almost totally vanished in its turn. On Gorbals Street remains one empty and derelict tenement, and nothing else, except at its southern end a pub which brazenly states its allegiances to Celtic F.C. (unsurprising given the fact that Celtic greats Pat Crerand and Charlie Gallacher hailed from the Gorbals though its most famous sporting son was the boxer Benny Lynch, now commemorated in Benny Lynch Court in Hutchiesontown), and the shell of the former Citizens Theatre, which has had its exterior in the form of a set of statues, moved inside for safe keeping! 

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