I grew up in Maryhill in the 1970s and still live nearby. Every second weekend I return to see Partick Thistle play at Firhill. A current chant from the crowd there is "Oh Maryhill, is wonderful..." so I went out and about this weekend in Maryhill to try to look at it afresh.
As I go jogging in the westend of Glasgow often I usually end up going along by the canal a couple of times a week and it was the arrival of the canal in 1790 that made Maryhill. Before the canal was built the owner of the Garbraid estate, Mary Hill (1730-1809) and her husband, Robert Graham of Dawsholm, made their money from the land but the arrival of the canal brought a new source of income.
Until then a few small industries had been set up along the River Kelvin, which has mills documented on its banks from the 15th century. Many of their weirs are still apparent in the river today. Dawsholm paper mill was founded in 1783 and only closed down in the 1970s. Further downstream the V-shaped weir of Kelvindale's snuff and paper-making mill is still visible and in North Woodside the flint mill is partially preserved. It was still producing chemicals for the pottery industry into the 1950s although suffered damage during bombing in WW2. When I was younger the canal was full of shopping trolleys, washing machines and dumped cars, and we were pretty much banned from playing anywhere near it. In recent years it has been cleaned up and herons and cormorants are found fishing in it. It has re-opened to boats and makes for a pleasant walk, run or cycle route.
North Woodside flint mill on the River Kelvin
|Kelvin Dock, the dry dock|
|Kelvin Dock, the pub|
|Maryhill Road, at Celtic Street|
|Forth and Clyde Canal, the Kelvin aqueduct|
|Me in groovy 1970s dungarees walking over the Kelvin aqueduct,|
many of the houses in the background are now demolished
|Maryhill Primary School|
It eventually became part of Glasgow in 1898.
|Canal bridge on Maryhill Road just south of Sandbank Street|
Just down Maryhill Road from here is Maryhill Barracks, now the Wynford housing estate. It opened in 1872 and closed in the 1960s. It was home to the HLI (including, briefly, my grandfather during WW2) and after Rudolf Hess crash-landed in Scotland in 1941 he was briefly imprisoned here. From the original photograph here, looking up from the corner outside Tesco, really the only thing still standing is the barrack walls on the left. The Politician pub on the right hand side is about the only surviving building there. The building just after the tenement on the right was McLachlin's Castle Brewery, where the modern Police station sits now (the McLachlin brothers also owned the Castle Vaults pub which still sits down at St George's Cross.)
On Shakespeare Street here, behind the McDonald's and across from the Viking Bar, hides Ruchill Parish Church. Whilst the church itself is unremarkable, the church hall building beside it was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It is less obvious than the church he designed down the road at Queen's Cross, but once you know it is by him, you can see his style stamped all over it.
The canal is right beside the church here and was lined with assorted industries for almost 200 years after the canal opened. At this spot between the church and the canal was a cooperage. Across the canal were the MacLellan's Rubber Works and nearby was the Bryant and May factory (where Bluebell matches were made until 1981). To the left and right were iron foundries - Ruchill Iron Works, the Maryhill Iron Works and closer to Firhill Stadium, the Shaw & McInnes works which operated until 2001. Adding to the smog were the factory making lead based paints and Cassel's potassium cyanide and gold extracting works.
|Ruchill Parish Church pokes up through the trees. On |
the right of the canal McLellan's Rubber Works now gone
|Forth and Clyde Canal today|
|Bridge at the top of Firhill Road|
|Looking down Firhill Road to Firhill Stadium|
From Firhill it is only 50 yards to get to Queen's Cross, home of Jaconelli's Cafe and Queen's Cross Church. This is the only church built to Charles Rennie Mackintosh's designs and is now home to the Mackintosh Society. Built in 1897, inside and out it is stunningly modern and imaginative.
|Stained glass window in Queen's Cross church|
|Looking up Maryhill Road at Queen's Cross|
Looking up Maryhill Road only the buildings on the right hand side of the road have survived, but if you turn around and look to the gushet at Queens Cross itself then none of the fabulous buildings in the picture below have survived. The long curving tenement in this picture was the work of another famed Glasgow architect, Alexander 'Greek' Thomson. Built in 1875 the building comprised the two storey shop at the corner and the four storey tenement buildings down both streets. His nearest work to here still in existence are the "Sixty Steps" at Garriochmill Road.
The photo below is from further down Maryhill Road looking back up towards the cross when the road was lined by tenements, now long gone. Queens Cross church can be seen poking up at the top.
Further down Maryhill Road looking into Raeberry Street below you can see that the tenements down the side streets have all been demolished too. Even the church halfway down on the right was knocked down and replaced by flats a few years ago.. The shop at the left hand corner here on Maryhill Road is DM Hoey, for all your menswear needs.
At the bottom of Maryhill Road is St George's Cross, where a statue of St George and the dragon now stands. This statue used to be atop the Co-op building here and was preserved when the building was flattened in 1985. Nearby the flyover at the end of Great Western Road heads into town. It is all but impossible to picture the way this junction used to be. The old photo below has Great Western Road off to the left, Maryhill Road going off up the middle and St George's Road off to the right. Maryhill Road no longer goes up in a straight line from the cross but emerges now behind the building advertising Waddells Sausages in the old photo, which is hidden behind the tree on the right of the lower picture.
|St Georges Cross|
Going back up Maryhill Road to where the fire station now is, it is surprising to look back at how well proportioned and handsome the road looked before it was decided to flatten most of this area. The block opposite in the old photo is all gone, except for the furthest away corner, another case of a pub surviving after everything else around has gone, on this occasion The Strathmore.
The next junction off to the right is Bilsland Drive, which now goes straight across into Queen Margaret Drive but at the time of the photo below you can see that the tram had to snake left to go right before the junction was re-configured.
|Canal bridge on Bilsland Drive|
|The White House pub at Lock 21 of the Forth and Clyde Canal|
"I know a lassie, a bonnie, bonnie lassie...
...Mary fae Maryhill."
NB. I can heartily recommend that you have a rummage about in one of my favourite websites if you are still feeling nostalgic "OldGlasgowPubs.co.uk"
(These old pictures were largely found on the internet or the MItchell LIbrary. Please let me know if you feel that you hold copyright of any of these pictures as none was mentioned where I found them)