And now for something a little different. Not wildlife. Not Fife. Not a close up.
A few weeks ago I was going for a walk somewhere that I have often been before. The sort of place that I feel I know well … or at least, felt I knew well until I spurned the hustle and bustle of the crowds going back and forth between workplaces, shops and restaurants and instead turned up a steep side street. At the top, I turned and walked along the ridge of the hill – the appropriately named Hill Street – until I came to the end of the road, the end of the hill, and a great panoramic view over the city …
So normally when I’m in Glasgow, I’m going to a meeting, or getting from A to B by the quickest route, or I’m shopping, or I’m on a march … but on this occasion I was just wandering – and checking out the things I’ve missed when I was just getting from A to B. Like Garnethill and its views and buildings.
But perhaps the most interesting find was one that I suspect many people pass by without noticing. Down the hill, there is a small park. As you walk around, there are inscribed blocks in the paths, not always easy to read, that tell stories about before the park existed …
“I was born in 1940. When I was 8 or 9, my mother used to send us up to Garnethill. There was a dressmaker who did lovelu candy striped dresses and big bows. We did not have a lot of money. This was a special treat once a year on Mayday. Everyone dressed up.”
“Living in the main door at 150 Renfrew St. in the 1940’s I was ill in bed with the flu. Suddenly I heard this loud bang and clatter. The wall collapsed and a digger with a man on it came through the wall. They were demolishing the house next door to make room for the new playground. So the story goes. Folk said that was one way of getting a man anyway.”[/caption]
“In pre-war days . . . my mother used to have a newsagent shop on the corner of Hill St. and Cambridge St. At that time there were a lot of boarding houses in Garnethill and they kept theatricals, all the big stars that came from the Empire Theatre, Theatre Royal . . . and with us having a shop we were very lucky. We used to get all the stars into our shop”
“In the 90’s a body was covered with an old bedspread outside the tenement building in Rose St. A Chinese man was killed and thrown outside his mother’s house. A few weeks later a deep crack appeared outside that building and it was demolished. This left a vacant space for the park. I always think of it as a tribute to a brave Chinese man who stuck up for his rights but paid with his life.”
“1960 . . . A winter’s day . . . the snow was heavy . . . and a lorry tried to get up the hill in Garnet St. When it got nearly to the top it could not go any further and it rolled all the way back down and crashed into a shop on Sauchiehall St. To this day I never go up Garnet St. without thinking about that day.”