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Bridgeton

Another of Jamie O’Rourke’s photos

It’s Bridgeton Cross in the east end of Glasgow and by the looks of it probably in the 19th century.

I took the photo below at the same location last October.

Scrubbing Up

A couple of years ago I wrote about Bridgeton. I illustrated the post with this picture of Bridgeton Cross:

This morning on business I passed by Bridgeton Cross which is adjacent to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games village. Thanks to a makeover, slab cleaning and the addition of some solid marble seating, it now looks like this:

Bridgeton Cross this morning.

I’m quite nonplussed about the whole 2014 thing and all the hoo-ha. I was though, mightily impressed by how one of the city’s landmarks had been transformed.

The Calton and Bridgeton

I did a wee bit of looking around about Calton following my posting (The Poverty Ladder) yesterday. There’s a good Wikipedia page HERE from which this passage comes:

“The area became known for its weaving industry. On 30 June, 1787, a meeting of weavers was held on Glasgow Green. Their wages had dropped because of the increased importation of cheaper foreign textiles. Most of the workers decided to take strike action, although some accepted lower wages and carried on working. The dispute came to a head on 3 September, 1787: when violence erupted after some striking weavers tried to seize materials from weavers who had carried on working.
The military were called in and a detachment of the 39th Regiment of Foot opened fire on the demonstrators. Six of the men killed at the scene were locally called ‘martyrs’ and some of them were buried in the Calton Cemetery off the main London Road. The families of the men could not afford a headstone although, a century later, a memorial was raised to commemorate their actions.”

And almost inevitably for a deprived Glasgow area……..

“The area has experienced sectarian tensions for generations; the Orange Order have a particular foothold in this area and there are also Irish Republican organisations present. This is reflected, albeit much declined in modern times, in gang and sectarian related graffiti. In the 1960s, an area of the Calton was known locally as Tongland, prominently marked out as such by graffiti. Tongland appears in Gillies MacKinnon’s 1995 movie Small Faces.”

Bridgeton Cross

In my previous life in the mobile disco business, I did a bit of work just along the road from Calton in Bridgeton, which also borders Glasgow Green. In particular we did work in a pub just down from Bridgeton Cross and near to the Orange Lodge. Man it was mean. There were guys with knives, drug dealers and psychos – and that was just the bouncers! That was where you earned your stripes! DJ’s who worked there never feared going anywhere!
I remember one day coming up the road from Glasgow Green to drop the gear off for that night’s entertainment (the actual gig was usually delegated to someone else!). There was a commotion outside the Orange Lodge and several police vehicles redirecting traffic. There was also a fire engine. It turned out that one of the members of the lodge with paramilitary links to Northern Ireland had occasion to need a place to hide some explosives. Unfortunately he had stored them too near the gas oven in the kitchen and when some members arrived to cook up the Saturday pies the heat had got to the semtex or whatever it was causing an explosion! or at least so the story went.

I’m sure there are many similar tales of the Calton and Bridgeton.

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