On the last laird's death it was said he had been Castlemilk and now it was "only a building". What had once been a 15th century castle had become engulfed in a vast 19th century country house and it, together with a scattering of farms and cottages, comprised Castlemilk for much of its history. Castlemilk did not, however, die with the laird. Instead it was transformed and given new life. What had been the home of a few would now provide homes for many.
In 1937 the Stuarts of Castlemilk had sold most of their estate to Glasgow Corporation. Glasgow had immense housing problems and embarked on a huge slum clearance programme. Building vast council estates on the periphery of the city was seen as the principal means of addressing the problem. Castlemilk was thus part of the overspill solution.
The Second World War delayed the start of building, but plans were prepared and work began in 1953. The first tenants moved in during 1955. While it no doubt looked good on plan it rather fell down in practise for the "planners" forgot community needs and they provided few jobs for residents. They had built a satellite town for around 40,000 people yet with few attributes of real towns. Although they built schools and churches they rather forgot about shops, pubs, cinemas, dance halls and community buildings and provided few workplaces. The close-knit community spirit of the old areas had been swept away. Social problems multiplied as people struggled to survive in a near alien environment.
Castlemilk House was demolished in 1969 in spite of local protest. Its site has become a children's play centre and a public park is being developed in part of the policies. Much of the housing of Castlemilk has undergone considerable rebuilding. Castlemilk is changing. Places that change and adapt go forward and maybe Castlemilk will thrive anew.
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