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Main Street, Gorbals

Burrell Collection Photo Library

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Main Street, Gorbals

Main Street, Gorbals by William Simpson (1823-1899).

This watercolour provides a view of Main Street (later Gorbals Street) looking south. Sir George Elphinstone became MP for Glasgow in 1583 and Provost in 1605. He acquired land in the Gorbals in 1601 and built a mansion and chapel (left). He died in 1634 and his estate was sold to pay his debts. Robert Douglas, Vicount Belhaven, purchased the barony and added the square tower (middle distance) to the old baronial hall. Only the bases remain here, of the square turrets which once adorned each corner. The round tower in the street has also been reduced in height. By the 1840s the chapel had been converted into a pub, identifiable by the gilt board sign hanging outside. The Citizens' Theatre now occupies the site of the house and church.

This watercolour is one of a series of fifty-five painted by Simpson between 1893 and 1898. Most are based on sketches he completed fifty years earlier and which appeared as black and white illustrations in Views and Notices of Glasgow in Former Times, published in 1848 by Allan & Ferguson.

Reference: 892c / 1989.2.c

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

Allan & Ferguson, chapels, children, churches, Citizens' Theatre, Elphinstone Mansion, Elphinstone Tower, horses and carts, Lord Provosts, mansions, Members of Parliament, MPs, Old Baronial Hall, painters, pub signs, public houses, pubs, shops, stalls, streetscenes, theatres, towers, watercolours, women

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