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Industrial Revolution: 1770s to 1830s



By Michael Moss

City Views The laird of Blythswood, James Campbell, died a bankrupt in 1773. It took almost twenty years to sort out his affairs and in 1792 his trustees obtained an Act of Parliament giving them powers to feu the property for development. At first the feuing was around the edge of the estate in Woodside, along the River Kelvin, and in Garnethill. There was no overall plan and the land was parcelled out haphazardly.

St Vincent Street The most enterprising of the first feuars was William Harley, a wealthy textile manufacturer. He laid out a garden on the top of Blythswood Hill and built a tower, nicknamed Harley's Folly. Visitors were charged admission but the novelty soon wore off. During the Napoleonic wars there was little new feuing, but with the coming of peace a new town laid out on a grid iron pattern covering Blythswood Hill was conceived. Each purchaser had to agree to observe onerous conditions in keeping with the residential nature of the development. It was not until the early 1820s that the scheme really took off and Blythswood Square on the site of Harley's garden was completed in 1823.

In common with the other streets and in marked contrast to the housing in neighbouring Anderston, the square contained large family houses for well-to-do merchants and industrialists. Nevertheless it took several more years before the new town was finally completed. The Garden family who began feuing in St. Vincent Street in 1816 built many of the fine new houses. Despite the concerns of the residents, Blythswood was annexed by the Burgh of Anderston in 1830.

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