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Industrial Revolution: 1770s to 1830s



By Norrie Gilliland

Grahamston first appeared on the map of Glasgow around 1680 as a row of cottages running along the north side of Argyle Street where the Central Station Bridge currently stands. The village grew over the next two hundred years to become an important commercial and residential centre at the heart of Glasgow before it was demolished in the late 1800s to make way for the Central Station.

Grahamston occupied an important location and was to play a significant role in the development of Glasgow. It stood at the crossroads of the main route east to west and the main north-south axis between the Forth & Clyde Canal, the Broomielaw, and the south. This became one of busiest crossroads in Europe, later known as "Boots Corner".

As Glasgow grew from a population of under 100,000 to almost one million over a period of one hundred years, Grahamston grew with it, filling up the land between what is now Union Street across to the west side of Hope Street and from the north side of Argyle Street up to Gordon Street.

Grahamston had a varied life. In the mid-1700s it had six market gardens and it was here that the "first theatre in Glasgow" was located from 1764 to 1780. It gradually attracted a wide range of commerce and light industry and a sizeable residential population (891 in 1791, compared with 608 in Dennistoun and 678 in Parkhead). The population grew to just over 1,900 in 1841. However it declined in the 1850s and 1860s even although commercial activity in Grahamston remained buoyant.

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