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No Mean City: 1914 to 1950s



By William B Black

38 Kelvin Street, Maryhill The poor living conditions in the original village of Maryhill, particularly around the River Kelvin area, had been recognised for some time, but only after 1918 was wide scale action taken to remedy this. In 1926 "garden suburb" type housing was erected by Glasgow Corporation to the north at Gilscochill. The old houses around Whitelaw Street were swept away, replaced by council tenements, similar buildings being erected on the remaining parts of Ruchill and Gairbraid Estates. This resulted in the demolition of Ruchill House and Gairbraid House, leaving only one "grand house", Garscube. Garscube Estate had been taken over by the University of Glasgow, the Veterinary School being based around the estate farm buildings. Garscube House survived until 1947 when discovery of dry rot led to its demise.

McNicoll Bros Local industry remained fairly constant during the period, Bryant & May opening a large match making factory close to the canal in 1918. Kelvin Dock shipyard was in serious decline, but with the outbreak of war in 1939, it briefly revived to build landing craft for the Royal Navy. When Maryhill was bombed on 14 March 1941, resulting in the deaths of over eighty civilians, the target was not the shipyard but the Glasgow Rubber Works which escaped unscathed.

The Maryhill Tree Postwar, Maryhill changed little until the barracks closed in 1958. The Wyndford Housing Estate, which took their place, heralded sweeping changes to the area. Many old tenements disappeared, along with much of the industry, culminating in the closure of the canal in 1963. Today, the creation of new housing and industrial areas suggests a resurgence for Maryhill in the 21st century.

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