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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day


Roystonhill (Garngad)

By James Friel

Slum Housing, Garngad The 1950s saw momentous social changes in Glasgow. The War had accelerated the chronic deterioration of the city's housing and the Corporation in its wisdom decided that the problem would be solved by a massive programme of slum clearance and relocation of communities. The Garngad formed a core part of the Corporation's 1954 Development Plan as one of the priority areas for immediate housing action. The district had already been renamed "Royston" in 1942.

Royston Primary School In 1953 Mick McLaughlin wrote an elegiac poem, "Farewell to Garngad":
Oh Father dear and did you hear, new houses they have built
Some of them in Easterhouse and some in Castlemilk
Balornock and Barmulloch too, they're building them like mad
And now they're taking our friends away
From the dear old Garngad.

St Roch's Primary School McLaughlin summed up the feelings of people who were torn between a desire for decent houses, but were reluctant to leave communities where their families had lived for generations. My own family along with the French, McCann, Elliott, McCormick, McInally, McDaid families and others left The Hill (Roystonhill) and Rosemount Street in the late 1950s for Easterhouse. They were later joined by the Daly, McBride, Monaghan, Power, Berry, Keenan, Connolly, McGrory and many other families to form the Garngad diaspora in the far east!

Some people remained in the Garngad, moving to the "Copperwork Scheme" built on the site of the old Tharsis Copper & Sulphur Works. Yet despite the localised building programme, by 1960 Corporation planners recognised that the extent of clearance in the district was creating a skewed residential profile. The solution was to pursue the high-rise option. The 20-storey blocks in Royston Area "A" were built at record speed in an attempt to retain the community's integrity. High-rise generated problems in the long term and some of Royston's tower blocks required demolition in the 1990s. However, other post-war developments joined with earlier housing projects at Royston Square, Roystonhill, Blochairn Road, "The Steel Houses" and Germiston, so that the area gradually reconstructed a strong community identity that remains today.

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