Magic Walks at 80+: No 8 The Gorbals has changed!


Walking wandering and exploring have become the delight of these later years.

The Knees protestingly need exercise and Curiosity loves a challenge.

Just go! Alone. Somewhere you dont know and you will always find Magic!

Hard to think it might be here!  This image of Glasgow’s  Gorbals district was hard printed in the brains of my age group : Slums, razor gangs drugs and tough kids.


Pure accident  that Curiosity, the Knees and I were there. We had set off to explore Dunoon! But en route met an older friend who needed a lift, to the South side of the Clyde, to the Gorbals.

Curiosity woke up. ‘ Haven’t they done something good with that area?’ Which means of course, that fate say we have to go and look. It seems to be a flat terrain, so The Knees are happy. But we have no map and no information.

Park here and go!


Well this seems to be evidence of a time past and ended.

Over the impressive door it says Station. But now the railway line apears to have become  tree filled.  Maybe it could become  a linear  park in the sky?


Turn around and immediately opposite are these very  handsome apartments. Surprised by the quality!


Intriguingly to their left was open space, more trees and flats and this mural.Clearly not graffitti.


And look at the nearest tree.  It has a stone at its foot. They all had! Each carved with a different symbol.  I fell for this one.  Wonder what the story is here? No signs.


Attached to this strange building was  a high wall and an open gate.

Had to go in. Turned out to be a large asphalted yard, nothing in it, but every inch of its walls covered with brilliant graffitti  style art.


The  mystery had to be solved.  Found a pair of local residents having an outing in the sun.


They were delighted to tell me what the big building and its yard were. “Its the Barn ” they said helpfully. “Us adults have it all day until 4 and then it belongs to the kids”. Both art works explained!

A little further in and the railway reappeared.    A viaduct in the form of a series of arches, gated, but clearly in use. Just look at this!


Obviously a Community Workshop. Somebody having creative fun. Maybe a Carnival? Just across the road is Glasgow’s famous Citizens Theatre. Perhaps some link or inspiration there? Whatever, a distinct feeling of happy Community activity is emerging.

The road passes under the railway. And here is more interest. Someone has been inspired. The niches in the dark walls have been filled with local history and people history. First an old map of the Gorbals area. It is marked with red spots to show famous people who lived here.

Would you have connected a famous American Detective Agencywith the Gorbals? But here he is. Thomas Pinkerton: tough looking character who founded it.

Now we are really in the New Gorbals. Splendid library and another Magic moment! Found a creative writers group meeting there.   @gorbals-writes. Lively, full of local history….they had lived it! Made me so welcome. These chance meetings are one of the reasons to love doing Magic Walks. Always something to discover and interesting people to meet. Curiosity of course loved it and The Knees are always happy with a sit down.

Finished up by exploring the super new park.  Look at these gates and their iron work!  And the new housing!

Who knew The Gorbals was so interesting!


  1. October 13, 2017 / 11:55 am

    Really enjoyed this post! I had family in the tenements in Pollokshaws Road, only a few minutes away and visited often up to the 1960s. It has all changed indeed and for the better, but I wonder what happened to all that beautiful brown stone?
    I absolutely agree that exploring with an inquisitive mind is an invigorating and stimulating past time!

  2. Sally Beaumont
    October 13, 2017 / 3:07 pm

    Delighted to be that old friend travelling by public transport to the Gorbals, and so getting a much welcomed and interesting lift. I loved your photos and the stories. I knew some, but not all, so me and my stick will company you on other occasions? With one proviso – no hills!

  3. October 13, 2017 / 5:24 pm

    Wonderful surprises, wonderful photos. And you are right: it’s all about your attitude. Thank you.

  4. October 14, 2017 / 6:03 am

    Another great blog. You always were a delver, and it’s fascinating to read how much you unearthed in The Gorbals.

  5. Sheila Brødreskift
    October 14, 2017 / 8:44 am

    I remember visiting a great aunt by the Glasgow Shipyards (do not know if it was the Gorbals). I must have been 3 or 4 years old (1952) and was fascinated by the ships I could see from the tenement flat window.

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