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The Origin And History Of Glasgow Streets (Page 5)
By Hugh Macintosh (1902)  Pages: 0  1  2  3  4  5

NAPIERSHALL STREET was formed on land belonging to Thomas Napier, who was a watchmaker in Glasgow in 1763.

NELSON STREET (City), opened 1797, was named in honour of Lord Nelson.

NEWHALL STREET was formed on the lands of Newhall], which were originally possessed by Mr. Allan.

NICHOLAS STREET was formed on the site of St. Nicholas Hospital, which was founded in 1450.

NORFOLK STREET. See Laurieston..

NORTH STREET (Anderston) was form formerly known as the Lang Road.

NUNEATON STREET was formed on the property of the late George Wilson, coalmaster, and his widow, who had gone to reside in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, thought so much of it that she named the new street for it. The name comes from a nunnery founded by Robert, Earl of Leicester.

ORR STREET is named for the superior who succeeded John Walkinshaw in the Barrowfield estate.

OSWALD STREET (City), opened 1817, is named for James Oswald of Shieldhall. He and James Ewing of Strathleven represented the City in Parliament after the Reform Bill of 1832. It was the western boundary of this gentleman’s property, which extended eastward to Stockwell Street, and the rope walk, which was in operation till well on in last century, reached the entire length, crossing Jamaica Street in an overhead gallery.

OSWALD STREET (Bridgeton) was formed on ground pertaining to Barrowfield Spinning Factory, which was owned by the same gentleman, who is deservedly commemorated by a statue at the north-east corner of George Square.

OSWALD STREET (Whiteinch) and the Lands of Scotstoun belong to another branch of the same family.

OXFORD STREET. See Laurieston.

OVERNEWTON STREET is formed on the lands of that name, which was the patrimonial estate of Walter Gibson, who was Provost of the Town in 1688.

PARTICK, of old Perdyec, from the Gaelic aper dhu ec, meaning the place at the confluence or mouth of the dark river.

PEEL STREET, named in honour of Sir Robert Peel, who passed the Reform Bill of 1832. From his name originated the title of "peeler," as applied to the police; and from the interest he took in the cause of Orangeism, the irrepressible Dan frequently prefaced his attacks upon him in Parliament by addressing him as his friend "orange peel."

PHOENIX PARK is formed on the site of the Phoenix Foundry, which was carried on for many years by Thomas Edington & Sons.

PICCADILLY STREET, 'after the thoroughfare of that name in London, which got its title from a tailor named Higgins, who had introduced piccadille, a French term for a kind of trimming set round the edge of a garment, by which he made a fortune.

PITT STREET, named in honour of William Pitt, the celebrated statesman.

PLANTATION. These lands are composed of several smaller properties conjoined, the largest of which was Craigiehall, and this was the name it was known by till 1783, when John Robertson, who had sugar and cotton plantations in the West Indies, became proprietor and changed the name to Plantation. In 1793 John Mair, a native of Paisley; became proprietor. He had been a builder, and while repairing a steeple there slipped and fell a considerable distance, only saving his life by catching hold of a projecting stone. He then gave up the building trade and commenced the manufacture of muslin, in which he was so successful that he ultimately made sufficient. money to purchase this estate; and in the garden attached to the house he built a stone seat, mounted with pinnacles overhead, to represent the Paisley, steeple, and he used to sit there and ponder on his fall, which he said had been the cause of his rise. He died in 1824. Plantation was next held by William Maclean, who got possession in 1828. He died in 1867, and his son Joseph, who succeeded him, laid off the lands for feuing, he removing to the adjoining cottage of Haughead, where he had Mr. Mair's seat and appendages re-erected. This property having been acquired by the Clyde Trustees, Mr. Maclean was once more on the move, and having built a spacious villa on the neighbouring estate of Dumbreck he bestowed on it the title of Craigiehall, and here then he decided till his death, which occurred some years since.

PLAYFAIR STREET is formed on part of the lands of Dalmarnock, and here for many years a family of that name resided in a mansion near the bridge.

POLLOKSHIELDS, WESTER SHIELDS, SHIELDHALL, and SHIELDMUIR are all from a word signifying a bield or place of shelter.

POLLOK STREET is named for the estate on which it stands. It is the widest street in the City, and was originally designed to be continued over the railway to Saint Andrew's Road, Pollokshields.

POLMADIE, although close to the City, was, from its peculiar position, comparatively little known until within the last few years, hence arose the saying, "Oot o' the worl', and into Pomadee." The name is derived from two Gaelic words signifying the stream or pool haunted by wolves; and doubtless in the olden time quadrupeds of this description were plentiful in the locale. Previous to 1249 an hospital was erected here for the maintenance of the old people of both sexes.

PORTLAND STREET, opened 1802, was named in honour of the Duke of Portland, then a leading Cabinet Minister.

PRESTON STREET (off London Road) was named for John Preston, who had a rope walk there during the greater part of last century.

PRINCES STREET (from Saltmarket Street to King Street), opened 1724, has disappeared through the operations of the City Improvement Trust. It had previously existed as a thoroughfare known Gibson's Wynd, after Walter Gibson, who was Provost in 1688. He was the eldest son of John Gibson of Overnewton, and was widely known as a bitter persecutor of the Covenanters.

QUEEN STREET, opened 1777, is named for Queen Charlotte. It was formed on the property of Mr. McCall, a zealous loyalist. It was previously known as the Cow Lone.

QUEEN MARY STREET (off London Road) is contiguous to the site of Barrowfield House, where the legend, common to nearly every old mansion in the country, is that the Queen spent a night in it, hence the name.

RENFIELD STREET and RENFREW STREET. Campbell of Blythswood’s estate, near Renfrew, was called Renfield, and on his residential property he bestowed the name of his much valuable Glasgow holding; but to make amends he named two of his new streets in the city Renfield and Renfrew respectively.

RICHARD STREET is named for the son of William Gillespie of Wellfield, whose mansion stood on the west side of North Street till within the last three years.

ROBERTSON STREET is on the Broomielaw Croft, a portion of which had been acquired by the Smithfield Company, founded in 1734, and of which Mr. Robertson of Plantation was managing partner. It was, when first opened, called Madeira Street.

ROTTENROW STREET. This thoroughfare comes next to the Drygate in point of age, and it must have been a place of importance in the olden time, for at its eastern end, at the intersection of High Street and Drygate Street, stood the Cross of the town; in proof of which it is recorded in the protocols of the city that on 11th October 1575 James Rankin is "fund in the wrang and amerciament of the Court for the taking down at his ain hand of ane great croce in Rattonraw pertaining to the town, and therefore he is becoming in the Provost and Bailies will and dwme given thereupon." Mr. Renwick, Depute Town Clerk, who has edited the protocols up to date, seems to doubt that this was the Town Cross, from the fact that it was not supported by historical evidence. (In regard to the historical argument, see Bridgeton.) Had this been a holy cross to the memory of a saint or bishop, the indictment would have mentioned it, and the dignitaries of the Church would most likely have taken the punishment in hand, or at least have had a say in it, but the Church is silent, and the Cross is clearly stated to belong to the town, and, standing in the position it did, points almost indubitably to it being the Town Cross. As to the origin or meaning of the name Rottenrow, papers innumerable on this subject have been written, and the most commonly accepted finding is that it arises from Routine Row, a mixture of French and English; but this is too far-fetched. The word at present is mis-spelled, and it was the first part of name (rotten) that upset theorists. Rottenrow Street is a misnomer; it was not at first called Rottenrow Street, but the Rattan Raw, as it still is denominated by the older generation of plain-speaking Scotch people, Row by this class being invariably pronounced Raw; and the original meaning of the word Ratton or Rastoun having been forgot, it easily became altered to Rotten, and it was this which bred so many " rotten " theories respecting the name. In a book of Scottish Pasquils of date l568-l7l5, it occurs in the Bannatyne MS., and was published by James Maidment, advocate, Edinburgh, in 1868 for the first time. A ballad in this volume, entitled "Woman’s Truth," contains the word "rattoun," as applied to and meaning a woman. In Balzac’s "Harlot's Progress" (J. M. Dent Co.'s 1896 edition), at page 14, the word "rat" is used in alluding to a young woman. It may have been a slang term somewhat similar to the word "maul," which is in common use in designating their sweethearts by the lower order of youths in this city at the present day. Slang as a rule only lives for a season, but there are exceptions, and in this case it is quite evident that in these far back days "rat," "ratton," "rattoun," be they slang or not, were terms signifying applied to young women. This, I think, clearly establishes the fact that the Rattoun Row was the woman’s row or ladies' mile of that period, and there are good reason to support this theory, from the fact that in its pristine days the Row occupied the best natural position in the township. Being situated on the ridge of a hill, with a southern exposure, which guaranteed a dry site for dwellings, and with the gardens of the Deanery spread out on the slope below, it certainly was the most attractive street in the town, and as such would naturally become the favourite parade of the ladies, hence the name. In fact, the thoroughfare retained its favourable character up till within the last seventy or eighty years, when the residenters were in the habit of letting their houses as summer quarters, advertisements anent which. can be seen in old files of the Glasgow Herald. The University commenced its career in a small building in this street in 1454, and this might also be adduced as another proof in favour of the locality.

RUCHILL, originally Roughill, was in the seventeenth century the property of the Peadies, who were at that time a leading family in Glasgow, but has since then been held successively by the Dreghorn, Dennistoun, and Dundas families. From the last it was acquired by purchase early in last century by the late James Davidson; but he, having built a residence at Wemyss Bay, resided mostly there, and Ruchill House was long tenanted by the late J.H. Young, a well-known manufacturer in the city. In 1893 the Corporation purchased for a public park, from the trustees of Mr. Davidson, 53 acres of the demesne at the price of £29,176 5s on part of which they have since built an extensive hospital.

RUMFORD STREET is named in honour of Count Rumford. His name was Benjamin Thomson, and he got the title conferred upon him by the Elector Palatine. He was a philosopher of the Franklin School.

SAINT ANDREW SQUARE, opened 1787. It for a time was the most fashionable part of the town. The roof of the portico of Saint Andrew's Church, which stands in the centre, contains the first example in Scotland of what is known in architecture as the flat arch, and it was looked upon as a marvel at the time.


SAINT ENOCH SQUARE was opened in 1782, the first church and the present steeple having been erected two years prior. The church having become unsuitable, it was taken down in 1827 and the present one erected. The name comes from Saint Thanew, whose cell was on the site of the Tron Church in Trongate Street; and, despite statements to the contrary, there is no proof of any building for religious purposes having occupied the square previous to that of 1780. But anterior to the annihilation of all landmarks in the locality by the operations of the G. & S.-W. Railway Co., there was on the east side of Saint Enoch’s Lane, about midway between Argyle Street and' Howard Street, a very old building of three storeys, with crow-stepped gables and small square windows, which apparently have never been glazed; but all of them on the street and first flat had at some time been fitted with iron bars. The walls were thick, and the floor, which had been flagged, was about three feet below street level. This building, when erected, had apparently faced the east, as there was a built-up arched doorway that had been garnished with pilasters in the back wall, which fronted a small yard that intervened between it and a tenement in Saint Enoch Wynd. It had all the appearance of having been a conventual or monastic institute, and from this fact, and its contiguity to the square, may have arisen the statement as to the existence of a previous church; and the only reason that can be ascribed for this ancient mass of stone and lime having been overlooked by local archaeologists is from the fact that it was the back of the building which fronted the lane, the front, which presented its only striking architectural feature, being shut out from public view.

SAINT MUNGO STREET (off Gallowgate Street) is nearly opposite the Dovehill, where in ancient times stood the chapel and yard of Little Saint Mungo, which was endowed by David Cunningham, Arch-Deacon of Argyle in 1500.

SAINT NINIAN STREET is formed upon Saint Ninian's Croft.

SAINT ROLLOX a corruption of Saint Roche. The chapel of Saint Roche, the Confessor, stood on the common moor, on the north side of the city, near the place now known as Saint Rollox. In the Burgh Records, under date 22nd May 1647, the Dean of Guild is ordained to visit Saint Rollok’s Kirkyard, and to set up the "merche stanes."

SAINT VINCENT STREET, to commemorate the victory of Sir John Jervis, on February 15th, 1797, off Cape Saint Vincent.

SALTMARKET STREET, opened in 1100. It was then known as Walcargate, receiving this name from being the residing place of a colony of cloth waulkers or fullers. About 1650 the name was changed, when it became the market for salt.

SARACEN STREET was formed on part of the lands of Possil, which had been acquired by Walter Macfarlane & Co., of the Saracen Foundry for their works, which had originally been in Saracen Lane, which formed the eastern boundary of the old Saracen Inn, which fronted Gallowgate Street. The building is still in existence and it was in it that Dr. Johnson, on his return from his Highland tour, rejoiced to find himself sitting once more in front of a coal fire.

SAUCHIEHALL STREET derives its name from being formed on a haugh or meadow where saugh trees grew. It is a corruption of the Scotch word "sauchiehaugh," and is quite apart from its meaning. The provost or fleshers’ haugh in Glasgow Green might as well be called the provost's hall, which would be absurd, as hall, in the common acceptance of the term, means a dwelling. This anglicising of Scotch words by ignorant and conceited persons is very common, and leads to frequent error. The eastern end of this street, from Buchanan Street to West Nile Street, was previously called Cathcart Street.

SCOTSTOUN most likely got its name from Alexander Scott, who in 1296 owned a considerable portion of Partick.

SHETTLESTON. In the Origines Parochiales by the Bannatyne Club in 1850, Shettleston is given as Schedinestun, and it is said to have been so called from a daughter of Saint Patrick's brother, or perhaps derived its title from some Saxon colonist; and the place is enumerated among the Bishop's possessions in 1170. It is really wonderful the fertility of brain possessed by some pundits. Shedinestun, when looked at broadly, is only another was of spelling Sheddinston or Sheddinstoun, the town at the Sheddins. The latter, from the Latin schidius, meaning cleft or split, is an old Scotch term signifying where the road split or divided. As is the case at Shettleston, there are several clachans or hamlets in the country styled "The Sheddans," and this entirely owing to their position at the divergence of the roads. Shettleston is therefore plainly a corruption of Sheddinston, and it undoubtedly derived its title from its position at the parting of the ways; so the daughter of the patron saint of Ireland's brother will require to get something else to keep her memory green than this little spot at the east end of our city.

SHUTTLE STREET was formed on the lands of Shuttlefield. It had previously been known as Greyfriar's Wynd, the friars having had a monastery here under a charter granted to them by King James the Third in 1479. One of the side walls of the old building stood till within the last three years, and a fragment can yet he seen behind St. Paul's Mission Hall by going up the close or entry number 14.

SILVERGROVE STREET. The lands of Silver Grove were acquired by Mr. Ure, the writer’s maternal ancestor, towards the end of the eighteenth century. They had previously been' occupied as a farm, and the steading, with out-houses, which formed a square near the south end of what is now Silvergrove Street, was converted into small houses by Mr. Ure, entry to which was got by a slap or lane at the south-west corner of Duncan St, which adjoins, and this isolated little hamlet was for many years known as The Grove. On the portion the lands fronting Canning Street, then known as, Barrowfield Road, the proprietor built a villa for himself, likewise two cottages, one for his brother and the other was said to be for his daughter, but she married an Edinburgh solicitor named Donaldson and went off the scene. The ground was feued off and built upon, but the villa and cottages one of the latter having quaint diamond-shaped window panes, remained in a dilapidated condition till within the last fifty years. When Silvergrove Street came to be formed they were swept away. The name arises from a row of silver firs which bordered the Camlachie Burn, which formed the south-east boundary of the property.

STIRLING ROAD was made as an approach to the Canal by William Stirling & Son, who were extensive merchants and manufacturers in the city.

STIRLING STREET (City), opened 1797, and named for the senior partner of William Stirling & Son.

STOBCROSS STREET was formed on the avenue leading to Stobcross House. The name arose from a wooden cross which stood near the spot where the bye-road to the Clyde, now Finnieston Street, branched off from the main highway leading from the Bishop’s Castle to Partick.

STOCKWELL STREET derives the name from a well which stood on the east side, about half way down the street, and was wrought with the old-fashioned wood stock, which vanished with the introduction of the iron lever. This street was utilise as a buchts or feeing market till the opening of the market in Graham Square.

STRATHBUNGO is a Celtic word having some connection with a stream running swiftly in a confined channel. In Johnston’s "Place Names of Scotland" it is given as Strath Mou Gah, Valley of Saint Mungo, or the dear one. This is evidently manufactured, as "mon gah" is pure Norse.

STRUTHERS STREET was named for Robert Struthers, brewer who was the first Provost of Calton.

SWORD STREET is named for James Sword, through whose land of Annfield it was formed.

TENNANT STREET, after Charles Tennant, the elder, of Saint Rollox Chemical Works.

THOMSON STREET (off Duke Street), after Bailie John Thomson of Annfield Pottery.

TRADESTON consists of that portion of land allocated to the Trades House out of the purchase made from Sir Robert Douglas by the Magistrates and Council in 1647. It is bounded on the east by Bridge Street and Eglinton Street, on the north by the River Clyde, on the west by West Street, and on he south by the Paisley and Johnstone Canal. It was laid off for feuing by John Gardner, optician, who was the associate and friend of James Watt. The names of almost every street in the section have been changed since the plan was made, Centre Street alone excepted, the first house in which was built by Thomas Craigie in 1790.

TRONGATE STREET was at first known as Saint Thanew's Gate, but the name was changed on the introduction of the Tron weighing establishment. The old title being carried westward, and getting metamorphosed, was imposed upon Saint Enoch Square.

TUREEN STREET. A Mr. Bagnal had a pottery here who made a speciality in the manufacture of tureens; hence the name. He was a Frenchman and a Roman Catholic. During a fanatical outburst in February 1780, the Protestants wrecked his place, and smashed his crockery. He also had a shop in King Street (City) which met the same fate. For this considerate treatment he was fortunately endemnified by the authorities.

TURNER’S COURT, on the south .side of Argyle Street, nearly opposite Queen Street, was named for John Turner, spirit merchant, Argyle Street. He died about 1797. This place during the present year (1901), has in the course of re-building been entirely swept away.

UNION STREET was called Union Place till Gordon Street was opened in 1802. Sir Andrew Orr, who was Provost in 1854, had a considerable monetary interest in this street, and he tried to boom it, but it would not work, being too far west at that time for high-class shops. The first Unitarian Chapel in the city was in this street, on the site now occupied by the office of the Weekly Mail the entrance to the church being by a stair in front. The sect were not popular at the time, and it was commonly remarked that among the things not generally known in the city one of them was that the highway to destruction was an outside stair in Union Street. But the sect, notwithstanding this Christian antipathy and bigotry, have flourished exceedingly since then.

URE PLACE, which forms three sides of a square at the north-east corner of Montrose Street, was named for John Ure, who was a merchant in Gallowgate Street early in last century. His business premises were on the south side of the street, immediately east of the Gallowgate Bridge.

VIRGINIA STREET, opened 1753, got its name from Provost Andrew Buchanan of Drumpellar. He built the Virginia Mansion, which stood at the north end, the site of which is now occupied by the Union Bank.

WADDELL STREET, named for Mr. Waddel of Stonefield, through whose estate it was formed.

WALKINSHAW STREET. named for John Walkinshaw of Barrowfield. He was an ardent Jacobite, having been out both in the Fifteen and the Forty-Five*, and was ultimately taken prisoner, but escaped by the aid of his wife, who was the sister of Sir Hugh Paterson of Bannockburn.

WARROCH STREET is named for the junior partner of Murdoch, Warroch & Co., who had a brewery here in 1765. In 1766 Mr. Murdoch, the senior partner, was Provost of the town, and during his tenure of office he was presented, when in London, to King George the Third, who remarked that he was the handsomest Scotsman he had ever seen.

WASHINGTON STREET was named by Miss Mary Reid, the proprietrix of the ground on which it was formed, in honour of the founder of American Independence, in accordance with her political principles.

WEAVER STREET formed part of the land belonging to the Incorporation of Weavers. It was laid out for feuing' in 1792.

WEST STREET (South Side) formed the western boundary of Tradeston. During the greater part of the last century a railway occupied the centre of this street throughout its entire length. It was owned by William Dixon, of Govan Colliery, who utilised it in the transport of coal direct from the pit to the harbour for shipment.

WEST STREET (Calton) formed the western boundary of the lands which lay between Mile-end and Broomward.

WESTERN ROAD (GREAT). The formation of this thoroughfare was begun in 1839.

WHITEHALL STREET was formed through the lands of Whitehall. The old mansion, still standing, smoke-begrimed and weird-like, is used as a store, and in appearance belies its name. In its palmy days the lawn reached down to the river.

WHITEHILL STREET was formed through the lands of Whitehill.

WHITEVALE STREET was named in compliment after Whitehill House. It was for many years a semi-private street, with a gate at the end of it.

WILLIAM STREET (Anderston) is named after a son of William Gillespie of Wellfield, through which lands this street was formed.

WILSON STREET (off Candleriggs Street), opened 1790, derives its named from a charity school, which stood on the north side It was founded by George Wilson in 1778.

WINDMILL CROFT. Sir George Elphinston, whose lands extended westwards from Gorbals to Kinning House Burn, erected here, near the foot of West Street, a windmill for the use of his tenants. It stood till 1749.

WISHART STREET, named in honour of Robert Wishart, a patriotic Bishop, who was the firm friend of Wallace and Bruce, and he did not scruple at times to throw aside his vestments and, buckling on his armour, take the field with his countrymen against the Saxon invader. He had previously been Archdeacon of Lothian, and was one of the Regency on the death of Alexander the Third. He was elected to the See in Glasgow in 1271, and died 26th November, 1316, and was buried in the Cathedral between the altars of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew.

WODDROP STREET is formed on the lands of Dalmarnock, and named for the Superiors who were among the original portioners of Glasgow. James Woddrop of Dalmarnock and James Woddrop, younger, are witnesses to the later will of John Blackburne, minister of the Baronie of Glasgow, who died May 1623. The lands of Dalbeth and Westthorne were also held by the Woddrops in 1710.

WOOD LANE (off Broomielaw Street) led to a timber yard. south of Madeira Court. It is now engrossed in the Central Railway Station.

YORK STREET was named for the Duke of York, who was for a time Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, with frequent disastrous results.

YORKHILL. In the beginning of the eighteenth century the westmost section of the lands of Overnewton, including the park of Yorkhill, became the property of Robert Fulton Alexander, merchant in Glasgow, and he, about 1805, built the present mansion and gave the general name of Yorkhill to it and the lands he had acquired.

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