…60 Greenfield Street, Docklands Govan, Glasgow, 1950s… the epitome of fine living…

glw 1

…much nonsense prevails whenever people begin to ‘reminisce’ about the ‘bad old days’ growing up in the Glasgow slums  60 years ago… this ol’ Jurassic is a product of that environment, and whilst I won’t pretend it was urban Utopian bliss, it still serves up mem’ries that cause me to smile… money for 99.999999% of families there was tighter than the proverbial duck’s a*se… as it was in countless other granite-carved conurbations in the UK… food was never counted in calories or proteins or carbohydrates or gluten, but on what a meagre household income could purchase, with a wee bit of ‘pay-yeez-at-the-end-of-the-week’ when the husband’s pay packet was delivered… clothing was generally home-knitted, and ‘hand-me-downs’ a matter of course… school classes numbered up to forty and fifty children in each classroom… yeez can spot me as the future Trainee Financial Master of the Universe in this photograph, front row, squinting at the camera, second from the left, with the light-coloured jersey…


…from the age of eight upward, most kids were familiar with the ‘Uncle’ disguised as the pawnbroker on most street corners, to whom, and from whom, ’invaluable’ household items such as alarm clocks, dresses, and odd bits of small furniture were pledged and redeemed on a regular basis for amounts in shillings (that’s old money, Mabel) to bridge the spending needs of the week… our family moved from the Govan tenements to the then palatial outskirts of Glasgow, to the Scottish version of ‘The Projects’ ….forty years later, and these too, had come full circle… crumbling, broken-down, vandalised, graffiti-strewn, suburban slums, rejoicing in salubrious district names such as Priesthill, and Nitshill (I kid yeez not!)… in our top floor, three storeys up, for the first time we had a real bathroom with a real bath … no shower, but at least a real bath… prior to that, our previous address, 60 Greenfield Street, Docklands Govan, Glasgow, the epitome of fine living, offered an iron sink in the front room cum kitchen cum sitting area cum guest room… into that sink on a weekly basis our wee children’s scalps were dunked and scraped to rid them of the perpetual lice that thrived on our assorted crania… carbolic soap was the order of the day… none of yer bars of ‘fresh-scented-as-the-lilies-of-the-fields’ nonsense… and here’s the thing… back then, it seems, I never heard that anyone died of starvation… nobody froze to death for lack of clothes… solid education was had despite the classroom population size… so, for me, ‘the bad old days’  are simply ‘the old days’… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

23 responses to “…60 Greenfield Street, Docklands Govan, Glasgow, 1950s… the epitome of fine living…

  1. Family can make or break a person. You obviously turned out well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Every contrivance of man, every tool, every instrument, every utensil, every article designed for use, of each and every kind, evolved from a very simple beginnings.
    Robert Collier

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re right. You can’t judge the past from today’s perspective. Thanks for the memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Seumas you are so awesome. Only someplace as cool as docklands could have produced you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It goes to show that what makes a meaningful childhood isn’t about wealth, but about family. I love the colorful descriptions of your youth and how clearly they’ve shaped you. I was a country gal, but can still relate. Oh the marvelous mischief of those days.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love these backstories, Seumas. Now about the real bath. How many times was the water used. A numberof times at my house. 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There are many kinds of poor. Material is not the worst. Everyone just worked harder to succeed. You did well, Seumas. The schools in those areas turned out some well-educated people. Hope was a big part of it. Congratulations, Seumas, for not only succeeding but exceeding. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rosa Ave Fénix

    My dear Seumas, all of us who are ol’jurasic, more or less have had this kind of chilhood. But all of us survive and made us strong, especially it was good as now we can appreceite what we have now, surely the very young ones who have had everything, aren’t as glad as we are.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love this post, Seumas. My house didn’t have a “proper” bathroom until I was 16. Before then, we bathed out of the bathroom sink while the bathtub (inexplicably) held our laundry. Our septic and well were too close together and my brother and I were tormented with boils for part of our teenaged years. My mother more or less raised 4 children on her own (my dad, sadly, was mentally disabled). But we had a large extended family, lived in the country where color often abound, and, perhaps more importantly, had access to good education. We were poor by most standards but I didn’t ever feel that way because we were rich in so many other ways 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ali Isaac

    Ah the good old days! Dont you just miss em?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Seumas, do you remember “peg rugs”? My mother and her sisters used to sit with my grandmother and cut up old clothes and then take a sheet of canvas material and use a little tool to make them. Those became the house rugs, often placed in the hearth before the coal fire. As a kid I loved rubbing my toes in them.


  12. Pingback: …60 Greenfield Street, Docklands Govan, Glasgow, 1950s… the epitome of fine living… | Seumas Gallacher

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