Other Industries

As was stated elsewhere, during the 19th century coal pits were sunk in Drumchapel. There were at least two sets of “Miner’s Rows” One at Peel Glen.

Several coal Bings were in the vicinity, and the slag was used to make bricks.

Buggies at Hurll’s brickworks which was situated on the boghouse side of the canal.

The second and main rows were situated beyond the hospital.

The following information is centered around the generation following the mining period when there was not a single miner living in the Rows. There were other industries in the area at the time, one being the Garscadden brick works south of the canal and behind the old school house. The site of these works can be seen in the map section, in maps dated 1861, 1899, the originals being in the Mitchell Library.

Clydebank shipyard and Singers factory are said to have been built by Drumchapel bricks.

Other two smaller concerns were the clay pits and the blaize Bings. bogies on a single-track rail line carried loads from the blaize bings to areas where it was required. This small industry was carried on well into the 20th Century, and attracted many sight- see’rs out for an afternoons walk. Local crafts were perpetuated by brothers by the name Meiklern, who carried on their crafts as Smith and Wright.

Toward the end of the 19th century, Mr. Black the owner of the land had other ambitions and prepared an extensive feuding plan covering both high and low Drumchapel five houses in Garscadden road adjacent to Garscadden House, were the first to be built and as there was still no station they had to be provided with coach houses and stables the first house is called the “Anchorage”, and is at present a church manse occupied by the reverend Mr. Stewart of St Andrews Parish Church in the New Housing Scheme of Drumchapel.

After the station opened in 1890,more large stone villas and semi villas was built around what was then known as the tennis square, and is now Firdon Crescent, they continued building down to School Road now Kaystone Road.

By the end of the 19th century, industry had practically disappeared leaving only the “Row” and the”Bings”. The district of Drumchapel had returned to its original agricultural state.

It was possible to see the by-products of the Drumchapel pits from the rows. These were huge blaze bings consisting of a mixture of coal dust and red ashes that had been drawn from the furnace fires. There were also large black bings.

During the General Strike of 1926 people came in their hundreds from the outskirts of the City of Glasgow to rake through the coal bings in the hope of finding some of the precious fuel.

The bings at Peel Glen were in filled in the early 1960’s due to being in a dangerous condition and a young boy was fatally injured while playing there.

It is important that we mention the Rows again. Thirty families formed this small community living in the rows and living in such a small community honesty and friendship was plentiful.

There was no need to use locks or bars on doors, money could be left on a paper above the milk bottles, and coal stored at the back of the doors in the “Rows” The doors of the Rows were painted in colours of green, red and blue. At the back of the gardens were little wooden sheds that were used as dry toilets. One particular man had the job of emptying the dry toilets.

There were two water pumps, one at either end of the rows. Garscadden burn known as the “Healthy Burn” ran about one hundred yards from the rows and can still be seen to this day. Gypsies used to arrive and rest their caravans just beside the Healthy Burn.

Each week the Rows had a visit from the” Soor Milk Cairt” driven by a local farmer, from whom butter and eggs could be bought…

Another regular visit to the rows was a man named Peter Hall, who ran a piggery near Knightswood miner’s Rows. The Rows provided brock for the piggery. Both the baker and the Butcher visited the Rows twice a week. Mr. Strachan who lived in Bearsden and had an old-fashioned horse drawn, baker’s van.

The butcher a Mr. Murphy had a little van that was pulled by a fast moving horse, and lets not forget Johnny A’thing.

The children of the Rows knew Garscadden House, as the “Big Hoose”. Once a year the Girnin Gates were thrown open to the people of Drumchapel.

This was the day of the Drumchapel Fete. The Laird of Garscadden on that day invited all to his feast which started off with gaily decorated farm carts and horse drawn lorries on the back of which children presented some dramatic or pectoral scene. The procession would go as far as the present Blairdardie area where the Drumchapel school was situated.

Then led by the Queen and her escorts they would proceed through the Girnin Gates into the beautiful grounds of Garscadden House, the Grounds were filled with a great variety of trees and flowerbeds. The Laird of Garscadden House adorned himself in full highland dress for this occasion.

The day consisted of sports, races, five-a-side football and Tug-0-War, there was feasting, all culminating in the Crowning of the Drumchapel Festival Queen.

We must mention the Old Smiddy in Drumry Road and the smith had his dwelling house on the other side of the road. It was not uncommon to see three or four horses from the surrounding farms queuing outside the Drumchapel smiddy.

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