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I had an interview with Mrs Sybil Templeton of 63, Braidfauld Street on 5th September, 1977 to help me compile my history of the district.  These notes were taken at the time, when Mrs Templeton was 92 years old.  I have some rather poor photocopies of her own photos and postcards; they were made by myself at a time when good copying or reproduction was too pricey an option for me!  Some are included here, benefiting a bit from the technology of digital editing, along with some of my own photographs of the period.

Mrs Templeton was born in 1885 in Dunlop Street (now known as Corbett Street ), in a house on French’s land, opposite Ryefield Place.  The land took its name from its owner, Isabella French of Saltcoats, who is buried in Tollcross cemetery.  Life was not easy in her early days and water had to be collected from a well outside the house.  She worked during the summer holidays (6 weeks) to bring some extra money into the house.  The local youngsters would be employed by Willie Spittal of Spittal’s farm (latterly Henry McGeechan’s house and farm) to turn hay and thin out turnips.  They worked from 6.00am until 6.00pm and were paid 9d.  On one occasion, Mrs Templeton volunteered to rise at 4.00am to pick strawberries so that they might reach the market that morning, this for the princely sum of 1/-.  The children were allowed to eat as many of the berries as they wished as long as they didn’t steal any.

Main Street, Tollcross at the turn of the 20th century, now Tollcross Road, looking west.  This scene has hardly changed in 100 years, except that the trams have gone.

In later years, she worked at a mill in Adelphi Street (now Poplin Street), Bridgeton.  There was no public transport so she had to rise at 5.00am to walk the several miles.  She began work at 6.00am and finished at 6.00pm.  By the time she reached home it was 7.00pm.  Her walk to work was via London Road, Springfield Road and Dalmarnock Road.   Mrs Templeton enjoyed this and says she was fresh and fit when she arrived for work.  The local girls practically fell out of bed into their work.

The trams did eventually arrive on the scene.  The Auchenshuggle terminus was opposite the path leading down from the station.  The green number 29 tram had its terminus at Causewayside Street and travelled along Main Street (later Tollcross Road).  Mrs Templeton recalled a woman she knew who saw the first tram in Shettleston.  This woman went away to America for a number of years and returned in time to see the last tram in Shettleston.  Her own daughter, Elizabeth Templeton, rode on the last tram down to Bridgeton to see the tram procession.  She proudly kept the ticket from that journey.  Before arrival of the railway there were fields where there route was to run.  The path to the Auchenshuggle terminus was not there prior to this time.  The only ways to London Road were by Causewayside Street and Braidfauld Street.

Braidfauld Street looking south from Tollcross Road, before being widened.

The main industry in Tollcross was mining and Mrs Templeton’s father was a miner.  The area abounded in miners’ dwellings and the men worked in some of the local pits.  One pit was the Mutton which was at the foot of Wellshot Road.  Mrs Templeton could recall, at the very early age of two, visiting friends with her mother at a house which stood opposite Wellshot Road.  This was where the traffic island recently stood with the telephone booths until the Braidfauld Street route was again changed.  This island has been joined to the main pavement now.  She recalls going to the door of the house and witnessing horses and cartloads of coal emerging from the mine.  Her memory was contested in later years by her father, but she is adamant that she recalled the event. The Mutton was closed down in the same year - 1887.

House in Main Street (Tollcross Road)  across from Wellshot Road - most likely the one visited.

There were other pits in the area.  There was a pit at Easterhill adjoining Clyde Iron Works.  One called the Dolly was where Colville’s now stands, at Fullarton Road.  She recalls “the big pit” over Carmyle way.

There were also several farms.  Spittal’s farm, already mentioned, had a cornfield where the new part of Tollcross cemetery and Easterhill Place now stand.  The pavement in front of the house was cobbled until recent times.  Tom Hamilton had a small farm on Causewayside Street while his brother, Jimmy, had Egypt farm in the Calton, now Dalness Street.  This last street used to be a dead end and then you had to cross a bridge over a burn, probably Tollcross Burn.  Egypt farm had cows grazing about 60 years ago.  Tom Hamilton’s farm had miners’ houses round about it.  McGregor’s farm was between London Road and the Clyde .

Mrs Templeton was able to provide an historical account of the layout of some streets in Tollcross and some notable features in them;

Balmoral Terrace had one close onto Braidfauld Street, six or seven in what is now Easterhill Street, and one in Anderson Street, now Easterhill Place.  Beyond that was Spittal’s cornfield.

Anderson Street was named after Anderson who owned the property and lived in that street opposite the Terrace. 

The old dwelling at 67, Corbett Street used to be occupied by a Mr Harris, who had cattle grazing in the fields.  He had a horse and cart which he hired out.

Whitelock’s was a  cab hirer who lived opposite the cemetery gates in Dunlop Street - the house with the attics.  His descendants still lived there.  He ran a brake from Tollcross to Parkhead and back for 1d.  This would be in the 1890s.

Going down Dunlop Street there was the “domino” building on the left.  At the foot of Dunlop Street was Paddys’ Castle which had two outside staircases, with 4 tenants to each landing.

Easterhill Street from the old Dunlop Street to Causewayside Street was called Morrison Brae.  Near the spot where a red tenement building was recently demolished, on the south side of Easterhill Street at the boundary, stood some houses known as the “Dollar.”  This was a building of single apartments.  The name was originally the “half-crown” building until the rent went up from a half crown to five shillings – the latter known throughout Glasgow as a “dollar”.

Braidfauld Street was a narrow street until the new houses were built.  In fact the western fork onto Tollcross Road which created the road island probably opened then.  The original , eastern fork is now paved over.  This would be about 1946-1950.  Braidfauld Street was nicknamed the “Doctor’s Road” for some reason; certainly a Dr. Stein lived in the 1st house past St. Margaret’s Church.  This may have been the reason, or the doctor may have been one of several medical men living in the semi-detached houses in Braidfauld Gardens.

“Honest John’s” shop was built on railway property on a coal ree (an enclosure for storing coal) and was originally used by a coal merchant.  It is probable that the coal was delivered by the railway wagons until the closure of the station.

St. Margaret’s Halls were built on the site of the stables of Frankie Shott who was a fruit hawker.  He sold his wares about the district from his horse-drawn float.  Beyond that was Kirk’s brickie under the railbridge.  Further on there were fields until the Neuk.  This was a big house with stables for coachmen at the foot of Braidfauld Street, where the 64 bus terminus stood.

Opposite this, where the new Braidfauld housing scheme now stands were large houses.  At the corner of Braidfauld Avenue was Braidfauld farm house and opposite this, the fields.  The St. Margaret manse was in this Avenue and next to it was East Thorn.  This big house was converted into a nursing home.  Mrs Templeton and her daughter attended a fete there.  

Just around the corner (east) into London Road from Braidfauld Street stood a little house where the public hangman used to stable his horse and trap while performing his duties at Jail Square in Glasgow.  This house was taken down when London Road was improved.

Mrs Templeton recalled Chuckie Loan at the school (Tollcross Primary?).  Her daughter  remembered the sand pit opposite where several children died.  She was warned by her mother never to play there.  Sandyhills was fields.  Amulree Street was Springfield Road.

Mrs Templeton  recalled the damage to Victoria Church when the wind blew part of the new building into the old during the big storm.  She also remembered the roof of the Methodist Church being blown in, in 1911.

Tollcross Methodist Church


Battle Burn was filled in prior to the first World War.

When Tollcross Park belonged to the Dunlops it had a high wall around it.  They owned some of the pits.

Ardfern Street was William Street.

Mrs Templeton was very interested in the itinerant photographers who used to travel around seeking employment, and she used to commission photos from them.  One of these was included in my book on the history of Tollcross & Dalbeth and is included here.  It depicts her neighbours, spruced up in their highly coloured and patterned work coveralls.

An interesting contrast with the spruced up children in the school photograph is the one above, where local children were snapped in their everyday condition.

© 2006 Gordon Adams


NOTES: Updated for 1st March, 2010.

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