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Glasgow Redevelopment – the Gorbals

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1 Glasgow Redevelopment – the Gorbals
The Gorbals was originally a single-street village. It grew up around the River Clyde’s most westerly crossing point - a bridge completed in 1345. Five years later, a leper hospital dedicated to St Ninian, the name of a terrace today, helped plague victims from the city across the river. The village, thought to be mainly thatched houses lived in by maltmen and brewers, was extensively damaged in 1748 by fire.

2 Early History Gorbals Towards the end of the 1700s the village’s main industry was weaving. Other trades were gunsmiths, nailers, shoemakers, tailors and cotton spinners. Around 60 pubs supplied ‘refreshment’. Govan Colliery in the countryside to the south employed 200 men and used a steam engine to raise coal to the surface. The Industrial Revolution changed the character of the area. Ironworks, appeared next to the colliery. Buildings were demolished to allow for railway lines, elevated on stone and brick arches. A grid layout of four-storey tenements grew up through the 1900s to house local factory and cotton mill workers. By the 1930s its 90,000 population was served by 1,000 shops and 130 pubs. It had become a true community with a mix of immigrant groups: Highlanders, displaced by sheep, land confiscation and poverty; Irish fleeing famine; and Jews leaving behind persecution in Europe.

3 Inter-War Period Gorbals During the inter-war period, as with many other inner city areas throughout Britain, it all started to break down. Building decay, overcrowding and poor sanitation got worse and little was done to address the problems. These became widespread in the Gorbals. Government legislation after the Second World War indicated a general desire to turn this around. It proposed the comprehensive redevelopment of large chunks of cities and towns. Glasgow Corporation’s ambitious redevelopment programme earmarked 29 areas across the city as Comprehensive Development Areas (CDAs) - the Gorbals, was to be the first.

4 Inter-War Period Gorbals By the early 1950s, of Glasgow’s 1,085,000 population, an estimated 600,000 needed rehousing. Within the city boundaries, the CDAs could only accommodate 250,000 people. Estates on the edge of the city could take another 100,000. So, 250,000 were expected to move outside the Glasgow area altogether. New towns were created such as East Kilbride and Cumbernauld. The extra expense of building high-rise was justified as it seemed the only way to accommodate the 250,000 people (two-storey development on the same area would only house 75,000). Surveys showed that residential property, some not very old, was in poor condition in terms of structure and sanitation. Years of private landlord neglect had made things worse. Flats had also been subdivided in many cases. The population density was persons per acre compared to a modern suburban density of 30 persons per acre. Imagine that with only one toilet for every three houses!

5 Inter-War Period – new and old
Gorbals 1960s 1900s

6 Urban decay in the 1980s Gorbals By the 1980s, the area had an air of neglect and dilapidation. The redevelopment of the area had stopped and the effects of poor building specification were apparent. The population of the area was 85,000 in By 1952, this was down to 68,000. In the 1980s it had crashed to 10,000. Shops were difficult to keep going, schools were relocated or closed, and places of worship closed their doors. In 1980, after a great battle and rent strike, the council bowed to tenant pressure to rehouse remaining tenants from flats riddled with condensation and water penetration. Options to refurbish were dismissed and 759 flats were demolished in 1987. Once again, the area was in dire need of regeneration. The council had to find an overall strategy to reverse its decline.

7 Comprehensive Regeneration in the 21st Century
Gorbals Recognising the mistakes of the 1960s, a council-led working group formed in The emphasis today is on recreating more traditional streets and clearly defined open spaces. The architecture has moved on and there are some exciting examples of design. Better building materials, maintenance regimes and greater attention to detail should ensure that today’s architecture should stand the test of time. The developments re-introduce four-storey tenemental housing, a new shopping street and large communal back garden areas. Severe unemployment is being tackled through the Gorbals Initiative, a local enterprise company, which provides access for local people to nearby job opportunities and stimulates the local economy. All in all, great efforts have been made to make the Gorbals a vibrant, thriving community.

8 Inner City Regeneration…the Gorbals vs Redcliffe
2006 Average house price UK: £169,901 Average house price Glasgow: £113,169 Average house price Bristol: £181,257 The Gorbals Redcliffe £98,500 Flat 2 bedrooms £189,955 Flat 2 bedrooms £64,000 Flat 1 bedroom £86,950 Flat 2 bedrooms

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