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Second City of The Empire: 1830s to 1914


Kinning Park

By W Hamish Fraser

Old Kenning House In the early 1830s Sir John Maxwell of Pollok, 7th baronet (1768-1844), had plans for a new model village south of the river between Tradeston and Govan. The idea was to create a fine new middle-class area complete with villas, crescents and squares. Peter Macquiston, whom Maxwell employed to draw up plans, took as his model the Regent's Park area of London. But it was not to be. Already industry was beginning to encroach on the area and the grandiose plans were abandoned in favour of less costly working-class housing. By 1870 Kinning Park had a population of around 6,000 and by 1905 it was 14,000, working mainly in the community's many engineering and boilermaking workshops or in Gray Dunn & Co's biscuit factory.

Andrew Boa Moves to incorporate the area into Glasgow were fiercely resisted by small businessmen, who feared higher rates, although amalgamation was generally supported by the working class. However, in 1871, Kinning Park was granted the status of an independent police burgh with its own elected council. Five of the members of the first council were working men and it has some claim to have returned the first Labour councillors in Britain. The most effective of these was Andrew Boa who was also secretary of the Kinning Park Co-operative Society, launched in 1871 with the surplus money left over from the campaign for incorporation. Its first shop was in West Scotland Street and it grew into one of the city's most successful co-operative societies. Alas, Boa emigrated to Australia at the start of the economic depression of the mid-1870s.

Kinning Park Co-op Women's Guild The area became a place that resonated with all the qualities of Glasgow's skilled working class with vigorous social activities centred round the co-operative society including a very active Women's Co-operative Guild. Rangers Football Club had its first permanent pitch in the area in 1875, moving to Ibrox in 1887. In 1905 Kinning Park lost its independent status and was absorbed into Glasgow.

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