Dennistoun, located one mile east of George Square, was by 1830 a series of country estates for the affluent merchants of Glasgow, with a small degree of suburbanisation to the south east of the area in Whitevale and Bluevale Streets. In 1838, John Reid, merchant, commenced purchasing land holdings in the area with a view to creating a new middle class suburb. By the time of his death in 1851 only a small amount of land had been developed and Alexander Dennistoun of Golfhill purchased the estate to which he added subsequent land purchases and gave his name.
By the 1860s building in the area retained a degree of affluence in an attempt to maintain the middle class status of the neighbourhood and compete with newly emerging suburbs elsewhere in the city. Originally proposed in 1854 by James Salmon under the direction of Alexander Dennistoun, the area was to be laid out with detached and terraced villas. A slightly revised version of the area still largely exists in the south west of Dennistoun and is now a designated Conservation Area.
By the mid to late 19th century competition elsewhere in the city eventually dictated the increasing use of tenement buildings in the area. From the 1870s tenements predominated and were erected at a rate closely in tune with the local economy in Glasgow. These were built on a grid square arrangement with a liberal helping of places of worship. The area retained, despite the scaling down of grand intentions, an element of exclusivity well into the early 20th century.
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