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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day


The Gorbals

By Ronald P A Smith

Playground, Hutchesontown Perhaps because of the area's notoriety, the Gorbals was the first part of Glasgow to be promoted for comprehensive redevelopment under post-war planning legislation. Redevelopment plans for Hutchesontown received Government approval in 1957 and eminent architects were involved in the design of the high-rise housing. Shortly afterwards Laurieston was also redeveloped for housing which included the enormous tower blocks which now dominate Gorbals Cross. Oatlands was partly demolished before a change of policy led to the refurbishment of the remaining red sandstone tenements.

Hutchesontown Housing The redevelopment schemes were far from being a resounding success - not only were important buildings and traditional streets lost, but swathes of ground were left derelict. Much of the replacement housing was poorly designed or was impossible to maintain at economic cost - particularly infamous were the damp-ridden Hutchesontown "Area E" and Sir Basil Spence's 20-storey slab apartment blocks at Queen Elizabeth Square, demolished in 1987 and 1993 respectively.

Glasgow Central Mosque A new process of regeneration was initiated in 1989. The Government-sponsored Crown Street Regeneration Project, together with significant work by the community-based New Gorbals Housing Association, continues to transform Hutchesontown, restoring traditional street layouts and a human scale. The City Council provided impressive community and leisure facilities in the late 1990s and, at the turn of the millennium, promoted the creation of a new residential neighbourhood in Oatlands. Still requiring redevelopment are Laurieston and the surroundings of "Greek" Thomson's Caledonia Road Church, but should these works replicate the quality and housing mix elsewhere, there are strong grounds to believe that the Gorbals will achieve the stability and long-term future that it, and its long-suffering community, have always deserved.

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