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Baillieston and District Memories

Baillieston by Robert D. Corrins

The village of Baillieston grew out of a number of small hamlets, including Crosshill, Barrachnie, and Bredisholm, which developed as farming and weaving communities in the latter part of the eighteenth century.

The opening up of the Monklands coalfieldwith the construction of the Monklands Canal and later the railway stimulated the rapid growth of Baillieston which soon acquired the typical character of a mining village although some weaving survived till almost the end of the century.

A continuous programme of pit sinking drew in workers from throughout Scotland and beyond, and the population grew rapidly to reach almost 4000 by the time of the First World War. Irish, many of them Catholics, made up the largest of the non-Scottish additions to the population but there were significant numbers of Ulster Protestants, both Episcopalian and Presbyterian, as well as English and later Poles and Italians.

As the fortunes of the coal industry fluctuated throughout the century this disparate population gradually came to form a distinct village community moulded by the common experience of an often harsh living and working environment.

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A group of miners outside the Brandy Pit around the early 1900's
Can YOU recognise anyone?

The local pits went into decline at the beginning of the twentieth century and with little alternative employment, beyond the jamworks, the self contained character of the village began to change. This was accelerated by the extension of the tramway systemwhich early in the century greatly improved the transport links to Coatbridge to the east but more importantly to the city of Glasgow to the west.

The building of the large private housing estate of Garrowhill as a Garden Suburb which began in the inter-war period not only changed the social composition of the village but reinforced its transformation into a commuter suburb of Glasgow. This was formally acknowledged when the village was transferred from Lanarkshire and absorbed into the city at the time of local government reorganisation in 1975. Since that time a succession of private housing estates have been constructed around the village and little remains of the original community.

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Baillieston produced a number of distinguished people. John Wheatley, although born in Ireland grew up at Braehead and went to St Bridgets school. He became a prominent Labour politician, serving as Minister of Health in the first Labour Government, and was responsible for the Housing Act of 1924, which transformed the living conditions of millions of working class people.
Another prominent labour politician was Sir Patrick Dollan who became Lord Provost of Glasgow and first chairman of the East Kilbride Development Corporation. The village also provided a Lord Provost of Edinburgh in Sir William Thomson, a founding partner in what became the SMT bus company.
William Reid was awarded the Victoria Cross for outstanding bravery in a bombing raid over Dusseldorf in 1943.

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This photo shows the conditions most people lived in around the early 1900's. This a family group outside a miners house in
The Square, Crosshill,  Baillieston, c1935
The wee lad in the picture is Davie Reid who emigrated to New Zealand. He died a few years ago.

These houses were built c1840 in Gillies Lane in Baillieston.They are still standing but unoccupied.

Calderbank House
(On Hangmans Brae - on the road from Baillieston to back of what was once Calderpark Zoo -now a housing estate )
It was occupied by a Mr Young (Coalmaster) from the end of the 1800s to around 1920.  After lying empty for a time,  it was converted to a Maternity Hospital (part of Bellshill Maternity) and was in use until the early 1980s.  Latterly it was used as by the Talbot Association as a refuge for alcoholics.)

Today it has been demolished and the land is being used for housing - adjacent to the "town" that is appearing on the old Glasgow Zoo site.   

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