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Glasgow, Gorbals Street, General

General View

Site Name Glasgow, Gorbals Street, General

Classification General View

Alternative Name(s) Gorbals, Main Street; Old Gorbals; Gorbal Village

Canmore ID 168293

Site Number NS56SE 900

NGR NS 5904 6452

NGR Description From NS 5892 6397 to 5904 6435

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Glasgow, City Of
  • Parish Govan (City Of Glasgow)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District City Of Glasgow
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Recording Your Heritage Online


The pre-Reformation Little Govan - or Bridgend, named after a 14th-century bridge - was feued by the Church in 1579 to the merchant Provost George Elphinstone, who built a house in his barony there on the flat plain by the river. The City, together with the Trades House and Hutchesons' Hospital, bought the barony, which was ruled by a Glasgow bailie until annexed by the City in 1846. In 1790 the barony was split between the three owners: the City taking the old Gorbals village and land around Main Street; the Trades House took lands to the west, from Eglinton Street as far as West Street, for Tradeston (see p. 00); while most of the land to the east of Eglinton Street, as far as Oatlands and Polmadie, were taken by Hutchesons' Hospital, much becoming Hutchesontoun. The Hospital Trustees later sold some land to the west of Crown Street to James Laurie, for Laurieston


Gorbals in the 1840s was such a hotbed of quarrels and disturbance that it became known as 'Little Ireland'. In the 1870s Glasgow City Improvement Trust demolished the old Gorbals village, Elphinstone's Tower and St Ninian's Chapel, building new tenements, designed by Alexander Thomson, around a new Gorbals Cross. They also provided a central clock tower and underground public toilets. Population had grown rapidly, reaching 40,000 in the combined areas by 1890 and, with the arrival of vast numbers of destitute immigrants, 'made down' or subdivided tenements became the norm, alongside 'back to back' building on back lands. The population in the 1930s reached 90,000. Redevelopment, following slum clearance in the 1960s, was not successful; much of that has also gone, and with it much of the population

Taken from "Greater Glasgow: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Sam Small, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Architecture Notes


Glasgow, Main Street, Gorbals, Baronial Hall.

Exact site uncertain at time of upgrade, 16.10.2000.

Mitchell Library, Glasgow in Former Times I p.29 - Lithograph 1846

p.33 - 1 engraving of back. 1846

p.110 - 1 engraving

Glasgow in Former Times II - Ornament and plan of roof 1858 in pencil

- Interior, pencil and wash 1858


Main Street, Gorbals.

Mitchell Library. Wm Graham II p 105 - Lithograph

- Lithograph of close in Main Street

T Fairburn's Relic of Ancient Architecture p. 22 - Drawing of baronial tower.

Glasgow In The 40's. no 22 - Reproduction of water colour

Bygone Glasgow - Reproduction of drawing 1876

Glasgow in Former Times I p. 29 - Lithograph 1835

p. 33 - Lithograph


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