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  Memory Lane.....Take a walk down memory lane...  Alternative Memories I 

Most, if not all of us look back on our childhood memories and remember, in the main, the good times but some people have been taking off the rose tinted glasses and sending some not so nice memories. So I have dug deep into my recollections and along with the others I have received, listed they are....

To get you in the mood read this alternative version of the famous poem  
'Oh where is the Glasgow'  alternative version .......Farewell Tae Glasgow.  by Jim McLean


Smelly overflowing 
with rubbish 
strewn around the backcourt




 Puddles everywhere, rancid blue oily puddles......clabber!     Midgie Raking


Tenement buildings overrun with mice, we lived in a three storey tenement and as the area was being demolished we and another family were the only two families left in the close. Mice were everywhere, running up the curtains while you watched TV, the frying pan had mouse footprints in it, we had to chap the door before entering a room to hear the mice scurrying across the floor, mousetraps and wharfen poison everywhere.  
Melting tar on the roads/pavements.......(Summers must have been warmer then! )
Fleas in the blankets and the house smelling of paraffin which yer Da had sprayed about the hoose tae try and kill them
Lice and getting your head checked at school, then yer Mammy scraping yer scalp with the steel comb
    getting the beasts oot yer heid, cracking them between her fingers then chucking them on the fire to hear them 'crack'


flys were everywhere. 
and BIG bluebottles!
Remember the sticky orange flypaper? 
It came in roll, looked like a camera spool.
It was hung fae the ceiling light and when a fly
landed oan was stuck! 
Ye ended up wi a flys graveyard.
Dirty outside toilets in the close, 
really stinking and often so dirty you daren't sit down 

houses no inside toilet
Our outside toilet in the close was terrible, 
                  I remember my Da taking me out at night
                  holding a candle which was our only means of light, 
                  and using newspaper torn into neat squares as .....
                  well you know what for!         

Single-end houses bedrooms, no living kitchen
                  just a single room to live, sleep and eat in.

Single-end.houses overcrowding....I stayed in a single-end house in the close with my sister and parents all of us  sharing  the bed which was in the 'bed-recess' being the oldest I got the 'feet' end.
Being freezing in bed and using coats as blankets
It was so cold that one morning I found a wee ice cube in my bed. I threw it in the fire and it went ' Fart '
The house being freezing in the morning and having to "kennel" the coal fire!
Bed-wetting...a heard a great story about a boy who shared the bed with his brothers, this night when asked 
                       which end he wanted to sleep at he said " the shallow-end! "
No Central heating ice on the windows....on the inside!

no hot water on tap, kettles boiled on the gas ring

the bed freezing, getting yer feet on the hot water bottle
 No family holidays...the odd day away to Ayr, Saltcoats, Largs or 'doon the watter' tae Rothesay if you were lucky
     Where ur ye gaun on holiday this year?...'Hame'll-dae-me' came the famous reply!   Or maybe 'Windy-Ledge'
Having to go to Crail St., Florence St., or Redan St. clinics  to be cured for impitigo
              Many will recall how their hair had to be cut off and covered with a purple dye called gentian violet, 
              and how everyone called you scabby heid.
The dreaded Scabies, which, regardless how clean your family were you just picked it up and imposed it upon your  household. Again we would visit one of the above clinics to strip naked, and be doused over with a white liquid put on with a large decorators paint brush, a dreadful and embarrassing experience.
Remember the unfortunate children at school who had a 'lazy' eye and having to wear specs with one lens wrapped in elastoplast!

 Puddles... playing wi the water and drinking it!
Stanks in the street overflowing  with*t spewing out everywhere
Urinating in the back close

Standing on the football terracings with pee flowing everywhere, 
              as the men would pee into there beer bottles then empty them at their feet. I have even 
              seen these bottles being used as missiles, raining down on fellow supporters!

Extract from e-mail 22nd Nov.2002 (name withheld Regarding your comments about football matches and  bottles filled with urine, I remember as a ten year old going to Celtic Park, an' being 'lifted ower' by a decent supporter, to collect empty bottles for returning to the shop/pub for refunds. On finding a half filled 'ginger' bottle with what in my childhood ignorance I assumed to be 'ginger' I asked the man standing there "haw mister, is this ginger?" Which he replied, "yes". What luck, I took a slug only to find it filled with pee! This is an experience of abuse which I clearly remember to this day.
When they stand before the pearly gates there are many in this world who have much explaining to do for their mistreatment of weans.  


Drunken men
staggering hame, 
stinking o' the booze!       

These auld Da's were typical 
of the old men you see in every
major city and Glesga is nae exception!

Men down on there luck who turned tae
alcohol and the bevvy ruined them.

Sadly modern cities seem nowadays to
have more than there fair share of young
men and woman...down on their luck


Dogs poo on the pavements...standing on it and trailing it through the house, 
 or having to scrape it off yer shoe on the pavement edge.
   A wee boy walked in tae his hoose, an he hud a big jobby, in his haun, an he says tae his maw   Hey, Maw dae you know ah' nearly stood oan that!!

        Packs of dogs roaming the streets and sometimes needing a well aimed bucket of water thrown over them!
                         If ye get ma drift! 


Weans wi' snottery noses, I knew a wee boy in Brigton who always, always had a snottery nose.....various colours.
Incidentally, when people blow their noses then look into the hankie..what do they expect to find?  A silver sixpence!  
  (wean.......Glesga term for 'child' pronounced wane)

The Dreep. ( Joe Sharp )
Whit can I dae aboot this continual dreepin’. Frae my nose a’ the day even when I’m sleepin’.
The Doctor says he can dae naethin’ aboot it. He says it’s no’ like somethin’ ye can take it oot an’ shoot it.

I went tae the Chemist tae pick up my prescription. An’ afore I went in, I gave my hooter a guid blow.
But as I bent o’er the coonter tae sign my description. Watter frae the well o’ my nasal canal began tae flow.

The wee lassie wis awfy guid an’ didnae make it an issue. She jist went roon’ the back.
An’ when she came back. She geid me a big paper tissue.

In the Post Office oot o’ the rain. An’ I noticed my sleeve wis a’ damp.
Wi’ wipin’ the dreep as I walked doon the street. It wis handy for stickin’ the stamp.

It’s no’ bad today, noo I’ve found a way. A guid way tae kick it....I jist lick it.



Polis booking ye for playing fitba in the street!  
Annoyed me this one as me and my pals had to go to Tobago St Police station for a verbal warning from the Superintendent.....meanwhile the real neds were running around fighting, stabbing and breaking into houses!                

Gangs Neds standing at the street corners and gang fights
               Running at each other with blades, slashing faces and kicking lumps out each other.
               We spent many an evening (1960s), hinging oot oor two-storey windae, cushion on the ledge,
                watching these mindless morons chase each other up and down Baltic Street. 
                for more on gangs click here


From the alternative memories the conditions were often deplorable yet this song typifies the feelings that were
prevalent when the letter arrived informing the family that they had to move as the building was being demolished.
We ALL wanted to stay! 
The majority of folk didn't want to leave there friends and community, unfortunately the idea of renovating the tenement buildings came to late for most of us and neighbours, friends and families were scattered to the four winds....
read the words of this song 
Oh they're pullin' doon the buildin' next tae oors

More Alternative Memories.

Webmaister :- Any more? Send me an e-mail.
I have tried to lighten this page with a wee bit of humour but lets not forget we did live in some appalling conditions. I hope we are all the better for it.


Extract from messageboard, 7th Dec.2002, Tommy Kennedy
I have just been reading thru the 'Alternative memories' The Webmaister should be complimented on including this on his site. Many of us, especially ex-pats, tend to look at days gone by thru rose coloured spectacles...'The good old days...that never really were'.  To forget the hardships and struggles our parents went thru, the terrible slum conditions...just to survive, put food on the table, in the 'Old Glasgow', is to demean their indomitable spirit TOO SURVIVE.
Glaswegians have one supreme quality, that helped the past generations survive those days and is still present in todays generation....a great sense of humour and an ability to laugh at themselves.
Extract from messageboard, June 2003, Betty Murphy, New Zealand
" ....have you all read " alternative views in memory lane" I just did, and I must say I'm glad that I did, I did not have the misfortune to live they way some people had to, but I do know that all that is written is true, and we should be thankful that things have changed at least for some folks, the thing that has bothered me for a long long time, is the way they have let the drugs get out of hand, there are so many people affected by these things, even if they don't indulge themselves, but as usual the government is 40 years too late in trying to do something about it....... anyway just thought to say when you hear the stories YES it was not all good times back then, and good on Wull the Webmaister for adding it to the website"


     Alternative Memories II                                                                     Thanks for the contributions from :  Ron McPhee

In no specific order   remember....





Glesga Phrases 

memorylane index.


Last update 01 May, 2013  


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