Old Gangs Recalled


The gang feeling seems to take concrete expression in well defined cycles which end only when public opinion and police attentions become so hot as to be uncomfortable, A period of immunity follows and again the old trouble breaks out.

Many middle aged people in the east end will remember the activities of such combinations as the; True Blues; and the; Mealy Mob; whose exploits were a source of great annoyance to the East end many years ago. Between 15 and 20 years ago there was an unprecedented recurrence of mob hooliganism, Several gangs had a merry run in the East end before stern action made it rather unhealthy, The;San Toy; a gang frequenting the Calton district were one of the strongest, This was a mixed gang that’s members could be any religion something that characterised some of the others, The ;San Toy; had quite a number of battles to there name before they went out of the business.
The ;Bluebell; too was a well known organisation with adherents in Calton and Bridgeton , The gang was particularly notorious as dance hall disturbers, One dance hall in Bridgeton in particular suffered from its activities and was the scene of not a few battle royal, The ;Bluebell ; had a grievance real or imaginary with Rutherglen prototype the; Castlebank; and had several stand up fights with this rival .Not a few solo fights were settled on Sunday mornings between individual members of these gangs.

 Another well known Bridgeton gang was the ;Rosebank; The gang largely centered round a football team of that name, They bore a reputation slightly better than several of the others being regarded as a more peaceful gang . They very rarely got into trouble ,according to Bridgeton folk lore without provocation, but once in trouble were a difficult handful to settle.

The gang problem at this time was beginning to seriously exercise the powers that be when some members of gangs in the South Side where the trouble also reached a high pitch ,became involved in a serious charge. The judge passed severe strictures on the menace and administered a stiff sentence –-something like seven years hard. This was the beginning of the end. The advantages, spiritual and physical of gang membership were weighted against the prospect of unlimited work and little wages at Berlinnie and found to be seriously wanting.
The war period with its many phenomena saw a recurrence of this peculiar manifestation in aggravated form. The height-or depths- of mob lawlessness were surely plumbed by the ;Redskins; Bridgeton got the blame of this gang, but those who knew them knew that they were a collection of choice spirits drawn from the wilder limits of Glasgow but who gravitated to Bridgeton as there headquarters , Some of the acts perpetrated read like a nightmare. Most people will hardly credit that a band of youths, even in the days of wartime should swoop down on a Jigging and that one of their members should go round with a cap in one hand and a bottle in the other and demand contributions on the pain of being felled, Yet this was done ,
Many a dance cloakroom too, resembled old Mothers Hubbard’s food shelf after a visit from these gangsters , The return of the young manhood in 1918 and succeeding years and the raising to strength of a depleted police force were incidental to the disappearance of the; Redskins; like snow of a dyke.
The Baltic Fleet a Baltic street combination had there little day about the same time, but were purely a local organisation who rarely ventured furth of their native bounds to seek excitement. There are rumours at present of a recurrence of these feuds-largely again ;religious —in Bridgeton . Let us hope that rumour is a lying jade.