Parkhead Memories – Part 1
By Ian Hyde
My name is Ian Hyde, I was born in 1955 and grew up in Parkhead before moving out to Corbett Street Tollcross. I have put together some of my memories from that time and I hope it doesn’t turn into too much of a ramble!! Apologies also if I have misspelt any names or got some details wrong – as I am sure I have – no offence intended. I have just jotted down some of the folk and things I recall when I was growing up in the area from the mid-late 50’s into the 70’s.
My da’s name was Charlie and my wee maw was Mary – my da was the local coal man and he also went by the nickname Charlie Mac – I never knew why! Our first house was low down on the right at 61 Edmiston Street before we moved round the corner to 4 Palace Street – 1 up. My da used to give out big white cards with his initials on them – CH for people to stick in their window when they wanted coal delivered – I wish I still had one – I would get it framed!! He started out with a horse and cart but it’s his flat bed lorry I remember best – an Albion and I used to go out with him on a Saturday to help fold the empty coal bags. He covered parts of Parkhead but also went out to Shettleston, Tollcross and Sandyhills. I remember the cab was a 2 seater with the engine cover in the middle where I sat (nice and warm) – we didn’t worry about health and safety too much back then…!! My da used to drink in the Clansman but as his family were originally from around Calton and Brigton he used to frequent a few pubs in those areas but I never seen him drunk…
I don’t recall my maw working when I was growing up – so our house was always spotless and she was always decorating and moving stuff around and she never missed her turn at doing the stairs. She used to go out west on the bus to Gt. Western Rd and the Byres Rd to visit a few shops where the “well to do” folk from those areas would take their unwanted clothes – not sure if they were charity shops – maybe the forerunners of those we have today? Anyway she went out west so she could try and pick up a bargain or too – usually coats…
Some of the neighbours I remember include; Meg McLeod who lived next door to us in Palace Street, her and her man (Tom) had a wee motor a Ford Prefect I think but not 100% sure on that – not many folk had cars then so it was something of a novelty. On some weekends they used to take me and my maw down to Saltcoats for the day and we used to collect whelks. Meg would then boil them up before handing them out to the local weans along with pins to get at the whelks!!. Sometimes on the way home we would stop at a farm and buy some duck eggs for my da – they were bright blue as I recall and had a very strong smell when cooked!! I remember Meg serving up some great hogmanay meals – a big steak pie…and her hoose seemed full of people at new year. She was a real larger than life character and I am sure others who lived locally must remember her.
Then there was a woman called “Washing Bell” who used to collect washing from people and then take it to the “steamie” for them in a pram I think. I assume she charged folk for the privilege – not sure why I remember her but she sticks in my memory.
Family names that come to mind include;
The Johnstones’ from Whitby Street – stayed in the last close going up towards Helenvale St. I fancy they had a big living room with two big windows – one looking over the corner and one to the side – forget the name of the street it looked out on but it led down to the Black Cat studio. I was in the same class at Newlands school with Davy and we went to the same BB – see my BB bit below!! His wee brother Johnny was also in the BB and they had some sisters – not sure how many and I am sure their dad was a bus driver for the corporation
McGreevy – lived in Malcolm Street – I used to play subbuteo with John and he had an elder sister called Margaret. They lived top flat and Mr McGreevy kept pigeons (do’s!) in the loft and he let Johnny and I go up and have a look and we could see right out over the rooftops. When we were a bit older I am sure Johnny and I get stuck in the lifts (on my paper round) at the High Flats in Helenvale St/London Rd. – have never liked lifts since!! I used to love my paper round – the papers got delivered to the corner of Edmiston Street and Delburn Street – just outside the wee grocers shop which I can’t remember the name of. There was one of those green metal boxes on the corner – which we used to sit on waiting for the van to drop off the papers (Evening Times). I have no idea what was in the green box – maybe for electricity?
McGuiness – they stayed in Delburn Street 1 up I think and there was a daughter called Helen.
McFarlane – also from Delburn Street – low down and they had a son – John?
Clinton – lived opposite us when we moved to Palace Street and there was a boy called Sam – my maw was pally with Mrs Clinton – Nan?
When I was a bit older and at Riverside (Rivvy) School I was pally with Peter Mortimer who lived along Janefield St in some newish flats just past the cemetery on the right with Celtic Park on the left and before you got to some workshops where I am sure they assembled whisky barrels. Many a night I challenged Peter to a game of subbuteo…I know Pete is involved with this website and reading his account about Rivvy – his memory is much better than mine!!
I am sure once I finish this that more names will come to me – but maybe that’s for part 2? And again apologies if I have got any of the details wrong.
Things I remember include the wee man with his wee ladder who came around the tenements to light the gas lamps up each close. And the guys who would come around the back closes’ singing on a Sunday morning hoping folk would through them some pennies down – some of them had quite good voices…although all the songs seemed to sound the same to me…
Then there was collecting bird eggs – not really a good thing to do being honest but it seemed ok at the time – I remember going out to Calderpark Zoo and searching the hedges in the lanes around the area looking for nests and any eggs…Me and my pals kept the eggs in our den which was in one of the old washhouses in the back courts.
When John F Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 we were playing out in the streets and the mother of one of my pals (I think the surname was Burns cannae remember his first name – might have been Michael) – came out and she was really, really upset and called my pal in – not too sure why she was so upset but I am sure it had to do with Kennedy’s death.
Can’t forget the BB and the Life Boys…67th Glasgow based out of Calton Old Parish Church in Helenvale St – we also used to meet at Newlands School to do some activities on a Friday night. I formed a lot of friendships in the BB with guys like Jab Maitland, Eddie Cunningham, Tommy McCann, Cammy Blair, Walter McFadyen (Zeno by nickname), John Pilling to name a few – not forgetting the Johnstones’ from above. Not everyone came from Parkhead but that’s where we met on Fridays and Sundays. The captain then was a guy called Wilson and was nicknamed the tank. I remember going to the Kelvin Hall once as we were part of a display – might have been a sort of BB jamboree thingy and our company performed a sort of “human triangle” – you know 5 or 6 big boys at the bottom and then smaller boys standing on their shoulders until there was only one wee guy at the top – wonder who that was?
And the famous café – Tony Capaldi’s – what ice cream!! – when I was a bit older a group of us used to meet there and just sit (in the booths) and talk – quite a lot about music…Rory Gallagher, Led Zep, Wishbone Ash, Roxy Music and the JSD Band spring to mind.
What about bonfire night – for weeks, maybe months before the event we would start collecting wood, old doors and anything else that would burn but we always had to guard against other kids stealing our stuff.
Even though I was a bluenose I can remember those big European fitba nights at Parkhead when all those teams with the foreign names came to Celtic Park and we used to try and earn a few bob by “watching” the motors!! Not sure how many fans attended those games but the crowds seemed massive…We used to play fitba outside Celtic Park and I think we used one of the big green doors as a goal – not sure how many players we had on each side but it seemed a lot and I think we played “ 10 half time – 21 the winner”…..
Parkhead railway station had been closed down by the time I was growing up and the track was lifted and the station left to go to ruin. Some of us used to walk along the tunnel towards Brigton – don’t think we ever got to the end but I remember it was really dark and damp and a bit creepy to be honest. Every now and then there were shafts of light from tunnels in the sky – air shafts I suppose to let the smoke of the steam trains escape. At the Parkhead end the tunnel emerged just under Springfield Rd almost opposite Capaldi’s and the top of the tunnel structure had a ledge which we used to walk over – looking back it seems a really stupid thing to do as it was a long way down and the ledge was not very wide – my ma would have killed me if she had known I had gone across there!!
Saying that though I did fall off the washhouse once round the back of Edmiston Street – I was walking backwards to get a good run at jumping between 2 washhouses and kept walking backwards until I fell off and knocked myself out – not a good idea – spent the night in the Royal with a bit of concussion.
I only thought I would write a wee bit but once I got started I couldnae stop and one memory seemed to lead to another – hopefully it’s no too much of a ramble and folk reading it might remember some of the people, places and events mentioned and please feel free to correct any mistakes and add to it.
If the webmasters let me and I have the time I will jot down a few other memories of that time in part 2.
Ian Hyde May 2013.