My mother was brought up in Copland Place, Glasgow - and over the weekend, I want back there to commune with my family's past.
Mum moved south to Yorkshire when she was, I think, nine. She had keen, and fond. memories of Copland Place - though it was clearly a rather spartan and crowded tenement flat. I don't recall her ever going back, and I never went to Glasgow in her company (nor indeed to Belfast, where her father came from - they moved to Glasgow in about 1921).
Copland Place is just three minutes walk from Ibrox subway station. The Govan shipyards were nearby - my grandfather worked as a boilermaker there. It's a tough, dour area. The houses are impressively solid - but they are not in great condition.
The Rangers football ground is just a few minutes away. I remember my mother saying that as a child she and her friends would sneak into the ground when the gates opened a quarter-of-an-hour or so before the end and get a few minutes free viewing. Opposite Ibrox subway station there's a pub with no windows - much in the style of Belfast bars during the Troubles - which boasts that it's the quintessential Rangers supporters' pub. Hmmm.
Rangers weren't playing at home on Saturday - but Celtic were and I went along. (They beat St Johnstone 3-1). I recall visiting Glasgow with my father when he was there on business. He took me to watch Celtic - not his normal way of spending an evening - and we saw them beat Falkirk 5-2. I remember the score quite clearly. And that means I can retrieve the date of that game - Wednesday, 9th April 1969, when I would have been twelve.
The iconography of the stalls outside Celtic Park surprised me. The Irish tricolor of course; and I wasn't surprised that scarves were on sale celebrating the eightieth anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin. But the Basque flag? Lots of Cuban flags and images of Che Guevara? A scarf reading:'Refugees Welcome'? Is this some residue of Red Clydeside? My grandfather was a great admirer of the ILPer Jimmy Maxton and would go to hear him talk - though as far as I could make out, that was the only aspect of his life which had any apparent semblance of radicalism.
I also had a look round the wonderful People's Palace, a social history museum and small botanical garden on Glasgow Green. And outside, the Doulton Fountain - erected in the 1880s - had a remarkable representation of India. See what you think.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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