Glasgow in the Sixties


27 May 2013
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Carolyn Yates recalls happy summers spent in Saltmarket in the Sixties. ...

Carolyn Yates recalls happy summers spent in Saltmarket in the Sixties. In the 1960s our Granny lived in a top floor flat in Saltmarket, Glasgow. My brother Ian and I used to love our visits in the school holidays. The holiday journey began at Euston, with us clamouring to have our hard-boiled eggs and tomato soup even before London was out of sight.

Granny's flat had one bedroom and from the front window in the Saltmarket you could look down on the trams as they travelled back and forth. Later they were replaced by buses, still in the same Corporation colours but not as much fun. She had a piano which was a novelty to us and we must have driven her crazy.

Every day was an adventure. We played in the back courtyards with the local children, jumping from the wall to the wash house roof and back.

The steam trains passed nearby and everything was covered in soot, including after a while Ian and me. My poor mother despaired at the state of our clothes and knees but we had so much fun. One day we got balloons to play with indoors. I think it was a ruse to keep us clean before a family visit. Filling them with air soon got boring and we discovered a better use for them - filling them with water from the scullery taps. We squirted them out of the kitchen window, vying to see who could shoot the furthest. We were rumbled when a neighbour downstairs came up to see if granny had a leaking pipe because water had been pouring into her flat below. We were in big trouble and granny was mortified.

In the 9170s granny moved to a brand new flag on the fourteenth floor of a tower block over a new shopping centre at the top of Argyle Street. It had a proper bathroom and a lift that we rode up and down, but there wasn't the same sense of magic for us as there'd been in the Saltmarket.

Read more magical memories of bygone Scotland in each issue of Scottish Memories magazine.

(Image copyright Gerald England)

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