The Christmas Tree

Sky Pilot

A number of years ago, the Gorbals district of Glasgow was one of the most  deprived areas in Western Europe

This is a photograph from as recently as 1958:


Glasgow Corporation decided to demolish most of the slum dwellings and to rehouse some of the tenants in three multi-storey tower blocks which were designed by the most famous architect of the day, Sir Basil Spence.

When they were completed, they looked drab and dreary (Sir Basil is alleged to have said “To reflect the Glasgow skyline”).

Three rather dull grey high rise rising up to dwarf the remaining tenements below them.

With great imagination and ingenuity, the City Fathers decided to name them:

  • “A Block”
  • “B Block
  • “C  Block

But with the characteristic spirit and wit of the Glaswegian, the new tenants renamed them:

  • “Alcatraz”
  • “Barlinnie
  • “Csing-Csing”

There’s something robust about the human spirit – the ability to rise above even the most…

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Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

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