Growing up in Govan

Govan to me as a 7 year old was a big place. In those days parents didnt take you around and I was always out and about with my pals.

We lived at 161 Broomloan Road (marked 1), which was part of a tenement block that backed onto a Glasgow corporation building yard. By the time I was 7 the yard was out of use and was just rubble and broken glass. I remember one day parents had enough of the cuts we all got in the yard and spent a whole weekend brushing up the broken glass and rubble to make it safe(er) for us to play in. To get to the yard you had to go out the back of the tenements and past the didjis or middens.

My mum worked as a cleaner in the fish and chip shop in Neptune Street (marked 2). This was called “old Spadies”. I dont know what the real name of the shop was, but I remember being fascinated by the potato peeling machine.

Between 3 and 5 I went to Broomloan Road Nursery (marked 3) then on to St Saviour’s infants and Juniors (5 and 6) both attached to the RC church round the corner that we always seemed to be visiting. St Saviours was our parish church too and every Sunday we had to go around to mass. I took my first communion and was confirmed in St Saviours before we moved to Penilee in 1965. I still have a photo of my sister Margaret in her first communion at the church.

The other favourite destination was the public baths and steamie in Summertown Road (marked 4). We had to go there every week with my mum to get the family washing done. A real industrial process with washing sinks, steam driers and pressers.

Although we supported Celtic (of course) Ibrox was much closer and when Rangers were at home we used to watch people’s cars for them during the match. Amazing how many supporters gave us a penny or half penny to watch them. We often went into the match too as the gates were always opened at half time.

Growing up in Govan