To get pretty much anywhere from where I stay involves transport of some kind. I don’t drive but thankfully there are enough buses and trains to get a lot of places in the city and beyond. However, two of the biggest shopping areas in the west of Scotland, Braehead and ASDA at Govan, are slightly awkward to get to without a car, despite being about a mile or so away. One bright day off, I decided I needed provisions and set off for ASDA on foot. It was a bright, crisp Friday afternoon and on the way I had the notion to do a Streets of Glasgow walk along part of the route, Edmiston Drive. It was only a slight detour since ASDA sits just off Edmiston Drive on Helen Street. Of course it started to rain, though only a wee bit but it was inevitable since it’s Glasgow.
I started at the corner of Craigton Road and Edmiston Drive, stopping to take a photo of a mural which parodies the city’s marketing slogan, People Make Glasgow. It reads ‘People Make Mistakes’, which I think is a neat and positive point about all of us being fallible. I am not quite sure who put it there – I gather there are others dotted around the city – so if anyone does know, please do let me know, either by e-mail or in the comments below.
Edmiston Drive is a mix of residential housing and industrial premises. Plus of course Ibrox Stadium. It also forms part of the A8 road, which crosses much of the Central Belt running pretty much parallel to the M8 motorway. It’s pretty much busy all the time, cris-crossing Ibrox, Drumoyne and Govan. I picked it due to its variety and points of interest, particularly nearer Paisley Road West. After the mural, the next thing I saw was a shopping trolley, abandoned, cowped in the grass, an archetypal urban spectacle. As I walked a bit further on, the views across the city, beyond the industrial estate, were great, with the spires and houses of Park Circus prominent on the horizon, as was the Finnieston Crane. The rain started as I reached Helen Street but I decided just to persevere, inhaling the fried chicken smell from KFC as I crossed the road.
It was strange being near Ibrox without a football match going on. I passed the car parks where on match days programme sellers and vendors hawk their wares to the fifty thousand-odd folk heading to the game, now deserted. Ibrox is of course where The Rangers play and I’ve been there to watch my own team, Hibs. It isn’t natural home territory for me and it was appropriate that a bright orange Mini passed me as I walked onto Edmiston Drive. The backs of the Broomloan Road and Copland Road stands have been daubed in red, white and blue expounding the history of its resident team. As I walked past the gates, a couple were taking a selfie in front of them. I refrained but stopped to get a photo of the sunlight reflecting on the gates.
Having been a football fan since I was a wee boy, the frontages of Ibrox and Parkhead were very familiar to me from countless sports bulletins on the evening news. Every time I walk along Edmiston Drive and see the red-brick frontage of the Bill Struth Main Stand, it always feels quite strange and it takes me back to being a wee boy. The edifice is the work of Archibald Leitch, architect of many grandstands in England and Scotland, though very few of them now exist. Ibrox has one of them, despite the modern interior, and the other is at Dens Park. Randomly this walk happened the weekend before Hearts played Partick Thistle before their new main stand, which replaced their Archibald Leitch creation. The Bill Struth Main Stand at Ibrox, whatever one’s thoughts on the club that play there, is a fine looking building, described in my Pevsner’s guide as marking ‘the pinnacle of Archibald Leitch’s career as leading designer of football grounds and at the time was the largest (with 10,000 seats) and most lavish stand ever built’.
At the other side of Ibrox was a statue to James Wilson, 1852-1906, a doctor and scholar who practised in the local area helping the ‘suffering and distressed’ in the area. It was put up in 1907 by a public subscription ‘as a tribute to his worth’, a very Scottish way of putting it. The houses towards Paisley Road West were classically Glaswegian red-brick tenements, with a lane between them. I always associate narrow lanes with the south side, particularly in Battlefield and nearer Hampden. Just before the junction was a tower block, though one under development with modern cladding and window boxes. All around it other houses are being built, making use of every spare bit of ground as seems to be the case across Glasgow and in Edinburgh too, come to think of it.
Edmiston Drive is one of those streets that conjures up an image. For me, like many people, it is football. For others, it might be industry or just a place to pick up fast food. It was nice just to set off from my house and end up on a psychogeographic ramble. You never need to wander far to find something of interest here.
Source and further reading –
Williamson, Elizabeth, Riches, Anne and Higgs, Malcolm, The Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, 2005, New Haven, CT/London, Yale University Press
This is the fourteenth Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. I also wrote here recently about Govan Road, which is fairly close by.