Bell Street leads from the back of the Gallowgate right into the heart of the Merchant City, encompassing a pram centre and Police Museum, beds and Portakabins. I had never been on it before and I was only there because I was going to an event a short while later. The walk started at the back of Morrisons on the Gallowgate, where Google Maps told me Bell Street began. There wasn’t a sign to confirm that for about 200 yards but for Streets of Glasgow purposes, I started walking past the Glasgow Pram Centre, the cool neon lights of the Barrowlands peeking down the street to the left. Flats on the left and the road wound down underneath a railway bridge, a dapper Glasgow gent in a long brown coat and a blue bunnet opening the door to the flats as I passed.
Under the railway bridge not one but three different signs confirmed I was on Bell Street after all. A tall mill building rose high on the right and on the winding lane into a development there was a sign which declared it to be Parsonage Square. I remembered that the family behind the Glasgow Humane Society are the Parsonages. I wonder if it was named after them. The mill building, now houses and offices, was a muddy golden brown – in short it looked its age – and it reminded me a lot of Dundee. Not at all a bad thing. Across the street were some more modern housing blocks and at street level a pile of grey bricks, very much out of place amidst the reds and browns of the Merchant City.
I came to the junction with the High Street and noticed a bed warehouse and offices belonging to Unison. In the distance was a mural dating from the 2014 Commonwealth Games, this one showing a badminton match in progress. I walked in its direction, first stopping to look in the window of the bed shop which had a bed with the mattress propped up to show the wooden bed frame drawer below. I don’t understand why they did that. Beds are for sleeping and occasionally other purposes. Why would it being propped up sell it better? Anyway, the building across from it had an attractive gable end featuring the city crest and the year 1896. An archway below featured a ghost sign for a produce agent with offices in Tontine Lane.
Soon I was outside Merchant Square and looking across the street once more to another handsome building with a grey cupola and railings around the roof. It featured the rather pleasing juxtaposition of the Glasgow Police Museum and a bar below. No comment. Above the building next door were six rather lovely golden leaf sculptures, each in line with the pillars below.
I stopped a short distance later and looked back along, in another world from the post-industrial surroundings of only a few minutes before. One of the best bits about Glasgow is how it changes every few minutes. It’s why it’s best to explore it on foot. You just see more, Bell Street a case in point.
Thank you for reading. This is the fifty eighth Streets of Glasgow post on Walking Talking. Nearby streets featured in this series before include Gallowgate, High Street, London Road, Duke Street, Albion Street, Trongate and Glassford Street. Wilson Street, which is also nearby, follows next week.