The last instalment of the Loose Ends cavalcade took me by the Forth to a statue of Fisherrow fishermen. Connected only through the word ‘row’ is Rottenrow in Glasgow, the site of the old maternity hospital where thousands of Glaswegian weans were born up until 2001. Now only some lintels remain, a park in its place in the middle of Strathclyde University’s campus. I hadn’t really explored it before. My only previous visit took in the lintels as part of a larger hunt for street art. I walked up the epic hill from Ingram Street, not entirely out of breath, and was struck by the colossal sign saying how wonderful Strathclyde University is stuck on the back of the old hospital frontage. Indeed. A Christmas tree sat facing the George Street end, bedecked in blue and white lights. I stood on a balcony and looked down into the park. A sculpture of a nappy pin stood below, a reminder of how this place was once used. A plaque talked of the place’s history but noted that it also stood as a reminder of those ‘whose lives had no sooner begun than they ended’. Life is fragile and deeply precious and it is places like Rottenrow where this is brought into ever sharper focus.
I always liked that Glasgow’s maternity hospital was called Rottenrow, a name with a bit of something behind it, far more than the prosaically named Eastern General Hospital where I myself was born or the two hospitals named after royalty where Glaswegian weans come into the world now. Rottenrow sounds like something out of a Dickens novel, with grim, urban connotations. It sits at the southern end of Townhead, a place radically different from how it once was. Now Rottenrow is part of a 1960s-type university campus, surrounded by buildings designed by folk with utopian aims. I’m only glad they didn’t forget the past this time.
The next connection was already planned at this point. Usually near the end of a Loose Ends round I have to start planning it more carefully and so it proves this time. The next one is a wee bit of a distance but no less interesting.
Thanks for reading. Another Loose Ends adventure will follow next week. The Loose Ends page features all of the various parts of the series so far.