The series about archetypal streets in three of Scotland's great cities focuses on the longest street in Britain - Glasgow's Duke Street.
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The streets we live in reveal the
secret past beneath the skin of the present.
Here is our kitchen, which was the operating theatre of the hospital.
There were families that didn't have toilets.
There was many a visit to the drains in the middle of the night.
Our memories are rendered in the bricks and mortar that surround us.
Just behind you there, there's where we all danced.
Our streets chart momentous social change, and
the ebb and flow between enormous wealth and terrible poverty.
Pretty grim, isn't it? Dirt, filth, stench everywhere.
They reveal the changes that have shaped all our lives
and make the story of our streets the story of us all.
It's a nice view, isn't it?
Duke Street, Glasgow, the longest street in Britain.
Running from the city centre to the tenement blocks of the East End.
But just 40 years ago many of the buildings that lined this
street were under threat.
-What are you going to do about it?
-Knock them down.
This is the story of how a group of neighbours took on the might
of the Glasgow Corporation in a battle to save their homes.
We're East Enders.
Forget your London East Enders, we're the East Enders
and we will fight to the death for what we believe in.
Glasgow at the dawn of the 20th century.
The heyday for the second city of the British Empire.
Its shipyards, textile mills and heavy industry have made it
the power-house of the Victorian and Edwardian age.
Thousands are flocking to the city in search of work.
Here on Duke Street the road is lined with stone buildings
filled with small flats.
Tenements, Glasgow's solution
for housing its Victorian workers close to their place of work.
In 1968, Harriet Stomboli moved in to her tenement that
runs to the south of Duke Street.
And this is where I used to live, 47 Bathgate Street, three up,
right at the top.
I felt I had to get away from all the gossip that was
going on at the time,
'because at that time it was not very common for'
women to leave their husbands and separate from their husbands, you
know? So it was a kind of... I was in a very bad position at the time.
This brings back lots and lots of memories,
when I used to have this twin pram.
But when you were bringing the children up you left
the pram on the stair, you brought one up, put him in his cot, run back
down, got the other one and brought her up and put her in her cot.
Then you went down and you bumped the pram all the way up
the three flights of stairs.
So it wasn't easy when you had, especially a twin pram to do
this with, because at the best of times the stairs were always
quite heavy to climb.
It's even worse now.
I find that it wasn't so bad when I was younger.
But this is where I had to bump the pram right up to.
This was my door here.
But then there was two doors, there was
one there and one over at the side.
The conditions for most people around here was over-crowding.
That was the biggest problem I think in the area, was over-crowding.
Harriet's family of six were squeezed in to a single room
and kitchen, common at the time.
Such scenes as this are typical of the unsatisfactory
conditions of thousands of people in Glasgow today.
So this is the little house I used to stay in with the children.
This is the hall and this was a toilet.
We didn't have a bathroom, it was just all toilet.
And in here was our sitting room.
And we used the sitting room as a bedroom, as well.
This couple came to my house one night, my sister's friends who were
living in big houses in England, nice big houses. The first thing
they asked when they'd seen the house, "Where are your bedrooms?"
And I said "Well, I don't have any bedrooms."
And they kind of stopped talking and looked at each other and went,
"No bedrooms, how can you have a house without bedrooms?
"Where do you sleep?"
So I showed them we sleep on this couch,
it pulls down in to a bed in the sitting room.
In here was a kitchen...
and this was exactly the size of the kitchen.
An alcove here, this wasn't a door or there was no facing on it,
it was just a big alcove.
And in here was two bunk beds
and a single pull-down bed that my oldest son slept in.
They kept talking about it, even when they went back home,
they sent me a letter and said how sorry they were for me
that I didn't have a house with bedrooms.
But, I mean, that didn't bother me, but it really upset this
couple that I didn't have any bedrooms in this house, you know?
You were sleeping, you were eating
and you were cooking all in the one room.
So it wasn't an easy task,
but we did it very well, as best we could anyway.
It was a very small house.
Harriet's room and kitchen was just one of 1500 flats in an area
now called Reidvale.
The map from 1884 reveals row upon row of newly built tenement blocks.
They extend across nine streets running south of Duke Street.
It was a respectable working-class neighbourhood
and the people of the tenements made this street the bustling
and thriving heart of the East End.
Duke Street was always busy then
because that's where everybody done their shopping,
so everybody on a Saturday afternoon was in Duke Street.
I mean, it was always busy, bustling, you know,
having to walk sideways to get by people.
Duke Street had everything you really wanted,
from hat shops to children's shops.
You know, they had men's shops, they had Gold's, the wool shop.
There was Massey's, Curly's, Henry Healy's.
They had bakers, they had butchers.
Little Folk, it was more for the people with money,
and you went in there if you had a lot of money.
I shopped in Bobby's for my children's clothes
because I couldn't have afforded to go anywhere else.
This one's probably a good one,
which kind of shows obviously the number 53 here, and that's
myself, my twin brother, my Aunt June, my gran and my grandpa.
Paul Cowan came to live on Bathgate Street when he was four years old.
His grandfather, John Butterly, had raised his family of three
daughters just along the street from Harriet Stomboli and her family.
So how many of you lived here?
In this one flat there would've been three, five, seven of us.
My gran, my grandpa, my mum, my aunt and the three of us.
That was my gran and grandpa's bedroom, from memory.
They were the only two in there
and everybody else was crammed in to the other room. So there was
a bunk bed with myself and my twin brother and my older brother and
then there was a double bed which had my mum and my Auntie June in it.
John and his wife were home movie enthusiasts.
It's a unique record of Duke Street's tenement life,
capturing family and neighbours in the closes
and backcourts in the late 1960s and 1970s.
We would hang about in here in the summers and stuff with them,
and it was just always a nice garden.
I always helped my grandpa in the garden and stuff like that as well,
and just kind of try and be around about him more than anything else.
And Paul appears in the film with his brothers.
He's here wearing a white top.
I loved living here. I loved it, absolutely loved it.
The people were brilliant, it was a community.
You lived with other families up the close or across the street or,
you know, there was maybe five or six families all with kids
the same age and we all just ran about together.
There was always children out playing
and people standing talking at closes.
And it was a community street, I would say.
Everybody seemed to know each other.
This is Prince and this is Vicky, these are my twins.
-And it was a happy house.
-A very good house.
A very happy house. Although it was over-crowded, aye.
We didn't know any different at that time.
-We were all kids and it was just like one big playground to us.
I used to go at the window when they were out playing to call them
up for dinner and things, and I used to shout at whoever it was that
was out playing, I used to shout "Diane, come up, dinner's ready.
"Vicky, come up, dinner's ready. Prince, come up, dinner's ready."
So one of my friends used to think I had quite a lot of children
and a dog.
In 1965, the Glasgow Herald reported that 40% of Glasgow's housing
stock still had no plumbed bath or shower.
20% had no inside toilet. 40% had no hot water supply.
10 years later, this lack of the most basic amenities was
still the norm on Duke Street.
When they went to school at first, and they were tiny little
children, the wee-ist children was at school, even the teachers
thought I only had dressed them up because their big sister was
going to school, you know, but they were actually starting the school.
And the teachers were going like we've never had such small children, you know?
-But it ended up...
-Basically we were midgets.
Not quite, son.
Glasgow town planners had historically linked poor
housing to poor health, high infant mortality, rickets,
malnutrition, typhus and cholera.
In the one-room or single end of the poorer district, the height and
weight of boys of 10 years was found to be 3' 11'' and 52lbs.
In two-room houses, 4' 1'' and 56lbs.
And in three-room houses, 4' 2'' and 59lbs.
Glasgow Corporation was saying Harriet's children were small
because her flat was over-crowded.
-I mean by the sink over at the window...
-Used to get baths.
That's where we used to get bathed every Sunday night.
-That was our ritual, wasn't it?
It used to be terrifying.
I didn't think it was to youse, but I did learn that later
they used to be frightened of sitting in the sink.
I was just terrified of people looking up
and seeing little kids in the kitchen sink. Getting washed.
-But that's how everybody done it.
-That's what it was like, yeah.
That's what it was like.
Duke Street may have been over-crowded, but it wasn't a slum.
Evidence of its respectable working-class
origins are still seen.
The public baths were a gift to the local
population from a wealthy benefactor.
Once a week, walk down this road with my pram with all
the washing in it and we came here to do the weekly wash.
Luxurious for their time, they boasted a Turkish bath,
a gymnasium and a reading room, as well as the public baths
and wash-house known as the steamie.
But in that one main building was the steamie,
was the most important thing.
It was called the steamie because everybody came here to
do their washing that didn't have washing machines in them days.
Because it got you out for a wee while, as well.
You know, and then you met people and had a good blether as well, so...
Moaning about their husbands, you know,
which was the biggest thing I think to go on in the steamie,
was you talked about your life, you know, and the kids and your husband.
They moaned about you when they were in the pub.
We didn't go to the pub, we went to the steamie.
But it was a nice place to come to. I liked the steamie, it was good.
My friend, Anne Lowry, always came with me.
She with her pram and her wee-uns and me with my pram and my wee-uns.
No, I only used to bring one. One child that wasn't at school,
so Mario was the one I used to bring.
He doesn't remember ever coming to the steamie either.
He does say, "I think, mum, you put the washing in the pram
and made me walk." And I said, "Probably I did, son,"
because I only had one pram, you know?
The Whitevale Baths and wash-house finally closed its doors in 1988.
Unsafe and disused it was partly demolished in 2012,
but what remains is now listed.
If I won the lottery I would buy this building, because I think it is
the most lovely building going to waste and I would convert it in to
something for our area that would do benefit to the people of Reidvale.
I would definitely buy this building if I won money.
This fine Victorian building made of marble, stone and brick,
with its reading rooms and luxurious baths,
was built for an area with aspirations,
because at the time there were high hopes for Duke Street.
In 1891, one of the most extraordinary events was to
play out along this street.
Monday 26th October in the afternoon,
three specially commissioned trains arrived just over here,
bringing Buffalo Bill's Wild West to Dennistoun.
They brought with them several hundred horses.
They brought one Texas steer, four cows and a herd of 18 buffalo,
which were all herded up this street.
Now, obviously you don't want a buffalo stampede on Duke Street.
And I believe that the cowboys rode in a square around them
to keep the buffalo moving.
Buffalo Bill moved on to the site of the previous year's East End
held at an old reform school just up the hill from Duke Street.
Well, that is Colonel WF Cody, otherwise known as Buffalo Bill.
You had the first show on the evening of Monday 16th November,
only played to 6,000 people,
so there were obviously tickets available.
By the time word got round,
that first Saturday they were turning people away.
The show played to a packed house over three months.
More than 600,000 people came to see Buffalo Bill and his Indians,
more than the entire population of Glasgow.
Don't fall in to the misconception that these guys,
these Indians were just actors made up to look like Indians,
these guys were the real deal.
There was about 50 or so of them.
The majority of them enlisted voluntarily, but 17 of them were
prisoners of war from the trouble which erupted the previous winter.
The government didn't really know what to do with them, so
Buffalo Bill came along and said, "Look, why don't I take these guys to Europe,"
because this was actually an old trick going back to Colonial times.
If you'd hostile Indians you'd take them back East and say "Look,
"the white man's world, the world that's is here is massive,
"you can't fight us."
The people of Duke Street came face-to-face with another world
when they met real-life native Americans.
The show was based up there and, of course,
you'd get the Indians during their time off they'd come
promenading down and on to Duke Street.
At first it was obviously a very intimidating sight,
a very novel sight, exotic sight for the local people.
You didn't have immigrants then,
when all of a sudden you have this encampment of Sioux Indians.
You know, it's all a bit mad.
But I think people got quite blase,
they just became part of the scenery after a while.
Buffalo Bill had come to Duke Street
because it was the centre of a heaving metropolis.
He was proved right as thousands came every night to see his show.
His wagon train finally departed Duke Street on the
27th February, 1892.
This was a period of rapid expansion for the city
and the industrial working class.
Labourers and artisans migrated from the Highlands
and over from Ireland to work in the shipyards, steelworks and factories.
Glasgow was one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
The population quadrupled between 1800 and 1850.
Between 1850 and 1925 it quadrupled again, to peak at 1.1 million.
Twice the rate that London was expanding in the same period.
And its housing strained under this relentless demand.
In Duke Street the tenements had all been built
and they were full to bursting.
In 1950, Glasgow was Britain's most densely populated city.
Its stone tenements had become a symbol for poverty, disease,
crime and over-crowding on a daunting scale.
So you've come to Glasgow, have you?
Pretty grim, isn't it?
Dirt, filth, stench everywhere.
And believe me, there are literally hundreds of backcourts every
bit as bad as this in Glasgow.
We were living in the slums, rat-infested.
I remember looking out the window and watching rats climbing
out of the midgie bins, and rats running about the closes.
I was in fear to go up my close one day
because there were a big rat sitting there.
John Mallon was a child living in an area called
the Gallowgate to the south of Duke Street.
If you walked through the tenements in Glasgow you walked in a maze,
because you were so small and the buildings were so high.
And it just seemed to be a corner after a corner.
As Britain moved in to the post-war world with high hopes, the
Glasgow Corporation was determined that something had to be done.
Their approach was as radical as it proved controversial.
There's Glasgow, 40,000 acres.
And this small patch represents 2,000 acres,
and on that is crammed 150,000 of the city's dwellings.
That is half the dwellings on a 20th of the space.
-But that's ridiculous.
-Of course it is.
-What are you going to do about it?
-Knock them down.
Slum dwellings, starting in the Gorbals area,
were Compulsory Purchased by Glasgow Corporation
and then razed to the ground to make way for their vision of the future.
Glasgow today takes a look in to tomorrow as the Corporation puts
on an exhibition foreshadowing the proposed new inner core of the city.
A scale model, 100th full size, shows the bold
outline of the Glasgow to be, in sharp contrast to the city that was.
The Bruce Report, published in 1945, recommended the wholesale
destruction of the centre of Glasgow and the rebuilding
of an entire city from scratch over a period of 50 years.
That way Glasgow would transform in to a healthy and beautiful city.
Although later watered down, it did become the blueprint
for the complete demolition of vast swathes of tenement slum housing.
The aim was to rehouse a quarter of a million people
living in central Glasgow, and move them
out in to new council estates built on the rural edge of the city.
We really moved because it was me, my mother, my father,
my brother and then my other brother.
My mother was pregnant with my other brother.
And we stayed in a one-bedroom house, so we had to move.
And we got a house in Easterhouse.
John Mallon was eight
when his family were moved out to Easterhouse.
It was one of the largest of the new estates or "schemes."
I loved it.
I have my happy memory sitting in the back, building a fire,
sitting till five in the morning.
I used to kid on I was camping out and just sit at a fire all night.
And so that was my hobbies.
And egg hunting and making swings and building dens
and just being free.
That's what Easterhouse was really about.
Sometimes it seems as if there are more removal vans in Glasgow
At any rate, statistics show that every five to ten minutes
somebody somewhere is moving house.
Tens of thousands of people were shipped out of the city
and in to the schemes.
Brand-new state-of-the art housing was waiting for them, set
in green fields with the promise of fresh air and a world away from the...
Dirt, filth, stench everywhere.
This was not a modern idea.
The concept of a healthy life away from the dangerous over-crowded city
centre had been tried before, and it had taken place on Duke Street.
This map allows us to go back 160 years to 1843.
Glasgow is in the grip of a typhus epidemic.
A Glaswegian doctor, Robert Perry, attempts to explain
the spread of disease by linking it to crime, poverty and over-crowding.
He draws a colour-coded map of the city, and Duke Street appears
on this map, part coloured red, denoting high levels of disease.
But Perry's map shows Duke Street to be a dividing line
between factories to the south and the green fields and trees of the
estate of James Dennistoun to the north, where there is no disease.
Ten years later,
his family would have a grand plan to create a new suburb
of moral rectitude, clean living, god-fearing and alcohol-free.
The idea for the garden suburb is a pet idea of his he wished to
He had a concern... He was a moral person, obviously, he had
a concern about the health and the welfare of society at all levels.
His son, Alexander, engaged one of the city's finest architects,
James Salmon, to plan a 200-acre estate of avenues,
boulevards and parks and gave it the family name, Dennistoun.
This was the first street built,
and the villas here I think were the first on the estate.
They were then connected up.
Craigpark was started, then the idea of connecting them
up with the various terraces was the next aspect.
I think one of the things, it's quite important to understand
this as a terrace in the context to Dennistoun is it was
originally supposed to be terraces and boulevards.
So, you know, we've actually got a complete one here.
John Tweed's 1872 guide of Glasgow
and the Clyde recommends the pleasant suburb of Dennistoun, "It is
"well laid out and contains many fine villas and lodges."
This, I think, originally had some seven or eight manses in there.
I know personally of three or four ministers,
and I think there's still a minister living just along there.
The manse, or vicarage,
is now the home of the Reverend Barbara Quigley.
I think this manse was built by James Salmon for a friend
of his, so this has got kind of bells and whistles on it.
It's got the curved staircase and the double arch there, which is
I think rather stunning, but then this is my house, so I love it.
It's got a lovely skylight there,
throws a lot of light in to what would be a dark space.
But when the rain starts it's like River Dance.
I love this room. It's really, really great.
It's got all this fantastic ceiling and cornicing and frieze.
And, of course, having your own access to what is essentially
a private garden means that you've got a beautiful view.
It explodes the myth of the image of the East End of Glasgow.
It blows it wide open. It's a hidden gem.
Dennistoun wanted to attract the professional classes
to his utopian vision, doctors, lawyers and ministers.
But as the East End of Glasgow's industrial heartland grew,
so did the factories and tenements expanding along Duke Street.
Dennistoun's lower-class neighbours were proving a little too
close for comfort.
This is originally a gated community,
and at one point there seems to have been some type of sentinel
post here, whereby it looks like it was manned.
It also had various different arrangements, it was scarlet
and the posts have been moved, but that gives you
an idea of exclusivity for this area. There's two main
entrances, Westercraigs and Craigpark, they were actually gated.
You needed to have a reason to come in here.
Dennistoun's dream had been to manufacture an idealised
community for the professional classes.
100 years later, Glasgow Corporation had the same vision,
but for its more impoverished citizens.
# I said, "My man, tell if you can
# "How you come to be here?"
# He said I live in Easterhouse
# I flitted there last year
# Everybody's flitted out to Easterhouse last year
# Everybody in the world has flitted out to here.
# There's everyone you know
# Uncle Joe and Auntie Mo
# All flitted out to Easterhouse last year
# It's in the steaming jungle and... #
But by the late 1960s and early '70s, their imagined suburban
utopia was a social experiment that had gone badly wrong.
40,000 people live here.
They have no public toilets, no banks, theatres or cinemas.
There isn't a dance hall in Easterhouse or a restaurant,
a community centre, or even a place to collect the dole.
A displaced population struggled with unemployment,
gang culture, and crime became rampant.
# Everybody's flitted out to Easterhouse last year
# Everybody in the world has flitted out to here. #
No doubt about it, the gangs were there.
And you joined the gang.
When I go back to Easterhouse I still get called a Skinhead boy,
right, people say that, and I've still got a nickname,
and my nickname is Jinky.
I mean I go back to Easterhouse, I'm Jinky Mallon of Skinheads.
Even though I'm 50, I'm still Jinky from Skinheads.
I loved the gangs. I loved it.
I loved to gang fight, I loved being part of a gang and everything.
And it was all about moving out of your area.
You could not move out of your area in Easterhouse.
If you did go anywhere you had to take ten-handed.
The very structure of the estate helps the gangs to enforce
the strictest code of all, that boundary lines are sacred
and you cross them at your own risk.
The playing field separates Drummy land from the Den-Toi territory.
A road marks the dividing line between Packland and the Den-Toi.
That was your territory and you guarded that territory.
It doesn't matter where you went.
Even if you was going to a dentist, if your dentist was in another
part of Easterhouse, just say Aggro, you had to take your pals
with you, because you couldn't go to that place yourself.
By 1975 over a 120,000 people had been moved into the schemes,
and 95,000 homes had been demolished.
But the Corporation was running out of money.
Despite this, it was still pressing ahead with demolishing
the city's tenements.
Vast swathes of Glasgow were now wasteland.
In 1975, the Corporation's bulldozers were
heading for Duke Street.
Irene McInnes was 19 when she settled into her tenement
flat off Duke Street.
This was our first flat.
This is where I got married in to Bathgate Street,
the top flat up there.
We bought the house in November, 1966,
and we moved in on the 9th June, 1967, the day we got married.
We weren't allowed to stay with anyone, in my day, before that,
so we moved in on our wedding day.
It was two bedrooms and an inside toilet, and we were very posh
because there's not a lot of people at that time
bought their houses or bought their flats and Tom and I were delighted.
But, unfortunately, we could only live in the living room
and the bedroom, because we could not afford the furniture.
Duke Street was still a thriving and bustling street at this time,
but nevertheless its tenements were scheduled for demolition or
We got a notice through the door, public meeting called,
Thomson Street School, this school here, for everybody,
every tenant or owner to come and hear what this meeting
was about, it would be something to your interest.
There's "threat, big threat", I think
they had that in big writing, BIG THREAT.
Knock them down!
And they were telling us all about how
they wanted the whole south side of Duke Street to be demolished.
Harriet was sitting with a neighbour, John...
He was quite calm at the beginning, and then later on, when the guy said
they were pulling down the houses in your area and probably most
of you will be sent to Easterhouse, Mr Butterly did get up, didn't he?
-And he said to the man, "You go and live in Easterhouse
"if you like, but I certainly am not."
-He used profane language.
I will f-ing not.
I will not use the language John used, but...
He had colourful language all the time, it didn't matter who he spoke to.
I remember a lot of shouting and balling,
and it was basically like it was no, that's not happening.
Easterhouse lies five miles away from Duke Street.
Back in the '70s there were no regular bus routes there.
At that time in the '70s, Easterhouse was very much
a distant land, it was miles away as far as we were concerned.
The schemes got a bad name, especially Easterhouse,
it was way back then.
-This could have been us, because these houses are over 30 years old.
-Are they really?
-They must be.
-What do you think of these wee verandas though, Irene,
-they're so small.
-There is not much you could get in them.
Maybe one chair, and that would be it.
Because they're family houses, you know?
-The stuff they were offering us way back then...
-Back then, yeah.
-Look at it.
-Well, they couldn't have been very well built
if they're coming down already, I don't think.
There was a lot of gangs in Easterhouse
and it really did frighten people to come and live here.
I certainly didn't want to come and live in Easterhouse,
it was very scary stuff, you know?
John Butterly's reluctance to be moved out to Easterhouse
struck a chord with many at that meeting.
They decided to take on the authorities.
What motivated him was basically people were telling him what
he was to do and when he was to do it, and you will just accept this.
And he's like,
"Well, no, you're wrong, because I'm not accepting it."
They were mostly
from Bathgate Street, John Butterly, Irene McInnes.
I lived up in 64.
We had John Butterly and Cathy McFarlane was in 59.
We had Harriet in 47.
Harriet the nuisance.
We had Isobel Allen.
And when we all got together we made things happen.
So people in the area thought well,
that's the Bathgate Street Mafia, you know?
And their boss was John Butterly.
The idea was to create a resident-run organisation from
scratch, which would purchase and then renovate their own properties.
Yeah, it was unheard of. Nobody knew what it was.
I mean, I don't know where the initial idea came from but no,
it was very new, especially in Glasgow.
The residents faced two big problems. First, to try and persuade
a reluctant Glasgow Corporation that the residents knew better.
Second, to persuade all their neighbours to join them.
The houses were in disrepair,
there's no doubt about that, the houses were in disrepair.
People could not afford the upkeep of them,
they couldn't afford the maintenance of them.
We had landlords who were not interested in doing anything
with them, just as long as they were getting their rent
they were not interested.
The Corporation thought they were unmaintainable.
They thought that they were at the end of their life.
He disagreed with that.
He thought that they just needed a bit of TLC, they just needed
a bit of love, they needed a bit of money spent on them, whereas they
just thought the easiest solution was just to knock them down.
For a year, the Bathgate Street Mafia kept pushing,
petitioning and arguing.
Finally, Glasgow Corporation recognised a group of enthusiastic
amateurs with no previous experience as a legitimate housing association.
I think he finally won by basically grinding them down and just
by basically being persistent and saying, "no" every single time.
"No, no, this is what we're doing, this is how we're doing it,"
and not listening to what their proposals were.
He had a community and he was determined 100% to save it.
Reidvale became one of the very first community-based housing
associations in Glasgow. And this immediately gave them
access to central government grants of millions of pounds.
They now needed to persuade all their neighbours to
entrust them with their homes and see what they could achieve.
How people trusted us I don't know.
How we trusted ourselves at that time,
because we didn't really know what we were doing.
In spring 1976, local builders and contractors set to work.
The community ran it.
The community were the people who were in charge.
They looked after it, they made the decisions.
It wasn't the Glasgow City Council who sat in their ivory white
towers, it was the people within the houses themselves who decided
what was going to happen.
They decided what colour the bathroom suites were going in,
they decided what colour the closes were getting painted.
It was always to do with the community,
it was always to do with that.
We did one flat up at 93 Reidvale Street there, showed them
what it was like, and it was just a refurbishment.
"Oh, this is beautiful". "This is great."
-Aye. But it was great.
-"Oh, I would not mind a house like this.
"Oh, it's got an inside toilet."
"Oh, look at that beautiful bathroom, oh, it's lovely."
So that was the start. One flat was a start.
Very exciting, yeah.
Some did move away.
Some did accept rehousing in the schemes,
but those that stayed joined the Association
and watched as their neighbourhood began its transformation.
And a century of coal and grime was washed away.
There was a lot of people getting involved within the committee,
people wanting to help, people wanting to volunteer,
people wanted to be a part of this, because I think after a
while people realised this is starting to become something real.
This isn't just some wee guy with a bonnet shouting his mouth off.
This was becoming something real.
This is Reidvale Housing Association.
Glasgow Housing Association.
What would you rather have?
MUSIC: "The Passenger" - Iggy Pop
John Mallon had no choice.
His family needed more room, so the Corporation rehoused them
in the new high rises that now over-shadowed Duke Street.
They were built on the foundations of the tenements where John
had lived as a boy.
I stayed here for 14 year. It's still a dump.
It was a dump when I stayed here.
But a lot of good memories about here, a lot of good people,
a lot of good neighbours who looked after us all.
And we used to have fun meeting everybody in these lifts.
But not today, they're broke again.
This is the back stairs.
When built back in 1968, the Whitevale
and Bluevale Towers symbolised the pinnacle of Glasgow's bold vision.
Soaring 30 storeys high and each containing 174 flats,
they were the tallest occupied buildings in Scotland.
We used to have to walk all the way up to the top, 26.
These flats are quite notorious, but the biggest majority of people
that stayed here were really good, honest citizens.
What level are we at now?
I've lost count. I've lost count.
I think it's the next one.
At one time you did not need to leave the flats.
You could buy your drink here, you could buy cheap vodka here,
you could buy cheap Champagne up these flats,
buy drugs up the flats, buy tobacco up the flats.
Buy butcher meat, there was a butcher, used to buy half a cow.
Used to chop butcher meat up.
You could buy a butcher parcel for a fiver.
No, I mean, so...
That community kind of was there.
We were all, you know what I mean.
And all the meters were rigged.
But the heating, they could not run it, it was costing 20,
£25 to heat a one-bedroom house.
Nobody could... Nobody could heat their houses.
So there were a spark staying up here and rigged all the meters,
you know what I mean, and we were all toasting.
Ah, this is my old bit here, this is my old landing.
This is my old house.
I was living in here for over 20 year.
These are the rooms. I didn't realise how small it was.
This is the living room. This is where the parties we had.
We used to sit here and get full of it, constant.
Drink, drugs. Everything.
And that's a kitchen that very rarely got made food in.
Pot Noodles. We lived on Pot Noodles.
They called us the Pot Noodle gang when I stayed here,
because we lived on Pot Noodles.
Drink, drugs and Pot Noodles.
I don't know how I'm still alive to tell you the truth.
I could walk out the door and get full of Valium, cannabis,
acid, heroin, cocaine, Mogadon, Tramadol.
We didn't know the risks.
We'd seen it on the telly basically, watching 'Starsky and Hutch'.
But no, there were drugs everywhere, you know what I mean?
It was easier to buy a bag of smack than it was a bag of toys.
And it was quicker to buy a bag of smack than a bag of toys, you know what I mean?
Miners were on strike, Thatcher was shutting everything down.
The... anarchy, everybody was running riot, there was no jobs.
We just wanted to smash the government up.
And then all of a sudden heroin appeared
and everybody started taking it,
and it quelled... You know what I mean, it quelled the uprising.
I feel it was a government, the government.
Well, put it this way, the Tories are back again,
and this place is full again of heroin.
MUSIC: "Breadline Britain" - The Communards.
# This is Breadline Britain
# This free and promised land... #
In the 1980s, Duke Street, like the rest of Glasgow was hit
by the economic downturn that was to engulf Scotland and the North.
With mass unemployment came social deprivation in the form
of alcohol and drug addiction.
Duke Street was in the thick of it as Glasgow's reputation blackened.
The life expectancy of a man living in the most deprived
areas of Glasgow was a full 15 years less than one
living in the city's more affluent district.
What was left of Dennistoun's middle classes on the north
side of Duke Street now fled the East End.
As families moved away, so the grand houses became bedsits,
halfway houses and hostels.
During this period, Reidvale was also under-going a period of change.
Families were still leaving the area.
They had also been forced to demolish some buildings
deemed to be unsafe.
The remaining tenements were all covered in scaffolding.
But then the scaffolding began to come off as the first flats
This is my mum's house, this is where I was brought up
when I was a kid.
Hopefully she hears me.
John Stewart moved in to a newly renovated Reidvale flat when he was 10.
And they were all new inside, new doors, new toilets,
new kitchens, just everything was new inside.
And it smelt brilliant, it smelled like a really new house, you know?
Yeah, my old room there.
This was my old room.
This is where I slept. It's now used as a store-room.
This is our kitchen.
It's never really changed except for the new cupboards.
I remember when I was younger, me
and my brother were standing here and we were fighting, he pushed me,
and I actually went right through the window and landed out the back.
You can just imagine falling from there as a kid.
Luckily, hitting the grass.
If I had hit the brick I would have been in hospital.
John Stewart attended the local
primary school at the end of his street.
It served those living on the South of Duke Street.
This here is Thomson Street Primary School where I went in primary.
I was in here for Primary 6, Primary 7 and stuff.
And this here is the playground,
the area where you can see the clothes line.
This is where the playground area was.
A lot of people knew this as the bike shed area.
That wall it's never ever changed, but it was a great school,
it was absolutely brilliant.
And I know and I always remember the headmistress, her office was
in there, because I was never out of it, it was just one of those things.
But it's a great old building.
Thomson Street School was built in 1875.
Its fees were four times higher than other local schools,
such was its reputation.
It initially appealed to the elite of Dennistoun on the other
side of the street before becoming a free school in 1890.
By 1984 it was educating Duke Street's south side.
It's got a lot of memories.
I think the memories were the thing for me.
My life started when I moved in to that school.
The first couple of days I came to the school I saw this boy,
shocking blond hair and thought, "Ooh, he's nice,"
and I went home and says to my mum I've met the boy I'm going to marry.
And she just looked at me and went, "So you have, dear,"
and just left it.
But ten years later I married that man.
But the number of families in Duke Street was in sharp decline.
In 1983 the council decided to close half of the schools in the area.
Duke Street's parents and children campaigned to save their school.
Irene led the protest.
As a parent our first responsibility is to the safety of our children
and under no circumstances are we going to allow the council to put
us in a position and our children in a very dangerous position.
We're sitting in the middle of a community, we're surrounded
by four main roads, and no matter what school they propose to send
us to, our children are very going to face very dangerous hazards.
Yet again, the council was coming in,
other people were making decisions for us.
It's about time they sat up and listened to the
people from the area and realise our children come first.
There was a big march.
We left from here and we done a march right all the way round, past
Glasgow Cathedral and came back down High Street and John Knox Street
all in protest at the fact that they're closing this school down.
Hundreds of parents and children gathered outside Strathclyde
region's headquarters before the meeting.
The children wore plain white masks because, say their parents,
they're being treated as faceless people.
I remember it very well, because it was filmed with the TV
and it was the first time I was ever on TV, so I'll never ever forget
that, and my face was in the picture in the paper as well, you know?
Despite winning a temporary stay of execution,
the school finally closed its doors in June 1984.
I was one of the last Primary 7 pupils at Thomson Street Primary.
It seemed it was another building that would chart Duke Street's
But John Butterly and the rest of the Bathgate Street Mafia had
After a century of grime and filth, stone cleaning revealed row
upon row of glistening honey coloured tenements.
Reidvale Housing Association was transforming the area.
Then you get impatient waiting on yours to get done then.
-I think Bathgate Street was one of the last.
We were the Bathgate Street Mafia, we were last to get renovated.
We did all the work, but we were last to get renovated.
Harriet moved back in to what had been her one room and kitchen flat.
Here we are, after this being the small flat, Reidvale came
and knocked two flats into one, so now we've got this nice big flat.
If you'd like to come along and see it.
And this was the flat next door, and this used to be
the kitchen in the flat next door, which is now a lovely bedroom.
So that was two-bedrooms now we've got in the flat.
This used to be a cupboard and now we have a bathroom,
which was a nice luxury when we moved in to this flat.
This was a sitting room.
This whole part here was a sitting room that they divided
it in to two, and now we have a small single bedroom in here...
..which gives you three bedrooms.
And next door we've got a nice kitchen, which even takes
a table and chairs, so it's a big enough kitchen for a family.
So this was the sitting room of the house next door
and now it's a nice kitchen.
Personally, I felt moving from a small room, the kitchen,
toilet, in to a three bedroom, bathroom,
kitchen house was to me absolutely brilliant.
It was like moving in to a mansion.
This three-bedroomed flat is now rented from Reidvale by her
Vicky's twin brother lives just straight across the road.
You could see his window from here,
so they could actually almost talk to each other.
My other daughter lives in Thomson Street,
so she's not far away either, so...
As the residents of the south side moved back in to
their refurbished and now desirable homes, so this was influencing
the whole of Duke Street, and the north side was changing too.
OK, everyone. Thanks for coming along today.
I know it's a holiday weekend,
so that's even better that people have turned up.
Jerry, you'll be doing Craigpark, we'll do Westercraigs
and then we'll kind of congregate down and you're doing the Square.
OK. Cheers. Have a good day.
So I've been here since 2005 in this street,
having lived in the West End of Glasgow for 18 years before that.
And by selling an apartment in the West End of Glasgow one can
afford, or one could afford to buy a house in this street
with as much space, if not more, and gardens front and back.
That's the rubbish from the gloves.
The whole of the East End is now becoming a far better place to be.
When they asked you what you did and, you know,
I said I was an architect and we stayed in Dennistoun
and they were puzzled by this, because they had never heard
of Dennistoun, they thought all architects stayed in the West End.
Now everyone's heard of Dennistoun.
We're very pleased with the way that this area exists,
and there is a certain kind of community.
You know, if you can at least spend a little bit of time, once a
month, picking up a sweet wrapper or two then, you know, you do your bit.
It's just really a community feel now.
People feel that they're supported
and that there's a sense of place where they are.
So it's that kind of thing that you continue to talk about it,
people begin to learn about it.
We were just lucky we got in early doors and we love it to bits.
And that's it, isn't it, yeah?
Slowly, the middle classes are making their way back to Duke Street.
A sense of community is returning to this street.
But no-one wants to live in these flats any more.
The last tenants moved out over a year ago and 378 homes lie empty.
Built too close to the railway line
and the homes that sit underneath, they can't be blown up.
Instead, they still await demolition, one floor at a time.
The school lay for a while with nothing happening to it.
And it was angering us all.
They were saying it was going to cost £50,000 to demolish it,
so we says to them we'll take it off your hands, what do you want for it?
And they went, well, we can give you it for a £1.
Irene couldn't save the school,
but Reidvale Housing Association did save the building.
It became 19 flats.
Irene moved here in 1987.
This is the main entrance of the old school,
and if you just come through it I'll show you the living area.
This is the living room and the kitchen area.
This used to be the headmaster's room,
and my husband, Tommy, visited it more often than I did for the belt.
This is the bedroom.
This was a classroom, or a staff room for the teachers.
When we moved in here this was...
John Butterly wanted a Jacuzzi. I got a Jacuzzi.
See John, he'll be looking down for me from above.
I've got a Jacuzzi at last.
We are independent and we make the decisions, the people of the area.
It's people power.
The City Council known as Glasgow Housing Association now,
are following in our footsteps.
Why? Because we were successful.
Not so long ago, Harriet moved in to Reidvale's very last project
sheltered housing for Duke Street's elderly.
That was seven years ago, and then I felt quite young,
and I thought I'm not going in to one with the old folk.
This is where we sit in the summer.
We bring the chairs over and we sit.
We're waiting on a new umbrella coming for the table.
And that's our love seat, but nobody's in love in here,
so it does not get used.
There was one man stood up and when he's seen me and he went,
"Oh, fresh meat," and he rubbed his hands, and I thought, "Oh, my God."
John Butterly was awarded an MBE in 1987 for his services to the
I remember going to a Celtic match with him that day,
and it must have been the Rangers/Celtic game,
because it was a New Year's Day game and there was a guy
in front of us with his paper rolled up in his back pocket
and I could see his son with him kind of looking at his back pocket
and then looking at my grandpa, and then looking at the back pocket
and I kinda felt my grandpa's famous, you know, it was brilliant.
And I know he loved it,
he absolutely loved being on the front page of the Daily Record.
The residents of Duke Street were able to save a 1,000 homes,
and no-one was moved more than a few hundred metres from where
they'd previously lived.
It was the Reidvale tenants of Glasgow's Duke Street who
pioneered the creation of community controlled housing
associations throughout the United Kingdom.
In next week's episode, Aberdeen's Fittie Squares
were an enclave for fisher folk.
You were being taught from an early age that the demon drink was
bad for you.
Unchanged for generations.
Fittie was regarded as a kind of a strange place.
When a new industry arrived,
its people were thrown headlong in to the modern world.
These people have been sacrificed to oil interests.
If you want to learn more about social change
and issues such as poverty, class and housing,
the Open University has produced a free publication.
Go to bbc.co.uk/ourstreets
and follow the links to the Open University, or call 0845 271 0018.
BBC Two's multi-award-winning Secret History of Our Streets told the story of six London streets, from Victorian times to the present day.
Now, as its people stand at a crossroads in their history, the series travels to Scotland to tell the stories of three archetypal streets in Scotland's three great cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Endlessly surprising and not at all what you would expect, the stories of these streets are the story of a nation.
Duke Street is Britain's longest street, running from Glasgow city centre through the heart of Glasgow's East End. Elegant Victorian tenement blocks line the road to the south of Duke Street. Yet just 40 years ago, those tenements were under threat. This is the story of how a group of pioneering residents took on the Glasgow Corporation in a battle to save their homes.