Heritage

Image courtesy of Sam McComas

Image courtesy of Sam McComas

What exactly is Woodside?
Woodside is the area bordered on the north by the canal and on the south by Great Western Road, and is covered by Woodside Community Council. Have a look at our map to see whether you are a “Woodsider” or not!

A distinct locality for centuries and identified in Blaeu’s atlas 1654 as “Woodfyd”, North Woodside Road was part of the route taken by the bishops from Glasgow Cathedral, on the way to their holiday residence at Partick Castle. It remained a mainly rural situation until being transformed by transport links, including the opening of the Forth & Clyde Canal in the late 18th century. The district’s close proximity to the canal made it an ideal location for manufacturing industries to be established, as the finished goods could then easily be transported.

How did it grow?
As people from around Scotland migrated to the cities in search of employment, Woodside quickly developed into an industrial heartland, right on the edge of Scotland’s largest city. Tenements to house the workers soon covered the fields, and shops and schools sprung up to serve the rapidly expanding population.

During the 1840s, the Great Famine drove thousands of Irish migrants to the West of Scotland, and many settled in Woodside with its many local employment opportunities. By 1870 it was being noted that “During the last few years, the North side of Garnethill has undergone a great transformation. Green parks where cattle grazed, and greens where housewives bleached their clothes, have been almost covered in houses… St George’s in the Fields is ‘in the fields’ no longer”.

What happened to us in the 60s?
By the mid-20th century the economy had changed and much of the housing was far below an acceptable standards. These factors, along with the decision to build the M8 Inner Ring Road, led to Woodside being designated as a Comprehensive Redevelopment Area (CDA) in the early 1960’s. The bulldozers moved in and large swathes of slum housing and dilapidated factory buildings were swept away, unfortunately alongside some great shops, and classic cinemas, theatres and dancehalls.

As with all such major redevelopments of an area, there are some who wonder whether or not the demolishers were perhaps a little too enthusiastic and that some of what was swept away might well have been saved. Fortunately, some of our interesting buildings have survived.

So what are things like today?
Today Woodside has recovered from the upheaval of the 1960s, as over the years – despite some major incidents – there have been many individuals and groups working hard to foster the sense of community and belonging that survived the bulldozers. Many residents moved to other areas when their homes were demolished, but some have now returned. New people are arriving from different cultures and bringing their own unique contribution to the vibrant community of Woodside.

As we develop this section of our website over the coming months we hope that, whatever your connection with Woodside, you will find something of interest and maybe even have a few memories awakened. Let us know!

Our Heritage Trail is now available to download as a pdf  here – hard copies are available in Woodside Library. 

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