Archive Visit

In relation to the Photo Coffee event, it was felt that to entice Residents and Users of Garnethill to attend an event and bring any old pictures with others, it would be useful to have a “core” such material.

An initial internet search was undertaken, which yielded a number of photographs that were typically from the mid 1960s onwards, and while there was much of Sauchiehall Street, sourcing pictures of scenes just a short distance away in Garnethill itself proved more challenging. To that end a group came together on the morning of 5 May 2016 to visit and spend time exploring the archive material held in the Mitchell Library.

What we found

Sourcing images of Garnethill proved a labourious process as the archive stores them by location and date without a reference picture or “tab”. Therefore a search can produce rather random results in terms of the image quality and relevance.

The archive also stores numerous maps, and this proved useful in furthering our understanding of how the area had developed over time – by viewing such maps at different periods. An interesting characteristic is that the area sits at the intersection or edge of maps due to the typical divisions of a larger area or representation of Glasgow. In other words, you need to look at least two maps to get a full understanding of the area at any one time. In some ways this could be interpreted as a rational for Garnethill feeling as if a forgotten district.

We discovered that prior to the first half of the 19th century the area was largely farmland and the bulk of development took place in the second half of that century.

We noted that Garnethill once housed an observatory given that it was a hilly location and likely prior to the advent of street lighting – the observatory was later demolished in the early 20th century. The are was also used to store water – reservoirs in the approximate location of the now park, and that the building now known as the ABC O2 music venue, and previously the ABC Cinema, was in fact a Circus – Hengler’s, and is remembered currently by the public house closely located.

How it was used

As planned, the material was put on display at a Photo Coffee event hosted at the Project Café. A number of residents visited to view the material and some indeed brought further contributions. The arising discussions facilitated a number of new connections.

What next?

This page should prove to be the catalyst and distribution vehicle for a larger piece of work where a selection of images and maps are curated to provide a cohesive history of the area, and thereby be utilized as a backdrop for a further discussion regarding what and how Garnethill might be in the future.