Document 969

GOW Newsletter Jun 2005

Author(s): John Roberts

Copyright holder(s): John Roberts


GOW Triangle
Gibson Street, Otago Street,
Westbank Quadrant,
Glasgow G12

June 2005

So after the building sliding into the river !
The wall come's tumbling down !

It is with feelings of dread that we witnessed the demolition of the hoarding by the bridge. Dread? Yes, because it signals the end of the peace and quiet of the terraced garden that [CENSORED: companyname] have developed at the end of Otago Lane and it means our friendly take-away, [CENSORED: companyname], will endure fearful noise and dust.

Why? Because in place of the tenement of eight flats that fell into the river, a block of 22 flats is due to be constructed, with ground floor licenced restaurant and basement car park, entered from Gibson Street. Sadly, protest against such a massive intrusion into our street started too late to stop planning approval.

GOW is working hard to recover what we can from this fearful prospect - we want restrictions on the routes of construction vehicles and a limit to hours of working, so we can at least enjoy summer evenings. We are not opposed to progress, and we want Gibson Street to become a model of how to bring together desirable living with commercial success. But, once again, the lack of any sense of strategy has been revealed, piecemeal decisions are being made without any thought of the consequences for other dwellings and businesses.

We need a 'whole street' policy. GOW commiserates with our neighbours [CENSORED: companyname] and [CENSORED: companyname] who will bear the brunt of the building assault. But we will continue working towards our goal -


[CENSORED: permission not able to be obtained for article]

The GOW Team caught "Cat napping"!!!

At the start of May the plaintive sound of mewing came from the deep gully at the back of Gibson Street between the tenement wall and the washing green.

It turned out that the wee stray black cat which seems to live in the back court these days had fallen into the depths of the well, a drop of about 12 feet, and was distraught and probably starving. Eric heard these plaintive cries and saw the cat's plight, so using the ladder confiscated from the burglar at Christmas time (here we go again!!), climbed down into the depths of the gully on a mission of mercy to rescue the creature.

Unfortunately in the eyes of the wee cat, Eric looked like predatory monster (sounds familiar!!) with evil intent, not the kindly saviour that he intended to be. Instead of trotting over to be lifted gently and carried up the ladder to safety it behaved like a trapped banshee on speed. It dashed from one extremity of the sunken well to the other wailing as if its life was in danger. Then it leapt six feet up the ladder and managed to cling on with its claws and scramble and haul itself out into the sunshine and away to safety.

This left Eric to climb unsteadily back up to ground level and haul up the ladder again. Muttering "Ungrateful little.....

But the adventures of the black cat were not over and the very next Monday not many hours after the May monthly clean up it was back in trouble. While residents were clearing out the washhouse area of the cellar below No3 Westbank, the wee creatre somehow managed to sneak unseen into the cellar (not Sandra, the cat). The first anyone knew was when Karl reported plaintive mewing from behind the cellar door. The cat was trapped again and getting hungry and was desperate to be realeased. Elinor tried to coax it out but as soon as she opened the door the cat fled to the furthest darkest corner with terror in its eyes ( cat 9 inches, Elinor 6ft 2 inches!!). It took hours to entice it out with food but eventually it made a mad dash for freedom and was free again. You can see it most days roaming around the backcourt or lying curled up amongst the dandelions

Should it be the GOW mascot? It may be appropriate scavenging in the bins and the rubbish, frequently getting into trouble and regularly prone to making a noisy fuss if it wants something ( sounds like Eric!!). Any suggestions for a name for his mascot please contact the Editor

Editor is responsible for bracketed catty comments (!!)

Note: Please be mindful.......Because there is a stray cat in the backcourts makes it even more important to put all black rubbish bags into the bins. If bags are left beside bins they will usually be ripped open and the contents will scatter in the wind. It is those who live here who then have to clean up.

Improving Our Back Court

'When I went back years after to see this back court, I often wonder at the things that took place in it'

(Jean Faley: Up Oor Close. Memories of Domestic Life in Glasgow Tenements, 1910-1945)

The back court of Gibson-Otago-Westbank has a long history dating back to the 1870's when the first of the tenements was completed. Residents in those days relied on the back court as an essential service area - the midden for rubbish, the shared wash-house and place for drying clothes and beating carpets. Overlooked by all the back windows, it was a safe place for children to play in. It was always full of activity. The reminder of our past is the wash-house in the Basement of no 3 Westbank that is now being cleared and prepared for restoration and perhaps display.

The condition of our back court is an issue for us all. In the early 1970's residents set about clearing, cleaning and improving it. Our group, GOW, is now doing the same so that we can recover the sense of security and relaxation. This cannot be achieved without challenging the deterioration and neglect that are evident in some areas

Looking round the back court we can see:
1 rubbish (litter and black bags) left in stairways or thrown into the 'sumps' below basement windows
2 loose and trailing wires
3 broken and rusting downpipes and guttering
4 unsecured back and security entry doors
5 growing numbers of large ventiliation ducts and ventilation fans in use or abandoned on the walls behind Gibson Street
6 gaps in stonework and abandoned shafts where pigeons nest
7 leaking water spouts and missing guttering
8 neglected stonework that needs re-pointing
9 panes missing from stair windows
10 dim stair lighting
11 roof slates loosening and falling


The conditions behind the tenements are the result of neglect and lack of care by residents and owners. We are in touch with Glasgow City Council every week about one or other problem and we now have a small band of neighbours who work together to clean and restore.

What about you? Do you want to recover a sense of security and relaxation in our back court? Why not work with us? We will help you to raise the standards in your own tenement, to the benefit of us all.


For more information, contact Elinor [CENSORED: phonenumber] or Eric [CENSORED: phonenumber] .

GOW gets all academic.

Our newsletter now goes intergalactic.

I have been asked to offer back dated and future copies of the newsletter to be included in The Scottish Corpus of Text & Speech.

Background to the Project.
Scotland has a long and distinctive language heritage. The present-day linguistic situation in Scotland is complex, with speakers of Scottish English, Scots, Gaelic and numerous community languages making up Scottish society. However, suprisingly little reliable information is available on a variety of language issues such as the survival of Scots, the distinguishing characteristics of Scottish English, or the use of non-indigenous languages such as Chinese, Punjabi and Urdu. This lack of information presents significant problems for those working in education and elsewhere.

The SCOTS Project.
The SCOTS project is the first large-scale project of its kind in Scotland. It aims to build a large electronic collection of both written and spoken texts in the language of Scotland. This is a resource, which is urgently needed if we are to address the gap, which presently exists in our knowledge of Scotland's languages, and to preserve information on these languages for future generations.

This resource provides valuable material not only for language researchers, but also for those working in education, government, the creative arts, media and tourism, who have more general interest in Scottish culture and identity. SCOTS is a publicly available resource on the Internet.

So there you have it, this work is being carried out at the University of Glasgow and we have been invited to take part in this project by offering our very own newsletter on a regular basis, which will then be included in the above resource. You can access the web site at (

Contact Numbers.
[CENSORED: table here in original with personal contact details]

Next backcourt clean up is on Sunday 5th of June from 2.00 - 4.00pm.
Barbeque afterwards - bring your own supplies to share.
GOW meeting - Offshore Café on Monday 6th June 6.30pm.

This work is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

The SCOTS Project and the University of Glasgow do not necessarily endorse, support or recommend the views expressed in this document.


Cite this Document

APA Style:

GOW Newsletter Jun 2005. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"GOW Newsletter Jun 2005." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 25 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "GOW Newsletter Jun 2005," accessed 25 July 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 969

GOW Newsletter Jun 2005


Text audience

General public
Audience size 21-100
Writer knew intended audience

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2005
Word count 1534
General description Community group newsletter

Text medium

Leaflet/brochure (prospectus)
Other Newsletter

Text setting

Other community

Text type

Prose: nonfiction
Other Newsletter


Author details

Author id 859
Forenames John
Surname Roberts
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment College
Age left school 17
Occupation Editor
Place of birth Lanark
Region of birth Lanark
Birthplace CSD dialect area Lnk
Country of birth Scotland
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Father's occupation lecturer
Father's place of birth Glenboig
Father's region of birth Lanark
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Lnk
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation accountant
Mother's place of birth Dunoon
Mother's region of birth Argyll
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Arg
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All