Monday, 23 March 2009

Govan memories,history and hysterics.

Hi ,For years I have treasured my memories of dear old Govan and the people I grew up with there,I grew up in the bomb sites ,back closes and dunny's that were the playgrounds of the day. I am the eldest of twelve children,seven of whom are sisters and all of us lived in the single-end,one up in No 8 Burndyke street,I started Copeland Road School in 1953,and went on to Govan High School after my "Qually".
My father's family came from Neptune St,so I grew up with a knowledge of history of local characters and events that were the subject of the very many Sunday gatherings at the Burndyke St, single-end when some of the local men (my father included) would drown their sorrows with such notable libations as Lanlique,V.P, Melroso, Eldorado and other such fine wines,obtained "on tic" at twice the normal price from the local shebeen.
A part of this gathering on occasion was a much loved resident of Govan called Ghandi Sharp,who was a docker and to whom fell the dubious distinction of ,when made redundant,bought and took delivery of his own coffin.This was discussed for many years afterwords and became almost folklore.
For those of you who are familliar with Govan,you will know that for many years there has been a pub on the corner of Burndyke St and Govan Rd ,called "The Bells".The back close of No 8 Burndyke St had a couple of "middens" and a cut through to the back close of 571 Govan Rd.This was a much used shortcut for us kids going to the shops and on one such expedition I dropped a penny in the back close of 571,as I watch the precious coin roll away I was amazed to see it dissapear down a crack between the large slate slabs that made up the floor of the close.
In tears I went home and reported my loss and the mysterious crack in the close to three or four of the Sunday drinkers who were there. I think someone may have given me another penny,and the matter was forgotten.Two weeks later on a Sunday someone lifted the slabs in the back close of 571 and emptied the cellar of The Bells which is where my beloved penny had gone.
The results of this daring feat were the subject of many Sunday gatherings thereafter and for years I wondered if my penny loss had inadvertantly led to the whole caper.
I am sitting at home in London over 50 years later and this memory comes back as if it were last week.I must try and do some work today so I will sign off and post some more Govan memories later.


  1. Stevie, just found your comment on dan's entry. I love your stories - please, please, please gonny tell us some more. Would it be ok to write some to post on ladygovan too?

  2. Good morning Lady Govan,I am pleased you liked my effort,Dan's article on your blog just opened up a whole load of long forgotten memories for me and I felt compelled to write some of them down.
    I will gladly post some on ladygovan,Do I email them to you at the gmail address?Please let me know.
    My email address is
    Perhaps I could elaborate on my education in Govan and how what I do today(I'm an antiques dealer) has its roots (for me) in the art of "midden rakin" and in the endless hours spent in the bombed out buildings and empty tenements of dear old Govan,and the deals struck, for pennies, at Mary O'Hara's rag shop which was ,I think,in Broomloan Road.Does anyone remember Mary O'Hara's?
    Isn't it great how no experience is ever wasted and that we are never too old to learn .Govan has a treasure trove of experience and in this wonderful age of computers all this can be shared.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Kindest regards