An extract from Terry Welsh’s book Reflections: Lambhill, Possil and Elsewhere
Terry, who passed away in 2006, aged 74, was a very well-known face in Glasgow West End. He attended circuit training and football in the Western Baths into his seventies! In fact, in his memory the Baths now have a football tournament every year. The year before he died Terry self-published a book called ‘Reflections: Lambhill, Possil and Elsewhere’.
His friend Martin Greig describes it as ‘a smashing book with wonderful stories and some great images. He sold a lot of copies, too.’
The book has fallen out of print but can be bought on Amazon as an e book. All proceeds from book sales will go to MacMillan Cancer Support. Price £2.99 on Kindle.
Foreward by Graham Speirs
I got to know Terry Welsh only a little bit, towards the end of his life. He was a friendly, amiable man whose conversation combined inquisitiveness with a type of Glasgow cheeriness. With his passing, though, in 2006, and the publication of this book, I wish I had striven to know him better.
I now discover, having read this delightful memoir about Lambhill and Possil, the place of Terry’s upbringing in Glasgow, that he was an acute and exquisite observer of time, place, people and habit.
Lambhill, to the north of Glasgow, might not be well known by many people. It sort of abuts onto open countryside with, on clear days, the Campsie hills to be seen in one direction and Dumgoyne and the distant Trossachs in another. But don’t get me wrong: Lambhill was not some rural idyll (though it bordered one). What it was in those days of the 1940s and 1950s was a community of warm, hardworking people whose children, like Terry, saw all of life’s challenges amid the miners’ cottages and cramped, sometimes stinking tenements of the time.
This book teems with memories of a Glasgow community’s love, fun, hardship and, in the case of the infamous Cadder mining disaster, terrible tragedy. There are vulnerable women and proud, hard-drinking men in these pages; local villains; yelling, excited children leaping into the Forth and Clyde canal in drowsy high summer; some dubious women, some deadbeats; inspiring school teachers and much more.
When I first read this book I instinctively jumped on my bike from central Glasgow and cycled out to Lambhill – as it is today – to try to discover the specific terrain as set out by Terry. For instance, I cycled from St. Agnes’s Church, still standing today and from where the priest and grief-stricken parishioners ran that dreadful day in 1913, over the fields to the now defunct Cadder pits on the banks of the canal, where death and disaster had struck. I’m not sure why I did this. I guess a part of me wanted to go back into the pages of this vivid book, to go back in time almost.
This story is, for me, a beautiful testimony to a time and place in Glasgow that deserves never to be forgotten. Some of it is just hilarious, too. So in memoriam I say to him, well done Terry Welsh…your voice prevails, you have left us a wonderful gift.
Graham Spiers, June 2013
An extract from ‘Reflections: Lambhill, Possil and Elsewhere’
Lochfauld Raws, better known by its nickname ‘The Shangie’, was a miners’ village on the north bank of the canal within a mile east of the Lambhill Bridge, consisting of 26 houses with dry toilets at the rear. Three water pumps at the front were provided for washing and cooking. Villagers filled their buckets in the evening for next day’s needs. It is alleged that an old seafaring character passing through the area of Lochfauld during the busy industrial period remarked that it reminded him of Shanghai — and so the Shangie became the adopted name of the village.
The wee red-brick school located behind the Shangie houses was the route to Steven’s farm and Nos. 15 and 17 collieries. Soldiers were billeted there during World War Two.
Nan Jackson was the last inhabitant of Lochfauld and lived in the former schoolhouse. She was a familiar lone figure walking along the canal bank. Nan’s nephew and I were 16-year-old surface workers at Balmore Coal Mine for a period and frequently cycled the canal route. It was a welcome break to have tea in Nan’s after a day’s shift at the coalmine.
Many mining communities had their share of characters and the Shangie more than others.Nan’s niece told me that when they lived in the Shangie, her mother was always concerned whenever her sons visited the ‘Lazy Man’s’ single-end to play cards. He was a clatty, miserable character who drank tea from a jam jar and used his thumb to spread butter.
It was common practice that the men of the mining community would be known by their nicknames e.g. Reddy McBride, Tortol McCallum, Ching Kelly, Puff Ferns, The Dreadful Man, Iron Heart and the much loved Inky, my mother’s Uncle John. Old Inky was completely illiterate and signed his name with a cross. He also had a bad speech impediment but was an individual of amazing ingenuity and character, full of fun and mischief. The number of stories and legends about his pranks and sayings could fill volumes.
Inky was down the pit working at a section on his own when a new man was asked to give him some assistance. The new man asked Inky, “Whaaat-will-a-dae-tae-help?”. Inky grabbed him by the throat, “Aaaarau-makeha-fool-aa-me?” Inky was gobsmacked to discover that his new partner also had a serious speech impediment.
A few of the many wonderful images in Terry’s book:
Terry performs some amazing gymnastics
St Agnes Boy’s Guild Football Team
Possil Row Miners’ Houses
Strachur Street at Terminus Cafe
Cafe Owner, Mosshouse Rest Cafe
Buy ‘Reflections: Lambill, Possil and Elsewhere‘ on Amazon as an e book. Price £2.99 on Kindle.
This section: People: Local Glasgow West End Characters
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