Reminiscence Group Govan Reminiscence Group

Add Your Own Govan Memories
Add Your Own Govan Memories

You can submit your own memories or stories of Govan below and they will be added to the page after approval by one of our members. You can also use the email address info@govanremgroup.org.uk to send us your story and/or a picture that will help illustrate it. If you do not wish your name to appear check the ’Post as Anonymous‘ box. Your memories may be used in future GRG publications.






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Govan Memories

Posted by Patricia Frearson on 09-09-2016

I was born 1944, lived 3 up in 52 Wanlock Street, right across from the little swing park and Fairfields Shipbuilders and right next to the Govan Ferry. I loved it there we could watch the ships being built and then launched from the bedroom window. We had 4 Cinemas that we could go to and the swimming baths and all the dykes round the back to jump and all the different games we played outdoors until the street lights went on and Dad shouted out the window it was time to come up the stairs. A big gang of kids would all go to the pictures on Saturday afternoon and one kid would pay to get in and then would go round to the fire escape door and open it and let the rest of the kids in for free. I went to Hillstrust School until I was 10 then we moved to Nitshill which I was not so fond of, Govan was a great place to live we were always putting on concerts round the backs and folk would hang out the windows to watch the performance there was always stuff going on or buss-runs that our streets would organise and the Govan Fair, Govanites were great.

Posted by Mary Pollock on 06-09-2016

My sister and I were born the year before the second world war at Montrose nursing home in Govan. We lived in Linthouse at that time, and then we moved to Shaw Street in Govan. It was very hard during the war for our mother as our brother was three years older and our father was a shipyard worker, working nightshift. When the sirens went for everyone to go to their shelters, our grandfather had to come and help her take us to St. Anthony's school (our shelter). Also remember when we started school in 1943, we had to carry our gas masks with us. We all went to Harmony Row school because that was where our mother went and she wanted us to have the same teachers she had, and there were a few left from when she attended there. Our father would be home right before we had to leave for school, so he would take us as it was not safe to cross Langlands Rd., Unfortunately, the week before Christmas in 1943, our grandfather was killed by a bus right at the Vogue cinema.

Harmony Row School in Govan

Harmony Row School 1964.

We loved the years living there and in 1949, our little sister was born at 22 Shaw St., That same year we moved to Penilee, but when my sister and I were seventeen, our parents moved back to Govan because the house in Penilee was very damp, so our parents got an exchange to a house on Govan Rd., the cooperative building next to Fairfield's shipyard. It was a two bedroom, living room with a kitchenette and full bathroom. We all loved living there as Govan was such a great place and had everything you needed, especially four cinemas. We used to listen to all the records being played from Munleys on a Saturday morning.

My sister and I were married in 1961 at Govan Parish where we were members. Our parents and our brother were also married there, and we were all Christened there as well. Our young sister was married in St. Anthony's years later. We had and still have such a loving family even although our parents and grandparents have passed, but Govan made us that way because it was a great community and you knew who your neighbours were. Members of our family have now moved away to other locations in Glasgow and Paisley, but we still remember our childhoods growing up in Govan.

My husband also comes from Govan. I met him at our place of employment. We lived in Southcroft St., when we got married. Our first daughter was born in 1962, and then when she was six months old, we went to Toronto, Canada. I remember two days before we left in 1963, I took her to the Govan Fair, and that was the last one I ever saw. I remember the days my sister and I would take part in the fair while we were in a dancing school, which was named Thompsons.

I was pretty sad when I left Govan and leaving my family was devastating to me. My husband and I ended up going into the USA. Lived in Georgia where our second daughter was born, and then onto Texas, and now living in California. We love it here, but still go back to Scotland every other year. Our children and grandchildren have been back many times as well. We visited Govan in recent years and is not the same place anymore. It brought tears to our eyes as they have destroyed a lot of the buildings that should have been refurbished. Elder park is a mess and all the railings have been taken out. We went this year to the Fairfield shipyard museum which was very interesting. Looking at Govan when it was a village, and film of how it grew into a town, we felt very proud of being born and raised in dear auld Govan.

Posted by Pauline Belkadi on 05-02-2016

I remember a chemist called Brays on Govan Rd. It was massive and as a wee girl it was magical, as well as Dands I also remember Bobbys on Langlands Rd, I got my Bay City Rollers trousers there, lol, there was loads of shoe shops in Govan, one was called Cherries I'm sure, also a massive one can't remember name, just round from Burleigh St, a few years back it was Bradley's chemist.

Posted by Sadie Rodgers on 29-11-2015

I stayed all over Govan, I was born in the Southern General in 1961 and was brought home to Neptune St then I stayed in Govan Rd, Broomloan Rd and Carmichael St. I went to Broomloan Rd nursery then the school. My granny Flora McFadyen was one of the oldest and longest residents in the Wine Alley. My dad was Boaby Rodgers he got knocked down and killed when I was 3 in 1964 and my mum was left a widow with 4 wee girls. I spent a lot of time at my granny's while growing up I remember we used to get payed for watching the cars when there was a game on at Ibrox. My mum's brother Spinx (George Hewitt) stayed in Teucharhill and my dad's brother Alex Rodgers drove a milk float.

Love all my memories of Govan as a wean!

Britain from Above aerial photograph

1947 aerial photograph of Moorepark (Wine Alley) & Broomloan Road School Britain from Above

Posted by R. Davidson on 04-04-2015

My gran lived upstairs at 12 Water row. Every month her and neighbours would make tablet, cakes, scones and stuff. We would have concerts and the money raised would organise a trip to the seaside for the kids of the area. This was around 1954ish. I would like to know if anyone remembers these times.

Posted by Margaret Mcswegan on 01-04-2015

I have many happy memories of Govan. I was born and raised at 976 Govan road and remember concerts we used to have round the back for the neighbours and we would make costumes out of crepe paper and sing songs like" oh you beautiful doll you great big beautiful doll". Very happy days. I went to St Anthony's then St Gerard's and was there at the same time as Billy Connolly though he is a year older than me. Govan was thriving in those days. A great place to live.

Britain from Above aerial photograph

1936 aerial photograph of St Gerard's Britain from Above

Posted by Margaret (Kane) Chapman on 31-03-2015

My parents lived at 49 Nethan Street and I was born at the Southern General in 1939. My father was called up at the beginning of the War and my mother died when he was in Europe, I went to live with my grandparents on Wee Logie Street, I was 2½years old and spent the rest of my childhood there until 1956 when I came to Canada with my grandmother to live with my uncle (my mum's young brother).

Photo of Govan girls on Govan Road

Helen Dunlop, Jean Donaldson, Billie Cameron and me Margaret Kane on Govan Road at bottom of Neptune Street, c1949-50.

Helen Dunlop and I have kept in touch all these years, she is only one month younger than me and lived across the street, therefore we have known each other all of our lives. As for Billie Cameron, she now lives in Montreal, her sister Isa was a war bride and came to Canada in 1948 to be with her Canadian husband and lives north of Toronto in Collingwood. (they lived up the pen at No. 14).

As for our childhood and growing up in Govan we would never change a thing, there was everything in Govan any child wanted and we never ever suffered from boredom after school, we were outside playing peever, rounders, climbing dykes, swimming at the pool and rolling our Easter eggs down the hill at Bellahouston Park. Sometimes on a Sunday we would go over to Kelvingrove and (if memory serves me) run around the suits of armour until we were thrown out of the Art Galleries. Other Sundays maybe Helen and I would visit the graves of our mothers at Cardonald Cemetery (her mother died when she was 5).

Photo of Govan Girls

Wee Logie Street* girls on bus run to Ayr organised by Elderpark Church, c1950.
(Top) Annie McGowan, Betty Wallace, Margaret O'Neil & Sylvie Parker.
(Bottom) Janet Gilmartin, Susan Burns, Helen Dunlop, Margaret Kane, Heather McGovern & Billie Cameron.
(*Annie was from Nethan Street).

Saturday afternoons were for the matinees at one of the four movie halls; Lyceum, Plaza, Elder and Vogue. I remember Vogue would show two part Westerns that made us come back the following Saturday to find out who won the fight, there was also an entertainer named "uncle Harry" who would go up on the stage when the movie was over and ask us to wave our white hankies that we were asked to bring, we would all stand up and sing "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag" before we left.

Not a penny in our pockets other than the price of admission to the pictures on a Saturday afternoon and some extra for some sweeties, I remember my grandmother used to give Helen my sweetie coupons from the back of the Ration Book, as she had such a sweet tooth that she would have ate her way through February and March coupons even though it was only January and stores knew we were still going to be rationed for some time to come (I didn't have a sweet tooth so always had coupons to spare).

We would also put on a concert in one of the vacant stores that Helen's brother and his wife had access to, the women would make hot peas and vinegar and listen to us all singing and dancing out of sync, but what memories, what sheer fun, I wouldn't trade it for the world today.

Posted by Margaret Gibson on 10-01-2015

I lived in Kintra Street from 1946 until 1960 and went to Broomloan Road school then Govan High. I remember the baths and went there every Friday, I also remember playing in the street and when the coalman came my mum and I would follow him with a pram and pick up any coal that fell of the lorry. There was a milk depot (Cuthbertson's Dairy) at the bottom of the street where we used to go and if we were lucky they would let us feed the horses, those were the days, how I loved going to the Plaza every Saturday morning to the ABC minors and when it was our birthday we got to go up on the stage and everyone sang to us. I also went to the Glasgow City Mission which was in Kintra Street, how I loved my childhood.

Cuthbertson's Dairies, Vicarfield Street

Peter Monaghan with horse Smokey at Cuthbertson's Dairies in Vicarfield Street

Posted by Rena Burton on 26-06-2014

My mother was born at 68 Harmony Row in 1924, when she was about 10 she was sent to Dand's Drapers on Langlands Road to buy thread for a neighbour and got her finger caught in the door which resulted in losing the tip of it which gave her years of pain, on a lighter note on the subway to hospital she had to pace up and down with pain which resulted in her leaving the subway with her pockets jingling. Little did we no that years later I would be living above that very shop.

Fairfield Drapers, Govan

Fairfield Draperies later known as Dand's Draperies
Photo created by Hugh Nicolson

Posted by Ellen Macdonald Paasch on 26-06-2014

When I was a wee lassie of four living on Neptune Street in the early 50's I walked away down the street from our close and got lost. Someone took me to the Orkney Street Police Station. Eventually, my dad arrived asking if anyone had handed in a wee lassie. Naw, he was told, but we have a wee boy in the back. My dad was taken in to see the wee boy, turns out it was me. There I was, short hair, snotty-nosed from crying and eating an ice cream cone. I have no memory just my dad's story.

Former Orkney Street Police Station

Orkney Street Enterprise Centre formerly Govan Police Station

Posted by Anne Hurley on 20-06-2014

I lived in Elderpark Street and the Wine Alley. Years ago Govan was a brilliant shopping place. I used to go there with my Mum to Woolworths, they had shoe shops and everything you wanted. Then the place just went to pot. In the Wine Alley, I loved the people more than anything. Best people you could meet. When in trouble the Govanites all come together. Nobody like them in the World.

Posted by Marie McIntosh on 20-06-2014

I lived at 73 Nethan Street, Govan. I loved going to the Steamie with my Mum and her friends. One day in the Summer, off we went to the Steamie, everybody went in, my Cousin and I stayed outside. We had some chalk on us and we wrote on the outside of the lovely red tiles on the wall. I can't remember what we wrote, but we were very busy. Next thing I know, this policeman appeared, he looked like a giant and he asked me what was I doing. I didn't open my mouth, I was sure I was going to jail. My cousin disappeared, the policeman went into the steamie and came out with a bucket of soapy water and a cloth to wipe it off. I cleaned it up and he must have been watching, as he came back out to see if I had done well. I asked him if I was going to jail, he said not at all and he gave me a sweetie. He said be a good girl, I don't want to see you when you're 17 causing problems.

One summer, I walked to the steamie and managed to get some photos of it. Went back to show someone the building, but it was gone. I always thought it was a listed building. It was a beautiful building and I would have thought that the powers that be could have used it for something. I'll do a bit of investigating.

Photo of Govan Baths

Govan Baths & Steamie on Harhill Street being demolished

Posted by Norma Macdonald Krcmar on 20-06-2014

Playing out in the street with our whip and peeries my sisters and friends would have contests to see who could chalk their peerie with the best colour design. Then there was the shake the blanket with my older sisters and friends my turn wasn't coming fast enough so as usual I was whining so they gave me my turn and shake the blanket shake the blanket 1-2-3 they lifted me in the air and let the blanket go results bleeding nose and they all got a right telling off. I'm thinking I never whined at them again. I loved Govan how all the woman watched as we played there was always an adult around and if they were not outside you knew exactly where to find them sitting in a house having a cup of tea great great days I wish we had lived in Govan longer than my 5 years but we always had many visits back to see relies and old neighbours.

Posted by James Warnock on 20-06-2014

Great memories of Summertown Road baths. Used to spend all summer there paying in twice, having to queue up for second swim with towel around yourself sometimes freezing and having to wait in line. Also used to go for a bath there even though we had a bath at home. Water was always roasting hot and bath was very deep used to spend hours in it; and who can forget the carbolic soap!!!

Summertown Road Baths 1982

Summertown Road Baths & Steamie 1982

Posted by Marie McIntosh on 17-09-2013

Does anyone remember going out the back courts and jumping over them? My cousins and I thought we should try this. I was the smallest and skinniest one there, there were about 10 of us up on the dyke, they're all shouting at me, so I shouts I'm just gettting ready. Next thing, I found myself lying on the ground. I was so focussed what was in front of me, I never looked behind me and I disappeared over the edge. My Mother took me to the Southern and a giant black man came in. I had never seen one before. I screamed blue murder, he wanted to pull my pants down, but no way I letting him do that to me. Poor Man, he said to my Mother, "the way she's trying to kick me I think her hips are fine".

Posted by Anon. on 01-09-2013

I remember my mum and dad and telling me how Govan was full of works, tenements, shops and pubs and how it was a vibrant place, this was very different from 1970s Govan that I grew up in, instead it was like a town after the blitz, I remember large areas of spare ground where the tenements and shops once stood, I remember playing in the old derelict tenements and works and in the rubble of demolished tenements, in the old tenements in Orkney Street we pretended to pour pints in the old Albert Bar. It was like growing up in a wasteland!

The Govan of my parents had gone, the works and the jobs and the people they spoke about had all gone. It has taken Govan many years to heal and the spare grounds and scars are all nearly gone. Govan feels vibrant again.


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