Timesquare – Glasgow Cross

Tollbooth Steeple at Glasgow Cross

I haven’t got my blogging act together at the moment, so I’m just dropping in with another quick post for Becky’s timesquare challenge. I love the way the clock face matches the sky in this picture of the steeple at Glasgow Cross. This does not, unfortunately, reflect the weather today …

The Cross was the heart of the medieval city, the meeting place of five roads: High Street, Gallowgate, London Road, the Saltmarket and Trongate. Those roads are all still there, but Glasgow’s centre has moved west over the centuries and the only true remnant of the Cross’s former glory is the Tolbooth Steeple. Today, this sits alone on a traffic island, but when it was built in the 1620s it was part of a more extensive building. The Tolbooth had several uses, including as the seat of the Council until 1814 and, less pleasantly, as a place of public execution (hence Gallowgate). The rest of the Tolbooth was demolished in 1921.

Glaswegians like to think of themselves as gallus which has a connection:

gallus (ga·luss). Dialect, chiefly Scot ~adj.
1. self-confident, daring, cheeky.
2. stylish, impressive (esp. Glasgow “He’s pure gallus, by the way”).
3. Orig. derogatory, meaning wild; a rascal; deserving to be hanged (from the gallows).

I’m sure most of us would prefer the middle definition!

50 Comments »

  1. I seem to remember that my childhood in N. Ireland was spent wearing “galluses”, i.e. waterboots. I don’t know how they used to spell it but it sounded like your gallus, so is there a connection?
    Loved the clock so like the sky.
    Happy Christmas from another one whose blogging has fallen by the wayside of late, but who hopes to pick it up again soon. May the New Year bring you health and happiness.

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    • I don’t know – I’ve now looked up galluses and found them in the braces / suspenders since, but not that. I would think of rubber boots as galoshes which sounds similar.

      All the best to you too for Christmas and the New Year. I might pop back with another short post before then, but I’ve abandoned the Hebrides for now. Maybe I’ll get back down to it in January!

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  2. I think you are trying to fool us with a ring in. If this is the real Tollbooth, why is it not raining ?? We do not have squares or crosses here. We are a country town not old enough nor big enough to have these. I’ll take some photographs of Victoria Square in Adelaide when I am down there this week.

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  3. Great photo! As for gallus, I have never used nor been aware of it being used for the second definition but that might be because I am a Fifer who was raised by a Fifer and an Aberdonian, and that regional variation within Scots.

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  4. the wonderful about the Scots who I’ve known is that they can be all three of those definitions in one evening… though that may say more about the Scots I like to associate with… Sparkling weather – it’s always like that when I go to Glasgow so no idea why anyone suggests otherwise!!

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