Dear green place

Glasgow Green Drying Green

Jude at Travel Words is running a Life in Colour Photo Challenge this year, with the colour changing every month. For March it is green, and as Jude says “it’s easy to find shades of green in nature, but what else can you discover?” I’ll answer that question in a later post, but living in a city sometimes known as the dear green place with its own Glasgow Green I can’t avoid starting with that. And, as always, I can’t avoid including a history lesson along with the pictures!

Green is built into the name Glasgow, which is thought to derive from the Brythonic words glas meaning green and cau meaning hollow. Our oldest public park is Glasgow Green, where local citizens went to wash and dry their clothes from the time the land was gifted to the people in 1450 until the 20th century.

At first, women tramped their washing in large tubs, hitching up their skirts and petticoats, in what was known as Scotch Washing. This became an early tourist attraction, and English travellers in the 18th and 19th centuries commented on the brazen women of Glasgow Green. Later, wash-houses, or “steamies”, were built on the Green, the first opening in 1732 and the last closing in 1960, but the popularity of the common drying green continued up to the 1970s. The city’s bylaws still allow Glasgow residents the right to dry their laundry on the green, where a set of Victorian drying poles is maintained, though they’re seldom put to use these days.

I could almost get away with adding this to Andrew’s Monday Washing Lines challenge at Have Bag, Will Travel. However, there are no lines and no washing on the poles! To get over that, here’s a flashback shot from our October break in Cellardyke. The matching pegs and the carefully separated white washing should please him.


  1. How wonderful to live in a city called the dear green place. Do you think it makes residents more appreciative of parks and public spaces in the city? It makes sense that before the advent of washing machines, or running water, women would congregate in a public place to do the washing, and of course laundry needed to be hung to dry.



  2. Hi Anabel, This is the first time I have heard about “Glasgow Green.” I appreciate the history lessons (only from you, Anabel, since you make them interesting)🙂 Intriguing about the common drying green. The flashback photo is picturesque and shares a snippet of actual life. Interesting post!

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  3. I walked (or marched) to Glasgow Green during my first ever visit to Glasgow. It was the end point of a demonstration during the black days of the woman with the handbag 👜. I remember it being a cold, grey Winter’s day. I’ve been back there since, a couple of times. On nicer days when it was certainly much greener.


  4. Hi Anabel – love the washing lines … though probably wise they’re no longer in use – life has changed. Interesting history about Glasgow’s naming . St Patrick’s Day too for a Green Day … we are greening up down here … slow but sure – til the trees burst into green.

    As Jude says – the Cornish ‘glas’ … one I hadn’t come across – so thanks for that – Hilary

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