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. Those Victorian poles would look great with lines of modern washing strung between them 🙂 When I was a child, and right up to 1979 when I moved here and had my own garden, it was common for people living in terraced houses to hang washing on lines strung across the back streets, in fact at one time most back yard outer walls had washing line pegs knocked into them. It was a great way to dry large things like blankets and sheets but you had to remember not to put anything out when it was bin day 🙂 🙂


  2. I can imagine if it was a windy day in Fife half that washing might end up in the harbour as they are usually exposed areas. Had a day there years ago during the Sea Queen gala and even the bunting was taking off into the air in places.


  3. Such a fabulous history lesson, I love all your posts! And I love that drying green, such a shame there is no washing hanging up there. And I was chuffed with the use of the word glas – which in Cornwall is used to describe the colour of the sea – blue/green/grey. A great word. And it never occurred to me that it was the colour associated with Glasgow.

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