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!

Gallus Glasgow X: Glasgow Cross

Glasgow Cross
Glasgow Cross

I couldn’t think of anything beginning with X so here’s a plausible “cheat”, if you like to call it that (though I bet a lot of other bloggers are having to do the same thing). X, in this case, does not represent a kiss – a Glasgow kiss is something you definitely want to avoid! It’s a headbutt. No, I’m going to talk about Glasgow Cross.

This was the heart of the medieval city, the meeting place of five roads: High Street, Gallowgate, London Road, the Saltmarket and the 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. And gallus – remember that third definition I didn’t really want to talk about?) The rest of the Tolbooth was demolished in 1921.

Across the road, the Mercat (Market) Cross with its heraldic unicorn looks just as ancient but was only constructed in 1929/30.

Nearing the end! Tomorrow, in Y, we visit a place that generations of Glasgow weans and their parents have had cause to be grateful to.