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Life &Times -Bob McMillan
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Coatbridge Co-op
Coatbridge Co-op 1

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GARROWHILL
***Alistair Stevenson
**More Recent Alistair **Holiday in Riddrie
Memories of Watsons
by Carrick Watson
Baxters Buses

The Faskine - William Kerr

Stories when you are dead - The Faskine

Faskine Tale  Elizabeth Tennant

Reminiscence Pages
Factories
  1. Lamberton 1
  2. Anecdotes - Tom

  3. Memories -Tom

  4. The Hydrocon Story -

Murray & Paterson Intro
M & Paterson History

Stewart & LLoyds
Clyde Tube Works

RB Tennent Coatbridge
RB Tennent Poem Ww
My RB Tennent Years - Grant Cullen

William Bain & Co

Memories of the Lochrin
Calder Hot Roll John Marr
Thomas Hudson & Co
Gartsherrie Iron
Summerlee Ironworks

Bairds of Old Monkland

Bairds of Gartsherrie

William Baird & Co



“Auld” Old Monkland
(Bob Cameron  c1986)

Old Monkland Memories
from Canada - John Marrs

Memories Langloan c1987
Margie (Logue) Weisak
Langloan Lum

Janet Hamilton -
The Candy Man - Art McGivern
Baxters Buses
Birds of Prey
The Railways
Gartloch Hosp
 
Bert Gilroy
MEMORIES
 
The Penny Project

 

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Life & Times as remembered by Bob McMillan

The Keys and 131

 


 

At the end of this building nearest the Red Bridge, was the last pub in the road. The Cross Keys was never very rowdy or overly noisy as I remember. The houses formed a second story over the pub and in retrospect the smell of beer and cigarette smoke rising from the pub must have been something else!

Next to the pub was a three storey red sandstone building behind which was a block of four houses, all single ends. Here your humble scribe lived from birth to the age of nine. The "Red Building" , as it was known, housed twelve families in room-and-kitchen type accommodation. On the ground floor were a further four houses with, oh the elegance and prosperity of it, a front door onto the street and a back door into a narrow area below the level of the "back green". These houses had their own "Scullery" or small kitchen off the main room. In the upstairs houses the scullery was up two steps and this, to a child, was a fascinating situation. The lower four houses had the scullery to one side of a long, dark corridor which ran from the front door right through to the back door. Being covered in by the staircase to the other houses above, the back door of the end-most two houses was very dark, as was the scullery. There was a toilet on each floor of the building, off each stairway, and thus two families shared each toilet. The four houses on the ground floor shared a toilet over by the wash house. Since they were below ground level at the rear, the three houses farthest from the access "close" had a flight of steps up the back green. Iron railings ran along the edge of the drop into their brick floored courtyard (a grand description of an area some 3 metres by 4).

Two of these houses were occupied by Forsyth and Drummond while one of the upstairs houses was occupied by McNair. Many times I played with Billy McNair and his Hornby "O" gauge clockwork railway. During the war the close, located next to the pub, had been walled off at both ends with just enough space left for a person to pass into the close. This formed a simple, and in retrospect totally inadequate, air raid shelter for the residents. The four houses to the rear of the Red Building were 131 J, K, L and M Sunnyside Road. Here lived, from right to left as you faced the houses, the Misses Monteith, Minnie and Maggie, The Campbells, Archie, wife Cathie and son Phil, ourselves (in 131k) and at the left end a couple with a grown up son who lived at home.

Two of the houses were mirror images of the other two and so formed to pairs. (see drawing) You entered through a door into a large "Scullery" or kitchen. In our case you faced the window of the house as you came from the back court then turned left to face the door, while the Campbell's was the reverse. Entering the scullery you had the door in to the main room to your right and the scullery to your left. At the far end of the scullery was a brown earthenware sink, and the only source of water...a cold tap. My father had built cupboards and work top round most of the room and next to the door into the main room was the gas cooker. Above the cooker was a gas light, the only source of light in the room. The scullery always seemed dark and dismal, probably due to the very dark paint used. Given the bare concrete floor it was also very cold though this was not necessarily a bad thing as it helped to keep milk, butter and meat fresh for a little longer (see later references to shopping). In the main room as you entered, on the left was a large walk-in cupboard then two set-in beds. Round on to the rear wall and high up, near the left end, was a small window which looked out onto the back court of a building in the next street up the hill, Colt Terrace. This window was only two feet or so from ground level when you stood in the grass behind the houses in Colt Terrace. This window had no curtains or blind to cover it at night. While the glass was frosted to prevent anyone from looking in to the house, we used a wooden frame covered with cardboard to block off the window at night. This device was used during the war to "black out" the window as required by law . The cardboard came from a Capstan cigarette packing case and the old sailor with his capstan winch, which was the emblem of Capstan cigarettes for many years, used to look down on us each night.

As can be imagined the rear wall of the house was from time to time very damp. Dad inserted sheets of a hard material into the wall to keep the damp at bay. In light of my knowledge today I assume the hard material to be asbestos board! Father, Father, Father!! Below the window stood a dressing table with a single large mirror. Further round the wall we had a chest of drawers, known as a "Tallboy", then a wardrobe before you turned onto the wall between ourselves and the Campbells. Here we had a large sideboard then the fireplace. The furniture was of course all dark wood and had been purchased partly in the "Utility" era, when the shortage of wood during the war led to cheap furniture made from poor materials, and partly after the war. To this day we still have the tallboy (two drawers with a cupboard underneath) although it was painted white, to act as nursery furniture, when the girls came along.

The fireplace, in my very early childhood was a "Small Range", a cast iron fire unit encompassing fire, oven and flat cooking surface. This had a high wooden mantelpiece some six feet or so high and the gas light used to be mounted on top of this. This was replaced in 1953/54 by a tiled fireplace with hearth and kerb. This consisted of a cement structure covered with light coloured tiles which made the place look brighter. This took you to a shallow food cupboard in the corner next to the main window. Round the corner and you were at the window looking out into the clothes drying area or "back court" as it was known. This brought you back to the scullery door.

The only source of light was from a single gas mantle suspended in the middle of the ceiling above the square dining room table with four chairs. This light used to be above the fireplace but had been moved to make the light better in the room. The mantle had to be lit by standing on a chair and pulling one of two short chains which operated the gas valve built in to the light fitment. You then applied a lighted match near, but not touching, the mantle. Touch the mantle and it fell to bits and you got no light. I can remember longing for the day when I could come into the room and switch on an electric light switch. The Campbells put in electricity when I was about seven or eight years old. The houses in the other building had electricity but the cottages did not. It was to cost two hundred pounds to get the cable laid and the house wired up, money we did not have. All of the children helped the contractor to fill in the trench, dug from the close to the Campbell's house, for their cable.

 

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