That project was a classic example of the Castlehead Mafia in action. He and a third brother, William, provided the timber, T. It is a fairly safe bet that at least one of Castlehead's army of solicitors, writers and notaries public handled the legal niceties. The Russell Institute , the children's clinic at the corner of New Street and Causeyside, is another Castlehead legacy to the town.
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When she first came up with the scheme, Miss Russell went to her Castlehead neighbour, the architect T. That was in , but Abercrombie died in and the completed building is usually attributed to the man who had become his partner — J Steel Maitland. It seems unlikely that the prolific Abercrombie did not contribute at the planning stage of what is generally believed to be the first building in the West of Scotland with a reinforced concrete frame.
The institute was opened by the Princess Royal in Thomas Rowat of Warriston was already a very wealthy man by from his family's Thibet shawl and textile finishing company. By , he was a major figure in Howard, Houlder and Malcolm, steamship and insurance brokers of Union Street Glasgow and part of the Liverpool-based Houlder Line.
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Warriston 16 Main Road was one of the biggest and most imposing residences in Castlehead, which was just as well, because Rowat had nine children. He had married Margaret Greenlees, of the textiles and shipping family, in Thirty years later both families were in Castlehead and Thomas and Margaret had produced an impressive brood, even by Victorian standards. There were four sons. Robert had his own shipping company, with offices in Wellington Street, Glasgow.
This enterprise was eventually merged with the Greenlees interests. Thomas became a broker in London. Matthew became a tea planter in India and Claude a stockbroker in Glasgow. His company had become C. W Rowat and Millar by Castlehead continues to be the home of a number of prominent Paisley residents, including singer-songwriter Paulo Nutini and sculptor Alexander Stoddart.
Below is a table containing the number, name, date, first proprietor and their occupation for the houses of Main, High and Low Roads. Castlehead in its heyday had several major players in the shipping industry. If that seems surprising today, bear in mind that until two thirds of the way through the twentieth century the Clyde was one of the world's busiest ports.
Every shipping line worthy of the name had offices in Glasgow and there were scores of ship managers and brokers to handle the business of the smaller fry. It was a lucrative business, and Castlehead's moguls did not miss the opportunity. Coats dynasty and their own family fortune was based on Rule and Greenlees, large-scale manufacturers of cotton and gingham clothing in the East End of Glasgow. It was a natural progression for major importers of textiles from the Far East to run their own ships and they set up the Netherton Shipping Company.
By , Robert Allison had expanded from timber brokerage to timber importing and ship brokerage. His nephew, Arthur, followed him into shipping and by the early s was a partner in Allison, Fullarton Shipping, of 90 Mitchell Street, Glasgow. Castlehead even had its own shipbuilder, William Bow, of Bow, McLachlan and Company , one of five Paisley shipbuilders in the early twentieth century.
His Abbotsinch yard specialised in tugs and was one of the pioneers of "kit boats", pre-fabricated in the upriver yard and reassembled as and where required. The yard closed in but was re-opened during the Second World War by P. MacLellan to fabricate landing craft for the D-Day invasion.
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Bow was an enthusiastic supporter of day-release schemes under which his apprentices attended courses at Paisley Technical College now the University of the West of Scotland. In he gave his house, Dunscore, to the college for use as a residence for the Principal, and moved along Main Road to Priory Park.
After the Second World War, during which the Luftwaffe scored one direct hit and a score of near misses, Castlehead faced a new threat from a study group set up by the Scottish Office. To understand their perspective, it has to be remembered that the jet engine was still a secret weapon at the time and foreign travel something that required a troopship.
The report includes a detailed and precise account of Paisley's history, industrial prosperity and culture. It charts the rapid nineteenth century expansion of the town and an equally rapid decline towards overcrowded slums. Population density was greater than even Glasgow's. This was a problem that post-war Scotland would have to address urgently, but Abercrombie and Matthew believed that expansion should not encroach too far onto the farmland to the south and southwest.
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This was an invaluable national asset, as five years of food rationing had demonstrated. Castlehead, together with the adjacent Craw Road, Riccartsbar Avenue, and most of the residences spread out to Brodie Park and Corsebar Drive, provided their escape from a dilemma. Here was an area of extremely low-density housing close to the town centre.
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Better still, wartime shortages of materials and tradesmen had left it unkempt and neglected. There were no gardeners for hire. Able-bodied husbands and sons were in the Forces and so were house painters, builders and slaters. Stating glibly that "the report does not set out to make detailed proposals for individual towns" [ citation needed ] , the authors then included an artist's impression of Paisley as they would like to see it.
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There were 16 storeys to the concrete tower blocks they envisaged for the south side of Main Road from Woodend to Calside and they were hardly any smaller on the other side. And so on it went — another vast plantation of concrete and roughcast replaced Craw Road and Riccarstbar Avenue, and there was yet another on what appears to be the present site of the Royal Alexandra Hospital. The Ferguslie cricket ground was to be preserved, and so, it seemed, was the old Canal Street with its ribbon of tumbledown tenements and what looked like an impossibly busy Canal Street station and its attendant coal yards and sidings.
For some there would have been no alternative to becoming council tenants on this dystopian new housing estate. The protests were vociferous, but the council seemed unconcerned. The reason soon became clear: It proposed the new towns of East Kilbride and Cumbernauld, the Glasgow overspill strategy and had a host of plans for regenerating industry, transport, and agriculture. But in this and much else it failed to realise how much the world was going to change. My name is Gilly. My name is Sboydxx.
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