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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stories
J Docherty's review of this book got it wrong. I also saw the line associating the author with the East End, but it wasn't Glasgow's East End. It was about his earlier book, Our East End, which was about LONDON's East End.

Our Glasgow is an oral history of the city, an amazing meander down memory lane, including interviews with groups of friends who meet to...
Published on 22 Dec. 2009 by George N.

versus
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not about the East End
I bought this book as I was lead to believe it was mainly about the east end of Glasgow. It was not. Not a bad book but there are much superior books available on Amazon which give a much better historical flavour of the city and the people.
Published on 17 Mar. 2009 by John The Doc


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stories, 22 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Our Glasgow (Paperback)
J Docherty's review of this book got it wrong. I also saw the line associating the author with the East End, but it wasn't Glasgow's East End. It was about his earlier book, Our East End, which was about LONDON's East End.

Our Glasgow is an oral history of the city, an amazing meander down memory lane, including interviews with groups of friends who meet to re-live and record the oral history of their city even today, like the Govan reminiscence group, the Anderston group, Kinning Park group and so on, and the web groups, Gorbals Live and ourglasgow, and the M74 Dig project, which has been gathering memories of old Glasgow for years, before they are buried under a new section of motorway.

There is hardship, poverty, violence, but incredible community spirit, which made life special in a way we have lost sight of today. Most memorable among his interviewees are the Jewish inventor, Ellis Cohen, growing up in the thirties and still resident today in Alison Street; Maria Fyfe who rose from a Gorbals childhood to become a Labour Member of Parliament battling against Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s; and shipyard workers like Sam Gilmore (also a noted political activist in the work-in of 1971); Tommy Gilmour, whose family had the boxing and the betting in Glasgow's East End; and Tommy Stewart, who worked as a welder alongside Billy Connolly in Alexander Stephens yard; and May Hutcheson, who the author found wandering around in her old school where she had been a pupil in 1925. That's 85 years ago! The years just peal away as May remembers what life was like in a slum dwelling in Shields Road, with her twin sister Nan and parents who were political, and her mother who held sway over her father. It's only when you talk to people like May, who can remember Glasgow 3 or 4 generations back, that the myths - like that of macho male Glasgow - 'My mother was the boss, no question!' - are blown, and you begin to see just how political a class the Glasgow workers were - male and female - far more so than in any other city.

Stories of the rent strike of 1915, of the Co-op movement, not just a grocery store with a divvy, we discover. The tenements were run on co-operative lines, the women banding together and very definitely in charge. The domestic women of Glasgow's tenements emerge to make a mockery of the angry feminists of the 1970s who cast them in the role of victims of gender typecasting. On the contrary, these women discovered the socialist principles of co-operation and community which sustained the working classes in Glasgow during desperate times.

Men knew to keep well out of the way of anything within the wife's domain. For example, as Graham Hoey, who had a clothes shop (Hoey's) in Springburn, recalls, men were embarrassed to be seen shopping -

'We'd an enormous trade in men's caps. The back door on Gourlay Street was a fascinating place to be because it entered straight into the men's department and the technique, if you were a man working in Springburn and wanted a new cap, was you came and opened the door and still keeping your hand on the handle of the door, you said, "A bunnet," and somebody gave you one and you put it on your head and said, "Aye, that's fine," and gave your 1/11d or whatever it was and got out the door as quickly as possible! They were terrified.

'It was totally embarrassing. Nothing was ever bought by a workman except that. The wife bought a semmit and drawers, wife bought socks for him, wife bought everything for him. He didn't like to be seen, so it was in the door, as I say, and we couldn't have the caps at the far end of the department, they had to be up at the door, so that they could just grab them, put them on their head and out again. It was quite an extraordinary state of affairs when you think about it now!'

Shopping was a wumminly thing, as was cooking and cleaning. The angry feminists in the 1970s read this as gender typecasting or victimisation of women by men, but it wasn't. It was tradition. The women didn't want the men to do the shopping, and the men didn't want the women to work.

As for the men... conditions in the shipyards were deplorable. John Brown's on Clydebank had a terrible reputation for cleanliness in the toilets. Sam Gilmore: 'They had a big trough running the length of the toilet and a wooden plank that you sat on, with holes in it. So people used to goto the toilet and they'd make wee boats, and they'd start offat the top and put a wee light to it. They'd float it down with people sitting there... "Aargh!"'

From the first-day initiation for apprentices, conformity among yard workers was essential, but the black humour, good comradeship and `patter' - the repartee, the tale-telling of great feats, of accidents narrowly missed or of gruesome deaths and mutilations transformed everything. Asbestos workers joked that they could never be cremated; others that they rushed to eat an injured man's sandwiches after he was taken off to the Infirmary. It was quick, very funny, never malicious, unmistakably Glaswegian. Tommy Stewart remembers, 'We used to go in, in the morning, and we laughed until we came out.'

Billy Connolly became very good at it, so good that it became his life rather than welding. The humour was the antidote to bleak childhood experience: Connolly first lived with his sister and parents in a two-room apartment in Dover Street in Anderston. When he was very young his mother walked out on the family and he was brought up by an aunt who beat him and a father who sexually abused him. He found his real family in the Alexander Stephen shipyard.

The best, most original, chapter is at the end of the book and concerns the author's visit to the present-day area of Govanhill, which puts all the rest of the book in perspective. He talks to Asians who are struggling to make a life in the city, and he sees them re-discovering the co-operative principles that made the hard-pressed Gorbals community special well over half a century before.

This is a book spilling over with anecdote, but with an important point to make about life in Britain today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, 29 Mar. 2013
By 
Mrs. Gillian E. Mackenzie "weeGmack" (Ayrshire, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Our Glasgow (Kindle Edition)
I have read many historical books about Glasgow and this one is excellent. It is particularly interesting on the topic of women in the city's history. The primary sources quoted are brilliant and often funny, which makes it a joy to read. Kindle Fire version is great. You can easily flit between pages and footnotes, without losing your place!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book, 3 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Our Glasgow (Kindle Edition)
I found this book very informant and I liked the way it was laid out If anyone is looking for the history of Glasgow this is the book
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quite informative but now read the Real Gorbals Story., 23 April 2014
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John (Charleston, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Our Glasgow (Paperback)
Liked this well researched book...in it he quotes Colin Macfarlane's The Real Gobals story written by a guy who witnessed the last days of the old Gorbals...if you like Glasgow history read that next...along with No Mean Glasgow, Gorbals Diehards
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5.0 out of 5 stars I know parts are true, 20 April 2014
This review is from: Our Glasgow (Paperback)
My father was one of the people interviewed and has photos in the book and his accounts are true, cannot of course say about anyone else but am sure most if not all accounts are true representations of what was said. I grew up there and can state that so much is spot on
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5.0 out of 5 stars Our Glasgow, 20 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Our Glasgow (Paperback)
What a story of Glasgow's social history - 'The Second City of the Empire. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to all history buffs and, not least, those interested in the true story of Glasgow and its people. I was thrilled to obtain a copy at next to no cost from Worldwide Books whose service is first class. Significantly, their used copies of books are more or less in mint condition,

No hesitation in recommending the service provided by Worldwide Books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My childhood days in Glasgow, 19 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Our Glasgow (Paperback)
Seller very good. The book looked like new. Can,t wait to read it.What a great city Glasgow is. and the people.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not about the East End, 17 Mar. 2009
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I bought this book as I was lead to believe it was mainly about the east end of Glasgow. It was not. Not a bad book but there are much superior books available on Amazon which give a much better historical flavour of the city and the people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars simple times., 11 Jan. 2015
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love this book as it brings a lot of memories back. thanks
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Our Glasgow
Our Glasgow by Piers Dudgeon (Paperback - 7 Jan. 2010)
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