With contributions from Jim Ferguson and Cathy McCormack
SCHEMING Two years in the making, the third and final instalment of a decade long series of miniature sculpture projects by Jimmy Cauty arrives at Platform and will stay until 30 July 2021. ESTATE follows A Riot in a Jam Jar (2011 – 2013) and The Aftermath Dislocation Principle (2014 – 2016) that we had the privilege of hosting in November 2016 at Platform. ESTATE consists of 4 brutalist concrete tower blocks standing 17 floors high housed in a 40 foot shipping container. We are invited to move through the container to experience the worlds that have been created. Offering the chance to see the highly detailed artworks up close and experience FULL SCOTTISH mode of lights, smoke, wind and noise. A refreshing attack on the senses following a year of Covid lockdowns and restrictions. As we welcome back artist Jimmy Cauty, we also welcome back writer Joey Simons to lead an Easterhouse response to ESTATE. In 2016, he penned a response for The Aftermath Dislocation Principle tour and has since undertook extensive research into the radical history of Easterhouse including the creation of a publication dedicated to the work of Freddy Anderson. His research has led to his vast knowledge of Easterhouse, in particular, its housing history, sifting through archive boxes in Mitchell Library and others in neighbourhoods across Glasgow. Inspired by the history of community newspapers, pamphlets and leaflets found in archives of the past, SCHEMING was created by Joey with contributions from Jim Ferguson, Cathy McCormack and Winnie Herbstein. An energetic response that touches on the history of Easterhouse and Glasgow as a whole, offering a fascinating historical insight that is thought provoking, rooted with people and place.
Margaret McCormick, Platform, June 2021
Jimmy Cauty last rocked up to Platform in 2016 with his ADP Riot Tour, a model of a mysterious post-riot hellscape that had been packed into a shipping container and hauled around Britain to various sites with a history of urban unrest.
NO RIOTS Glasgow obviously has a long tradition of this, but in terms of Easterhouse, its best known connection to riots is that they didn’t kick off when people thought they would. William McIlvanney, in his famous Glasgow detective novel Laidlaw (1977), gave a memorable description of the ‘penal architecture’ of the Drum, Easterhouse, Pollok and Castlemilk, and noted that ‘Glasgow people have to be nice people, otherwise they would have burned the place to the ground years ago.’ In the documentary Whose Town Is It Anyway? Easterhouse: People and Power (1984), one local recalls ‘gangs of polis’ from Liverpool and Belfast coming up to Easterhouse and touring the scheme in the wake of riots across cities down south, wanting people to agree that there was no riots because there was no black population. ‘The reason there wiz nae riots in the area is because there’s nae private property up here… There’s naewhere fur people tae attack in Easterhouse, except each other.’ In 2011, it was the same story again: ‘As the violence and looting spread north and the names of the cities affected were chimed off…I thought it was only a matter of time before another was added: Glasgow. In my mind’s eye I could already see the footage of Easterhouse and Drumchapel in flames… As a Glaswegian I was relieved of course, but also somewhat confused. Why didn’t Glasgow burn?’ (The Guardian, 16 August 2011). You can almost sense the disappointment! NO TOWER BLOCKS So, in a way, it’s appropriate that Jimmy Cauty’s latest collaboration with the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop – the MdZ ESTATE tour, with its four massive model tower blocks – should again come to Easterhouse, one of the few areas of Glasgow that never saw a high flat built. Images of the New Towns, peripheral housing schemes, slum clearances and multistorey flats tend to get congealed in the popular memory, but they each represented distinct stages of the city’s confrontation with the social, economic and human catastrophe of its housing situation.
Easterhouse had, in the main, been ‘completed’ (minus every basic amenity) when the drive for multistorey construction really got underway in the 1960s. It was then that Glasgow gained the title of ‘shock city of the Modern housing revolution’ and unleashed ‘the most concentrated multistorey drive experienced by any city in the UK’, with high flats making up nearly 75% of all completions between 1961 and 1968.1 The proportion of flats in blocks over 20 storeys high was three times that of London and eighteen that of Birmingham, and the Red Road flats were the highest of them all. Tower Block, Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius’s encyclopaedic paean to Britain’s municipal house building, gives an impressively detailed account of the battles within Glasgow Corporation, its Housing Committee, and the Department of Health that led to this ‘housing blitzkrieg’. The account focuses in particular on the leading role of Housing Convenor David Gibson, an old ILP socialist, housing crusader who forced through project after project in the face of bitter opposition from the city’s planners and architects, driven by a zealous hatred of the slums born of personal experience: It may appear on occasion that I would offend against all good planning principles, against open space and Green Belt principles – if I offend against these it is only in seeking to avoid the continuing and unpardonable offence that bad housing commits against human dignity.2 Every available gap site, waste ground and green space was to be pressed into service. The haphazard nature of the multistorey drive can be seen in the 1963 Cranhill Extension development, consisting of the three 18-storey blocks and low flats that still (just about) stand today. Development of the site – a former industrial wasteground acquired by the construction company Crudens – was almost an afterthought, rapidly pushed through to make up for delays in the preparation of the much larger site at Sighthill.3 By the early 1970s, the demolition approach to the old slums, and the building of high-rise housing, had become increasingly unacceptable both politically and economically. Charles Johnston quotes one ex-Council leader, in 1974, bemoaning the lack of warning from planners on the ‘socially undesirable’ consequences of such housing. Yet as Johnston notes, it was not planners and politicians who suffered, but Glasgow’s council tenants, while the real beneficiaries were the major construction companies who made private millions from public contracts.4 The most famous symbol of this toxic nexus was the notorious Hutchesontown E (Hutchie E) development in the Gorbals, which Phil McPhee memorably called ‘a monument to
corruption, stupidity and bad planning.’ From the very start, the contractors Gilbert Ash covered up problems with flooding and water ingress during the construction of the twelve massive, prefabricated deck access blocks. The thousands of tenants who moved in faced appalling conditions of damp and mould. Even worse, they faced a sustained campaign of victimisation from Housing Department officials, who blamed the damp on the tenants themselves, citing everything from heavy breathing to too much sex. At least the jokes came thick and fast: “Come and see my flat in Hutchie E. It has all mod cons – even hot and cold running water in the walls!” 5 After just twelve years, the empty and derelict blocks were demolished, in scenes that anticipated Glasgow City Council’s insane idea to use the demolition of the Red Road flats for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games: It was pathetic to read of and see pictures in the papers and on T.V. of councillors at the site of the demolition [of Hutchie E] celebrating champagne-style the removal of the evidence of their crass stupidity and greed. A friend remarked at the time: “It’s a pity the buggers weren’t inside the buildings.” That was a sentiment I echoed wholeheartedly.6 But crucially, the tenants of Hutchie E were not passive victims. From a base in the Laurieston Information Centre, they sustained a six-year campaign (1975 – 81) to demand rehousing and compensation. The campaign deployed the strategy of ‘attack on all fronts’, utilising everything from advice sessions, newssheets, petitions, letters and satire to court action, direct action, protests and a rent strike. In the end, the ‘dampness monster’ was defeated, and the Council caved into demands.7 And that, I think, is the crucial lesson to take from the contested history of Glasgow’s urban redevelopment – not that the vision of council housing that the city’s working class fought for throughout the twentieth century is doomed to failure, but that without fighting, we’ll get nothing at all. In his piece for the community publication The Writing on the Wall: new images of Easterhouse (1977), Alex Martin begins and ends his history of the scheme not with the planner’s drawing board, but with the placards of the Cranhill building workers who joined tens of thousands of fellow Glaswegians in protesting against the sale of Corporation houses at Merrylee in 1951: How right these demonstrators were, looking back on that quarter of a century. Today despite all the difficulties 100,000 folks have a roof over their heads, which these erstwhile rulers of our city would have denied them.8
Credit: Five Years On, Easterhouse Festival Society Brochure, 1981
NO MODELS Jimmy Cauty and L-13 Light Industrial Workshop have reinvigorated the lost art of the model village, and models also played an important role in the evangelising mission of Glasgow Corporation in its postwar transformation of the city, although they featured a hell of a lot fewer tiny, narcissistic police officers. In 1949, a huge model of the Bruce Plan, with its ring roads, industrial estates and grand housing schemes, was put on public display at the Kelvin Hall. The Planning Department produced two films to accompany the exhibition (Glasgow Today and Tomorrow and Glasgow Our City), using aerial views of the city and ‘shots of plans, charts, diagrams and animated exhibition models to project a futuristic Glasgow’, while intertitles sombrely proclaimed: ‘The future of Glasgow is in your hands.’ 9 The Bruce Plan was never realised, and appropriately enough, the model too was at some point lost or destroyed, just like the MdZ ESTATE towers will one day be. In some cases, the journey from model to reality was terrifyingly basic. Between 1963 and 1969, Crudens constructed the huge Sighthill development just north of Glasgow city centre, consisting of ten colossal 20-storey, slab blocks and several lower buildings, a total of almost 2,500 dwellings. Cruden’s chief architect, George Bowie, recalled its crazy origins:
My Managing Director came along with a piece of tracing paper, with what turned out to be the final shape of Sighthill on it, and a scale – it was ridiculous! – and he said, ‘How many dwellings can you put on this site?’ I replied, ‘You’ve got access roads, daylight and sunlight to consider!’ He said: ‘Just put multis on it and some low rise.’ So in a day I knocked together some thoughts, and then he asked, ‘Could you make a model?’ I said, ‘There’s nothing to make a model of!’ But we put together this thing with matchboxes, and he went away with it. A few days later, he took me over to Sighthill in his Jag, and asked, ‘What do you think?’ I said, ‘Jesus Christ!!’… [So the project] went on ahead…10 The scheme that emerged from Bowie’s model was wiped off the face of the city in a series of demolitions between 2008 and 2016. Conditions in the final years of Sighthill were horrific, with tenants, many asylum seekers, abandoned to the rotting blocks; the murder of the young Kurdish man Firsat Dag in 2001 marked a brutal nadir. Yet the scheme was once home to 7,500 people, and its decline was far from inevitable. Not to waste time, in its place, Glasgow City Council has proclaimed a new £250 million development styled as ‘the biggest such project in the UK outside London.’ What vision! 141 units of social rented housing (where there was once 2,500!), 826 new homes for sale and mid-market rent, the potential for student accommodation, and ‘retail and commercial facilities.’ No models or propaganda films here – just a sad 3D render.
Credit: ‘Scheme’, 1986 (youtube: Innocent As Hell: Scheme documentary, A REALITY Production, In association with the Scottish Film Production Fund for Channel 4 Television)
NO ESTATES The MdZ ESTATE tour is also arriving from down south with the wrong name. I tried, unsuccessfully, to find out why it’s housing ‘estate’ in England, and ‘scheme’ in Scotland. It probably doesn’t matter. But in one way or another, estates, in the grouse-shooting sense of the word, still do. Thomas Johnston’s best-selling pamphlet Our Noble Families (1909) set out to tell the real history of how Scotland’s landed gentry snatched the common lands of the people ‘through shameless and dastardly methods.’ Whatever has gone down in the schemes is nothing compared to what this mob were up to on the estates! They scorned every principle of morality we hold dear; they gambled and murdered and robbed…enslaved the miners of Scotland…stole the clan lands…corrupted our laws, despoiled us of our common heritage, the soil, and to-day take rent for which they cannot produce titles.11 In his preface, J Ramsey MacDonald MP highlights the story of the Campbells of Blythswood who, as Provosts of Glasgow, used their position to acquire ‘up to two million square yards of the city’s common property without purchase or competition.’ As he goes onto say, it is an old problem in political ethics ‘whether time brings forth Justice as a fruit of injustice.’ Some of these things ‘happened three or four centuries ago; some of them happened half-a-century ago; many of them are still happening!’ And so it continues! The dodgy land deals that surrounded the Commonwealth Games are enough to demonstrate that this species of freebooter still exists, well connected to political power. To take just one example: Grantly Developments (Parkhead), owned by the failed businessman Graham Duffy, had held derelict land in Dalmarnock since 1988; once the site was named as the location for the Athletes Village, Duffy brokered a £5.5 million deal with the Council for the land: a 12,000% increase in the land valuation since its original purchase! Meanwhile, the power of Compulsory Purchase Order was deployed solely to evict Margaret Jaconelli from her house without compensation.12 “The Campbells never failed; they sat still.” They waited, knowing that the eternal years of God were theirs for exploitation.’
Glasgow Corporation brought much privately owned land into public ownership as it desperately sought out space for hundreds of thousands of council houses. But now that the Council has disposed of public housing, it can sell off public land; today’s ‘noble families’ are more likely to be called CALA than Campbell, but the same principle applies. The Ferret has exposed, in detail, how £500 million of public land has been sold off by Scottish councils in recent years; where once stood hospitals, schools, nurseries, clinics, community centres and libraries, now stand the luxury homes and penthouse complexes of CALA, Robertson, Westpoint, and Expresso.13 In Glasgow, Living Rent tenants’ union members in Wyndford are currently occupying the site of the former Valley housing scheme, in opposition to the Council’s determination to sell it off to private developers, while members in Ruchill are campaigning against the construction of a private gated community on the site of the former hospital. In Ramsay MacDonald’s words: We are not on the defensive; we have no call to apologise .We are on the offensive, taking back from the men who stole, withdrawing from classes that appropriated, the wealth that originally belonged to the community, that has been made valuable by the community, and that must, if ever social justice is to reign, be enjoyed by the community.14 As a final note on estates, we might recall the famous ‘Bairds of Gartsherrie’, tenant farmers on the lands around Easterhouse who ended up the world’s leading producers of pig-iron (in the form of William Baird & Co), and made unimaginable fortunes as their workers slaved in the hellish conditions of the mines and furnaces. The various family members bought up Lockwood House, on the shores of Bishop’s Loch, in 1825, Easterhouse estate in 1861, and dozens of others around the country. James Baird, the technical mastermind behind the company, retired as Tory MP for Falkirk in 1857, and decided to purchase the isolated Knoydart peninsula in the Western Highlands. In preparation for the sale, the owner of the estate, Josephine MacDonnell, brutally cleared the lands of 350 residents, who were sailed off to Nova Scotia, Canada, in horrendous conditions. Eleven families remained. Scattered along the villages of the Knoydart coastline, they posed no obstacle to sheep farming inland. But an impoverished population might mean a contribution from the landowner to the Poor Relief, and so they too were evicted, in one of the most notorious instances of the Highland Clearances. Thus did James Baird, ironmaster, acquire the lands of Knoydart for relaxation and the farming of sheep. The total value of the estates purchased by all five Baird brothers was estimated at the astronomical sum of £2 million. On his death in 1876,
James Baird left a settlement of £20,000 for ‘Christian and benevolent purposes.’ The year before, the Glasgow Herald sent its own correspondent to Easterhouse, as part of a special series of reports: Notes on Miners’ Houses (1875). He dutifully reported that ‘scarlet fever has been prevalent for several months…chiefly, but not exclusively, amongst children. In the two worst rows which I visited scarcely a household has escaped the fearful scourge.’ He did not, however, ‘pretend to say how far the epidemic is attributable to the sanitary condition of the district.’15 Over a hundred years later, in 1985, Cathy McCormack, a community activist from Easterhouse, described her own condition: Although I had always lived in a freezing cold damp house and spent a lot of my childhood in hospital and even remember my own mum referring to our flats as pneumonia houses, in my ignorance I had never made the connection between our living conditions, ill health and the social environmental climate. I only started to make the links when the dampness started to affect my mental health….I found myself having to choose between feeding my hungry children or hungry fuel meters...16 Enough’s enough eh?
Credit: From the personal archive of Cathy McCormack.
NO JOKE Time, then, to get in about the MdZ ESTATE tour. Because Glasgow is, undoubtedly, a bit of a municipal disaster zone at the moment.
Depending on your vantage point, you could focus on the rents crisis, cleansing crisis, potholes crisis, drugs crisis, hotel detention crisis, Covid recovery crisis, or the recently announced fire sale and closure of many of the city’s libraries, sports facilities, and community centres. I’m personally more inclined to see the disaster in the terrifying mass of build-to-rent complexes, luxury hotels, penthouse apartments and student accommodation developments that are currently devouring Glasgow’s public land, all plated up nice by the city council and global finance capital. But take your pick, it’s all connected anyway. ESTATE has enough disasters to go around. If you survive the smoke and helicopters of ‘Full Scottish’ mode, have a look through the material in the following pages. There is ‘being in Easterhouse’, a brilliant new work from the poet and author Dr Jim Ferguson, a long-time facilitator of the Easterhouse writers’ group. The artist and filmmaker Winnie Herbstein has provided archive material from her research into Easthall Residents Association. Cathy McCormack has given her blessing to the reproduction of her ‘Evening Calls’, first broadcast on STV in 1993. And I’ve put together some new textual tower blocks, constructed out of scraps from Easterhouse’s past. Hope you’re hungry.
Glendinning, M. and Muthesius, S. (1994) Tower Block: modern public housing in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p.220 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid., p.230 4 Johnstone, Charles (1992) The tenants’ movement and housing struggles in Glasgow, 19451990. PhD thesis, p.83 5 McPhee, Phil, ‘Hutchie E: A Monument to Corruption, Stupidity and Bad Planning,’ in McLay, F (ed) (1988) Workers City: The real Glasgow stands up. Glasgow: Clydeside Press, p.47 6 Ibid. 7 See the excellent account in Bryant, Richard, Rent Strike in the Gorbals, Community Development Journal, Volume 17, Issue 1, January 1982, 41–46 8 Alex Martin (1977), ‘Easterhouse: story of a housing scheme’, in Ferguson R. (ed) The writing on the wall: new images of Easterhouse. Glasgow: R. Ferguson.
Joey Simons, Glasgow, June 2021
Lebas, Elizabeth. (2007). Glasgow’s Progress: The Films of Glasgow Corporation 1938-1978. Film Studies. 10. 34-53. 44. 10 Tower Block, p.232 11 Johnston, Thomas (1909) Our Noble Families. Glasgow: Forward Publishing Co., p.viii 12 Glasgow Games Monitor (2012) Dodgy land deals in Dalmarnock. Accessed at: https:// gamesmonitor2014.org/dodgy-land-deals-indalmarnock/ 13 Mann, Jamie (2021), Scotland’s public land sold off to luxury property developers, The Ferret. Accessed at https://theferret.scot/ scotlands-public-land-sold-off-to-propertydevelopers/ 14 Noble Families, p.iv 15 Notes on Miners’ Houses (1875). Part Viii: Easterhouse and Baillieston. Glasgow Herald. Accessed at http://www.scottishmining.co.uk/410. html 16 McCormack, C. (1993). From the fourth to the third world – A common vision of health. Community Development Journal, 28(3), 206-217.
being in Easterhouse
(a response to Jimmy Cauty’s MdZ ESTATE TOUR installation at The Bridge, Easterhouse, Glasgow, June 2021)
Just to get one thing straight Easterhouse Is a scheme, a patchwork, not an E-state Worked here for more than a decade, been great. Frankie Vaughn spoke to my gran She was a lassie then, no a gang. I was helping folk in a writers group make words into art – art happens everywhere – human spirit canny be suppressed Walking roon the fort, through the carpark, Bit windy, we’re up high, high above Glasgow city. Looking oot frae here ye might imagine yur the pope, Or Auld Queen Lizzie. Zip acroass tae Morrison’s, Plenty tae eat in there, If ye can afford to get it oot the door. Wondering: who on earth could possibly own all of this land? What we spend in the shops. The rents shops pay. VAT and other taxes. Where does aw that money go? If it aw was spent in Grier’s Barstaff could be millionaires Crisps n booze free for eternity Everybody happy No just a number, just part a system But part of humanity, living and learning Grapes and champagne eftir the swimming :the fort isny an actual fort ataw It’s an outdoor mall for shoppers handy but lacking fulfilment – shoap tae ye drap – addicted –spend tae ye bend – in debt tae ye gamble – sweat as ye bet Sprawling is what they used say. Glasgow’s sprawling housing schemes. Housing dreams that turned into nightmares. Nae amenities. Unintended consequences. Who would’ve thought?
Who knew? There is a money system here. Its reach is global. With every little it gives the more it takes away, takes decades to build a community. A feeling of family, of warmth and safety. Kind words don’t cut it. The People must have power. Power over money. Power of community. Genuine. Power over the land they live and work on. I see they’re renovating Provanhall – a heritage museum, nice to remember, heritage is ours with every breath. History is ours. Everything human and humane on this blue-green Earth is yours. Nobody really owns it. Yet they do. In legal terms, in financial terms… In terms of power. Who? Owns what and who owns who? I’ll have to think about that. Decide what to do. It might take a while. But change can come fast. Who watches VHS videos noo? If ye see whut ah mean? … Sprawling in a giant bed! Dae ye? Aye Whit ye talkin aboot? Whit exactly is it yir tryin tae say? People make things aw the time. It’s a natural part of life. Being human. We build stuff. We’re conscious. Aware and self-aware. Switch it aw on. Light it up. Go on. Don’t sit aboot. Get in aboot it. Kick the damn baw. Get a grip n kick it. Thing aboot, eh, self-awareness, geez ye the fear
Sprawling: Easterhoose, Castlemilk, Pollok, Aw right oot at the edges, fresh air In the nothing n naewhere Oota sight oota mind Some folk pay fortunes To build their mansions In places like this
Wee hoose like a palace, nuthin highrise, We’re awready near enough the sky, be fearless, fly…
Jim Ferguson, Glasgow, June 2021
Credit: The Voice, 1977
Tower Blocks by Joey Simons, takes us one by one through the themes for each tower block of ESTATE, inspired by historical findings of Easterhouse’s past.
Credit: Cuts Hit Gathamlock, The Voice, 1979/80
Block 1: Iceni Heights: Live-Work-Die residential unit It would be difficult for the lover of nature, the archaeologist, or the artist to find a more instructive walk than that which may be enjoyed within the boundaries of Old Monkland. The unpretentious little district of Easterhouse is within easy reach of all city dwellers, yet it glories in possession of sylvan beauties difficult to excel, or even to equal. We flitted in a big van. Packed up aw wur wee bits n bobs and then the long journey tae the promised land of new tenements. Easterhoose was oot in the country tae us. Still is. Connisborough Road wiz wherr we ended up. Provanhall. The names wur aw strange tae us. It wiz aw that new. The smell of concrete, new roads, pavements. Course, thir wiz nae shoaps, churches or any kind a infrastructure. Just nice wee ordered rows a hooses and flats full a folk who were soon wantin tae be back in Glesga. Contradictions abound. There are often vast and green open spaces, which are put to little use, and are criss-crossed by informal muddy footpaths and scattered with litter and rubbish. The low density layout puts many people out of reach of shops and jobs. But there are also overcrowded maisonettes and terraces, with no private spaces or gardens. Neighbours can hear each other through the walls, or cannot find their own front door easily.
When asked ‘Are you in favour of public houses being built in Easterhouse?’ one family answered: ‘Father says yes, mother says no!’ The main problems cited were dampness, draughts, structural faults, lack of sound proofing and interfering neighbours. Would you like to move away from Easterhouse in the future? ‘Yes’ – 67%. ‘No’ – 28%. “Ah think the poor wee wummin survived but it wiz a talking point in oor close fur a long time. Mah mother tellt me no tae worry aboot her daein something similar – we wur aw electric. Well, ye huv tae huv a sense of humour at desperate times, right?”
People living in damp, mould-ridden flats and houses can still ‘pay’ (through social security) a rent of £25 or £30 a week, almost the same as for a house in perfect repair. The removal of the ‘them and us’ situation which has been nurtured for some ten years now, can achieve the objective of tenants understanding how decisions are made and why things can or cannot be done. If they can’t be done, perhaps the tenants themselves can find a solution. This is what cooperation is all about. The White Panthers, a group of revolutionary young folk, picketed the factor’s office for several weeks, collected over 1,000 signatures not to pay the increase, held a march from Craigend to Easterhouse shopping centre, sold copies of Scottish tenant, and ran a ‘problems’ surgery. More and more I daydream / To escape your reality / But you bring me down so low / Down so low
Housing Management is the biggest charge on District Council resources. For this reason the District Council must be involved in providing and running better facilities for tenants and making them beneficial to all concerned. Greater involvement at tenant and individual level and the promotion of ‘self-help’ must save the District Council money in the long term…” They kept me there for so long / So long / It’s no fun being here / It’s no fun being here It’s now up to the people of Garthamlock to fight against this appalling decision. For too long the local government has ignored them, made soothing noises whenever they cried out, made umpteen promises which they probably knew they could not keep – but what does it matter, after all it’s only Garthamlock. Yes, it’s only Garthamlock, but they are fighting for decent homes – and they’ll fight hard. It is well known that many families cannot ‘subsist’ on the present level of benefits, especially since the rise in fuel prices, rents, foot and other basic items. But here we are seeing the emergence of whole communities which have sunk to a kind of subsistence economy. The Labour party, and the labour movement generally, has let down the working class in this country, not just here but all over the country. I mean the case of the Carousel workers, the youngsters down at Shettleston just now, is a classic case in point. They kids will eventually be beat. It’s great to see them fighting but they’ll be beat because there’s nae great support fae the mass of the trade union movement who’ve always been telling them and their parents that yous need the strength of the unions behind you, you cannae do it. The unions urni there to dae it anymore. They’re away. The Beeches is a popular development from Persimmon Homes in the picturesque suburb of Garthamlock. With a brand new M&S superstore and an array of shops and eateries, together with numerous trendy bars within walking distance and quick and unobstructed access onto the M8, The Beeches is proving to be hugely popular with buyers. Why not visit us today and see for yourself? Speaking outside of the Sheriff Court, organiser Geraldine Marshall said: “They’re supposed to be about regeneration but they’ve not put anything back into the community. They’ve spent millions of pounds and Garthamlock has got nothing out of it. Regeneration is putting back into the community, all they’ve done is taken things out. They’re taking all the green space, you can’t see anything now. There’s not a school or a nursery – there’s nothing but houses.” When complete, the area will be transformed into one that acts as an eastern gateway into Glasgow and a fantastic retail, cultural and leisure destination for visitors from the rest of the city and beyond.
People have every right to be angry but we must not turn that anger on ourselves. We are not to blame for our situation…What we need to do is to consider ways of turning our anger towards the real sources of misery and problems. I’ve never felt as down as this before / No sex no drugs no rock n roll / No more Resentment grows powerlessness.
Credit: Five Years On, Easterhouse Festival Society Brochure, 1981
TOWER BLOCK 2: HM Prison Camp Delta-Zulu: multistorey high security children’s prison Murder! Murder! Police! Three stairs up A woman in Easterhouse Hit me with a cup My hand’s all cut My head’s all blood Murder! Murder! Police! Three stairs up
He was a passionate advocate of the role of youth in making a better society, lending his support to the highly publicised Easterhouse Project. John Knox is not dead, he is alive and stirring up trouble in Easterhouse. The kids have inherited the great Scots syndrome, which shuns physical contact, whether to express affection or aggression.
My senses are numb As I think of Garthamlock Beer cans and empty bottles Wind blowing the dust in my eyes – It’s cold. The Easterhouse policemen are very good The Easterhouse hooligans are very rude The bad wee boy got done and sued I’d like to help them if I could The Easterhouse policemen are very good Community, Community, Crisp Pokes, Broken Bottles, Beer Cans lying around Black some flies about Scruffy and dirty Murders Oh! Oh! Bad things in the paper About our Community. Stabbings and baby batterings But! Good things as well Garthamlock Boy’s Club Help to keep the boys off the street. Mouth watering smells Bakers Buns and Red Hot Bread A kind family Good Food Yum! Cakes and sweets Nature! Nature! A Dove and Two eggs In my veranda Plus a growing chick Sad, one is in the nest DEAD! BUT! The birds keep singing And I’m full of JOY! Recalling school days brings to mind that wonderful playground call ‘Nae Place’…
The attraction [of the Sugarollies] wiz that they provided a gigantic slide and aw manner a materials wir used as a sled. Cardboard, auld carpet, corrugated sheet, anything that wid slip doon the slope – and that included the seat a your pants, if that wiz aw that wiz available. Many of us weans loast the arse oot wur troosers and paid the penalty for youthful exuberance when we goat hame! At one point in our study, there was no single functioning swing to serve Easterhouse’s several thousand children.
After my visit to Nicaragua I became very involved in popular education and part of that involves teaching people about how to communicate their feelings. I never realised just how big a problem that was in our community. It was just my ma. It’s not part of our culture…I was a mother of three weans before I could give anybody a cuddle without stiffening up like a board.
Gang problem? Well that isn’t quite true. A lot of youngsters with nothing to do and nowhere to go doesn’t really constitute a gang, except the fact we all gathered at street corners or on the swing park at Newhills Road. But the police didn’t like the idea of us all being together, so they used to round us up and take our names and we soon cottoned on to a great game that saved you from getting bored. The police played too, they chased us. So while we welcome the return of more beat policemen, it’s time we went out and patrolled the streets ourselves. Let’s use our voices more in the protection of other people’s possessions and the fruits of their hard work.
I would say hooliganism is the main contributor to the reason why people are leaving Easterhouse. But it’s not the youth of this area who are causing it, it’s the councillors, the welfare workers, it’s the unemployment, and it’s all the local politicians, and it’s YOU – the fathers of our youth. The hooliganism is the way the councillors and politicians allow our rents to increase every year, while they go around swearing that they’re going to protect us from our sons and our daughters, by locking them away, for loitering, or carrying on in the street. Ma da brote me up tae believe the polis wur bad, a hated the sight of a uniform when a wis younger. Am thinking noo that the first thing ye say tae yer wean is that if ye see a bad man ye go an tell the policeman. We wur getting reared up tae hate them. Its lit yer weans might no go and run tae the polis fur help.
“Our attitude must be repressive. Violence must be treated severely. I could not have any violent manifestation of protest against society.” We’re people who live here we know whit’s happening n they’re singing aboot the truth know whit ah mean we get harassed aw the time every time we go oot on the street yur walking alang the street polis dig ye they’re saying tae ye ony blaw on ye any knives n aw that every time yur walking alang the street yur going tae a Scheme concert ye come oot the Scheme concert ye get dug up by the drug squad I would not like any youngster to think that someone who is sent to prison should be regarded as a folk hero.
Credit: Five Years On, Easterhouse Festival Society Brochure, 1981
TOWER BLOCK 3: Roman Point: high-rise care home for the old, the dying, and the dead.
for example, meant that they were doubly exposed to cold stress as well as to daily stress.
A native to whom we spoke informed us that her forbears for four generations back had been born, lived, and died in the old cottages, the two last to pass away having, not withstanding obsolete household sanitary equipment, reached the ripe ages of 80 and 82 respectively!
[I was] on the bus to pay my fare. So I’d forgotten the bus pass because I’d changed handbags and I was just going to say, it was 20p or something. [...] And he just said I’m taking you to the police station... he was going to take me to the police station, I said ‘let me off this bus’. (Female, 86, Easterhouse)
From the cradle to the grave he must seek to plan and save / Not his comfort to provide but his poverty to hide / L e t h i s fa t e b e w el l o r i l l , l et h i m f a st o r h a v e h i s f i l l / Still by hook or crook or wile every man must die in style.
He must lie in box of cedar still of fashion be a leader / Dressed in fancy lace display on hi s mo st i mportant day / Has he not saved all his life for himself and his good wife / Unforgivable his transgression not to make a last impression / For by hook or crook or wile he must seek to die in style.
“I was brought up in that house. I get emotional [thinking about the house]. I got married there as well. It brings back a lot of memories. I was in for a house down beside my daughter and it was a wee bungalow. I went to see it, I could have taken it. I didn’t bother with it, and as I say it’s the idea of moving away. Well I’ve been here since I was six so I’ve got a lot of memories.” (Female, 64, Easterhouse)
I’ve got my mobility scooter but I just find it difficult to get out of the house now. A lot of my friends and people I know are no longer here. (Male, 74, Easterhouse)
We had observed that older people in the area seemed to die like flies in the winter from heart attacks and cold-related illnesses and we were confident that it was the inside of our houses that were killing them, not the outside.
We heard that if your body is exposed to constant rapid temperature changes, its mechanisms become stressed and this creates all sorts of problems which can result in breakdown. It’s the equivalent to someone being put into constant hot and cold baths.
They’re going to do what they want to do, aren’t they? They might say we need your opinion but they do what they want. They’ll see you but they’re not really listening to you.” (Female, 64, Easterhouse)
Groups providing “lifeline” services to older and vulnerable people face closure due to multimillion pound funding cuts by Glasgow Communities Fund. Age Scotland has criticised this week’s funding decision, saying the closures would be a devastating loss for communities and leave thousands of older people “out in the cold”. People tend to think that when you reach 65 that this is what you want. This is good for older people. But people are individuals and we want to be able to exercise that choice as other groups are free to do.” (Male, 72, Easterhouse) Groups facing funding cuts include the Daffodil Club, based at St Georges & St Peters Church in Easterhouse, whose volunteers have been delivering meals and prescriptions to housebound older people during the pandemic, as well as providing friendship calls. The centre normally provides a wide range of services and social activities, but faces losing its £130,000 funding. Dr Evan Lloyd was looking at outdoor cold stress and we were able to tell him about the extent of the particular housing problem in Scotland and how people could only afford to heat one room. As well being subjected to extreme temperature changes outside, having to constantly leave a warm room to either make a cup of tea or go to the toilet,
THEY have made gangs a thing of the past and now want to celebrate the “last” one in Easterhouse - pensioners.
I don’t want to go far from here now. I would know nobody. I know my neighbours, I know the women in the next building. Her mother was my neighbour the last house I lived in. So I know that girl, we say hello to each other, things like that. And one of the women who goes to the club I’m going to today, I mix with her quite a bit. It’s the people you know that you miss, just seeing familiar faces, that’s what it’s all about, seeing the familiar faces. (Female 86 Easterhouse “It’s the last gang in Easterhouse. But there are hundreds of others who don’t get out of their homes or see people. Why do other cultures respect their elders but we don’t? We stick them in care homes and forget about them.” This is the bus stop into town... this is the point. See the stairs. There is no access for a wheelchair. If you want to get to the bus stop you have to go that way to the end, turn left, turn right and then get onto a path. There is no direct route.” (Female, 70, Easterhouse) “We have to respect our pensioners in our communities because they have sacrificed a lot to be here. A lot live on their own. What we need in Easterhouse is social cohesion if we respect pensioners, that will filter down the way. You can learn respect. It rubs off.”
Credit: Five Years On, Easterhouse Festival Society Brochure, 1981
Block 4: spiritual centre for neo-pagan misbehaviour I’m not sure exactly when the question enters my mind, possibly at Junction 10 of the M8 motorway or maybe opposite the Shandwick Centre in Easterhouse while watching people queuing at the bus stops. It’s this – when Harry Bell set out to discover the old, nowinvisible tracks criss-crossing Glasgow, did he ever envisage the extent to which roads would dominate the city? Or how in Easterhouse, an area of low car ownership, the city becomes ever more inaccessible to its people?
An Old Saxon equivalent of the spring goddess named Āsteron may be reconstructed from the term asteronhus, which is translated by most scholars as 'Easter-house' (cf. Medieval Flemish Paeshuys 'Easter-house'). The most amazing thing about this network is not so much the number of sites in any one line, it is the way the lines cross and recross the same points of the landscape. Radiating from only four main centres, they pass straight as a die through the oldest manmade structures in Glasgow, Paisley, East Kilbride, Hamilton, Renfrew, Kilsyth, Inchinnan, Govan, Rutherglen, Castlemilk and Easterhouse. The odds against this happening by chance are astronomical. St. Mark’s Well, Easterhouse, Glasgow, Lanarkshire. Holy Well (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – NS 667 653. Information on this long forgotten holy well that once flowed a few miles east of Glasgow city centre, beneath what is now Wellhouse estate, is all but lost.
We pause for a rest and a smoke, and lying on the soft green bank, beneath the shadow of the ancient house, recall some of Provan Hall’s legends. The grey and mouldering walls are redolent of ‘Gousty schaddois of eild and grisly deed.’ Over a fine carved archway, a stone bears the letters ‘R.H.’ and date 1647. These are the initials of Sir Robert Hamilton, into whose possession Provan Hall passed. These Hamiltons were a lusty race. Sir Robert, we are told, lived like the gallant cavaliers of his time. My map was opened out on the bar-room table, so I shuffled a few beermats into service as a rough and ready straightedge. Supposing… just supposing the other line came from Carmyle East Ford. If it ran from Bar Hill and Provan Hall through the ford it would meet the other Prehistoric Settlement Alignment at a place called Dumdruff Hill….
Mary’s Well, Easterhouse. Healing Well: OS Grid reference – NS 68613 65094. When we visited the site yesterday, no trace of the pump, nor any spring of water could be found. It seems that a huge pile of industrial crap has been piled on top of the well ,then trees planted to give the impression that Nature has taken back the place. The well seems to have been completely destroyed. Due to this site being an important part of Scotland’s heritage, its ignorant destruction must be condemned.
Vigil Four. Location: Provan Hall House – the kitchen. Time: 20:50 hrs. Investigators: Team 3. M sensed a choking or stabbing and noted that he felt that he should sit on the throne, but he didn’t want to. M then sensed a young girl who was very pale and had dark hair and dressed in a sack. A noted the name Elizabeth who was a teenager and was malnourished.
Customs practised on St. Mark’s Eve and St. Mark’s Day (April 24-5) are replete with animistic elements and are certainly not Christian! Time passed away, and the patrimony of the Hamiltons melted away, until they had to part with the lands of Provan. For some occult reason these were purchased by the city of Glasgow. Investigation Report. Main areas of investigation: Provan Hall House. EVP: Below is a breakdown of auditory phenomenon captured on Dictaphones throughout the night: K’S DICTAPHONE (Kitchen / Dairy / Annexe) A voice saying GET OUT Linda was prodded in the back A growl was heard over Billy speaking Lots of voices picked up, incl. a v. angry one A long whistle is heard L spots lights going across room by Dictaphone A voice stuttering A groaning noise A man’s voice heard numerous times Todds Well, Garthamlock: Healing Well: OS Grid Reference – NS 66826 66603. Thought to derive its name from the old word todd, meaning ‘fox’, a variant on the word may have meant that children’s games were played here. As well as being used by local people, the waters from Todds Well was one of the places used by them there ‘rich’ folk who lived at nearby Provan House. The Bishop’s Loch is one of a chain of small, shallow lakes which stud the bottom of the valleys in the Monklands. It is a very ancient loch, and doubtless at some remote period formed a section of the great lake of which the small loch of to-day are a reminder. Prehistoric man built his crannog on its swampy shores. The bittern has boomed amid its reeds, and the stately swan skimmed over its surface when a mighty forest waved on the ridges by the ten thousand human habitations of the city of Glasgow. Vigil Four: Location: Provan Hall House – The Dining Room. Time: 20:45 hrs. Investigators: Team 1 L added that she felt dowsing rods had been used and someone had a manic laugh. Things were not being taken seriously. L then added that a man was counting coins on the table and all the coins were piled up neatly with heads up. The man was also lifting up the coins and biting them to make sure they were real and was quite manic about money. The man also had a liking for jugged hare. She finished off by saying she could see a Ouija Board being used and it was upsetting and not pleasant with very mixed company and a woman who was hysterical. Of the Bishop’s orchard but one solitary apple tree remains, a melancholy and silent commentary on the mutability of the affairs of mankind. Having viewed the site of the crannog, at this season covered with water, we turn our footsteps homewards. The rays of the setting sun have transformed the surface of the loch into a sheet of burnished gold, as we say goodbye to its beauties. A brisk tramp of a couple of miles and we find ourselves on the platform at Easterhouse, five hours from the time we left it to begin our walk.
REFERENCES TOWER BLOCK 1
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TCF Brotchie, Some Sylvan Scenes near Glasgow (Aird & Coghill, Glasgow: 1921)
Poems from primary school children submitted to Easterhouse area Christian Aid Art & Poetry Competition, 1977. The Writing on the Wall: New Images of Easterhouse (Glasgow, 1977), ed. Ron Ferguson
Glasgow Heritage Group, Glasgow Memories: The East End (n.d) Andrew Broadbent, ‘Estates of Another Realm’, New Society, 14 June 1985. In Glasgow Observed, p.274 ‘Easterhouse: Past, Present, Future’, Class 3E Westwood Secondary School project survey, March 1965 Director of Housing Management (Glasgow), quoted in Johnstone, Charles (1992) The tenants’ movement and housing struggles in Glasgow, 19451990, p.121. Colin Kirkwood, ‘Community Democracy’, in G. Brown, The Red Paper on Scotland (1975) Lyrics from Scheme appearing in documentary Scheme: Innocent as Hell (d. Diane Tammes, 1986). Accessed at: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=X3imunLOqzc&t=441s ‘Betrayed Again! Cuts Hit Garthamlock!’, Easterhouse Voice, vol 9 no 8 Dec 1979/ Jan 1980 Extract on Carousel workers from Whose Town Is It Anyway? Easterhouse: People & Power (d. Tony Freeth, 1984). Accessed at: https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=E-qtcVzvNZQ Persimmon Homes website, ‘The Beeches’, press release Holly Lennon, ‘Garthamlock Community Project stage protest ahead of court summons’, Glasgow Evening Times, 7 July 2016. Accessed at: https:// www.glasgowtimes.co.uk/news/14603791.garthamlockcommunity-project-stage-protest-ahead-of-courtsummons/ Glasgow City Council, ‘Council report outlines exciting vision of the future transformation of Easterhouse,’ 27 September 2016. Accessed at: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/article/20141/Councilreport-outlines-exciting-vision-of-the-futuretransformation-of-Easterhouse ‘Five Years On – Report from Easterhouse Festival Society’ (1982)
‘Easterhouse’ by Tracy Coashman, Commonhead ‘Our Community’ by Alison Dickson (extract), Craigend ‘Easterhouse Policemen’ by Andrew Rosenbloom, Wellhouse ‘Our Community’ by Cameron O’Brien, Craigend Mary Robertson, ‘Requiem for a village’, The Writing on the Wall, p.11 Glasgow Heritage Group, Glasgow Memories: The East End (n.d) Andrew Broadbent, ‘Estates of Another Realm’, New Society, 14 June 1985. In Glasgow Observed, p.274 James Freeman, ‘Sir James Robertson dies at 84’, The Herald, 5 May 1990 Colin Cruickshank, ‘A gathering of the gangs’, The Scotsman, 10 April 1969 McCormack, Cathy, (1993). From the fourth to the third world – A common vision of health. Community Development Journal, Vol.28 No.3, 206217 Interview with Pat Kennedy, Writing on the Wall, p.53 Mary McGhee, ‘To Blame or not to Blame’, The Writing on the Wall, p.81 Hugh Docherty, ‘More policemen?’, letter to Easterhouse Voice [1978?] Patrick Thomas Quinn, Easterhouse 2004: An Ethnographic Account of Men’s Experience, Use and Refusal of Violence, unpublished PhD thesis, accessed at: https://core.ac.uk/download/ pdf/293040015.pdf Sir James Roberston, quoted in Ken Martin, ‘Anatomy of a Contemporary Gang’, The Observer Magazine, 1 December 1968. Eds Berry & Whyte, Glasgow Observed (John Donald, Edinburgh: 1987) p.257
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TCF Brotchie, Some Sylvan Scenes near Glasgow (Aird & Coghill, Glasgow: 1921)
May Miles Thomas, Trip 30: Fun Day, Devil’s Plantation project. https://www.devilsplantation.co.uk/fun-day/
Mary McGhee, ‘Cost of Dying’, The Writing on the Wall: New Images of Easterhouse (Glasgow, 1977), ed. Ron Ferguson. Woolrych, R., Sixsmith, J., Lawthom, R., Makita, M., Fisher, J., & Murray, M. (2019). Constructing and Negotiating Social Participation In Old Age: Experiences of Older Adults Living In Urban Environments in the United Kingdom. Ageing and Society, 0, 1-23. Accessed at: https://discovery. dundee.ac.uk/ws/files/41219023/Author_Accepted_ Manuscript.pdf McCormack, Cathy, (1993). From the fourth to the third world – A common vision of health. Community Development Journal, Vol.28 No.3, 206217 Place-Age, Place-Making with Older Adults: Towards Age-Friendly Cities and Communities (2019). Accessed at: https://www.housinglin.org. uk/_assets/Resources/Housing/OtherOrganisation/ Place-Age-Place-Making-with-Older-Adults.pdf Age Scotland, ‘Age Scotland criticises devastating cuts as “lifeline” older people’s groups face closure’, 8 September 2020. Accessed at: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/scotland/latestnews/2020/september/age-scotland-criticisesdevastating-cuts-as-lifeline-older-peoplesgroups-face-closure/
Wikipedia entry for Eostre. Accessed at: https:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%92ostre Harry Bell, Glasgow’s Secret Geometry: An Account of the Discovery of the Glasgow Network of Aligned Sites (Leyline: 1993). Accessed at GNAS http://glasgowsites.coffeecup.com/ TCF Brotchie, Some Sylvan Scenes near Glasgow (Aird & Coghill, Glasgow: 1921) Site reports for St. Mark’s Well, Mary’s Well, Todds Well, The Northern Antiquarian blog. Accessed at: https://megalithix.wordpress.com/ Ghost Club (Scottish Area) Official Investigation Report, Provan Hall & Blochairn Houses, Easterhouse, Glasgow, Investigation No.64, Saturday 21 February 2015 https://www.ghostclub.org.uk/investigations/ Provan%20Hall%202015.pdf Glasgow Paranormal Investigations, Provan Hall investigation report two, 27th November 2010. Accessed at: https://www.thegpi.co.uk/ provanhall-2/
Tristan Stewart-Robertson, ‘Easterhouse campaigners call for pensioners’ day’, The Daily Record, 17 June 2015. Accessed at: https://www. dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/easterhousecampaigners-call-pensioners-day-5893522
Credit: Save city’s playgrounds, say social worker, 22 June 1977 (loose article found in Easterhosue Folder, Mitchell Library)
‘Global anti-poverty campaigner Cathy McCormack from Glasgow takes a hilarious approach to her community’s struggle to overcome damp housing, fuel poverty/ and the negative image portrayed by the media. Although broadcast in 1993, on the Scottish Television ‘thought for the day’ series they are even more relevant today! (Rachel Jury) Transcribed by Joey Simons, accompanying images shared by Winnie Herbstein
EVENING CALL NO. 1 Sometimes, like the poor, God seems to get the blame for everything. Do you know God even got the blame for destroying my neighbour’s furniture? It’s true: her flat was flooded when the attic tank burst but her landlord refused to compensate her because he said it wizni his fault: it wiz an act of God. Well at least he didn’t blame her that time like he did for causing the fungus. But it never really dawned on me just how much the people of these working class schemes had in common with God until I broke the news to my son that I intended appearing on this programme. ‘Aw ma,’ he said, ‘ye cannae dae that, I’ll get slagged tae death at school n people will accuse mah ma of being a bible basher.’ Well, since I joined the anti-dampness campaign I’ve been called many a thing but never that. But my son enabled me to see that God suffers from the same bad reputation as these schemes, and nae wonder with some of the stories that have been telt about us. Well I’m not gonnae start praising God up to the high heavens this week either. Because that’s something else the people in these schemes have in common with God: like God, countless numbers of people who you never hear about work day and night in these communities trying to make our world a better place. And like God, we don’t hunger or thirst for praise. The only thing we want is justice. And I hope that you will join me this week to see that justice is done to God and the people in these schemes.
all image credits: Easthall CEC Solar Demonstration Project Booklet, produced by City Housing Glasgow, Easthall Residents Association, Technical Services Agency – production of booklet sponsored by Scottish Power. From the archive of Colin Porteus
EVENING CALL NO. 2 I never understood the wonderful story of God’s creation until the fungus family came to live with me and the weans. Oh I knew it was the nature of the vine to produce grapes, but I never thought it was the nature of our house to grow mould until my life became a battle of survival between my family and the fungus family. No matter how I hard I tried I could neither keep the doctor at bay nor the mould that’s destroyed everything they came in contact with. Mind you, having a wee garden inside your home had its moments: well, you never run out of mushrooms, and being a hopeless cook, I don’t need to worry about making chili, cos it’s chilly in our house every night. But the fungus proved to be more resilient than me and I reached the stage where I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up again because I felt so powerless to change our cruel reality. Fortunately my spirit refused to roll over and play dead. Instead it enabled me to see things that were away beyond my understanding at the time. I did understand however that it wasn’t poor people who were to blame for the dampness, but poor housing that was making the people poor. The spirit of my community also refused to die and last year saw the completion of the first ever tenant-led solar housing energy conservation project. The families who live in these houses are a lot happier and healthier and can now grow fruit instead of fungus.
EVENING CALL NO. 4 Recently I ran out of money to feed my hungry power card meter. So I pressed the emergency button that allows you to borrow some light. But that night the light’s conked out, plunging me n the weans into darkness. I assumed there was a power cut so I phoned for the emergency electrician and I was mortified when he telt me that it was my ain fault. But I argued that there was still some money left on the emergency. ‘Hen,’ he said, ‘you’re no supposed to live aff the emergency. You’re only supposed to use it like tonight when it is an emergency.’ Somehow I sensed that he understands that every day of our lives had become an emergency because he was a typical working-class comedian and he left saying ‘Don’t worry aboot it hen, the telly’s rubbish the night anyway.’ Well before I’d had time to lift myself, the weans had made a bed up for us all on the living room flair, and almost as soon as I’d lit the candles they were fast asleep. I nearly found myself thanking God for the rare moment of tranquility, but remembered that God wasn’t to blame for our darkness. Instead, as I watched the flames flicker in the dark, I thanked God for giving me the power to see and value all the things in life that money can’t buy, like the priceless love of my family, friends and neighbours. And I also thanked God for the stranger who brightened up my moment of darkness and whose kindness made me realise, that see once God switches on the lights, nae power on this Earth can ever cut God’s lights off.
credit: Easthall CEC Solar Demonstration Project Booklet, produced by City Housing Glasgow, Easthall Residents Association, Technical Services Agency – production of booklet sponsored by Scottish Power, from the archive of Colin Porteus
CONTRIBUTORS Jim Ferguson Jim Ferguson is a poet, pamphleteer, novelist and critic based in Glasgow. Born in 1961, Jim has been writing and publishing since 1986 and is a Creative Writing Tutor at Glasgow Kelvin College. His poetry collection ‘the art of catching a bus and other poems’ is published by AK Press, Edinburgh. Two other collections of poetry ‘When Feeling Fully at Home in the Drifting Living Room of Time’ (2018) and ‘For Eva’ (2017) are published by Famous Seamus Publishing. He was the 2011 ‘Poet Laureate’ of the Scotia Bar, Glasgow. Other books include the novel ‘Punk Fiddle’ and ‘The Pine-Box-Jig Involves no Dancing’ both published by Graham Brodie’s Whirlpool Press. He has also written a short monograph on Robert Tannahill: ‘Tannahill: The Soldier’s Return with an Introductory Essay by Jim Ferguson.’ The essay is based on his PhD thesis ‘A Weaver in Wartime.’ See essays. www.jimfergusonpoet.co.uk Joey Simons Joey is a writer and WEA tutor from Glasgow. He is currently producing a publication and exhibition on the history of riots as part of Collective gallery’s Satellites programme, and has received funding from the Lipmann-Miliband Trust to create a digital archive of Glasgow housing struggles, with web designer Kate Lingard. As social historian-in-residence at Platform, he undertook extensive research into the radical history of Easterhouse, and edited the publication Let Us Act for Ourselves: Selected Works of Freddy Anderson. He has previously worked with GWL as co-curator (with Bechaela Walker) of Hitherto Unknown, a series of radical archive workshops centred around the work Tillie Olsen. He has also contributed essays and creative writing workshops for the Workers’ Stories project, and other writing has appeared in MAP Magazine, Gutter, and The Common Breath. He is an active member of the Living Rent tenants’ union. Cathy McCormack Cathy is a long-term campaigner on poverty, housing, health and climate-change and her writings and broadcast have received international acclaim. Cathy is also widely known in Britain as a social commentator for the people and an inspiring speaker. In the 1980’s at the time the Easterhouse Mosaic was built Cathy was part of an incredible campaign to improve the housing in Easterhouse. Cathy McCormack lives in Greater Easterhouse, Glasgow. cathysblogstogod.com
Platform would like to thank: Jimmy, Sophie, Nik and all all at L-13 Industrial Workshop Joey and to all who have contributed to making SCHEMING Joey would like to thank: Jim Ferguson, Winnie Herbstein, Cathy McCormack and Margaret McCormick. In memory of Robert Knox, Willie Gallagher, Tom Leonard, Janette McGinn, and Brian Hamill, who generously shared their knowledge with me, and never stopped fighting. SCHEMING was commissioned by Platform for Jimmy Cauty’s MdZ Estate Tour at Platform from 29 June – 30 July 2021 Platform 1000 Westerhouse Road, Glasgow G34 9JW www.platform-online.co.uk Printed in an edition of 100 Designed, printed and bound by Good Press Sundays Image Credits Please note, images used were discovered in the Annual General Notes (AGN folder 809), in the City Archive at the Mitchell contains an extensive ‘Easterhouse Reference List’ of books, articles, surveys, photos and maps related to Easterhouse. If you would to get in touch regarding an image credit, please contact Platform by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
A response to Jimmy Cauty’s L-13 MdZ ESTATE Tour July 2021