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Gorbals


Glasgow City

Originally a crossing place on the south side of the River Clyde and the site of Glasgow's leper hospital in mediaeval times, the Gorbals developed in the 17th century in association with coal mining and weaving and in the late 18th century became a fashionable suburb of Glasgow. In 1661 it was the first area to the south of the Clyde to be absorbed into the city of Glasgow and in 1806 the Neo-Classical Laurieston House was built as part of the stylish Carlton Place terraced housing development. In the 19th century the Gorbals came to be associated with tenement flats built to house an expanding industrial population totalling 40,000, mostly drawn from Irish, Jewish, Indian and Pakistani immigrant communities. Post-war housing developments in the 20th century, including high rise flats designed by Sir Basil Spence, addressed the need to improve environmental and social conditions in an area experiencing industrial decline that had become associated with poor housing. In the 1990s low rising housing replaced much of the high rise buildings of the 1960s. Both the Citizen's Theatre and the Central Mosque and Islamic Centre are located in the Gorbals. The Blessed John Duns Scotus Church holds what are said to be the remains of St. Valentine. John Robertson, who built the engine for Comet steamship, was born in the Gorbals in 1782. Another native of the Gorbals was Allan Pinkerton, born in 1819, who emigrated to the USA where he founded a famous private detective agency.


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