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Notes in Conclusion by the writer James Friel

I was born in 1941 and lived for the first 14 years of my life at 24 Rosemount St, Garngad. We then moved to Easterhouse as part of the great diaspora to outlying housing schemes in the late 1950’s. I now live in Baillieston. I was educated at St Rich’s Primary School and St Mungo’s Academy.

I served my apprenticeship as a printer with William Collins, the famous book publishers in Townhead, then moved with that company to Bishopbriggs. I worked for 14 years at the Daily Record and had periods with other Glasgow newspapers. I now work at Polestar, East Kilbride. I am President of the Print Union GPMU (Scotland), i.e. graphical, paper and media workers union. I am also a member of the national executive council of that union. Like many other Garngad people, my ancestors came from elsewhere, in my case Ireland. My father came from Fanad, Co. Donegal and my mother’s parents from County Cauan. My wife Ella’s grandparents lived much of their life in Garngad and Blackhill. Her grandfather Guiseppe Pisacane (known fondly as ‘Wee Joe’) had a barber’s shop on Garngad Rd. He came from Salerno, Italy and Ella’s grandmother Maria (Dini) came from Diecmo, near Barga, Tuscany, Italy.

I am very interested in all apsects of local history. It is important to know our own history and where we come from. However you have to dig deep to discover the real history of the people. They say history is written by the victors and that is true. While life in general has improved for working class people there is much to be done. We grew up at school learning lists of kings and queens and wars with little taught about the history of struggle over the years. That is why I am so happy about Scott Myles’ project to have a small reading room at Royston Library to commemorate Thrushgrove and the Radical James Turner. Scott was artist in residence at Royston Library and discovered that the library is on the site of the Thrushgrove Estate. A new street in Springburn has been named Turner Rd so the name will live on. However, I feel it would be tremendous to see the library project culminate in success and I hope I have helped in some way.

I was delighted to see the Old Townhead Church spire was saved following a successful community campaign. I am also delighted to see the new development at the Molendinar at Provanmill. The Molendinar is a very historical old Glasgow river but Provanmill is one of the few places it is seen above the ground. The Molendinar banks were the scene of the famous meeting between St Mungo and St Colmeille (?). This is said to have taken place ‘near the Saracen Head Pub on the Gallowgate’. The site at Provanmill too is close to the original corn mill from where Provanmill takes its name. This development at the waterfalls should be a superb amenity to the area and complement the new houses at Blackhill.

In finality, I have included an article on Garngad’s famous bard Mick McLaughlan. Mick’s ‘Farewell to Garngad’ (sung to the air of Skibereen) does record the end of an era. Incidentally, I am happy to note that there is still a bard in Garngad as my old mate Alfie Smith has had a few volumes published.

May the good people of Garngad, Germiston, Provanmill and Blackhill have all they deserve now and in the future.

James Friel



“Reminiscences of Glasgow” by peter McKenzie
“The Good and the Bad” by Stephen Finnie and Pat Thomson
“History of the Garngad” by Michael Keenan
“Old Townhead’s a Goner” by Andrew Stewart
“History of St Philomena’s Church”

Read about Provanmill and Blackhill
Read about Germiston
Read about Garngad and Royston
Read about Garngad characters (Mick McLaughlan by Michael Keenan)
Read about politics in the area
Read about entertainment in the area
Read about sports in the area
Read about schools in the area
Read about churches and religion in the area
Read the 'Farewell to Garngad'
Read about a poet from 'Little Ireland'


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