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> The End Of The Red Road Flats, Dismantling of Glasgow flats begins
**gedrobfar**
post 27th Sep 2010, 01:26pm
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I stayed in a high rise for over twenty years and yes the council are to blame. I stayed on the 19th floor and the watertank on the roof bust and all my property was destroyed and the council did not want to know, it took nearly 8 years before the council excepted the blame and all along they knew the water tanks where beyond repair and still are so dont blame the people if you havent stayed in the flats at glenavon road you do not know how bad things really are.
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frame
post 27th Sep 2010, 06:37pm
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I've never lived in one and I can't say I know of anyone who has. having said that, I would tend to agree with that school of thought that argues, it's not buildings but problem tenants that cause the decline.
Problem families are like dust, you wipe it off one surface only for it to move to another and create the same problems.
I suspect places like red road flats are a sort of terminus for people like that, the last frontier if you like.
Some people have said that anti-social behavior happens everywhere and they are right. The trouble with high rise flats is that both decent and antisocial live in such close proximity and technically, under one roof.


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GG
post 27th Sep 2010, 07:08pm
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I found an interesting editorial comment by Kerry Gill in the Express newspaper which, basically, asserts that planners had very little choice in demolishing old tenements and replace them with high-rises, such was the scale of Glasgow's post-war housing problems. The article ends:

QUOTE
... So why did they embark on a programme that would result in more than 300 high-rise flat blocks in Glasgow alone?

THE reason was the appalling condition of much of Glasgow's housing. More than half the city's dwellings were considered beyond being fit for habitation.

Those who, today, argue that the original tenements should have been merely renovated have not an inkling of quite how structurally rotten, rodent-infested and filthy these buildings were.
As whole districts were razed to the ground, much of the community spirit was lost. But, it cannot be stressed strongly enough, that sense of loss was to be experienced in the future.

Among ordinary working people, the vast majority looked forward to a new life on the edge of the city. Many among the middle classes may have despaired that so much of the inner city was disappearing in a cloud of rubble, dust and soot, but they didn't have to live there.

There were, just after the War, almost 500,000 Scottish homes without lavatories. A majority of families in the cities shared bathrooms. In the worst areas of Glasgow, residents were formally protesting about the dreadful conditions in which they were forced to exist.

More than anything, it was the realisation that, instead of it taking only 10 years to clear the slums and pro-vide modern housing, it would be more like a quarter of a century.

So high-rise flats rather than the more human scale housing being built today in the Gorbals and the East End had to be the answer.

Architects of the time, mesmerised by the thinking of men such as Le Corbusier, were only too keen to put their designs to the test.

Sir Basil Spence was responsible for the Queen Elizabeth flats in the Gorbals, a horizon I watched being demolished in the early Nineties.

A few years earlier, I was taken on a trip around the Red Road flats. It was to advertise the latest coun-cil-inspired scheme to rejuvenate the notorious buildings: short-term apartments for travelling executives!

Glasgow's planners may be remembered for the subsequent notoriety of the high-rises that still cling to the periphery of the city. But there is no doubt their visions of a new world, if flawed, were fundamentally correct.

Their job was formidable, but they succeeded in ridding the largely Victorian city of its appalling be-tween-the-wars reputation as a sink of crime, poverty and disease in a remarkably short time. The multi-storeys were the basis of their success.

The fact that so many became the new-slums, ridden with new forms of crime inflamed by drink and drugs, was not their fault.

Even when the Red Road flats come crashing down, we should remember those planners and give them their due for what they achieved, not the social nightmare their dreams so often became.

Copyright 2005 Express Newspapers.

GG.


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clyderunner1
post 27th Sep 2010, 07:11pm
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When I first saw these flats, my reaction "I couldn't live at the top, no way"

Quite a staggering entity coming from living in Richmond virginia flats that were no taller than 3-6 levels.

But some of the wife's family did and I never heard them complain on the
flats.

The wife's mother use to play bingo there at the Red Road ones also.

Good Day from the South

Jerry

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proudmaryhiller
post 27th Sep 2010, 08:38pm
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QUOTE (*gedrobfar* @ 27th Sep 2010, 03:28pm) *
I stayed in a high rise for over twenty years and yes the council are to blame. I stayed on the 19th floor and the watertank on the roof bust and all my property was destroyed and the council did not want to know, it took nearly 8 years before the council excepted the blame and all along they knew the water tanks where beyond repair and still are so dont blame the people if you havent stayed in the flats at glenavon road you do not know how bad things really are.

Gedrobfar the Council are a disgrace,"Glenavon Road" is that in the Maryhill Barracks (Wyndford)? I had friends who lived on Glenfinnan Road, the 14 storey multi's, it was all nice people then (1960's), I've heard that the Barracks has an awful lot of problems now don't know if that's true or not? But what a shame, the place is more or less the same....but some of the people are not sad.gif


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wellfield
post 28th Sep 2010, 03:06am
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That was a good article..hate to say it'...but it's the truth...it's just the nostalgia I love!
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Mike Docherty
post 28th Sep 2010, 06:52am
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The only regret I have with wiping the Red Road flats from the face of the earth is that it is decades overdue. I had the misfortune of working there for several months in the mid 70s for a company contracted by Glasgow Council to install a somewhat primitive form of cable TV (Wolsey Cablevision, if that jogs any memories ) and through the winter of 75 - 76 we worked 7 days a week so we became all too familiar with the place. No doubt this modern form of 'High Living' was embraced as a quantum leap forward from tenement life considering that Glasgow was notorious at the time for having the most squalid living conditions in all of Western Europe. The place was pitifully lacking in any kind of amenities, the few existing stores vandalized and some even burned out, absolutely no sense of community and the only common thread seemed to be the fact that every single building in the project reeked like an open sewer - That plus the hostile, belligerent attitude of the tenants regardless of age, the only obvious difference being that the pensioners didn't steal all the tools from the company vehicles then set them on fire in the middle of the street in broad daylight. Even the cops wouldn't answer emergency calls! It got so bad that a two-man crew became a four-man crew and we would take turns with two going up into the flats to get some work done while the other two were left to defend the vehicles and equipment armed with hammers and crowbars. We soon learned to park a fair distance away, out of range of the bottles and bricks the animals would throw from their windows. The most dangerous incident I recall was when myself and one of the other guys had to install an amplifier unit in the elevator room on the top of one of the taller blocks. We spent about an hour doing the job, wiring up and securing the 15-20lb unit to the wall then locking the place up behind us. In the time it took us to get from the top floor to street level the bastards had broken in, ripped the unit from the wall and sent it crashing to the street just as we exited. The company decided the Red Road could make do with poor TV reception and as far as I know they never went near the place again, much to the outrage of the indignant tenants who were demanding improved conditions... An earlier contributor mentioned that the high-rises were a dumping ground for problem tenants and it's hard to disagree with that statement but this was on an 'Escape from New York' level and I then realized the only thing that would possibly improve the Red Road would be to weld all the exit doors shut with all the mutants inside and dump a few hundred pounds of raw meat on the roof every couple of weeks. Not only was the place a blight on the landscape it was an insult to the Nation. Razing the Red Road to the ground - Too little too late.
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GG
post 28th Sep 2010, 07:11am
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Thanks, Mike, a very interesting recollection. Your memories reminded me of a couple of paragraphs I'd read in a review for a book called 'Soaring aspirations; High-rise living was the planners' Utopian dream that soon turned sour', published 1994:

QUOTE
The book's authors, Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius, claim that there was no widespread repudiation of the high flats in Glasgow in the Seventies; what they mean is that the Corporation continued to build them in the face of glaring problems. In Red Road, gangs such as the ''Young Mental Swed-Heads'' set fire to stairwells, sprayed front doors and went joyriding on top of the lift, shouting abuse and terrorising old people. They threw everything they could get their hands on out the windows, including tailors' dummies, which caused the women standing below at the bus stop practically to faint in horror. A 12-year-old girl fell to her death down a gaping Red Road lift-shaft, and the surrounding shops and pubs were closing or fortifying themselves in the face of serial robberies.

Modernity, at least in the public housing arena, seemed to have gone wrong. Some wondered if the sudden appearance of the shock city, the new pre-fabricated world, had mentally disordered the lower orders. Or, as the authors put it: ''Gradually the older logic that vandalism was caused by the moral deficiencies of the vandals or by the influence of their slum conditions, began to lead to the idea that the particular type or shape of new blocks might, itself, encourage vandalism.''

The book described the effect the conditions had on tenants, especially young ones, as the '''emergent pathology of modern housing", something the planners failed to recognise until far too late.

GG.


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TeeHeeHee
post 28th Sep 2010, 07:39am
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QUOTE (Mike Docherty @ 28th Sep 2010, 07:54am) *
The only regret I have with wiping the Red Road flats from the face of the earth is that it is decades overdue ... The place was pitifully lacking in any kind of amenities ... Even the cops wouldn't answer emergency calls! ... this was on an 'Escape from New York' level ... Not only was the place a blight on the landscape it was an insult to the Nation.

The last sentence said it all.
Stacking people like battery hens ...


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Tennscot
post 28th Sep 2010, 07:41pm
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A few years ago My wife & her Aunt went to visit a resident at th RR flats. They thought it safe to walk near two Policemen .... A bucket of urine came down. The cops said It`s dangerous to walk near us, We get this all the time. That was their last visit. mad.gif
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North Canalbank ...
post 30th Sep 2010, 05:31am
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No disrepect to any Glasgow councillors reading this but the city fathers from the 1950s and 60s never seemed the brightest bunch.
People were already moving out the Red Rd flats within a couple of years of their opening.

32 up in a high rise or a back and front door.

How many houses in Bishopbriggs or Kelvindale have been pulled down in the last 50 years?

First chance the punters had of an escape it was "good night Vienna".

And Maggie Thatcher blew it wide open with her "council house sales" idea.

How many quietly sold their Balornock/Mosspark back and front door and moved on and into surburbia.

Thats why safe "tory seats" like Eastwood became safe Labour.

Cranhill goodbye, hello Newton Mearns

Case dismissed.
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Mathieson
post 30th Sep 2010, 02:41pm
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While I have never lived in a high-rise and don't ever intend to I agree with the sentiments of those who say the flats themselves are not to blame for becoming slums. If you took all these high-rise buildings and laid them flat then the ground covered would pale into insignificance against the total square miles of low rise slums in the city. The problem, as others have said, lies largely with a not insignificant number of tenants who seem to have an utter disregard for their surroundings and are quite content to live like pigs.


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wellfield
post 30th Sep 2010, 10:32pm
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QUOTE (Mathieson @ 30th Sep 2010, 08:43am) *
While I have never lived in a high-rise and don't ever intend to I agree with the sentiments of those who say the flats themselves are not to blame for becoming slums. If you took all these high-rise buildings and laid them flat then the ground covered would pale into insignificance against the total square miles of low rise slums in the city. The problem, as others have said, lies largely with a not insignificant number of tenants who seem to have an utter disregard for their surroundings and are quite content to live like pigs.

Well said!!
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North Canalbank ...
post 1st Oct 2010, 03:42am
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QUOTE (Mathieson @ 30th Sep 2010, 04:43pm) *
While I have never lived in a high-rise and don't ever intend to

Wonder how you might view the old Gorbals, Cowcaddens, Anderston etc.
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Mathieson
post 1st Oct 2010, 07:56am
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If you mean in terms of living in a high rise then I would not want to live in a high rise anywhere. I'm not criticising anyone who does want to live in them, it's just not for me.


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