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Glasgow Boards/Forums _ Glasgow News Blog _ Last Gorbals Boy Dies

Posted by: GG 12th Jul 2011, 10:59pm

The last surviving link to the iconic Gorbals Boys photograph has died. Glasgow grandfather Les Mason, the child pictured on the left of the famous photo, has passed away at the age of 70.


The photo in today's Herald, at the point near where it was originally taken

Mr Mason became famous later in life after his family discovered that he was the boy carrying the shopping bag in the photograph taken with his pal George Davis in 1948. The two Gorbals boys, depicted as 'street urchins', were walking across a Gorbals' street arm-in-arm on the way to the shop to get messages for Mr Mason's mum.

The picture was taken in 1948 by the late photojournalist Bert Hardy, who had been despatched from London to tkae phographs highlighting poverty in the Gorbals, which at that time was one of the most deprived and overcroweded urban areas in Europe.

Picture Post, the magazine for which Mr Hardy warked, did not subsequently print the photo as a part of the story on poverty in Glasgow, preferring more austere depictions of the grimness of life in post-war Gorbals. Despite this, the photographer always insisted that the now-famous Gorbals Boys shot was the favourite of his career.

Explaing how Mr Mason discovered that he was one of the Gorbals' Boys, his daughter, Julie, said:
QUOTE
"It was 1985 and another newspaper ran a retrospective looking back at Bert Hardy’s work which included the Gorbals Boys photograph and an appeal to trace the two boys featured in it. The search was then picked up by the Evening Times in a ‘where are they now?’ article. I think it was George Davis’s wife who saw it first and when mum saw it she recognised the story and asked dad: ‘Is that you?’ My brother Scott was a teenager then and he looked a bit like dad did in the photo. It was nice because we didn’t have any other photographs of dad as a boy."

Mr Mason's family added that the former shipyard worker had been very proud of his link with Glasgow's past. George Davis, the other child in the photo, died in 2002, aged 61, seven years after the London-born photographer who took the photo.

Speaking in 1999 of how the pic came to be taken, Mr Mason said:
QUOTE
"We were only about eight years old, and must have been going down Clelland Street to collect our entitlement of cod liver oil, orange juice and dried milk from the Ministry of Health store."

About his circumsatances, again from 1999, Mr Mason added:
QUOTE
"I was one of 13 children, although only eight of us made it past infancy. We were all crammed together in a one-room flat infested with rats, sharing an outside toilet with the rest of the tenement. But everyone lived that way. We didn't know we were poor until other people told us."

GG.

Posted by: Glasgow Girl 12th Jul 2011, 11:02pm

Aww, that's sad. RIP. What a great picture that is though.

Posted by: Dylan 12th Jul 2011, 11:09pm

My DIL is going to the Funeral.

She is friends with his Daughter..

An iconic Photo , sad loss.

Posted by: Crewsy Fixer 12th Jul 2011, 11:18pm

I read this story today and thought it would be one for the GG site to be aware of. I read that the two boys met later after eagle eyed relatives spotted them in the paper.

It is an absolute cracker of a photo, I understand that it has world reknown but at the time it wasnt considered suitable.

Posted by: Tony S 12th Jul 2011, 11:50pm

Yeah Very sad End Of An Era I was only one when we moved out but returned most weekends to visit my gran 1st @71 Cally road then In Cumberland St Facing St Francis Chapel .
There were 5 generations of my lot born in the Gorbals and my auntie is only one left .......Cumberland Place

Posted by: *billtkd* 13th Jul 2011, 12:49am

Why 'Gorbal Boys'? I have no idea what Clelland St looked like back then but the one in the photo looks far too short to be Clelland Street, which is (now) only 190 feet long. It look more like Glassford Street (facing north). So what were two eight year Gorbals kids doing there on their own?

How does this photograph highlight poverty? OK, it's not Little Lord Fauntleroy, but I used to dress like that in 1950s Coatbridge and we weren't considered poor.

Posted by: glasgow lass 13th Jul 2011, 01:04am

I have seen this foty many times but never took the time to get the whole story about the two young boys, I have always loved this snap. If a picture paints a thousand words this has to be one of them. Thanks so much for the foty and the info about the boys , its a treasure indeed.

Posted by: Dexter St. Clair 13th Jul 2011, 01:18am

QUOTE
Why 'Gorbal Boys'? I have no idea what Clelland St looked like back then but the one in the photo looks far too short to be Clelland Street, which is (now) only 190 feet long. It look more like Glassford Street (facing north). So what were two eight year Gorbals kids doing there on their own?

How does this photograph highlight poverty? OK, it's not Little Lord Fauntleroy, but I used to dress like that in 1950s Coatbridge and we weren't considered poor.

Superb put down there. Luv it. As you say you've no idea but what a barge in. Eight year olds out on their own. What year were you allowed out out on your own? Did your maw not send you for messages or did she prefer a more sensible sibling?

And by the way The Picture Post did not print it as it did not show poverty in their eyes.


Posted by: Jupiter 13th Jul 2011, 04:03am

The picture for me does sum up a way of life which was prevalent in all working class areas of Glasgow in the period after the war and the 50s.
As someone born in the early 50s I can remember the areas quite well.Where I lived in Cowcaddens and Queens Cross was on a par for the amount of squalid tenements people were forced to live in.Thankfully these places have been replaced and Glasgow has transformed into the great city it is today.
I dont think the picture is in Glassford Street in the 50s.Had it been so there would be overhead trolleybus power lines.
The two men are gone but the wee boys are with us for ever.
Great picture.

Posted by: Oldsmiddy 13th Jul 2011, 05:07am

I very much remember what the Gorbals area was like, in 1945-46 I used to deliver the Glasgow Citizen newspapers in a van of course, to the newspaper shops around that area including Govan, that picture definately depicts the poverty of that era, but there was always a smile on the childrens faces, as they were not aware of their predicament.
If I remember rightly, I think when they demolished the Gorbals, didn't most of the residents relocate to Barlanark, which I believe was between Shettleston & Bailieston, going towards my birthplace of Coatbridge. Thank you for that touching story.
May he R.I.P.

Posted by: jwrobbo 13th Jul 2011, 05:10am

That could be a picture of me and my brother living in Govan in the forties and fifties.
We didn't know we were poor either. It was quite safe in that era for kids to wander about quite freely and we often went for messages to the local shops.

jwrobbo

Posted by: tamhickey 13th Jul 2011, 05:50am

Such a shame that no-one involved in this pic is around anymore, may they all R.I.P.
It's such an iconic photograph as these were supposedly poverty stricken children who had that gallus look about them with big smiles on their coupons in the face of grim lives at the time, but they were children who didn't know what poverty was. To me, it's a defining photograph of a changing world; optimistic about the future and hoping for the best.

Posted by: Billyk 13th Jul 2011, 05:55am

Hello, as jwrobbo posts I also was from Govan in the 40s& 50s ,we didn't know what poverty meant, but had a great time anyway, and you could wander all over Glasgow then, from Glasgow Green to Kelvingrove, to Hampden Park to get lifted over the turnstiles by any stranger who would, now I look and wonder what kids of today are missing, Bill

Posted by: *wetglaswegian* 13th Jul 2011, 06:36am

Amazing Glasgow photo. RIP Les and George.

Posted by: exiled weegie 13th Jul 2011, 06:38am

QUOTE (jwrobbo @ 13th Jul 2011, 05:03am) *
That could be a picture of me and my brother living in Govan in the forties and fifties.
We didn't know we were poor either. It was quite safe in that era for kids to wander about quite freely and we often went for messages to the local shops.

jwrobbo

Exactly , that could be anyone in that photo and reading the history theres just no way it can be proved one way or another.

Posted by: tamhickey 13th Jul 2011, 06:50am

You got me remembering Bill. When I was a kid in the 60's,living in Springburn, me and three wee pals of mine decided to walk to the Campsies. We could see the every day and just wanted to get there under our own steam. Well, we walked and walked and ended up near some farm, far away from home. This was hours later and we decided to head back as we weren't going to make it. We were tired and hungry and the light was going down.
As we headed back, one of us stuck his thumb up near Bishopbriggs hoping for a lift and we got one! The guy took us all to our homes without waiting for thanks and we all got home safely. I think the same might be true today, but we are all so careful and risk averse these days that the idea of trust goes out the window.
You can understand it, for even then my parents were not happy at us thumbing a lift.

Posted by: margie 13th Jul 2011, 07:38am

What a lovely photo. It shows the friendship that really existed and what the kids are all missing now. Memories are wonderful things, and its great what a photo can do. R.I.P Margie.

Posted by: tarzan 13th Jul 2011, 08:18am

QUOTE (*billtkd* @ 13th Jul 2011, 01:42am) *
Why 'Gorbal Boys'? I have no idea what Clelland St looked like back then but the one in the photo looks far too short to be Clelland Street, which is (now) only 190 feet long. It look more like Glassford Street (facing north). So what were two eight year Gorbals kids doing there on their own?

How does this photograph highlight poverty? OK, it's not Little Lord Fauntleroy, but I used to dress like that in 1950s Coatbridge and we weren't considered poor.

As Mr Mason said, "everyone lived that way. We didn't know we were poor until other people told us" he didn't consider himself or his family "poor" at the time, something a lot of us could say.

Maybe Glasgow weans were given more freedom than Coatbridge ones, but we were free to go more or less where we pleased during daylight hours.

Can't understand why they should be so toffee nosed.

Posted by: John McCreadie 13th Jul 2011, 08:28am

A wondrful story and photograph. I saw 6 kids walking down Govan Road the other day and the girls were all dressed up in long dresses. I would have loved to have taken a photograph of the cute kids but in todays society it would be frowned on a stranger do such a thing. Sad days!!

Posted by: gpn160 13th Jul 2011, 08:38am

This image of Glasgow will live with Glasgow and Glaswegians for many years.

Posted by: greta 13th Jul 2011, 08:55am

Must agree, this photo is and will remain a Glasgow treasure, its our past our heritage ,where we come from. Two young boys who didnt even know they were poor but were probably living in an era of great community, where one person helped another just because they needed it. All my thoughts with Mr Masons family at this sad time, just remember the pleasure his photo has given so many Glaswegions.

Posted by: chas1937 13th Jul 2011, 08:57am

I saw it on the TV yesterday but had already knew about it and story attached to it as well

Posted by: Eddie McFadyen 13th Jul 2011, 09:02am

The power of the photograph is in the step of the boys - going forward together to the next adventure. The bright confident eyes acknowledge the camera, but the lads aren't going to stop in the course of their duties. Their physical contact with each other is somehow reassuring as they keep each other safe crossing the road. Poverty doesn't come in to it - the richness of youth and friendship are what strikes me.

Posted by: elso 13th Jul 2011, 09:04am

QUOTE (Dexter St. Clair @ 13th Jul 2011, 01:11am) *
Superb put down there. Luv it. As you say you've no idea but what a barge in. Eight year olds out on their own. What year were you allowed out out on your own? Did your maw not send you for messages or did she prefer a more sensible sibling?

And by the way The Picture Post did not print it as it did not show poverty in their eyes.


These young boys like myself lived maybe not in better times but definitely safer times ,when we could go out by ourselves without worrying neighbours looking out for each other,their doors always open now its -needle's lying about,or drunks,pedophiles,not saying that they werent about then but MY world was a much safer place then,Now I wont even let my grandchildren out playing on their own,even after school,what a HORRIBLE world we live in now!

Posted by: JAGZ1876 13th Jul 2011, 09:09am

I was sorry to hear of the death of Les Mason, sympathy's to family. The picture itself captured a brief moment of Glasgows wonderful history, but lets stop looking back with rose coloured glasses, as Les himself said "There was 13 kid's only 8 survived infancy in a rat infested 1 room flat with outside toilet". That is one part of history i am glad has gone forever. Also billtkd said it can't be Clelland St because it is only 190 Yrds long. In 1948 it was a lot longer, running from Gorbals St, crossing Hospital St, then crossing Thistle St, finishing at Crown St. The photographer was standing facing east at the corner of Hospital St, with Thistle St behind the boy's with Crown St at the top. As Jupiter said it isn't Glassford St as there is no trollybus power lines, also no tram lines, plus the first street on the right would be Garth St which doesn't cross Glassford St.

Posted by: norrie123 13th Jul 2011, 10:26am

Hi Jagz you just stole my thunder tongue.gif , thats just what my maps of Gorbals show

An iconic photo of Gorbals an area that while I didn't live there, I worked there and have an interest in all things Gorbals
RIP Les
Bye for now, norrie

Posted by: granniemo 13th Jul 2011, 11:46am

Even now, eight year olds can be trusted to go for messages locally. The world's actually not that bad you know.

The iconic picture to me says here's two wee lads out together. Free of worry and care. Doesn't instantly say poverty so can see why not printed by the paper. Hey, everyone dressed like that back in the 40s to 60s. Some of school friends looked like them and I was brought up in leafy Mosspark 1950s.

Posted by: stratson 13th Jul 2011, 12:25pm

Would like to extend my sympathy to the family of Les Mason.RIP.

Many of us living today who remember those times too well, myself included. sad.gif







Posted by: auldbutcher 13th Jul 2011, 12:43pm

My god i have seen this pic afore anywan o them cooda been me am 2 year older than them but its the same environment just a few miles tae Govan .

I, you roamed ye ranged and you rambled you knew where tae fish ferr the biggest baggie minnies ,where tae go nesting fer doo's eggs , ye wirnae hame in time fer yer dinner yer mammy didnae fret there wis no so many perverts in them days ,reason i think there wis nae computers where the scum o the earht cood meet hatch and plot and swop the filthy pics like they dae noo .

Life then wis aw aboot ootdoors activity's fitbaw ,going ferr a wee hike few broken cakes fae a bakery club the gether fer a bottle o ginger an you wiz aff toff .

Poverty when a working mans pay wis a pittance like the day the rich got richer the poor ''funny thing is ye didnae think you were poor any wan said you were poor widda got a skelp'' got poorer just efter the war jobs wis hard tae come by lotta sogers getting demobbed and seekin employment ''in them days every man wanted tae work any man who didnae wis called a slacker or a scrounger '' aye times wis hard but fer maist o us it wis happy ,if you had a wireless then there wis dick barton , riders o the range wee program's tae keep you happy ,but whit the hell who wanted tae stay in the hoose to much adventure tae be had oot side .

In closing it didnae dae that perr much harm happy go lucky lads ,even in there photos taken later in life you could see the humor and camaraderie in baith there eyes, rest in peace you perr. biggrin.gif

Posted by: *Blackie* 13th Jul 2011, 01:27pm

Brilliant Photo with a Brilliant Past. The Good OLD GORBALS.

Posted by: CopperLamp 13th Jul 2011, 01:44pm

Aye its sad but good piccy, I have piccy of me and my bro 1956 In the Gorbals my bro was born there, I was born In Campsie Stirling

Posted by: *Sally* 13th Jul 2011, 02:55pm

RIP TO THE YOUNG LADS IN THE PIC ...

My mother grew up in the Gorbals , and she would tell me about her school Adelphi Terrace, (I think). Her name was Sally McGugan, now Sally (Sarah) McMahon, born 1948, the same year that pic was taken.

Does anyone remember her ?

Posted by: Rabbie 13th Jul 2011, 02:56pm

Sad news, those two boys could have been so many of us back in the day.

Poverty can be defined in many ways. I didnea feel a sence of missing out on anything, other than big boys got to stay oot later!

There was certainly nea poverty in the way folks used to be selfless and helped each other out and the love and care oor parents gave us.

I dinnea miss some of the manky closes and the like but I do miss the close, unselfish family community we used to have.

RIP.

Posted by: Alec05 13th Jul 2011, 05:47pm

I remember the photograph when it was in the newspaper, but not when. I would travel to Castlemilk around 1955-56 as i was just about finishing my bricklaying apprenticeship with the "corpie" before going to do my N.S. The auld gorbals was still there with very little or no changes and we all thought that things were on the move for the better ! Were they.

Posted by: Mathieson 13th Jul 2011, 07:14pm

sad.gif Just read about this. That picture will forever be an iconic Glesga picture and never failed to cheer me up when I saw it.
RIP Les Mason and his wee buddy George Davis who went before him.

Posted by: yopal 13th Jul 2011, 07:16pm

A great photie of Glasgow and like everyone says, it will always be there as a glimpse of the social and communal history that is now gone (almost) forever.

Posted by: ashfield 13th Jul 2011, 07:33pm

May I also give my condolences to the family of Mr Mason and his friends.

I agree with those who don't recognise this as depicting poverty, it could have been taken at any number of locations across the city and there would have been another two little boys in similar dress. The photograph is a testament to the talent of the brilliant Bert Hardy, who worked for the Picture Post for many years, it is hard to tire of looking at his photos.

In "The Gorbals boys", he was clever in getting down to their level and that made it all the more appealing. Sadly, it s the sort of shot which would be impossible to take now for fear of the potential repercussions.

Posted by: bilbo.s 13th Jul 2011, 07:45pm

I think I have just coined a word - paedophiliaphobia ! Or maybe just plain old paranoia ! sad.gif

Posted by: Melody 13th Jul 2011, 07:47pm

I agree with so many of the posts above. Indeed poverty has many faces but this photograph isn't one of them. The joy of life and friendship on the faces of those lovely weans it just a treasure. You can't help but smile inside when you look at them. Shame that we don't see those same expressions in weans today just enjoying each others mischievous company. It's sad to think that weans today don't seem to be allowed to have that same wee bit freedom, it's so vital to learning all sorts of social skills, not forgetting the pure fun in life. smile.gif God Rest them all.

Posted by: ashfield 13th Jul 2011, 08:01pm

QUOTE (bilbo.s @ 13th Jul 2011, 08:38pm) *
I think I have just coined a word - paedophiliaphobia ! Or maybe just plain old paranoia ! sad.gif


I agree...............I think unsure.gif

Posted by: bilbo.s 13th Jul 2011, 08:13pm

QUOTE (ashfield @ 13th Jul 2011, 09:54pm) *
I agree...............I think unsure.gif


Cogitas ergo es ! smile.gif

Posted by: *KANDY* 13th Jul 2011, 11:54pm

A wonderfully iconic picture of the times.

Having grown up in Maryhill, at the same time and having an identical background I am immediately transported back nearly sixty years every time I see this photograph.

Poverty is relative and what was instictively important to us was the love and support of families and neighbours - not that we understood this in these terms.

These boys would have spent much of their time as we did out of doors safe in the knowledge that all the local adults would be there for them.
I still see school friends from primary school, all who have done well - some spectacularly so - and we all value the childhood we enjoyed and would not have had it otherwise.

It's sad that they have gone but it is comforting to know that they enjoyed what appears to be a happy and productive adulthood. Equally important is that they represent the spirit that made Glasgow great.

Posted by: GG 14th Jul 2011, 12:41am

I found the following in a Herald article by William Hunter from 1995:

QUOTE
Bert Hardy's pictures from around the world are classics of photo-journalism, but his Glasgow shots were favourites, says William Hunter. Old Glasgow did no mean number of favours to photographer Bert Hardy, who died on Monday, and had all of them returned.

His pictures showed the harsh optimism and the struggle for decency of Gorbals people after the Hitler war. With his camera, he refocused the stereotype image that the city's southside was populated only by gangs and drunks.

Gorbals saw him as a nosey visitor, but one who knew what it was like to be poor. They accepted him. Slum doors opened. "Nobody took much notice when I started taking photos," Bert Hardy said later.
His assignment was to complete a series of conventional pictures of urban misery taken earlier by a colleague on Picture Post magazine. Hardy was handed the job of capturing the human side of poverty.

He took shots of ragged kids using a graveyard for a playground. A big wifie bathed her body from a basin on the kitchen table. Most memorable was the street scene with the two scallywag pals, all dirty skint knees and strong cheeky faces, who took the photographer back to his own poor London boyhood. "My favourite picture," he said.

"This reminds me of what I was like when I was a kid. In this story I concentrated on the children, and how they kept their spirits up in conditions which were often dreadful," he recalled in his memoirs, My Life.

His Gorbals sequence in l948 won the first Encyclopaedia Britannica Award.

It seems that the image reminded Bert of his own childhood in the east end of London, where he grew up in conditions not too far removed from his Picture Post assignment in the Gorbals.

GG

Posted by: Chrissie 14th Jul 2011, 04:27am

This picture got past me. I don't recall ever having seen it but I did now, thanks to the boards. Like these kids, I didn't know I was poor till I started work and realized everyone didn't get paychecks on Friday and have nothing left by Monday or Tuesday. rolleyes.gif

Posted by: lindamac 14th Jul 2011, 04:35am


God rest their souls in the arms of the angels Bless their families too at least they have this picture as a gentle reminder of their relatives reality in life still two happy wee boys faces despite their poverty. wub.gif

Posted by: frame 14th Jul 2011, 03:26pm

I saw this iconic picture of the the two boys some time ago. It really does depict a moment in time that was wonderful. Two boys on a mission that would last for an eternity. I was three years behind Les and George and I was somewhere in that square mile. Thistle, Hospital or Cumberland street. I wouldn't mind getting the glossy version and framing it. After all, wasn't that exactly how we were.
Sleep tight you two guys you did us proud.

Posted by: Tommy Kennedy 14th Jul 2011, 06:10pm

Frame - you can buy this photo from the 'Mitchel Libray', that and many others are stored there.

I don't have the nostalgia for 'Auld Glasgow' that some have on here - mind in the post war years, even during the war, there wasn't the belly hunger/wide spread diseases of the 30s.

Posted by: tobruk 14th Jul 2011, 07:37pm

Hi folks, I lived in Riddrie on Dee street from about 1943 on; I would catch a tram on Cumbernauld street to down town. Down Duke st. and into down town Glasgow. Two things I'd like you to remember. Riddrie was where the Swells lived and the war was at it's darkest . I would go to the train station to stamp my name on the metal tag machine . The Gorbels was just another place I liked to go , never had a problem . I also loved the Clydesdale horse stables. It's true most of the time was spent in Alexander park across the street from my home ,then up to Hogginfeild loch .
Cumbernauld was just a village not yet filled from south end folks that were moved from the demolished tenements . Someone in 1947 wrote with paint on a wall " Eric Cameron is gone to America " that I was told was still there after 20 years. I hunted for it in 1993 but things had changed so much I could not find it or anyone who remembered the wall.
I do miss Scotland, best memories of my childhood are of Aberdeen, village of Monymusk and Glasgow. I can't even remember my first 10 years in the USA . My mother died and is laid to rest in Riddrie Cemetery . My father died In Ohio . I guess I'm Americanized now.
Frederick Cameron -------- cameron710@gmail.com

Posted by: maureen michaels 14th Jul 2011, 10:59pm

This is one of my favourite photos of Glasgow. It was displayed in a calander my aunt sent me years ago. I lived at 1090 Dumbarton Rd in Whiteinch for about 3 months during the summer of 1963 in the old tenements and I loved it. We had a room and kitchen and an inside toilet. We had lived in Drumchapel prior to this and then moved back to the Drum again but I missed the old tenement life. Our neighbours were much more friendlier and everybody knew each other. I used to ride my roller skates under the Clyde tunnel to Govan (the queen had just opened it), and then I would ride back across the Clyde on the ferry...I would go home filthy dirty from dreepin the midgies and running through the old backyards. I live in Ohio now and when I tell my daughter about my childhood (we were poor, but I was really unaware of it) she asks me if I am sure I didn't live in the Victorian times, she finds it hard to believe I used to stuff cardboard in my shoes to cover the holes (I now own about 50 pairs) and only got a new coat about every two years. When I started working at Barcley, Curles in Whiteinch at the age of 15, I wore the skirt and shirt from my school uniform, then when I got my first paycheck which was four pounds, I bought an outfit to wear. Anyway I am rambling...RIP Gorbals Boys.....ps the previous writer from Ohio...wher abouts in Ohio...I live in Cleveland...

Posted by: TeeHeeHee 15th Jul 2011, 12:54pm

QUOTE (ashfield @ 13th Jul 2011, 07:26pm) *
I agree with those who don't recognise this as depicting poverty, it could have been taken at any number of locations across the city and there would have been another two little boys in similar dress.

Not only across the city but across the county.
As has been already mentioned here in this topic - and I dare say in many others, we; as children, growing up in that era, whether in the city or in the out-lying towns, never realised that we lived in poverty as such. We knew that there were rich people - but that didn't make us poor in our eyes. Anyway, when we went to the local rubbish dump to get enough bits to put a decent bike together, we didn't get a row when we buckled a wheel we just went back to find another wheel. laugh.gif
The beauty of that picture is that it was a picture of any and all of us weans.


Posted by: GG 15th Jul 2011, 01:21pm

QUOTE (TeeHeeHee)
... we didn't get a row when we buckled a wheel we just went back to find another wheel. laugh.gif ...

Good point, THH! Just shows you that Glaswegians were recycling years before it became fashionable!

I love the discarded (lost?) 'sucker' arrow in the photo just next to George Davis's right foot. That was when – before mass car production – children ruled the streets ... sometimes, if necessary, by force of arms! wink.gif

GG.

Posted by: frame 15th Jul 2011, 01:59pm

Appreciate the info' on Mitchell Library Tommy. I will be writing to that place soonest. Two young celebs in the making and they didn't even know it. Somehow I know looking at this picture from time to time will remind me of just how lucky I was, in a time and place that was pure dead brilliant.

Posted by: GG 15th Jul 2011, 06:53pm

QUOTE (JAGZ1876 @ 13th Jul 2011, 09:02am) *
... Also billtkd said it can't be Clelland St because it is only 190 Yrds long. In 1948 it was a lot longer, running from Gorbals St, crossing Hospital St, then crossing Thistle St, finishing at Crown St. The photographer was standing facing east at the corner of Hospital St, with Thistle St behind the boy's with Crown St at the top. As Jupiter said it isn't Glassford St as there is no trollybus power lines, also no tram lines, plus the first street on the right would be Garth St which doesn't cross Glassford St.

Thanks JAGZ1876, this had me thinking as I was pretty sure when I went to take the photo on Tuesday that I did not have the right spot even though I was in what is left of Cleland Street. Using your information, together with a map of the old Gorbals, I've now re-thought the original position of Bert Hardy in 1948. Please see the attached map to let me know what you think.

My position and direction is shown in green, and where I think Bert's orignal position (and direction) was is shown in blue.

GG.


 

Posted by: GG 15th Jul 2011, 07:06pm

The Scottish Sun ran an article today recreating the photo using two local boys. They also chose the spot I had used a few days earlier, so they are wrong also. That said, the correct spot would be inaccessible as it is now just in the middle of the road!

While I would say that there has been improvement in the 'http://www.glasgowguide.co.uk/images_The_New_Gorbals.html' I would, however, disagree with the Sun's description of the spot which we both used: "But the streets behind them are clean, with trees brightening up the area."

See photo attached.

Sun article here:
http://www.thesun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/scotlandfeatures/3696106/The-Gorbals-Boys-63-years-later.html

GG.


 

Posted by: GG 15th Jul 2011, 07:18pm

QUOTE (norrie123 @ 13th Jul 2011, 10:19am) *
Hi Jagz you just stole my thunder tongue.gif , thats just what my maps of Gorbals show ...

Hi Norrie, can you also check the map above with yours?

GG.

Posted by: JAGZ1876 15th Jul 2011, 08:25pm

GG, you are correct with the original position, which is now part of a small car park, so it is still possible to take a picture from the exact spot using an old map and google earth. The sun did take their photo from where your green marker is, also what year is your map from? As it give's Cleland St As Greenview St to Hospital St (now Laurieston Rd). I always thought it was Cleland St from Main St (Gorbals St) To Crown St, perhaps some older Ex Gorbals residents could put me right.

Posted by: Harrymc 15th Jul 2011, 08:36pm

I agree with most of the comments on this photo.
I was an 8 year old living in Denistoun in 1948 and this picture is an accurate reflection of how we were and the local environment we enjoyed.
I was visiting Glasgow this week and I saw the picture and accompanying article in the paper where it stated that the photo was not used at the time.
It struck me on reading this that they probably felt it was inappropriate as the two "scamps" were obviously so HAPPY in each other's company it simply didn't fit with the idea of illustrating POVERTY.
This photo will always convey a sense of camaraderie and what it was like to be a happy little boy in Glasgow in the years just after the war.
May they rest in peace.

Posted by: glasgow lass 15th Jul 2011, 09:50pm

Loved the comparison foty and article in The New Gorbals post . It really shows how much Glasgow has come along now,,,,, slowly but surely. biggrin.gif , thanks for the post GG.

Posted by: Tommy Kennedy 16th Jul 2011, 12:20am

QUOTE (frame @ 15th Jul 2011, 02:52pm) *
Appreciate the info' on Mitchell Library Tommy. I will be writing to that place soonest. Two young celebs in the making and they didn't even know it. Somehow I know looking at this picture from time to time will remind me of just how lucky I was, in a time and place that was pure dead brilliant.

Mitchel Library is 'On the Web' - Frame, Just type in Mitchell at Google or Ask Jeeves. They have hundreds of pics of 'Auld Glasgow' and you can order copies on line

Also a great library to visit - magnifcient building - very helpful staff. Lots of 'free computers'

Posted by: glasgow lass 16th Jul 2011, 12:58am

Dont forget the lovely big snack bar Tommy, thats ma favourite part rolleyes.gif

Posted by: TeeHeeHee 16th Jul 2011, 02:39am

QUOTE (GG @ 15th Jul 2011, 01:14pm) *
I love the discarded (lost?) 'sucker' arrow in the photo just next to George Davis's right foot.

GG.

Specsavers, here I come. I've looked at that picture for days and never noticed that wee sucker arrow ... and I've had enuff o' them stuck tae ma broo. laugh.gif

Posted by: auldbutcher 16th Jul 2011, 11:29am

Read Maureens wee story aboot cardboard in yer shoes aye I did that i had 3 sisters and they were iwies first in the queue fer shoes an claes ,that was explained tae me by my wee maw an tae be truthful i didnae mind there wis cases wie kids wearing cut doon welly boots the wellys lasted longer than shoe leather summer an winter nae kiddin .

The wan thing this life instilled in me was family comes first I had 4 kids still got my Cesarean marks tongue.gif and they got the best that was going both me an my misses worked full time, my mother in law a gem brought them up really ,she lived wie us when we got oor big hoose in Pollok ,stews, mince, soup ,fish was the order o the dad porridge every morn an chicken wance a month that wis not as common as i is noo ,an they in turn continued orr wey o life when they got merrit, yep looking back they wis tough times in the 40's but you know whit we were aw happy never felt doontrodden pic's on a setterday morn ,good western Roy ,Hoppy ,an Gene Autry wis the hero's ,Three stoogies iwies made me laugh ye came hame happy as a sand boy they wis the good auld bad auld days if you will. wink.gif

Posted by: GG 16th Jul 2011, 03:34pm

QUOTE (JAGZ1876 @ 15th Jul 2011, 08:18pm) *
... also what year is your map from? As it give's Cleland St As Greenview St to Hospital St (now Laurieston Rd). I always thought it was Cleland St from Main St (Gorbals St) To Crown St, perhaps some older Ex Gorbals residents could put me right.

Thanks JAGZ1876, the map is from 1896, maybe a bit old as it predates the photo by more than 50 years. There's a full download of the map here:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2542/4218527519_920a522938_o.jpg

Well worth a look!

GG.

Posted by: JAGZ1876 16th Jul 2011, 06:43pm

Hi GG, i have just checked a map from 1913, which also gives that part of Cleland St as Greenview St. So the question is when and why it was changed, i definitely remember it being called Cleland St in the 60's. It's funny how something comes along and totally changes something you always thought to be true.

Posted by: Rab 16th Jul 2011, 11:05pm

I can't add any more to the great comments previously made here about this truly iconic picture of 40's Glasgow weans. Yes, it could just as well have been wee Rab and his brother Ian out to play with Mammys warning 'Don't go too far and don't be late back fur yer dinner!' Too far? Some hopes she had - the world was where we wanted to go and what we wanted it to be! We could be away all day and we were trusted to look after ourselves. The boys attire is memorable and I expect a snake-belt may be hidden somewhere!
Thanks Bert.

Posted by: Rabbie 17th Jul 2011, 05:30pm

Ye ken wit, the spirit lives on. Heres wan to warm the cockles o' yer hearts and wan fur the lassies tae.

Looks to be from a wee bit later in wit I think is Dalmarnock Road.


Anywan fur a wee hudgy in the bried van!?

Posted by: norrie123 18th Jul 2011, 12:13am

Hi GG, I have checked my maps and looked at the photo of the two boys
My thinking is that the camera man was looking to Crown st, thats the tenements behind the boys
If the camera man had his back to Crown st he would have the railway bridge that runs between Gorbals st and Hospital st in the shot
I think the boys are crossing the rd in between Thistle st and Hospital st
The building you see behind the boy on the right is J W Galloways Bacon curers, I can send you a copy and you will see that building is in the phot
Bye for now, norrie

Posted by: GG 18th Jul 2011, 12:34am

Great Norrie, thanks for this. The railway bridge was central to my thinking also: as you say, the photographer (Bert Hardy) would really have needed to be standing with his back to the bridge to get the shot, so I'd agree with you that "boys are crossing the rd in between Thistle st and Hospital st".

One thing I picked up on the research was that – even when George and Les were identified as the boys in the nineties – they couldn't remember where the photograph had been taken but, on prompting, they did remember Bert asking them if it was okay to take their photograph!

[P.S. I'll PM you to get the copy.]

GG.

Posted by: GG 18th Jul 2011, 12:41am

The following is 'an appreciation' of Les mason's life written by his daughter, Julie:

QUOTE
Les Mason: Glasgow icon and shipyard worker
Born: October 9, 1940; Died: July 7, 2011.

Les Mason, who has died aged 70, is a part of Gorbals and Glasgow history thanks to the enduring fame of one photograph.

However, he actually moved from Gorbals when quite young, first to Bridgeton and then to Calton when he first married Margaret. They eventually settled in the Knightswood area of Glasgow in the early 1970s and he worked as a driver’s mate first for Whisky Bonds and then BRS, before entering the shipbuilding industry as a docker for Yarrow’s shipyard. From a young age he took on the role of the father figure for his younger brothers and sisters due to his father being away at sea a lot. That role, to them, is something that has never been lost. In times of trouble he was the one that they all turned to.

Les married Margaret Moore Graves in Sacred Heart Church, Bridegton, in May 1965. A year later their first child, Julie, was born, followed, a year and two days later, by Linda. Six years on they had their third child, Scott. The family had settled down in Knightswood where Les worked in Yarrows. He retired in 1996 following a stroke.

He was a true working-class man, who worked for his family and never stopped. He worked hard in Yarrows in all weather and he worked hard in the home. He loved DIY, gardening and cooking, with clootie dumpling being a speciality.

He could also celebrate in the true working-class way – the Fair Friday tradition, and one of the children would meet him at Yarrow’s main gate, shopping trolley in hand, waiting for him to come out and open his pay packet so they could do the shopping. Then he and his mates would head off to the Dry Dock on Dumbarton Road.

After a while, you would see Les, zig-zagging down Caldwell Avenue, face shining, work bag slung over his shoulder, throwing change to children he met on the street. Once home his own children would pounce.

One day during the mid-1980s, Margaret returned from work clutching a copy of the Evening Times and the famous Bert Hardy photograph.

Les was in the kitchen preparing the dinner when she thrust the open page of the paper towards him and sort of half-shouted: “Is this you!?”

Les, in astonishment, replied: “I think so.” Then the phone started ringing, constantly. Les loved it. He knew he was going to be famous.

This was the very first time that any of us knew anything of his connection to this photograph and its importance and fondness to a lot of people. But the strange thing was, the photo was somehow familiar as we all recognised it.

Les and the whole Mason family are extremely proud of the fact that Les is captured forever in one of Glasgow’s most iconic photographs. This photograph not only sums up the mood and feeling of the Gorbals community at the time but it sums up Les. Look at it, he’s carrying a message bag.

Time and life went on. Les was a proud father and an extremely proud grandfather to Molly, Alice, and Lily, Linda’s children, and to Ruby, Scott’s daughter.

GG.

Posted by: GG 18th Jul 2011, 12:58am

QUOTE (Rabbie @ 17th Jul 2011, 05:23pm) *
... Anywan fur a wee hudgy in the bried van!?

Rabbie, there's anotehr great Bert Hardy photo of children in wartime London getting a hudgy on the back of a carriage. The BBC has a copy online http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/07/in_pictures_enl_1197541542/html/1.stm.

GG.

Posted by: lindamac 18th Jul 2011, 02:01am

I think this man sounds as Happy and go lucky as his picture depicted him how lovely for his family that he has become a Glasgow icon for the generations he left behind & for the ones to come he sure sounds like the perfect gentleman especialy pleased to here he sorted the shopping out before the pub on Fair Friday Iam afraid our family never had that sort of Blessing so in my opinion a provider and gentleman to his end. regards to all & condolances to his family from Lindamac

QUOTE (GG @ 18th Jul 2011, 10:34am) *
The following is 'an appreciation' of Les mason's life written by his daughter, Julie:


GG.

Posted by: norrie123 20th Jul 2011, 01:07pm

Hi GG ,thanks for publishing the item by Les Masons daughter I found it interesting
Through that photo he will always be remembered
Bye for now, norrie

Posted by: Scotsman 21st Jul 2011, 11:27am

A great tribute to a very fine man like so many Glasgow men worked hard to give his wee family a better start in life than he got himself. A real gentleman with the braw spirit and generosity that put the Glasgow working-class man up there with the best in the world.

Posted by: Glasgow Girl 23rd Jul 2011, 06:09am

QUOTE (Scotsman @ 21st Jul 2011, 11:20am) *
A great tribute to a very fine man like so many Glasgow men worked hard to give his wee family a better start in life than he got himself. A real gentleman with the braw spirit and generosity that put the Glasgow working-class man up there with the best in the world.

Absolutely, and there were many like him. I worry that they don't make them like that anymore, then I look at my son and think....yeah.....we're fine! smile.gif

Posted by: irene seddon 11th Aug 2011, 12:47pm

I've just found this website as I was looking to find who the two boys were in this photograph. My son put it on as my screensaver as I thought it reminded me of Cumberland Street where my maternal side of the family came from. I spent every school holiday at 406 Cumberland Street, directly opposite St, Francis Church. This was just after the war. The first person I visited on arrival was Mr. Benson at his newspaper and sweetie shop, then onto Tommy Malarkies ice cream shop. I remember with awe, the beautiful May Processions seeing them outside my Nana's window. Loved all the shops which we went to on Cumberland Street and having to remember my Nanas Coop number. I was so sad to learn that these two boys in this iconic piture have died. Their families have my sympathy. I feel as if time has stood still when I look at this photo.

Posted by: Dave Grieve 11th Aug 2011, 01:56pm

Welcome Irene
After reading some of the stories on here you will feel as if you are in a time machine. laugh.gif

Posted by: Rab 18th Aug 2011, 09:46pm

GORBALS BOYS
If you're fae the Gorbals, you'll love this! Great photos like the one discussed.

http://travel.webshots.com/album/551541170hHGDvx

Posted by: TeeHeeHee 18th Aug 2011, 10:27pm

Marvelous Rab.
Tried tae log on but it keeps telling me there's already a member using this name and eMail address ...
... AYE, AH KNOW THAT. IT'S ME JIMMY. rolleyes.gif

Posted by: irene seddon 19th Aug 2011, 09:14am

Thank you so much Rab for these photographs. They have made my day, I,m transfixed by them. All the "ghosts" from my past family seem to be coming back to me. I can imagine standing on the steps of St. Francis' and trying to pick all the pennies being thrown from wedding cars, and looking up, to my Nana at her window opposite. My parents were married there in 1940 by Father James and I remember a Father Columba. All my maternal side were from that area and my Dads side were from Nuneaton Street in Bridgeton. Regards Irene (Thayne) Seddon.

Posted by: norrie123 19th Aug 2011, 10:31am

Hi Rab ,thanks for posting that link I have an interest in Gorbals
I have dealt with Andy years ago, he gave me a photo of the Eglington Electric cinema Eglington st

Bye for now, norrie

Posted by: TeeHeeHee 19th Aug 2011, 11:05am

I was interested in the picture on the first page of the Rutherglen Road just as it junctions with Crown Street. On the left of the picture is a church surrounded by scaffolding. I'm sure that was St.Margaret's and St. Mungo's ... which was our club-house ca. '63/'64. That was the church which we decorated internally after scrounging paints and material from any merchants who would give them to us. Shortly after that the church sent a vicar ... at that time the church only had a caretaker lookin' after it as it was not in use ... and the vicar - a big Yankie do-gooder - wanted to open it up to all the local gangs.
6 weeks after his plan took fruit the police closed it down ... even to us who had been using it and lookin' after it un-noticed for absolute ages. rolleyes.gif

Posted by: Rab 19th Aug 2011, 07:57pm

I had completely forgotten eating MILANDA BREAD ohmy.gif !

Another useful link for you Gorbals folk. http://www.gorbalslive.org.uk/data/about/anecdote.htm (Sorry Irene, but you will be on this for hours! biggrin.gif )

Gorbals Hero!

James Stokes VC
(6 February 1915 - 1 March 1945) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Both his parents were Irish and Stokes regarded himself as being Irish as well as Scottish.
Stokes was 30 years old, and a private in the 2nd Battalion, King's Shropshire Light Infantry, British Army during the Second World War. He was killed in action on 1 March 1945, in Kervenheim, Rhineland, Germany where his actions earned him the Victoria Cross.

In Germany, on 1st March, 1945, during an attack on Kervenheim, Private Stokes was a member of the leading section of a platoon pinned down by heavy fire from a farm building. Without waiting for orders Private Stokes dashed through the enemy fire, to disappear inside this building. The fire stopped, and he reappeared, wounded in the neck. This valiant action enabled the platoon to advance to the next objective. Private Stokes was ordered back to a Regimental Aid Post, but refused to go. The platoon then encountered heavy fire from a house on the left. Again without waiting for orders, Private Stokes rushed the house by himself and all firing from it ceased. His gallantry enabled his platoon, which he subsequently rejoined bringing five prisoners, to continue the advance. In the final assault Private Stokes, now severely wounded, once more dashed to the objective through intense fire. He finally fell, firing his rifle to the last. It was found that he had been wounded eight times in the upper part of the body. Private Stokes's one object throughout this action was to kill the enemy, at whatever personal risk. His magnificent courage, devotion to duty, and splendid example inspired all around him, and ensured the success of the attack at a critical moment; moreover, his self-sacrifice saved his Platoon and Company heavy casualties.
—London Gazette, 13 April 1945

Posted by: GILLON 24th Apr 2012, 08:09pm

QUOTE (tamhickey @ 13th Jul 2011, 05:55am) *
Such a shame that no-one involved in this pic is around anymore, may they all R.I.P.
It's such an iconic photograph as these were supposedly poverty stricken children who had that gallus look about them with big smiles on their coupons in the face of grim lives at the time, but they were children who didn't know what poverty was. To me, it's a defining photograph of a changing world; optimistic about the future and hoping for the best.

These are lovely words, who you are talking about is my grandfather, and it means so much to me and my family that people care so much about it though he is still around with us and always will be .

Posted by: Doug1 2nd Jun 2012, 06:22pm

QUOTE (jwrobbo @ 13th Jul 2011, 06:08am) *
That could be a picture of me and my brother living in Govan in the forties and fifties.
We didn't know we were poor either. It was quite safe in that era for kids to wander about quite freely and we often went for messages to the local shops.

jwrobbo

Ah would totally agree. I too was brought up in govan in the 40s and 50s and the picture could have been govan road elderpark street or greenfield street or indeed any street and the kids in the picture could have been me or my brothers or any of oor pals because thats the way we dressed and looked.

A lovely poignant photo though.

Posted by: Terry Boyle 2nd Feb 2016, 12:55am

Remember my dad Jimmy and my Uncle Bill telling me about Jimmy Stokes.