Monday, 15 September 2008

Paddy's Market

The proposed plans by Glasgow City Council to re-develop the site of Paddy's Market should be a source of some sadness for the people of Glasgow, even if it has become a run-down area. I presume it is going to become another gentrified city centre development for the middle classes to occupy while they consider where they really want to live when city centre lifestyle becomes too fraught (when they have kids).

Paddy's market has a long history. It was where the immigrant Irish of the East end of Glasgow went to buy second hand clothes for themselves and their children after they had been evicted from their lands and suffered from the potato famine. They were welcomed in Glasgow but found the same sort of poverty for working people there as they had left. Paddy's market was a necessary evil. The real sadness is that it still exists today for nearly the same purpose. Among the rip-off DVDs and CDs there are still stalls selling second hand clothes for the really poor. On a recent visit my son remarked that it was terrible that people had to sell this kind of stuff to live, but it is worse that people have to buy this kind of stuff to live.

Re-develop Paddy's Market by all means, but re-develop it as a memorial to the plight of working people. It is a piece of working class history, you might even call it an International Working Class Heritage Site, but there was never a member of the aristocracy living there so it won't count, will it?

The Heilan-man's umbrella (under the bridge at Central Station, for my foriegn readers) also served as a dossing down place for Highlanders dispossed in the Highland clearances, hence the name, and it is still in use by the homeless whenever Strathclyde's finest don't move them along.

Just more working class heritage messing up the post-modern image that Glasgow tries to promote by completely invented heritage like the 'Merchant City'. Real heritage is far too 'gritty' for them.

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