John Mackechnie

The background to the move from Ingram Street to King Street
Clip Title The background to the move from Ingram Street to King Street
Interviewee Name John Mackechnie
Interviewee Role Director of Glasgow Print Studio, John first joined the organisation as an etching technician in 1979 before becoming Workshop Manager and then General Manager.
Interviewer Name Kerry Patterson
Interview Date 9 August 2018
Clip Length 3 minutes 40 seconds


JM: Alright well, the building in Ingram Street, which is the only one that I’d known at that time ‘cause I was never in St Vincent Crescent, was owned by the city council and was pretty dilapidated. The roof leaked like a sieve. We owned -rented should I say - two floors, the third and the fourth floor, or half of the fourth floor and um, there was a lot space. And we in fact rented out some of the space at the back, rented space out to various artists. And then in the upstairs was a kind of attic bit, we rented out to a cabinet maker who made furniture and also to a guy I mentioned, Robert Hamilton, who had a dark room up there as well. So we had that and all the other floors were garment factories. So at four o’clock every day there’d be like, y’know, all the women would leave. I mean, hundreds of them would pile out into the streets. And of course, that was true of the whole area because there were garment factories all over the place at that time in this area. So we’re sheltered a wee bit by having a garment factory about us and they would presumably have some buckets to catch the rain, but when they moved out things got dramatically worse. Seagulls and rats moved in, the roof deteriorated, we ended up constructing a labyrinth of like, sheets of polythene and rainwater pipes directing water into WCs, anything just to stop the rain getting through to us. And things didn’t get much better so eventually the Council came along and actually in our workshop, put acrow [temporary support] props up to hold up the ceiling up all along one side. All the time charging us quite a hefty rent as well, I have to say! Which I wasn’t involved in negotiating. So the building was seriously deteriorating. And then, so for quite a long time we started a fundraising account, we’d been fundraising for that through different ventures, options, from the Loveliest Night of the Year, from all sorts of things. And I think we’d raised something like sixteen thousand pounds which was quite a lot of money in those days. And erm, anyway before we jumped, we were pushed. Basically the City Council had come in and said actually the building’s condemned, we’re closing it. And so there was some urgency to find a new place and so with the estates department of Glasgow City Council, started looking at some other properties. One of the ones we looked at was in fact where we are now and we were shown an area on the first floor which was quite good but not big enough. And then I think I opened the door to the next factory to find, unbeknownst to the City Council, that in fact the factory had done a runner and that whole extra floor was empty. And er- which made it big enough for us to rent so we ended up renting that and also some space on the floor above us as well so we had quite a big space by this time.