Sheena McGregor

Describing the Finnieston area during the 1970s
Clip Title Describing the Finnieston area during the 1970s
Interviewee Name Sheena McGregor
Interviewee Role Founding member of Glasgow Print Studio in 1972 and ran the workshop in the first premises, alongside Beth Fisher.
Interviewer Name Kerry Patterson
Interview Date 29 October 2018
Clip Length 3 minutes 33 seconds


SM: Well I suppose it was seen as a slum. There was an article, I think, in the, I don’t know if it was the Herald or the Scotsman calling it ‘the grandest slum in Europe.’ ‘Cause it, I mean it did always have that look of Bath or something a bit grander than most, apart from maybe Park Circus. Erm, it had always been, I think, lots of boarding houses and so on, so there probably - it wouldn’t have been multi-lets in those days - but lots of multiple occupancies. And it had just got incredibly run down and it was due for demolition. But we didn’t know that. The reason I knew of it was there was a painter called Carole Gibbons, who you might know of, but she lived along, I think at number 24, but one of my friends from school had let her flat, she was living elsewhere in Glasgow. So I had gone to a party there, it was my brother’s friends, three or four boys – young men - just from Glasgow Uni, and I was amazed by – there was something probably about the tenement flat, and they were her paintings were up, so it had something about, there was something – it’s not, it wasn’t like a flat I’d been in before, but that was probably to do with Carole. It had these really big still lifes up, and I remember a big living kitchen. But I remember at that time Minerva Street had two sides, it was a very beautiful building, the usual kind of vandalism in Glasgow, that the, where the Staples and PC World are now, there was actually another side to the street and it was like the right-hand side with the arches, and that was across, lovely old tenements, it was a beautiful piece of architecture. But I remember walking down Minerva Street and turning the corner. And actually, I mean, I come from up north, in the countryside and so on, I felt St Vincent Crescent was like being at the sea. ‘Cause in those days you felt the wind came off the river. And there was something about walking down the Crescent, and I remember thinking how fabulous it was, erm, even though you could see it was run down. You know, the windows were all damaged, and there was this terrible habit, that the roofs leaked and what people did was they just put a board out, so the water would come pouring through usually above the windows and people would just put big wooden boards out and it would come flying back out the building! This whole, the whole of the Crescent had a massive renovation done, which would have been, I think, mid-eighties when there were ninety percent grants for renovation. That’s when most of the Glasgow tenements were brought up to a reasonable standard in terms of the roofs not leaking, ‘cause that’s really what had done the damage all these years. But I think multiple occupancies, and in those days, most of the basements and cellars were not habitable, they were, um, derelict, and I remember there was tramps sleeping in them and it was just - but I liked it, ‘cause it had this, compared with the ‘west’ west end it had this edge. And the whole area was, it felt quite Victorian, but you know, Dickensian? So there was something very colourful and interesting about it. And nearly all the main doors in those days were commercial lets. So the one, number forty-three, had been an electricians, but a lot of them were small businesses and the whole street didn’t have - it had that mixed thing, but Glasgow Council had made a decision that they were going to demolish everything south of Argyle Street, so the Crescent was part of that. And this whole area was going to become light industrial. That’s why it’s mixed. You know, you’ve got car sales, you’ve still got, I suppose, Staples, you know, there still is a mix. Personally I think it’s more interesting for artists.