Friday, 8 October 2010

Paddy's Market: the Last Day

It is 15 May 2009 and we are on the Bridgegate (pronounced 'Briggait') down by the Clyde beside the Saltmarket- up there in front of the spire is . . .
. . .one end of Bridgegate, the old fish market - now an arts centre called the Briggait. See
I worked here in 1963 when it was a fish market - unloading boxes of iced fish. The old guys wouldn't let you wear gloves. Bloody nightmare at 5 in the morning. One of the dealers once gave me a bundle of notes to hold and said 'Now you can say you've held £300'.
But we are heading for the other end  of the Bridgegate. On this day,  Glasgow City Council finally closed the 200-year-old Paddy's Market in Shipbank Lane. See

Said a Glasgow councillor: 'the hottest of crime hot spots in the city of Glasgow is Shipbank lane itself' -  a rather debatable statement given the problems associated with a much larger market - the Barras at Barrowland.  See
However,  the Barras can (just about) be sold as a tourist attraction, whereas Paddy's Market couldn't be sold as much of an attraction to anyone above the poverty line- it was once jokingly described as a place where middle-class students came to buy working-class cast-offs, but in truth it was a place where the poor bought from the poor. Not the image the Glasgow marketing men want to sell.
As for the council judgement on criminality, it was greeted with some mirth at the time and acquired extra resonance less than a year later,  in March 2010,  when the City 's Leader of the Council had to resign after  buying cocaine from a dealer in a pub. See
for the occasion - just a few days after the Council Leader's resignation - when asylum seekers marched past a silent City Chambers.

Shipbank Lane is down behind the wee clock tower
The side of the coffin reads PADDYS MARKET DIED 15/5/2009. It is going to be delivered to the City Chambers

There was what I thought an unnecessarily sizeable police presence, given the age and condition of the market traders 

Glasgow High Court down there on the left. 

The market as it used to be. Old Glasgow has many evocative ravaged-by-time structures such as that arch: the level above could be a portal to the Glasgow region of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere 


  1. I suppose for most Glaswegians Paddy's was a proverbial place that everybody knew about but few actually visited other than as a tourist. If its erasure is to be regretted at all it is probably in the trend it represents of universal homogenization, but I for one have no idea what it means for the people who used to trade there.

  2. Many of them moved to the Barras Mike. There was a lot of sadness about the day it ended -

    'Festivals end as Festivals must'

  3. I intended to film the end of Paddy's but was going through a jaded patch in my filmmaking career and bloody missed out on that. Glad you captured some nice images there.

  4. Cheers David - I had to shoot off and get sprog so missed the visit to George Square alas. I don't think anyone else was taking pics so glad I got something of the last day

  5. Bring back paddy's market today

  6. We want the great paddy's shopping market back bring it back

  7. Hi David, I don't know where this site came from. It's great, I especially liked the Necropilis ones, If you have any ones of Nethan Street, Govan, which is where I was brought up, or know where I can get a copy of one of the top end of the street, where we lived up in the attic at 73, that would be great. I have2/3 of the' Street, from the Mitchell, but none of the top end of the Street. I've been trying for 4years for a picture of our attic, but it seems impossible. I even wrote to Thermotank, which were opposite us, but no luck. I'll keep looking on your site. Thanks for your patience.
    o luck.

  8. My Uncle Jimmy Sloan used to sell second hand watches in Paddies Market in the 60s and 70s. I remember it as a rough old place that smelt of rat pee, but you could get a bargain or two or find a stolen bike :)

  9. Also funny enough when I was reading Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere I thought of Paddys Market.