Townhead is an area of the city of Glasgow, Scotland.


The original and oldest part of Glasgow, Townhead is where St. Mungo had his encampment by the banks of the Molendinar Burn. Its strong association with the man is evidenced by the fact that three streets, a church, a school, a museum and the cathedral are named after him, the most famous of which is Glasgow Cathedral.

To find out more about St Mungo visit the site of Townhead's Catholic church that bears his name [] . The church community, as well as bearing his name, carries on his mission. It provides many services to the local community, including WRAP a daily support to asylum seekers and refugees, a retirement retreat and spiritual and social events for all ages. To quote their website "It is the only place in Glasgow's historic centre where each morning, midday, and evening the Christian community gathers for prayer and worship."

The oldest part of Townhead, and Glasgow is the Provand's Lordship, Glasgow's oldest house, and the Glasgow Cathedral. The Provand's Lordship house was built in the 15th century. Bishop Andrew Muirhead built Provand's Lordship as part of Saint Nicholas Hospital, an almshouse for the poor.Saint Nicholas Hospital provided a lifestyle for twelve poor men as well their care, they contributed through work in the Hospital, Bible study and a products from the herb gardens they tended. In 1997 a herb garden was planted at the back of the Provand's Lordship. Like the original St Nicolas garden, the herb grown are those known for healing properties and medicinal use.

Another Historical event that has left its mark on the areas is the Martyrdom of the Covenanters. At the top of Castle Street was the city limits beyond which was the "Howgate". This was the scene of public hangings in the 16th century. A scene that continued until 1781. Most of those martyred are believe to have been Covenanters. Junction 15 of the M8 motorway replaces the old "Howgate" area.

Today outside the new Martyrs' Church (moved to this location in 1975) is the Martyrs stone. It marks executions in 1684 of James Nisbet (a farmer from Louden Parish in Ayrshire), James Lawson and Alex Wood. The stone originally stood in front of the Townhead library (which was at the M8 junction 15 East bound on ramp) which, along with a large part of the once densily packed Townhead, was demolished to make way for the M8 motorway. This scattered the once large community through out Glasgow in the early 70s and removed many of its old churches and local amenities over the next 15 years.

Within the Martyrs church is the "Martyrs church bell" which has been preserved from the old Martyrs West church building. This church also provides services for the community including youth support work on the streets and in its building through its youth project SIMY. It also hold a badminton club, ladies group and different styles of worship and prayer. A lot of its members where among those scattered in the 70s and retell the story of all the churches and communities in this area. Among their collection are local magazine and letters from the early 1900s till present time which tell a powerful story of Glasgow's development.

Amongst the most famous and oldest of Townhead's streets is Rottenrow. It was from this high vantage point that St. Mungo could see down the River Clyde and be forewarned of the approach of any hostile people.

Rottenrow was also home to the Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital. This hospital is now demolished and replaced by the dynamic garden; an open park over looking the city with places to sit; and a giant safety pin with stork on top.

The Great Eastern Hotel is on Duke Street at the foot of John Knox Street. Originally this great building was known as Alexander's Mill, a cottom spinning mill owned by Richard Alexander and his brothers. In the 1840s Glasgow and Manchester where the cotton capitals of the world. In 1907, the Great Eastern was a model lodging house. "Models" (pronounced Moadles) were for the poorest and most unfortunate of the citizenry. Today plans are underway to restore the hotel to its former glory. Using the original features, such as the glasswork, the building will be laid out as modern flats.

Another great cotton family shaped the area around Townhead. Alexander Dennistoun was a part of a family of cotton traders from Golfhill whose business grow founding businesses in New Orleans, Havre de Grace, New York, Melbourne and London. There main offices where at the corner of Montrose st and Ingram street (now a cafe and flats). Alexander Dennistoun is remember as the founder in 1861 of Dennistoun. In the years running up to 1861, as funds allowed, Dennistoun added to Golfhill the properties of Craig Park, Whitehall, Meadow Park, Broom Park, Annfield, Bellfield and Wester Craigs laying them out in streest and terraces and drives. The architect James Salmon was the surveyor and supervisior.


Located virtually in the city centre, it is bordered to the west by the area of Cowcaddens, to the north by Sighthill and the east by Royston. The housing is primarily ex-council stock (Glasgow has no council houses since their transfer to the Glasgow Housing association), although there are a number of student residences for International Christian College, Glasgow Caledonian University and Strathclyde University which are nearby. Most of the housing are fairly modern "8 in a block" flats, although its most visual features are the four 24-storey high-rise flats named "Two Taylor Place", " fifteen Grafton Place", " seven St Mungos Place" and " twelve Dobies Loan" (pictured).

Transport links

Townhead is also well situated for transport links with Glasgow Queen Street Station and Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station on its doorstep. There are two pubs, "The Hurdie Gurdie" and "The Lee" as well as a small local shopping area in the centre of the houses. The shops and the houses will be very familiar to fans of the BBC show Chewin the Fat.

Famous residents

The most famous person to come from Townhead in Glasgow is Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The Martyrs' Public School was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh as a gift to the community he grew up in. It is still standing overlooking junction 15 of the M8 motorway.

External links

* [ St Mungos website]
* [ International Christian College]
* [ Strathclyde University]
* [ ICC Youth work course and SIMY]
* [ Great Men of Glasgow]
* [ Hidden Glasgow]

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