This is the third in our series of glimpses into the Red Guide Books produced by Ward-Lock. This particular title, Glasgow, was published around 1939-40. The books don’t tend to be dated anywhere obvious i.e. not on the cover or the publisher’s credits page as might be usual. Sometimes they require a little bit of searching to find the publication date and, in this edition, it can be found at the foot of one of the pages of adverts. Occasionally the maps within the Guide Book are dated and this can also give a clue as to the date of publication.
(Above, Ward-Lock Glasgow front cover)
(Below, Ward-Lock Glasgow introduction page)
(Click on any of the images to enlarge)
The Introduction to Glasgow page (above) is quite interesting. In the first line we’re told that the population, in 1939, is ‘well over a million’. I think most of us would expect that figure to have increased, perhaps substantially, over the last 75 years but the official figure is now around 625,000. Some of this can be put down to boundary changes but Wikipedia also gives the following explanation:
Glasgow’s population peaked in 1931 at 1,088,000, and for over 40 years remained over 1 million. However, in the 1960s the population started to decline, partly due to relocation to the “new towns” in clearings of the poverty-stricken inner city areas like the Gorbals.
For those who don’t know Glasgow, the Gorbals was a notorious slum area on the south side of the River Clyde with a high population density, many living in tenement buildings. The Gorbals was often referred to as the most dangerous place in the UK in the 1930s.
Mapping in the Glasgow Guide Book, as in previous books, was provided by John Bartholomew and Son, the Edinburgh based cartographic company. The name of Bartholomew is still around in the mapping world today, albeit only as part of Harper Collins – the name Collins Bartholomew is given to Harper Collins cartographic datasets. The map extract, above, shows an area around Kelvingrove in Glasgow.
Adverts from these Guide Books are always entertaining and the one below is no different. Take a look at the Salvation Army advert on the right hand page, below. Who could resist the plea to send a gift to ‘Slum mothers and Children’ so that they may go on a ‘Slum Holiday’?
The advert for the National Provincial Bank (later to become the National Westminster and then NatWest), below right, attempts to paint the bank in a somewhat different light to how we perhaps perceive banks today.
“Not the least of the attractions of the city of London, are the half-hidden by-ways and alleys, so rich in historic association. The ancient rights of way, thus jealously guarded against the encroachments of the master-builder, are a permanent witness to the great traditions of the city. Amongst the institutions proud to share in such a heritage is the National Provincial Bank.”
All the Ward-Lock Red Guides used photographs as well as maps to illustrate the publication. The photos were black & white and usually of well known landmarks or scenic views. The picture below shows George Square in Glasgow from the 1939 Guide.
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