SPORT and Leisure
Before the days of television there were many sports and leisure facilities
in and around Jordanhill. Over the years many of these have disappeared although
thankfully quite a number remain. The pressure from housing developers
constantly threatens the remaining open spaces, the falling memberships
of bowling and tennis clubs are a serious concern and the City Council’s
apparent lack of determination to preserve open spaces could all lead to major
changes and further losses within our community in future years.
For many years up till the 1960’s and 1970’s there were 4 cinemas within reasonable walking distance of Jordanhill. For more details refer to “100 Years of Glasgow’s Amazing Cinemas” by Bruce Peter.
1 The “Ascot” on Great Western Road just east of Anniesland Station. It was built in striking art deco style and opened in 1939 with seating for 1900. In 1950 it was bought by one of the giant organisations and renamed the “Gaumont Anniesland”. In 1964 another giant took over and its name changed to the “Odeon Anniesland”. It eventually closed as a cinema in 1975 and subsequently operated as a bingo hall, before lying empty for several years. It has now been used as a basis for luxury flats.
2 The “Boulevard” on Great Western Road at Knightscliffe Avenue (part of the current B&Q site) was opened in 1928 and seated 1500. It was renamed the “Vogue” in 1939, it closed in 1959 and was demolished.
3 The “Commodore” on Dumbarton Road almost opposite the foot of Westland Drive was opened in 1932. It was built on the site of a previous cinema called the “Palladium” which was demolished in 1924. In 1936 it was renamed the “Odeon Scotstoun” and it closed following a fire in 1967. It then had a brief existence as a bingo hall but it was demolished in 1976.
4 The “Avenue” in Dumbarton Road where the bridge over the Tunnel approaches now stands was opened as a music hall in 1913. It became a cinema called the “Victoria” in 1930 and in 1945 to mark the end of the War it became the “Victory”. It closed in 1964, became a carpet warehouse and was subsequently demolished in 1980.
Inspection of the old local maps shows that there were four purpose built curling ponds in and around Jordanhill a century ago. These ponds had low sides to contain shallow ponds of water which would freeze quickly in winter........before the days of global warming.
1 In the playing fields of Old Anniesland directly opposite what is now Willoughby Drive. It was shown on the 1895 Ordnance Survey map but had gone by the 1932 edition.
2 In the playing field of Glasgow Academy’s grounds (access from Helensburgh Drive) immediately behind the fence at the back of the present houses numbers 58 to 72 in Munro Road. That pond was still shown on the 1969 map. See the Ordnance Survey map extract dated 1932 below (in the bowling green section)
3 In the grounds of Gartnavel Hospital, close to the railway embankment, a short distance in from the present gate on Shelley Road. It first appeared on the 1913 map and was still shown in 1939.
4 In Victoria Park within the fenced “plant nursery” area at the north east corner. A lot is known about this pond and it is still in use by the Partick Curling Club today.
The Partick Curling Club was established in 1842 and in 1900 they acquired a long lease on the site in the new Victoria Park for the construction of a clubhouse and ponds. The clubhouse remains today and is used regularly for meetings of the Club which is still active although virtually all games are now played on indoor rinks. In 1971 the Club produced a book detailing its history called “Partick Curling Club, 1842 – 1970”
1 In Victoria Park as at present. When Victoria Park was first formed in the 1890’s, it did not include the present football pitches at Danes Drive, the bowling greens the cricket pitch or the high ground behind the display beds. That area remained as fields. By 1913 the park had been extended to what we know today and three bowling greens had been formed in their present location. Within a few years the current layout of four rinks was in place.
2 Jordanhill Bowling Club in Randolph Road, Broomhill. This club was founded in 1899 with one rink and a “bowl house”. At that time there was no bowling club in Jordanhill so residents from the new Jordanhill houses joined this club. (see next entry). Before it was founded, Broomhill Bowling Club and Balshagray Bowling Club were already in existence at the foot of Broomhill Drive so some other name had to be found for it. Quite why “Jordanhill Bowling Club” was chosen is not known since that part of Broomhill was never remotely associated with Jordanhill. In the first few years of its existence there were financial problems and a committee was set up to search for a suitable new site for the Club. Their recommendation was for the site now occupied by Woodend Bowling and Tennis Club but the members rejected the suggestion and agreed to stay where they were. The club still exists in Broomhill today.
3 Woodend Bowling and Tennis Club in its current site on Chamberlain Road was formed in 1909 and the full history of the Club’s first fifty years can be found in the booklet published for its jubilee in 1959. When the members of Jordanhill Bowling Club (in Broomhill, see above) rejected their committee’s recommendation to acquire the land at Chamberlain Road, a number of dissident members from the Jordanhill area decided to go it alone and canvassed for support in Jordanhill. A meeting was held in Jordanhill Church Hall on 5 December 1908 attended by about 100 residents and it was agreed to proceed to form a new club. The site was feued from the Smiths of Jordanhill and the cost of forming the two greens, four tennis courts and a pavilion was estimated at around £1500. Exactly six months later on 5 June 1909 the opening ceremony took place using the one green which was completed by that time. The original clubhouse did not last very long before it was found to be too small and to be structurally unstable. In November 1928 the present clubhouse was opened at a cost of £2900. That clubhouse has now been demolished, part of the site has been sold off for housing and a new pavilion is now in place.
See the website at http://www.woodendbltc.co.uk/.
4 Anniesland Bowling and Tennis Club, 101 Helensburgh Drive. City Bakeries established the single bowling green and tennis courts in 1931 for use by their staff. In the 60’s ownership changed to Drysdales Pumps, again mainly for staff but associate membership was available to non-staff. Then in the mid 70’s the premises were acquired by Weirs of Cathcart who already had a staff bowling club in Cathcart so they made a distinction and called this club “Weirs of Yoker” even though there was no Weir factory in Yoker.
In 1977 Weirs decided to sell up so the members got together, bought the club and renamed it Anniesland Bowling and Tennis Club.
5 Yarrow Recreation Club, 223 Anniesland Road. In 1925 Castlebank Laundry (which stood on the north side of Anniesland Road east of the row of cottages known as Compass Cottages) formed the bowling green and tennis courts for its employees and called it the Rothley Bowling Club. In 1945 the site was purchased by Yarrow and Co Ltd for their employees and a second bowling green was laid out. It became the Yarrow Recreation Club. The original Rothley Club was opened by a Mrs Fridge using a silver jack, and on the silver jubilee of the Yarrow Club’s acquisition in 1995, Mrs Fridge’s daughter was invited to return (aged 90) and she presented that original 1925 silver jack to the present club.
6 Barclay Curle Recreation Ground (now Burlington Gate housing development). The attached extract from the Ordnance Survey map, 1932 revision, shows the ground with two bowling greens and a pavilion.
1 Barclay Curle Recreation Ground, shown above, disused from the 60’s, now part of the Burlington Gate Housing Development.
2 Glasgow High School playing fields, shown in the map above and still available into the 70’s. Now part of the large car park within the High School development.
3 Woodend Bowling and Tennis Club, Chamberlain Road (see entry under “Bowling” above)
4 Anniesland Bowling and Tennis Club, Helensburgh Drive (see entry under “Bowling” above)
5 Yarrow Recreation Club, Anniesland Road (see entry under “Bowling” above)
6 Victoria Park, still in use today.
7 Jordanhill School. In the early days of the school, in the 1930’s, there was just a small tennis court about a quarter of the size of the present blaes area.
8 Jordanhill College. Following the construction of the main College building in the 1920’s, seven tennis courts were laid out behind it (to the west) and while some of these survived into the 70’s they were progressively removed for the construction of the new library building and other college developments.
9 In the 1930’s Park School for Girls created a sports ground on Anniesland Road and incorporated several tennis courts. See the entry regarding this site under ”Sports Grounds” below.
1 The swimming pool for Jordanhill College was built as a stand-alone building opened in 1963 and stood within the College grounds just west of the main gate on Southbrae Drive. Its use was discontinued in 2001 and it lay empty while a decision was made on its future. When Strathclyde University sold off part of the campus to housing developers its fate was sealed and it was demolished in 2004.
John Stevenson, the Swimming Co-ordinator of Jordanhill College and a local resident, ran swimming classes for local children in the pool from about 1970 till 1999 and made a huge contribution to the development and enjoyment of this sport within our community.
2 The College had another pool known as the “small teaching pool” which was situated behind the library building. This pool closed about a year ago with all associated staff now transferred to the main Strathclyde Campus in town.
3 Whiteinch Baths in Medwyn Street (near the present Whiteinch Library). These were opened in 1926, refurbished in 1995 and closed in 1998 when the new leisure pool at Scotstoun Sports Centre opened.
4 Scotstoun Sports Centre, Danes Drive, opened in 1998.
1 The High School grounds at Anniesland Cross (known as Old Anniesland), with access from Anniesland Road near Helensburgh Drive. At the end of the 1800’s, a small area (about a quarter of the present site and confined to the north east corner) was transformed from fields into a football ground and cricket ground for the “Academical Club” (Glasgow Academy). By the 1910’s and still the same size, the site had changed hands and became the sports ground for Glasgow University. By the 1930’s the site had expanded to its present size and had been bought by Glasgow High School.
2 Glasgow Academical Club grounds in Helenburgh Drive (known as New Anniesland) was formed in the early part of the 1900’s, and formally opened in 1905 after they had sold their original grounds to Glasgow University (see above). The Club held a Centenary Dinner in marquees in the grounds in August 2005. The original clubhouse, built in 1905, still exists on site although its appearance has been changed by extensions and additions to the frontage.
3 Glasgow Academy grounds (the School playing fields) on Anniesland Road opposite Knightswood Secondary School Until the 1920’s there had been a North Lodge for Jordanhill Mansion situated approximately where the present clubhouse now stands and from that lodge there was a driveway flanked on both sides by a line of mature trees which continued southwards along what is now Seggielea Road and into what became the College grounds. The creation of the sports ground and the development of the local housing in the 20’s resulted in the removal of these trees (and the lodge).
4 Glasgow Academy Sports Ground on Ryvra Road (behind the present Fire Station) known as “Windyedge”. The 1948 OS map shows a large “Refuse Heap” on this site, but by the 60’s it had become the present sports ground.
5 Park School for Girls created a sports ground on Anniesland Road at the end of the 20’s long before the housing Estate on Jordanhill Drive was built. Laurelbank School for Girls created a sports ground to the east of Park School’s grounds and when the two schools merged, the grounds became known as Laurel Park Grounds. These playing fields were lost to housing development and the City Council accepted a cash sum from the developers in lieu of the permanent loss of open space. This sum was earmarked for upgrading some derelict sports fields in Drumchapel.
A few years ago Glasgow Academy acquired the site and has connected it to its grounds at Ryvra Road (see above). This site is now known as “Lower Windyedge”.
6 Barclay Curle Site on Crow Road, see map earlier on this webpage. This playing field lay untended for many years and was used as a kick-about site for local children until it was sold for the construction of the Burlington Gate Housing Development..
Victoria Park pond was used in the past for the hobby of sailing model boats. I remember as a youngster in the early 1950’s coming by tramcar from Kelvinbridge (beside Glasgow University) to the park with my parents to sail my model yacht along with dozens of other keen modellers of all ages. On special occasions in recent years, such as the the Flower Show, (which will not be returning to Victoria Park) a group of club members have put on a show of radio controlled motorised boats on a small section of the pond but sadly nowadays the pond is normally a mecca only for swans, ducks and seagulls. Local residents who still pursue this hobby now use the pond in Queens Park.
18 May 2005. revised 22 June 2008
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