Caledonia Road United Presbyterian Church built in 1856 was the ‘peak’ project of Alexander Thomson considered by Ronald Mcfadzean. The Church is situated on a podium, which is Thomson’s solution regarding the heavy traffic at this junction. The ground level facades contain limited decoration and the windows in podium are also located just above the pedestrian human height.
The Local Community:
To gain a true sense of what it is like to live in this area we interviewed some locals;
We walked with two elderly women Ann and Angela during one late afternoon. They have been living in the apartment on Pollokshaws Rd until now. Their apartment is about 80 meters southwest to the church and is cut off from its surroundings by three primary traffic routes. They said it was frustrating that the Church was always out of repair and in a position of risk since they were born. Until recently nothing of interest happens in this area.
Indicated by another couple, Robert and Tracy, 80%-85% inhabitants here are Elderly. The impermeability of the site and lack of close public social areas and activities negatively impact community life.
The North New Residential Blocks:
The apartment area north to Cumberland street contains large blocks ranging from 50 to 120 meters long, and between 3-5 floors heigh. There are small gaps of 1-3 meters in-between some apartments. Fences are elected within the gaps which further indicates a hostile environment.
Vandalized Trains Track Arches to the South:
Not only is the traffic a significant issue in this area, but the poor physical condition of the surrounding buildings and infrastructure mean people lack the desire to spend time here. Many of the archway spaces are available for rent and while some are used for small businesses (a garage and a takeaway) most are used as storage, which are all locked by fences. Vandalism is also apparent in the unused archway spaces with some appearing to be inhabited at night by the homeless.
The Newer Residential Blocks to the East:
The tenement housing area east to Laurieston Road are of a smaller scale compared to the area north of Cumberland Street. The front doors of households are directly connected to the street. Houses mixed with small apartment blocks are situated in a crescent alongside a park and playground in the centre. The dense trees followed by a car park next to the main road thoroughfare blocks the noise and creates a barrier between residence and traffic. Whilst initially appearing to improve the area, this barrier also discourages the east-west pedestrian access to the Church.
We spoke to a young mother, Sarah, who moved into this area half an year ago. Her usual walking route is towards the east and she rarely ventures across the ‘island’ where the church is located.
Overall, the three residential areas adjacent to Caledonia Church don’t have common activities as a larger community.