On Tuesday morning, our group convened on Tradeston Street outside the Clydesdale Paint and Oil Works, a derelict red brick building identifiable by an engraving of a trademark stag. The factory was owned by The Clydesdale Paint Company, formerly Blacklock & Macarthur, and produced lead paints, oils, greases and varnishes for domestic use and export. The original blonde sandstone factory dating 1888 was demolished around 2013, leaving behind the Venetian red brick warehouse which we see today.
Although historical records are scarce, it is possible to piece together some indication that Clydesdale Paint Company was one of a handful of paint manufacturers in Glasgow, an offshoot of the wider chemical industries. The Paint Works on Tradeston Street rubbed shoulders with other industries including Flour Mills and Gas Works, as well as local shops inlcuding a Herbalist and Drugists.
The area was dramatically reconfigured in the 1960s with the construction of the ring road, a bid to reduce congestion in the city centre. Tradeston occurs at the convergence of M8 and M77, and the Paint Works is sided by three lane, one way roads directing traffic out of the city onto these radial motorways. Correspondingly, much of the visual landscape is car-themed: as well as the traffic there is a large car park, dealership, valeting service and Lexus adverts splayed across billboards directed towards the stream of commuters.
Solving Homelessness in Glasgow
Like many of the major cities in the UK, Glasgow has a significant population of people identified as homeless. In 2017, according to Scotland shelter (Scotlandshelter.org.uk) Glasgow had a registered homeless population of 5,204 – by far the largest of any Scottish city. 12 months ago, 1 person was found begging every 75 metres along the so-called style mile which takes in Argyle Street, Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street – equating to 22 beggars in a mile, which remains the same now.
The Scottish parliament endorses that ‘A homeless person should have unconditional right to a permanent home’ and identified that providing homeless people with secure tenancies would reduce the risk of them being alcohol and substance abusers, thus keeping them off the streets for longer. However this sentiment is not matched by the amount of funding available to solve the problem of homelessness.
The Tradeston area of Glasgow, where the Clydesdale Oil and Paint works is located is already known by the homeless community of Glasgow as a part of the city where support is provided to the homeless and to drug addicts. Whilst the Tradeston area will already be recognised by members of Glasgow’s homeless community as a location that provides some support and facilities for the homeless, we want to provide not only a shelter for the homeless but a more community orientated and homely space, encouraging the homeless to persue skills and improve their quality of life.