Glasgow's Revitalised East End
Once overlooked in favour of the bohemian West End and the bustling city centre, Glasgow’s East End is now enjoying regeneration and a new lease of cultural life, as Nicola Paul discovers
Once a major industrial centre, Glasgow’s East End has long been associated with deprivation. Now, thanks to a cultural boom, the East End is giving the other parts of the city a run for their money.
The area is home to some long-standing Glaswegian institutions, of historical and cultural importance. With the Tennent’s Brewery – provider of Scotland’s other national drink – and the sales patter of the Barras Market, the area contains a true slice of Glasgow life. St Mungo’s Cathedral and the quiet of the Necropolis burial ground provide a stately and impressive backdrop to the ongoing renaissance of the area.
Nearby Glasgow Green is a perfect mix of botanical open space and culture: the park is often used for gigs and sporting events, and is also home to the People’s Palace. This social history museum depicts life in Glasgow dating back to 1750, and even houses Billy Connolly’s world-famous banana boots. Culture spotting can be thirsty work, so after all that appreciation there’s now an onsite brewery at the Green – WEST, where you can enjoy a pint and a spot of lunch.
What the West End is to café culture, the East End is to art. Establishing itself as a prime location for design and theatre in recent years, the area now has a strong artist’s community in residence. The opening of Trongate 103 has provided a huge boost to its cultural credentials. The innovatively designed new venue showcases new artists and provides a hub for community arts.
Nightlife in the area is low key but vibrant if you know where to look. There are a few well-established bars, including Mono and the 13th Note. The other areas of town still seem to have a stranglehold on the late-night clubbers, although this may well be something that will change soon as the artistic community continues to thrive in the area.
The make up of the East End community is already in the middle of significant change. Dennistoun in particular has experienced a huge housing boom, mostly due to the influx of young professionals looking to take advantage of the area’s close proximity to town and its lower prices. This could set the bar high for some trendy new bars around the town.
In the meantime, there is still a large focus on the East End’s other great love: football. The home-from-home for a large army of fans, Celtic Park’s position over in Parkhead has meant that the area is now brimming with pubs celebrating the beautiful game. This is particularly true in the Gallowgate, where only the most hardcore fans should attempt to enter on match days.
This rejuvenation looks set to continue. The Commonwealth Games, which will be held in the city in 2014, will provide a huge boost to the East End. The Scottish National Indoor Sports Arena and an athlete’s village are both being built in the area, with rumours abroad that the subway may even be extended in that direction.