Glasgow 1950s
 
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Horse Carts in Glasgow

(from a letter)

We lived near Glasgow in the 1950’s when there was a regular passage of horse-drawn railway carts from St. Enoch station to Buchanan Street station. This involved a pull up the long hill of West Nile Street. Most streets in Glasgow in those days were still paved with granite setts between tramlines, there still being corporation tramcars - or “Cors” as they were locally known.* Up West Nile street was a double row of long granite ledger stones corresponding to the width of the cart wheels. This meant a rattle every six feet or so instead of every six inches had the carts had to run over the normal setts.

Going up the hill there was always a chain-horse, and I well recall the shape of the hooks used to attach the chain horse to the shafts. I also recall seeing the chain horses being led back down the hill on their own, but with chains dangling.

Glasgow, being built on a square pattern, had many traffic lights, and in those parts of the city which were on the flat, one of the sights to be seen was that of a cart being driven pretty fast and with two horses, being pulled up when an “amber” unexpectedly appeared. Two Clydesdales being pulled up standing with sparks flying from their rear hooves was a sight which you don’t see in these enlightened times of disc brakes and Ferodo. It certainly put the fear of God into any driver attempting to jump the lights.

© The Estate of William John Green, 2004