The largest of the rows was at Mavis Valley, two miles east of Lambhill, built to house workers at the mines situated in the nearby Cadder woods.
At its height, the Vailley, as it was known, was home to over 1000 people. The first edition of the Ordnance Survey map, surveyed in 1858, shows a small grouping of cottages on an L-shape running at right angles from the canal towards the Wilderness Plantation – an 18th century formal garden established by the owners of the Cadder estate, now heavily overgrown.
By the second edition of the map in 1894, Mavis Valley had grown considerably to two long rows of cottages facing each other along a main street. With the demise of mining operations some time after the Cadder Pit Disaster in 1913 in which 22 local men lost their lives, Mavis Valley went into steep decline.
It was eventually taken over by squatters displaced from their homes by the war who inhabited the place unofficially until the 1950s. There are few traces left today of Mavis Valley – stumps of buildings, a barely discernible outline of the main street. Its name passed to the nearby dump, built on the site of the old pit the row once served.
Lochfauld, aka “The Shangie”
Taking its name from the nearby farm, the Lochfauld row was established a few years earlier than Mavis Valley, also to house workers at the Cadder mines. After the 1841 census, which records three resident families living there, Lochfauld grew rapidly. The first Ordnance Survey map of 1858 shows a more substantial row of dwellings built along the edge of the canal towpath, and at the time of its peak in 1891 there were 50 families living in the row, more or less all of them connected with the local ironstone mines.
The story goes that Lochfauld earned its nickname “the Shangie” from a passing sea captain who remarked that the ramshackle nature of the place reminded him somehow of Shanghai.
Another explanation could come from its Scots definition – meaning lean, scraggy or gaunt – which could conceivably describe Lochfauld’s impoverished, hard-bitten residents.
A shangie is also the word for a nuisance or troublemaker. In his “Ask Jack” column in the Evening Times, historian and writer Jack House – aka Mr Glasgow – speculated that the nickname may have come from the Scots word collieshangie, meaning a rumpus, a brawl or a commotion, something the rumbustious reputation of the row would seem to support.
From around 1860 Lochfauld had its own school. It was built by the Carron Company but ultimately paid for by the miners themselves through a levy on their wages. The school welcomed pupils from Mavis Valley and from the other cottages north of the canal. In 1872, the Education Act brought the school under the control of Cadder Parish School Board, who erected a new school building. Although Lochfauld was a predominantly Catholic settlement, the miners were refused permission to use the school on Sundays for religious instruction. The old school had been converted into two dwellings, one of which was occupied by the McAloon family where a visiting priest from Maryhill taught Sunday school. The Lochfauld miners ended up building their own school in what became the parish of St Agnes in Lambhill, over a mile away, on the other side of the canal.
Today, only a few sections of both of the Lochfauld school buildings are still visible and the site is heavily overgrown. Nothing remains of the cottages themselves – reports indicate that the occupants of the cottages were required to demolish their own houses as they vacated them, selling the stone to local builders and quarrymen.
Laigh Possil & Kenmure Row
Rivalries between the rows were common. While Lochfauld residents were ribbed for their looting of the grounded puffer ship, The Annie, Kenmure Row’s nickname memorialised the theft of a sheep…
Stolen from a nearby field, the beast was quickly butchered and the meat distributed amongst the residents of the row. When the police were called to investigate they found incriminating blood-stained wool and, although they failed to find a single perpetrator, the guilt was shared among the residents of the row, to be known thereafter as “Mutton Raw”.
One important means of communication between the opposite sides of the canal was the “punt” that was designed to ferry miners between Kenmure Row and Pit 17 and remained in use until 1929. The punt was a flat-bottomed boat attached to a chain that lay on the bed of the canal and secured at either side. The punt held two or three people at a time and you operated it by pulling yourself across from one side to the other.
It was a useful way to cross the canal, cutting out the long walk via Lambhill Bridge, and was often used for emergency visits to the nearest doctor’s surgery in Bishopbriggs. It was also a convenient way for Lochfauld residents to get to Mallon’s pub at Over Possil, not far from Laigh Possil row.
Lambhill Stables History & Heritage group have spent many hours researching the census records of the area to build a picture of the rapid changes to the demographic make up of the area. Their findings are summarised below:
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