Housing in Greater Easterhouse
Housing has always been a controversial subject in
Easterhouse. When the schemes opened, people coming
from the old tenements were delighted with their new
homes, especially their indoor toilets! Easterhouse
was a highly desirable option to families living in
the cramped single-ends of the inner city. Its two-bedroomed
flats were very spacious, and the experience was promoted
as ‘like living in the country’. People
had to earn a certain amount before even being considered
for a house in the area. But the joy of these modern
luxuries soon wore thin for many, as little consideration
was given be planners to the needs of the new residents.
At this time, there were few local amenities. There
were no supermarkets, and residents of Coxton Gardens
Sheltered Housing remember buying food and provisions
for their families at the small local grocery stores.
The proposed shopping centre at Bogbain and Shandwick
Street was delayed for years because of coal seems supposedly
Even when the population of the scheme rose to 60,000,
there was still no police station.
Education in Greater Easterhouse
Until the nineteenth century, children received very
little education in Greater Easterhouse, and indeed,
throughout the whole of Scotland. An Act of Parliament
was passed in the mid-seventeenth century which made
landlords responsible for providing a school in every
parish, but most of them ignored it.
In 1872, an Education Act gave School Boards, elected
by ratepayers, power over teaching provision. Old Monklands
School Board in Ballieston took over the running of
three private and four church schools.
Swinton Primary School opened on the 27th of August
1929. Pupils from the small schoolhouse in Easterhouse
moved there, as well as children who had previously
attended Ballieston School.
Hospital was situated on the Gartloch Road near the
village of Gartcosh. “Gart” in old scots
means a Garden. The name probably arose because the
estate had extensive gardens near Bishop’s Loch.
In 1889 the City of Glasgow bought Gartloch Estate
for nearly £8,600. Here the Glasgow District Lunacy
Board built an asylum. In 1896 the first patients were
A tuberculosis sanitorium was opened in 1902 and closed
after World War II. During the War, Gartloch was transformed
into an Emergency Medical Services hospital. Psychiatric
patients were transferred to other hospitals and a number
of “temporary” hutted wards built.
When Gartloch joined the National Health Service in
1948 it was placed under the Board of Management for
Glasgow North-Eastern Mental Hospitals. When the Greater
Glasgow Health Board was created in 1974 Gartloch was
placed within the Eastern District. From 1993 Gartloch
was under the Greater Glasgow Community and Mental Health
Services NHS Trust.
Gartloch Hospital closed in 1996.
Mental Health Care in the Nineteenth Century
When Gartloch Asylum opened in 1889, treatment for
mental health problems was very different than what
it is now. There are records of patients being treated
with ‘purgitives, bleeding of the temples with
leeches, shaving of the head and cold applications to
This straight jacket was made by the late James McCafferty,
a local tailor. Glasgow Museums do not have a straight
jacket in their collections. When it became illegal
to restrain patients in such a way, most straight jackets
were disposed of.
Deserts wi’ Windaes?
Easterhouse became internationally known for its poor
housing and lack of amenities. Billy Connolly called
such housing schemes as ‘deserts wi’ windaes’.
Many tenants in Greater Easterhouse are still living
in the houses that were constructed by the council in
‘Old metal windows, drafts, dampness…I
like the area, but I want the property improved’
Margaret, resident of Barlanark
New housing, both public and private, is being built
all over Greater Easterhouse today to replace the old
buildings that are rapidly decaying. More changes are
ahead, following the vote to proceed with Glasgow’s
housing stock transfer. Whatever happens, the lucky
residents who get flats in the new schemes are delighted.
‘I’ve got my own back and front door and
two toilets now…It’s your own property and
everyone looks after it well.’
Ian, resident of Hilltop View Housing