Memories of Mount Florida, Glasgow

Back garden with the double shed, 1949
Me and mum, front of house
Dad mowing one of the front lawns
Front of house 1974, water tower back right

For football lovers in Scotland, Mount Florida is synonymous with the home of Scottish football, Hampden Park. Little did I realise that I would grow up in a prefab, at 18 Prospecthill Drive, within a short free kick of the hallowed old stadium. The 52 prefabs on the site were built by Blackburn’s, an aircraft manufacturer in Dumbarton, from surplus aluminium post-war.

We (my mum, dad and me) moved in 1949 when I was about 18 months old. Our house was set on a considerable sloping site, well back and above the street, with a large double front garden and an enormous back garden on two tiers with a rockery between, ideal for practising budding football skills from the lower to the upper level. The reason for the large site was, apparently, that the land had many old underground workings so only low-density housing was possible.

As an only child, I had my own bedroom to the front of the house and the large fitted cupboard in the corner stored all my toys, games and books.

It seemed that the prefab was a masterpiece of compact design with fitted cupboards in every room and a double shed in the garden, one for garden tools and one for coal.

A double-doored fire in the living room heated water although eventually an immersion water heater was installed. I have memories of helping to sweep the chimney on many occasions after it was set alight. The kitchen had a large pantry with venting to the outside, a broom cupboard, a Frigidaire fridge and a gas cooker. I can remember helping my mum to crank the handle of the detachable Acme wringer that fitted between the side-by-side deep, double sinks in the kitchen and have less fond memories of sitting between the sinks many times while my dad removed gravel residue from my knees with a stiff brush – ouch! – after various falls.

The prefab was hot in summer and very cold in winter – ice often formed on the inside of the aluminium window frames – and Valor paraffin heaters gave some welcome extra heating.
The prefab was my home until I left to get married in 1971 and they were all demolished, eventually, in June 1993.

Wonderful memories of growing up with friends in plenty of garden space.

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