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.

Comments about this page

  • My Gran and Grandpa (Jenny and Jimmy Scott) lived at 32 hangingshaw place with their three daughters Irene, Marlene and Ann.

    All three daughters are still very close and speak fondly of the prefabs and the community spirit they felt.
    They were heartbroken when the prefabs were torn down and wish they could still visit their old family home.

    By Rachel McFadyen (26/12/2022)
  • My mum and dad lived in Ibrox and had there first child Patricia It wasn’t ideal living with the inlaws so my dad was the first to be offered a prefab at Prospecthill Drive Number 5.
    I was next to be born in 1950 then Avril 1953.
    I have great memories playing with everyone in the drive cold days and warm.
    There were 52 prefabs with 2 bedrooms a bathroom Kitchen and living room. Outside was the coal shed and the other my dad insulated and he had his radio ham technology out in it and I used to talk all over the world to radio ham enthusiasts.
    On Prospecthill Road where the police station now stands this was Holyrood Annex School and close beside was Mc Guigans a large house which prefab children played in.
    Men used to go to the football matches and they hosted Scotland vs England that day the men threw money into garden and I made a fortune.
    We mostly attended Mt Florida primary school and later we attended either Battlefield Secondary or Queens park.
    As we grew up we watched many die and my dad Jim Atcheson sadly died from Leukaemia in the house but happy memories my eldest sister Patricia married and then in 1972 I married from the house as did Avril.
    Mum was photographed with Robert Dean’s in the photo by Evening Times reporters got wind of them going to be pulled down.
    In 1992 we had to pack mum off to Brisbane Street where some of her prefab neighbours went.
    Mrs Margaret Smith sadly didn’t last long followed by Mrs Emily Bryce Mr Robert Dean’s Mrs Jenny Kyle and Mrs May Lindsay they all died and mum so them all go.
    Mum hung on and 3 years ago she passed away at the ripe old age of 96.
    Every person young or old missed the prefabs and to this day they pulled them down and the lands till stands 30 years untouched.

    By Elizabeth Morrison (24/09/2022)
  • My Aunt Flora and Uncle Jimmy and wee cousin Moira lived in a prefab in Lauriston near Falkirk. I used to go and stay with them during the holidays including around New Year. Funnily, I don’t remember it being particularly cold possibly because our own house wasn’t much better!
    I always took pleasure in seeing the Mount Florida prefabs given my own fond memories of them and felt quite sad when they were demolished.

    By Gordon Evans (22/08/2022)
  • I lived at 40 Hangingshaw Place, the last one before turning into the drive with my mum (June) dad (Andy) brother (Jack) and had a wonderful childhood. Yes the house was freezing in the winter but i loved scraping the ice off the windows, a simple pleasure. Once the fire was lit and the paraffin stove it was a cosy wee house. We were so lucky to have our own detached house with all the essential amenities and a lovely back to grow our own vegetables and the front garden which was my mothers pride and joy. With all the colourful flowers. I left in 1968 to get married age 19 but my brother was there till the bulldozers moved in and he was forced out of the house where he had been born in the back bedroom in 1954.
    So sad but happy memories.

    By June Anderson (10/05/2022)
  • Passed many times on my walk over Prospecthill to the many games of BB footie I played in the 70’s and 80’s. They were a unique feature of our landscape. Remember also the prefabs that were adjacent to Queen’s Park recreation ground on Prospecthill Rd opposite Langside College. So many footballs ended up in those gardens 😂. Great memories… thanks for the reminder.

    By Stephen Walls (10/05/2022)
  • Hi Bill. My Gran Mrs Ritchie and her son David and grandson Alex lived at Prospecthill Drive. Can’t remember the number. Happy days.

    By Lorna Glaubitz (24/04/2022)
  • Hi Bill, I lived in Hangingshaw Place and also got married in 1971. I think it would be hard to imagine a more ideal childhood….even with ice inside windows.
    I remember that no one at school would believe that we had a fridge and an inside bath. I remember the men all meeting to plan gardens. They had all come from tenements . They took great pride in keeping area pristine. Liz Watson

    By Liz Watson (15/02/2021)

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