Place Names (G) Gaitskell Avenue - The Grocery
Gaitskell Avenue, Alexandria
This street is on the Argyll Estate and was built in the 1970's. Gaitskell Avenue is named after Hugh Gaitskell, Labour politician and leader of the Labour Party in the UK from 1955 until his death in 1963.
Gallacher Crescent, Balloch
Named after Robert Gallacher, a Vale Labour Councillor, of the 1960 - 80's.
Gallacher Way, Renton
This street in the new Cordale development of the mid 1990's is named after one of Renton's favourite sons, Richard “Skeets” Gallacher, a flyweight-boxing champion in the 1940's. Although his professional career was cut short by injury, Skeets had an illustrious amateur one, and was viewed as the best amateur flyweight in the world after victories over American and French champions. Skeets was involved in coaching youngsters in boxing in Renton for many years. He passed away in 2013.
Gallangad Burn, Caldarvan & Croftamie
This burn rises near the eastern foot of Doughnot Hill, which is in the hills behind Bowling. It then meanders in the eastern hills of the Vale in a northeasterly direction for about 8 miles, before joining the Endrick at Croftamie. It also sometimes appears in old maps and documents as Gallengad, as does the farm of the same name at Caldarvan. For the last 2.75 miles before joining the Endrick, it is known as the Catter.
Gallowhill, Luss Parish
This is the only property in the area actually carrying the title of Gallowhill. It lies on the west side of the A82, about half a mile north of its junction with the B832 Muirlands road. Here the feudal lord - in this case the Colquhouns - dispensed “justice” until the late 18th century. The hillocks were used as an open-air court, and a Caledonian Pine acted as the gallows. There were three open-air “centres of justice” around the Loch, all located in rural areas. At Tarbet where the MacFarlanes dispensed “justice” and Catter where the Buchanans and then Montroses were the executioners, as well as here, close to Rossdhu.
Garden City, the Alexandria
The Garden City, Argyll Street, Alexandria. This is the name of 4 houses at the bottom of Argyll Street ie the south east side, which back on to the Argyll Park. They were built as part of the national Garden City movement, which was founded in England in 1898. Garden Cities were to be planned, self contained communities, surrounded by greenbelts. Two were built in England – Letchworth Garden City in 1903, and nearby Welwyn Garden City (which has retained its full name) in 1920.
The idea was that in the proposed Garden Cities, smaller, two storey houses, surrounded by front and back gardens should be built to replace the teeming and decaying tenements of the industrial cities in Europe and North America. At the time, the plans for the Vale Garden City were particularly ambitious and it was intended that Scotland’s largest Garden City would be built there. The Argyll Motor Company seems to have participated in the scheme, which would have been typical of its enlightened and innovative thinking.
In line with this ambition, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll came and cut the first sod in Argyll Street in October 1913. This was something of a coup for the Vale and a clear indication of how seriously the project was taken by society at large. Princess Louise was Queen Victoria’s daughter, some biographers say her favourite child. She was well ahead of her time as a royal princess, in fact she still would be. She was a feminist, politically liberal, a more than competent artist and sculptress, a supporter of modern thought and culture, and very good looking. Supported by her mother, she had refused to marry the minor European, usually German, royalty on offer, but instead had chosen a love match to a British commoner. Admittedly the heir to the Duke of Argyll isn’t exactly a commoner by anyone’s standards but a royal, but it was the first time that the child of a sovereign of the United Kingdom had married anyone outside of a member of another royal family. The Argyll’s owned Rosneath Castle (now long gone) and Princess Louise stayed there from time to time, so its quite possible that she fitted in the sod cutting with a stay at Rosneath.
Although four houses were completed before the project was halted, the ambition was not matched by reality, for a number of reasons. Probably of equal importance were the facts that Argyll Motors went bankrupt in June 1914 and the First World War broke out 6 weeks later. Garden Cities were furthest from most people’s minds, indeed long term house-building was off the agenda. Munitions had top priority. The land on which the Garden City would have stood was taken up by the Huts, and also by an explosive factory, the Lyddite, which occupied what became the Argyll Park and the Swimming Pool.
While a Garden City was not built in the Vale, it is clear that the thinking behind it strongly influenced the design of the council’s inter-war housing estates. With the exception of a handful of blocks of flats in the centre of Renton, Alexandria and Bonhill, in all of the new estates of the 1920’s and 30’s, council tenants had a garden, and lived in a two-storey small terrace or semi-detached house, so all was by no means lost for the Garden City movement.
“The place of the humped hill” in Gaelic - garradh being a place or enclosure, and carn being humped hill. Documented as Gartcarne in 1485. The humped hill is obviously the Dumpling, or Duncryne to give it its proper name. Like Croftamie, there was not actually a village at Gartocharn until about 1850. There is also an entry for Gartocharn in the Lochside Villages pages.
Geggles, The, Loch Lomond
This is the name given to the very narrow and shallow passage of water between the islands of Inchmoan and Inchcruin. In a dry summer it can dry out completely, and you have to sail around rather than between the two islands.
George Street, Bonhill
This is a comparatively new street in old Bonhill, having been laid out from about 1880 until 1900, and then again in the 1920' s, when council houses were added. It was built largely on Ladyton Park, which had been the de facto public park of Bonhill for about 100 years. There was enough of Ladyton Park left in 1895 for it to have been the marshalling point of a great mile-long procession to celebrate the freeing of Bonhill and Balloch Bridges from tolls, but it all disappeared under the later housing.
German Jetty, Loch Lomond
This wartime jetty lies on the east shore of Loch Lomond almost at the foot of Ben Lomond, and is used to denote the surrounding Loch area. It got its name during the building of Loch Sloy Power Station in the years 1945 - 50 when wood from the surrounding hills was loaded onto barges at the jetty for transportation to Inveruglas. This work was carried out by some of the German prisoners of war who worked on the build, as well as other civil engineering projects in the area, hence the name of the jetty. Only a few stumps in the water survive now, and you would really have to know they were there before you would spot them.
Gilmour Street, Alexandria
Formerly Fountain Street. See the entry for Fountain Street.
Glebe, The, Bonhill
This private housing development beside the Church and the Leven, takes its name from the fact that it was built on land adjacent to the Parish Church. Such church land is traditionally called the Glebe in Scotland. It was built in the early 1980's.
Glen Avenue, Haldane.
This is named after another Bonhill Parish councillor from the late 19th / early 20th century; trouble is there are 2 to choose from. The first was Charles Glen who served on the Council in the 1890’s. By the time of WW1 there was another Councillor Glen, this time John. They both belonged to the Glen family of which John H and Tom were later members who brought the Glen name back to prominence in the latter half of the 20th century.
Glenmore Avenue, Alexandria
This, with Achray Avenue, is part of an estate built in the 1990's, amongst Scots pine trees, on ground owned by the Vale of Leven Hospital. Both names have no local connection, but are well known Scottish beauty spots - in the case of Glenmore there are about half a dozen of them from which to pick.
Govan Drive, Alexandria
Named after Alexander Govan who was the visionary founder of Argyll Motor Works and who unfortunately died just as Govan Drive was being built in 1907, which was only a year after the Argyll Motor Works went into production.
Grainger Road, Jamestown
This 1960's road in the Carrochan Estate is called after the Vale missionary Gavin Grainger, famed for his religious meetings and sermons at the Fountain.
Grange Place, Alexandria
This short road joins Wilson Street and King Edward Street at the bottom of the latter. It dates from the building of King Edward Street in 1907. Surprisingly there is no obvious origin of the name.
Grant Court, Renton
This is named after Dick Grant who was a Labour Councillor in Renton in the 1930's and 40's. It was built in the early 1960's.
Gray Street, Alexandria
This is one of the very old Vale Streets and in spite of being completely redeveloped in the 1960 - 70's, when the present housing and sheltered accommodation on it were built, it has survived more or less on its original alignment.
The Grocery is regarded by many as the original name for what became the town of Alexandria. Jones & Hopner in their book “On Leven's Banks” (1980) have shown that “Alexandria” was in documented use in 1788, while the name the “Grocery” doesn't appear in old records until 9 years later, in 1797. It is called after a single story grocer's shop, which stood close to the Old Oak Tree, which was a few feet from where the Fountain now is.
Given that the north western part of the Vale was still sparsely populated in the 1780's and 90's, this was quite possibly the only shop between Renton and Balloch Ferry, and the area around it, although technically part of a place now officially called Alexandria, was colloquially called the Grocery. In any event, locals knew what we might call “the greater metropolitan area of the Oak Tree” as The Grocery, even if Alexandria did already exist.