Place Names (W) Waterside - Wylie Place
Waterside (1) Alexandria
The name Waterside is used for three locations in the Vale. This one refers to a short lane and a couple of tenement buildings which used to run from the towpath at Linnbrain Hole to Bank Street on the east side of the railway line. Part of this lane is now Ferry Loan. In the old days Craft workers used it as a short cut, and until quite recently there was a swing gate at its towpath end.
Waterside (2), The, Vale
“The Waterside” was a generic name for the old towpath on the west bank of the Leven, anywhere from Balloch to Renton. Usually it was prefaced by “round”, as in “I'm going round the waterside to Millburn” - hardly surprising when you consider the number of bends in the Leven
Waterside Place, Renton
As its name suggests, this faced the River from Burn Street to Stirling Street, with houses only on the west side. The houses disappeared bit by bit from the 1930's onwards, but had all gone by the early 1960's.
Wee Field, the, Bonhill
These textile works lay in a sort of cramped triangle between Main Street, the Churchyard and the river at Bonhill, and its name suggests itself from how little space the Works occupied. It was built about 1793 and demolished about 1840 disappearing completely without trace - except for a couple of excellent prints. At the Works peak, it employed nearly 200 people - about half of them men, 60 children and the rest women.
Wee Hell, Alexandria
This was the nickname of a notorious two-storey tenement to-wards the bottom of Bank Street on its south side, which earned its name by the lawless behaviour of its tenants. The normally bad behaviour took a turn for the even worse in 1860 when a Pat Lunnay or Looney murdered a fellow tenant.
Lunnay was duly executed in January 1861, being the last person to be publicly executed in front of the old jail in Dumbarton. One can feel sure that Lunnay would happily have foregone this distinction. His was not the last execution in Dumbarton jail - that was in 1875.
Whirley Close, Renton
This was a short cut between Back Street and Main Street about halfway between Station Street and King Street. It exited Main Street via a pen, ran past a row of single story houses which ran at right angles to the houses in Main Street in behind them, and exited via a close into Back Street close to the old Police Station. It disappeared in the demolitions of the late 1950's.
White Dyke, Balloch
This is the name of the wall that still runs along the southern boundary of Balloch Park at the Moss of Balloch Park. When it was built in the middle of the 19th century it was a great bone of contention with locals who believed that they had the right of access up the banks of the Leven to the Loch Shore, and it remained controversial right up until the Balloch Castle Estate was acquired by Glasgow Corporation in 1915 and the public got access to the whole estate - although not via the White Dyke.
By the early 20th century it symbolised all of the public access issues to the Leven and Loch at Balloch. Although the occasional hole appeared in it under Corporation ownership, a gate was not made in it until the Vale District Council became the Park managers in the early 1970's. Now, of course, there are many points of access through the wall. It got its name because it was whitewashed when it was first built, but that was not replaced when it washed off, and it appears “light” rather than “white” in most early pictures of it.
White Stane (Stone), Bonhill
The Bonhill burn flows under the road near Hillbank street and emerges into the river Leven in the Glebe park behind Bonhill south church. Where it emerges it is funnelled out through a section which has a wall on both sides, which was built from the local red sandstone. This walled section gradually widens as it nears the river and towards the end is the "White Stane", a stone in the wall formed from white sandstone.
Jumping from one side of the burn to the other at the white stane was a rite of passage amongst young boys from Bonhill. This is quite a jump, made even more impressive by the fact that failing to make it means a drop of about five foot into the burn perhaps clipping your chin on the edge of the wall on the way down. Ouch!
Wilkie Place, Levenvale
This small cul-de-sac off of Burns Street, Levenvale was the location of the last “Hut” left standing in Levenvale. It survived all the others by about 30 years, and was put to good use as a community hall for many years. It was not named separately from the rest of Burn Street while it was a Hut, but when modern houses were erected on the site, they were named after Jock Wilkie, who had been a Labour District Councillor in the Vale in the 1940's and 50's. There had also been a prominent Parish Councillor by the same name about 60 years previously, but it was the more recent of the Wilkies after whom Wilkie Place was named.
Wilson Street, Alexandria
This is one of Alexandria's older Streets, having been begun in the 1830's, when it marked Alexandria's northern boundary. Over the next 20 –30 years all of the red sandstone buildings were steadily added to give it the length and appearance it has to day. The second Vale FC ground was at the bottom of Wilson Street, between it and the railway.
The Vale of Leven gasworks occupied the site bounded by Wilson Street, North Street and Lennox Street now occupied by small workshops, some of which have been allowed to become derelict. A wall with bricked up windows on the south side of Wilson street is all that remains of the old gas-works, which closed in the late 1950's. The Street probably took its name from the County Road Surveyor at the time that it was first laid down.
Woman's / Wumman's House, Bonhill
This terraced building was built in the 1870's in Dillichip Loan, Bonhill, to house migratory female workers. It was built by Sir Archibald Orr Ewing who by then owned the adjacent Dillichip Works, and who had a thing about building terraces.
He also built the Jamestown Terraces. As if to emphasise the chaste intention of this terrace, it stood in splendid isolation. Eventually, it was converted into family flats and then Roberts Engineering converted it to a light engineering and fabrication factory. When they moved out, the Wumman's house was demolished in the early 1970's.
Woodbank / Stockrogert / Stuckendroin, Balloch
The former Woodbank Hotel on the outskirts of Balloch stood on a very old estate, which had gone by a number of names over the centuries. These included Stockrogert and Stuckendroin from medieval times, when it is mentioned quite frequently in charters. In the late 18th century it is still called Stuckenrogert, but sometime in the 1840's it appears as Woodbank - an anodyne name, with no local meaning - and it has been Woodbank ever since.
The Palladian building of the present day was built about 1775, around a building at least 100 years older. Over the years it was owned by, amongst others, Mr Horrocks who also owned the adjacent Tullichewan Estate and was responsible for the completion of Tullichewan Castle, and at the turn of the 20th century, by Mr William Ewing-Gilmour, who paid for the building of a number of prominent Vale buildings and after whom Gilmour Street is named.
He sold Woodbank in 1921, and it remained a private residence until 1937, when it was converted into a fairly up-market, very well regarded hotel that was run by the Jack family for many years. (They were no relation of the Jack family who owned the Railway Tavern in Alexandria). The building of the Alexandria bypass and the re-alignment of the A82 all the way to Arden in the early 1970's meant that it lost its passing trade and went into decline.
It changed hands in the late 1970's and was closed for a time, to be re-opened in 1979 as the Hamilton House Hotel. The change of name did not change its fortunes, and it eventually closed. A fire in January 1996 badly damaged the Woodbank. It appears to be pretty derelict, in spite of being on the list of Buildings of Historic interest, maintained by the Scottish Civic Trust. It is very surprising to many that the House remains unused and undeveloped in some way.
Woodburn Avenue, Haldane
This road on the southern edge of the Haldane overlooking the Inler playing fields, was built in the last phase of the Haldane, and really belongs in a Jamestown re-development grouping of the late 1950's / early 1960's. It is on a green-field site backing onto the old Inler track, and provides an additional exit / entry to the Haldane Estate, as well as a crossing for the Carrochan Burn at a convenient spot.
Given its surroundings - the woods of the Inler and the Carrochan Burn - you could be forgiven for thinking that it was a made-up, joined-up name. In fact there are two other likely sources for the name. Firstly, there is a nearby house called Woodburn Cottage, which dates back well into the 19th century. That would have been an appropriate source, but on the other hand none of the other old houses or cottages nearby has had streets named after them. Given the Council’s penchant at the time for calling streets after Labour politicians the clincher for the name may have been Arthur Woodburn, Labour Secretary of State for Scotland 1947 -50.
Wylie Avenue, Burnbrae
This short thoroughfare in Burnbrae, Alexandria was built in the 1930's and consists of attractive red sandstone terraces and semi-detached houses. It is named after Mr Alexander Wylie, owner of Cordale and Dalquhurn and later an original partner in the UTR when it was formed in 1898. In addition, he was the Liberal Unionist (i.e. Conservative) MP for Dunbartonshire from 1895 - 1906, when he retired.
Wylie Park, Renton
These playing fields at the south end of Renton grew out of the original Renton Public Park and are named after Mr Alexander Wylie, of Cordale House, MP 1895 - 1906, owner of Cordale and Dillichip works, and later partner in the UTR when it was formed.
He was also President of Renton FC for a time, so it was apt that playing fields, which include football pitches, were named after him.
The ground has been Renton's public park for more than a century, hosting everything from Highland Games to Gala Days. Perhaps its football fields give it its defined character. Derby matches of the 1950 and 60's between the then Juvenile teams of Renton Select and Renton Juveniles were played with the fervour and intensity - not to say temporary hostility - the equal of anything the Old Firm could muster.
Many future professional players first caught the eye at the Wylie Park. That tradition continues, with the Park still full of teams and spectators most Saturdays and Sundays, and it is still a focal point of the village.
Wylie Place, Renton
This cul-de-sac lies where Stirling Street becomes Cordale Avenue at the south end of the New Cordale Estate. It is named after the same Alexander Wylie as the Park. This is quite appropriate since his family were the last owners of Cordale House and he lived only yards away for much of his life.