Paddy’s Market Died 15/5/2009

Paddy’s Market Died 15/5/2009

So said the legend on the side of a coffin carried by traders from Paddy’s Market.

I remember seeing the news item out of the corner of my eye a while ago, but I wasn’t able to follow it up at the time, and depending on my sieve of a memory is not a good idea, but reflecting on the success of the Save Pollok Park to drive out the unwanted Go Ape aerial playpark noted in the preceding post, I was reminded to go looking for the conclusion to this story as well.

The first time I wrote about this, I offered the benefit of the doubt, and appended the word “maybe” to the title Paddy’s Market traders swept aside – maybe, but I guess that was just too much of a stretch.

I’d have to say that I had always marvelled at the survival of Paddy’s Market in the shadow of the High Court of Justiciary situated in the Saltmarket, and the continued tidying of Glasgow Green, combined with the endless march of block paving and new street furniture in all the nearby streets, things that could only sound the death knell of the old market. The question was not if Glasgow’s City Council’s vendetta on the old market would conclude with its victory, but when.

Given a choice of placing a bet on the established and far from clean, shiney, or trendy market surviving on the spot, or the council’s claim that it was a a “crime-ridden midden” that would have to go to make way for a trendy, arty-farty gathering spot, there wasn’t really much need to wake up too many brain cells to work out the final outcome. Having won the battle, the council plans to sub-let the property to artists and businesses.

One 60 year old stallholder who was able to move to the Barras said, “There were 80 leases at Paddy’s Market – a lot of them will now have to sign on. I would have lost my house if I didn’t get this stall at the Barras – and I’ve worked hard my whole life for that house. Who would give a 60 year old a job nowadays?”

A 58 year old customer from the Calton area had been a customer at Shipbank Lane for years, as had her mother and grandmother, and said, “It’s a sad day, I don’t know what kind of customers they’ll expect to get at the new Camden Market-type place, but people here haven’t got that kind of money… they can’t afford to pay £40 for shoes. I could get a jumper at Paddy’s Market for 50 pence.”

Another regular of both Paddy’s Market and the Barras said they thought the writing was on the wall for the Barras too, “The city council want to gentrify the place, to make it a clone of every other city; they don’t care that these places are part and parcel of the local people’s way of life.”

But, not everyone is sad to see the old market go, not least a taxi driver who described it as: “one of the most intimidating places in Glasgow” adding, “Maybe it was good 200 years ago but it should’ve been closed down ages ago.”

Given the taxi drivers I’ve known in the city, you have to think this particular example is in the wrong job if he thinks Paddy’s Market is an “intimidating place”. Perhaps he would be better suited restricting his operation to the genteel street of somewhere like Bothwell. Sadly, many of the newer drivers have only two interests… fares, and more fares, and anything at all that interferes with them has to go, so I guess he came from that group.

Paddy’s Market gallery from the BBC.

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