Shops, restaurants, boutiques, cafés, pubs, charity shops, second-hand shops, estate agents, a candy shop, etcetera. The heart of Glasgow’s West End, Byres Road, is filled with them. The tenements on both sides of the road, and around them too, are populated by an interesting mixture of the wealthy upmarket types and students from the University of Glasgow. These are the reasons the West End’s main thoroughfare is often described as “bohemian”, “chic”, and “artistic”. Add “academic” to that and you have also described much of the population of this part of the West End.
Originally the road ran through a largely rural countryside, with the lands going by the name of the Byres of Partick (a “byre” is a barn for cows). There was little settlement north of Church Street, save for one establishment (see Glasgow Trivia below). Today Byres Road stretches from Dumbarton Road in the south to Great Western Road in the north and is packed with four-story tenements, among other newer buildings.
Glasgow Trivia #2: A tavern is said to have been situated halfway up Byres Road since the 17th century, and still exists today. The current pub, Curlers, is housed in a small 18th century building on the same spot and derives its name from a 17th century pub by the name of Curler’s. The name comes from curling, invented in Scotland, and a large pond used for curling which sat next to the establishment. No such pond exists in the West End to this day. Legend has it that King Charles II, while riding through the area and in need of refreshment, found the pub closed and order of the King had it opened. Satisfied, the King granted the pub a seven-day license, a Royal Charter. Curlers, which is located next to the Hillhead Subway Station and opposite Ruthven Street, is visible in the photo above. Just look for the yellow sign with the curling stone.
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