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The Barras

The Barras

For a sliver of “true” Glasgow and the Glaswegian accent, also known as Glasgow Patter, head on down to the Barras Marketplace in the East End of Glasgow on a Saturday or Sunday between 10am and 5pm. The Barras is a massive outdoor and indoor flea market, where you can find such items as antiques, electronic appliances, collector’s vinyls, cigarettes, flowers, books, clothes, bags and of course, bootleg DVDs.

The name comes from, “barra”, another Glaswegian nickname, meaning “barrow”. It roots back to the 19th century when street traders could be found working all over Glasgow from hired-out barrows. Although being spread out around the city, there were place where these traders would congregate. After the turn of the century a young woman by the name of Margaret Russell (later McIver) bought a plot of open land and began renting out stationary carts and space on the land, creating her own marketplace which she called “Glasgow Barrowland” and which we now known as “the Barras”. Some of the buildings housing various wares date from the interwar period when the marketplace really took off and still carry the name “McIver”.

Glasgow Trivia #24: The Barras, officially Barrowland, also lends its name to a Glasgow institution, The Barrowland Ballroom, commonly known as The Barrowlands. Originally opened in 1934, the Barrowlands was the leading dancehall in Scotland until the decline of dancing, when it became a major concert venue. Although the capacity of the hall is quite modest (around 1,900 people) compared to other big-name venues in Gklasgow like the SECC, many world-renowned bands have called it one of their favourite venues to play at, and it has hosted such international names such as Oasis, The Cure, Iron Maiden, Green Day, U2, Blur, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Metallica, Justin Timberlake, Garbage, Sheryl Crow, Britney Spears, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Elvis Costello, Megadeth, as well as numerous famous acts from Glasgow itself. The front of the building is decorated with a distinctive animated neon sign, which is hard to miss at night.

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