H is for… Hillhead [ABC Sundae]
The district in Glasgow which houses most of the University of Glasgow’s buildings is called Hillhead. Very little existed of Hillhead at the end of the 17oos, as can be seen from this 1795 map of the west of Glasgow. Back then the land was the property of the Gibsons of Hillhead and it wasn’t until the 1820s that development began in earnest in the area. Hillhead used to be outside Glasgow’s city limits (with the River Kelvin making up the natural boundary), but as the wealthier Glaswegians began moving toward the west (to escape the growing pollution levels in the city’s eastern stretches), Hillhead and the rest of the West End became a part of the city, aided by the relocation of the University in the area. Hillhead became an independent burgh in 1869, but was incorporated into the growing city quickly and was administratively a part of Glasgow by 1891.
Hillhead has a number of well-preserved villas, terraces and tenements, which are populated by an eclectic mix of students and wealthier denizens. All this creates an interesting mixture of economics and cultures, with Byres Road and Great George Street contributing to creating Hillhead as the de facto centre of the West End. The borders of Hillhead begin from the corner of Byres Road and University Place, up Byres Road and Queen Margaret Drive to the bridge of River Kelvin, down the river past Kelvinbridge and Gibson Street, past the Gilmorehill Centre and up University Avenue to University Place. Which means, that technically the University’s Main Building and the Science Buildings are not located in Hillhead, but rather on Gilmorehill (Note: some other sources put the southern border to be Dumbarton Road at Partick Bridge).
In addition to the University of Glasgow, Hillhead contains such features as Ashton Lane, Cresswell Lane, Ruthven Lane, Otago Lane, the Western Baths, Hillhead High School, Glasgow Academy, Hillhead Library, the now-defunct Botanic Garage, the 19th century terraces on Great Western Road, two churches in operation (Hillhead Baptist Church and Wellington Church) as well as four churches, three which have been converted to other uses (Oran Mor, Gilmorehill Centre and the Sir Charles Wilson Building). The former Lilybank Church on Great George Street and the burnt remains of Lilybank Terrace are now being converted into luxury residences. A new secondary school is being at the foot of University Avenue, in the area behind the two converted churches. Must not forget all the little shops on Byres Road and the aforementioned lanes.
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