The Sunday Class
Website designed and maintained by Microport  © 2010 -15
Taught/practised on: 2014 April 6th
THE MERCHANT CITY (S3x32) Anne Thorne Glasgow 90th Anniversary  1- 8 1s+2s dance the Espagnole  9-16  2s+1L & 1M+3s dance RH across, 1s pass RSh, 2s+1M & 1L+3s dance LH across 17-24  1s+3s dance the Rosette:- '17-20 1s & 3s set, turn partner RH ½ way, face partner, drop hands and cast by right towards partner's place (½ turn & twirl) ‘21-24 1s & 3s dance clockwise ½ way round to new positions  2 3 1 25-32  2s+3s+1s dance 6 hands round and back
The area now known as 'Merchant City', in the city centre of Glasgow, was developed from the 1750s onwards. Residences and warehouses of the wealthy merchant "tobacco lords" (who prospered in shipping and, amongst other things, tobacco, sugar and tea) were built in the area. The district west of the High Street formed the historic backbone of the city, with wide, straight streets, vistas, and squares. As Glasgow expanded in the 19thC to become the second city of the United Kingdom, the area became a working district of warehouses and home to the city's central fruit, vegetable and cheese markets. After plans to construct a ring road around the city centre were published in the 1960s the area fell into decline, with many of the buildings compulsorily purchased by the city council to allow for their demolition and the central markets moved to modern premises outside the city centre. However the road was never built and in the 1980s the decision was taken to revitalise the area and its historic buildings with the public ownership of properties allowing large scale redevelopment. The name 'Merchant City' was coined during this regeneration and was not used historically. Historically the area was called 'Trongate', 'the tron' or Glasgow Cross, 'cross' or simply by most Glaswegians, 'the toun' or 'the town'. The medieval Glasgow Cross was located on the road between High Street and Saltgait and the town's ‘tron’ was placed on the steeple of the Town House in the 1550s. The Tron Steeple, as it became known, still stands in Glasgow Cross, one of the few remaining pre-Victorian buildings in Glasgow. The Merchant City has been promoted and built up in recent years as a residential, shopping and leisure area, mirroring Covent Garden in London. The legend of the beginnings of Glasgow tells of a monk called Kentigern who was told by an angel to ‘Go West’, so he found himself on a hill overlooking a green valley and a sparkling river. He said ‘Glaschu’ (What a dear green place!) and decided to stay, whereupon the locals nicknamed him Mungo (’dear friend’) and he became their patron saint. For those visitors interested in history there are leaflets available - The Merchant City Visitor Guide, The Merchant City Architecture Trail and one to enable you to uncover the Merchant City’s hidden history by following a route of ‘Obscure History Plaques’ placed in pavements of the area! For instance, in the historic street The Candleriggs, outside the City Halls is a poem carved in the paving slabs and a list of the 14 Incorporated Trades of Glasgow. Candleriggs boasted the first fast food shop in Glasgow, Granny Black’s, set up in 1810. The proprietors realised that after a few drinks the customers would have a craving for greasy food, so they started selling pies to carry out. Sadly Granny Black’s ‘fell down’ a couple of years ago. Glasgow’s first restaurant was Sloan’s in the Argyll Arcade where discerning customers could order sheep’s brains and pig’s trotters. On the corner of Glassford Street and Argyle Street, stands Marks & Spencer on the site of the Black Bull Inn. The Black Bull is where Robert Burns stayed when he wrote to his lover, Agnes Mclehose. Because Agnes was a married lady, they feared their affair would be discovered, so to conceal their identities they signed the letters “Sylvander” and “Clarinda”. Before she died, Agnes wrote in her journal: “I parted with Burns in the year 1791, never more to meet in this world, may we meet in heaven.” This affair inspired Burns to write one of the most romantic poems in Scottish literature, ‘Ae Fond Kiss. Queen Street is in the centre of the affluent area - the Gallery of Modern Art was originally built in 1778 as a Tobacco Lord’s mansion house; Merchant’s House on George Square is home to the oldest Chamber of Commerce in the world (founded in 1783) - but prior to 1766, Queen Street was known as Cow Loan. The town herdsmen drove the cattle along Troongate and Cow Loan on their way to the grazing land in the area known today as Cowcaddens.
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