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Traveller

A COLONIAL IN GLASGOW. 1 WORST PLACE IN BRITAIN. | 'A FAIR NIGHT SKETCH. ( (By Pierce G. Freeth in N.Z.. Times)., If- you -want to know the worst place I visited in Great Britain, I will tell you now. It was Glasgow. I got there on a Saturday night, the eve of the famous Fair. After a 'deliberate and comfortable dinner I strolled down the-principal streets. It was a w et night in every respect. Clouds were overhead. The pavements were clammy with moisture ; the street lights glared through a misty, pall ; every bar was choking full. I peeped into several. They were filled with battalions of men and women. The air was a turmoil of weird noises, shoutings, shriekings, yelling®, snatches of Bacchanalian song. Men in uniforms in the pay of the inn-keepers alternately regulated, pacified, or threw out the clients of the house. Occasionally men came bundling out in heaps to finish incipient melees on the pavement. Females with children dragging at their skirts and crying frantically, rushed in and out, Mothers, mere girls many of them, havbabies strapped on their shoulders with shawls, came staggering along the streets. Groups of boys, irresponsibly intoxicated, went sweeping along the roads and footpaths, singing infamously filthy songs. A wooden-legged man, drunk to the point of frenzy, swung violently from wall to lamp-post, from lamp-post to wall, clearing all before him, and eventually crashing into the channel to an accompaniment of strange cries, and shouts of drunken laughter. Incidents accumulated into a saturnalia of drunken sights and sounds until the brain reeled. —4l- - was a perfect morning. Sleepless, I looked out into the great square in front of my bedroom. Dozens and dozens of men were there crouching irapotently on the seats. “They were sleeping it off.” Later I looked out again. The sun was now high in the heavens, and they had melted away. Then came the ringing of the bells from all parts of the city and crowds of well-dressed, respectable people went gaily forward to their respective churches. For here, even in Glasgow, “ joy cometh in the morning.” I read in the Herald the following day that 622 people had been convicted for drunkenness and 666 for disorderly conduct in the Glasgow Court during the previous week ! When I subsequently took walks and tram rides, and saw the hovels and tenements the people lived in, and witnessed that competition was so keen in Glasgow that many founderies were working day and night, Sundays included, so that even the Scottish Sabbath was a thing of the past, I concluded that there was much of verity in the contention of both sides ; but that if I were omnipotent, I would wipe the drink out first and let poverty take its chance. ~ 4’— And yet Glasgow has a world-wide reputation for modernity. Trams, lighting, public services, bowling greens, parks, gardens, and a magnificent art gallery all run by the municipality ; a grand university

overlooking the town ; wonderful groups of statuary ; shops and busif,ners places, ornate, solid, substantial ; the biggest ship-yards in the world. An abundant air of substantial prosperity on the one hand. The most frightful poverty and degradation on the other. The park full of trim nurse girls and beautiful babies. The slums packed of misfits, slattterns, wantons, and horribly mis--shapen children ! If Britain is a museum of anomalies, Glasgow is certainly its headquarters. And yet, where men meet and wrangle over affairs of politics and Sfcgte, the Britisher is ever buoyant, always optimistic, always convinced that what has been must be, and that "All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.”

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/SOCR19071026.2.7

Bibliographic details

Traveller, Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 27, 26 October 1907

Word Count
606

Traveller Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 27, 26 October 1907

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