Posted in A to Z

R is for Rottenrow

Rottenrow is a street in Townhead which dates back to medieval times. There is some disagreement over the origins of its name. Some say it is because there was a ‘row’ of rat infested cottages there; others that it was names after the route of the king – Rat-an-righ in Gaelic.

By the mid-20th century the street was filled with tenement slums which were demolished and the area redeveloped as part of the inner city regeneration plan.

Ask any Glaswegian about the Rottenrow and they will automatically think of one thing: Glasgow’s Royal Maternity Hospital. The hospital opened in 1834 and was world renowned for over 100 years. I was born there, in the Snowdrop Ward. A bit later than 1834, mind…

The hospital was demolished around the turn of the millennium and there is a garden there now. Complete with snowdrops.



Writer, photographer, creative fantasist.

10 thoughts on “R is for Rottenrow

  1. I worked in Rottonrow Hospital asa nursery nurse when I was eighteen.It was a very imposing building and I got lost lots of times.Hospital life was very strict back then.

  2. My husband was born in Rottenrow. My (very prim and presbyterian) MIL was horrified when the registrar (the registrar came to the hospital in those days) asked her name and then asked if she knew the name of the father!

  3. So much history in that one street! And I’m interested in the history of the name of it too. You’ve got some fascinating possibilities for that; I wonder which one is true…

  4. I love seeing Glasgow through your eyes. It’s rich with smells and textures, and I feel like I’m walking the streets with you.

  5. I recently discovered that the BBC produced a documentary about Rotten Row. I can’t find it anywhere. Can anyone help me?

  6. does anyone have photo,s of the old rottenrow we stayed at no.68 rottenrow in a converted shop opposite the school there next to the old mans home ,i went to townhead primary then onto city public secondary ,never forget how happy we were in those days with nothing but a ball to kick around in the street ,my wee granny stayed in morrin square i still remember all the families of that time- welshes-stuarts-boyles-mclagans-careys-sampsons-mckays-burns-baxsters-houstons-coshes-gemmels- my wee dad got rest him used to drink in the volunteer in taylor street or the cross keys just 50 yards away on the rottenrow corner of weaver street- memories of a good era in my life.

  7. hope someone has some photo,s of the rottenrow from the cross keys pub up to taylor street and beyond would be good – thanks john kerr toonheid 1952

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