As I mentioned in E is for Easterhouse, I grew up in the greater area of Easterhouse, but my particular wee part of hell was called Queenslie.
Queenslie was a small scheme of only four streets built primarily to house the workers at the adjoining industrial estate. I lived on the top floor of a gable end close, opposite the primary school. We had a verandah and fabulous views over the east of Glasgow. Dad bought binoculars and used to spend hours out there at night, gazing at the stars. Luckily, we had no neighbours opposite.
Sometime in the 1970s a nursery was built on the waste ground next to the primary school. When I was wee my friends and I used to play among the hillocks left there when the scheme was built in the 1950s. Hundreds of kids had worn paths between the huge chunks of masonry and compacted piles of dirt. We’d go flower picking – pee-the-beds and clover – and if we kept on walking over to the back we could roll down a hill and get to the industrial estate, right beside the Alpine factory.
In the late 1960s a playground was built not far from school. There was a roundabout and swings and we all wore the cuts and grazes we won there with pride.
Where the M8 motorway now runs between Queenslie and Garthamlock used to be the Monklands canal. I don’t remember it ever being used: by the time I came around the canal was stagnant and home to rats and rubbish.
The Olivetti typewriter factory was part of the industrial estate and and for a time, my mum worked at the Canda, a factory making clothes for C&A. She attached labels to clothes and made loops for belts.
We had a regular ice cream van which visited us every evening, summer and winter. It was driven and manned by Jimmy, a Scottish-Italian in a white coat with black, brylcreamed hair. He was eventually forced out by a more modern van, driven by neds who would sell kids a ‘single’ cigarette and drugs.
All the houses have been demolished now. There is no school, no shops, no playground. Instead there are more industrial units. There is a Facebook group devoted to how great life was in Queenslie: I think they’re wrong.