Devil's Plantation - Elemental Films

making the movie: a big boy did it


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  • Tom Watson - 1 March 13 -

    Hello May,

    That’s very disappointing to hear about the lack of support from SAC. I’ll not bug you too much more of this thread. I had a look on Google street view and was not surprised to see all trace of those old huts gone, to be replaced by the Kinning Park Medical Centre. They had access from Stanley St AND Admiral St, my mother has a photo of me standing outside the gate in Admiral St in 1965. I’ve never been inside any of those pubs in the area, always wanted to see inside Stanley Bar but I doubt I ever will.

    Out of interest the family moved to Corkerhill two weeks before christmas 1968, my brother was born weeks later, I “commuted” to KP for school til the next term, which I loved. That was my first little taste of freedom. By the way I loved Corkerhill, we had hot water, an inside toilet with a bath, a big iron boiler for the towels and…a shared back garden. If I wanted green space in KP my dad would take me to Bellahouston Park or at weekends walk up to Queens, Titwood or Maxwell Park. Make no mistake I have fond memories of Sleads St, and could go on and on about the steamie, the amazing library, the smells from the whisky bond, but I am not nostalgic for it. It is right to remember where we came from, and I am disgusted at the way old Glasgow was ripped apart by city “fathers”, but it was a very different way of life, I guess we were still feeling the after effects of a world war to an extent. Sorry May I’m rambling again, but it’s fascinating to talk about this with people who experienced it.


  • Tom Watson - 27 February 13 -

    Hello May,

    I discovered your blog barely an hour ago while searching for photos of Sleads St. I would like to add to the comments on some posts when I get time, but for the moment I would direct you to Scotland St School Museum who had a display of colour photos of KP, Plantation and Hutchesontown a few years ago. Among these was one fabulous image of the swing park in Milnpark St. I was brought up in Sleads St, number 5 to be precise, on the corner above the bookies, with a view to the west of Scotland St.


    • May Miles Thomas - 27 February 13 -

      Hi Tom,

      Thanks for your comment. I lived at number 13 Sleads Street – top floor. I remember the bookies well. As a kid I would wander in and demand my winnings.

      I haven’t visited Scotland Street School for a couple of years now but it’s good to know there’s some photographs of the area – the Mitchell Library has a few, but none of Sleads Street, Stanley Street or Milnpark Street from the 50s/60s/70s – and especially none in colour – so I must go along and check them out.

      all the best,

      • Tom Watson - 27 February 13 -

        Hi May,

        Further to my comment and your reply, I should also mention that the museum photos were mainly of Hutchensontown and Gorbals.

        During the hurricane of Jan 1968 (?) our close was completely unaffected by the storm. My memories of the area are pretty similar to those of many others who comment. Like yourself I used to beg for broken biscuits at Grey Dunn having crossed the road from St Margarets school. Note that in the 1960s the roof was in fact the girls playground, the boys playground was on the second floor I think, would need to look at the photo again and the juniors were on the ground, their playground now a car park for Social Services who now inhabit the building. I would rather that they were there than it met the fate of the church that was interconnected. The church basically fell to pieces thanks to dry rot. For the record infants went to an annexe in Milnpark St for a couple of months before being marched up one morning to the “big school”. If I don’t have time of a weekend to go out on my bike in epic style then I sometimes head down to Kinning Park, I always find something of interest that I’ve maybe never noticed before.

        I am really interested in the whole Deil’s Plantation now that I’ve found Harry Bell’s pamphlet. I had a quick scan through it and immediately found a reference to Alfred Watkin’s The Old Straight Track as well as his visit to Camphill with Marsha, a place I used to sit with my son and have picnics when my wife worked nights. Always felt there was a timeless feeling to the place.

        If I can add any further information to your blog I will. I wish I’d found it before now!


        • Tom Watson - 27 February 13 -

          Ha! Started to mention the ’68 hurricane then side tracked myself! Next time I’ll mention that.


          • May Miles Thomas - 27 February 13 -

            Thanks Tom

            It’s so easy to get carried away with all this stuff, believe me. We left Sleads Street well before 68 – we moved to Pollok on 17 November 1966, a day I’ll never forget. Some things never leave you…

            St Margaret Mary’s Junior annexe was actually on Stanley Street – a set of cream and green painted interconnecting huts just up from the Stanley Bar at the corner.

            Glad if you’re enjoying reading my blog – it’s been going for a while now – apart from last year when I couldn’t find much more to say until I decided to adapt my original website into a film – the site’s been reconfigured as an app that allows the viewer to make their own journey.

            After six years – and no prospect of future funding – I’m charging a small amount for the app because I earned less than minimum wage while making it. As much as I wish I could subsidise the arts in Scotland, I simply can’t afford it, being on working tax credits now. So, if you can, please support me.

            Hope you enjoy many more trips on your bike with your camera. There’s nothing better!

            All the best,

  • Mark McGhee - 4 February 13 -

    It was a great building May, even after Gray Dunn closed down. It has a filming connection in that The Book Group was shot there and it served as production offices for The Purifiers and, of course, Solid Air among others.
    It had a variety of beautiful spaces but the thing that is missed the most is the biscuit smell drifting over Pollokshields.

    • May Miles Thomas - 5 February 13 -

      Thanks Mark – it was a great building. As a kid, I used to hang around the staff entrance waiting for broken biscuits. When we made Solid Air we took over the entire top floor as production offices and I remember finding some beautiful original artwork for biscuit wrappers. If the building does come come, as I’m sure the council and the current owners would prefer, it will be a sad loss.


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