People Make Glasgow: Mary Hill

Maryhill Burgh Halls
Maryhill Burgh Halls

Today is the day when many of my blogging friends are revealing their A to Z Challenge themes. I had a brilliant idea for a theme, based on the success of last year’s Gallus Glasgow. (Actually, what I mean is that pal Helen MacKinven had the brilliant idea for me. Check out her site if you want to see a poodle in pink shades.) People make Glasgow is the city’s current marketing slogan, and the idea was to choose some of the city’s historical figures to show how they still influence Glasgow today. The downside is that I left the research too late and had too many letters missing, so it’s going to appear as an occasional series instead. This is the first.

One way of influencing a city is to have part of it named after you – impressive! Mary Hill (1730-1809) and her husband, Robert Graham, inherited the Gairbraid Estate because Mary’s father, Hew Hill, had no male heirs. Mary and Robert ran into money troubles after speculating in coal-mining, but their big break came when parliament approved the planning of the route of the Forth & Clyde Canal in 1768, which went through the estate. They were compensated for this and once the canal was completed, around 1790, their land along the canal suddenly became much more valuable and they sold it with the condition that if a town was to develop in the area it would be named after Mary.

Maryhill became a burgh in 1856 and was incorporated into the City of Glasgow 1891. Its Burgh Halls were built in 1878, fell into disrepair in the 1960s and were rescued and reopened in 2012. A major factor in raising money for the refurbishment was the stained glass – 20 panels featuring the small industries and factories in 1870s Maryhill. Normally, stained glass is seen in churches and palaces, so I think it was visionary for the time to create windows showing ordinary people in their ordinary working clothes going about their daily tasks.

Maryhill Burgh Halls stained glass
Iron moulders and calico printers

I live very close to Maryhill, and since last autumn I’ve been volunteering as a Heritage Tour Guide at the Burgh Halls, on both the general tour and the Women of Maryhill tour which I’ve researched and developed myself. I graduated in history a very long time ago and I’m really enjoying being able to put that to use in retirement. You can see me (red stripey jumper) at the tour launch below …

… and enjoying tea and scones with some of the participants after the most recent tour on Saturday.

If you’re in and around Glasgow, keep an eye on the Maryhill Burgh Halls website for news of more tours and events.



39 thoughts on “People Make Glasgow: Mary Hill

  1. Pit March 21, 2016 / 13:27

    I like those stained-glass windows a lot. 🙂
    Have a great week,


  2. Su Leslie March 21, 2016 / 13:47

    You know, it never occurred to me that Maryhill might have been named after anyone called Mary Hill. Thanks for that.


      • Su Leslie March 21, 2016 / 19:30

        I’d probably have thought something similar — well, religious anyway. Or assumed the ‘Mary’ was a corruption of something else — like the Elephant and Castle!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. helenmackinven March 21, 2016 / 14:50

    Thanks for the mention Anabel. I look forward to your latest A to Z and will need to do one of your Maryhill tours soon.


    • Anabel Marsh March 21, 2016 / 14:57

      It was a great idea – I just didn’t have the application to make it work this year! I’ll do the ones I really want to write about without having to look for make-weights.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. anotherday2paradise March 21, 2016 / 15:23

    What a magnificent building, Anabel. Your first photo is most impressive, with those beautiful blue tones shining off the window glass. The scones look really yummy. 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh March 21, 2016 / 16:40

      Thank you. That was actually taken a while back, just after it reopened but it’s still just as magnificent. And yes, the scones – yum!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy March 21, 2016 / 15:28

    Yay announcement day! Perhaps I will get my act together and do my own announcement today (I really should, as preparations have been ongoing!).


  6. hilarymb March 21, 2016 / 15:55

    Hi Anabel – what a fascinating bit of history … and I love the Stained Glass … the Tyntersfield estate is full of stained glass – they made their fortune with guano .. interesting history too – it’s in Somerset. If I get to Glasgow – a place to visit … MaryHill … looks stunning – cheers Hilary


    • Anabel Marsh March 21, 2016 / 16:43

      Thanks, Hilary. I’ve not hear of Tyntersfield. Too many lovely places to visit, too little time!


  7. Birgit March 21, 2016 / 16:56

    So you are not taking part in the A to Z? I will still enjoy some of your posts. I am bad and still have to do almost all of it-hahahaa. So glad this building was saved. What neat glass windows because it showsa little bit of life and how the people did their jobs which is interesting


  8. dormousetidings March 21, 2016 / 21:21

    Gosh those scones look good! I did read your post and enjoyed the history, but got terribly distracted by the photo of the scones 🙂


  9. restlessjo March 22, 2016 / 08:01

    I was just wondering if you were only in it for the scones, Anabel… 🙂 But I know better!
    The stained glass shots are lovely. I’d like to see more but I suppose that needs a visit to Glasgow. This will be a time consuming project for you, but an interesting one to do. The tour guiding must be very satisfying too. I’d rather like something like that.


    • Anabel Marsh March 22, 2016 / 08:56

      Well, the scones were definitely spectacular….
      I love tour-guiding. I’ve been doing it with another organisation for three years, but Maryhill is a new venture for me and also the first time I’ve written a complete tour myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Liesbet March 22, 2016 / 14:04

    Very interesting theme, Anabel. I can see why it would be hard to follow the alphabet on this one. I am glad you are still kind of joining the A to Z challenge, albeit on your own terms. Smart girl! 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh March 22, 2016 / 14:15

      Yes, sorry to alarm you (as you said on your own blog – iPad won’t let me reply there for some reason). Last year, I wrote about Glasgow and had it all planned by now, but this year it didn’t work out so easily. Now I can please myself!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Heyjude March 22, 2016 / 19:50

    I love discovering the history of a place so this is right up my street. I can learn all about Glasgow without having to drive all the way up there. As others have commented those stained glass windows are fabulous.


    • Anabel Marsh March 22, 2016 / 20:44

      It would be a rather long drive from Cornwall! I shall continue to feed you little bits of Glasgow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heyjude March 23, 2016 / 00:56

        Indeed. I am thinking that fly/drive holidays may be the way forward 🙂


  12. BiTi March 22, 2016 / 23:17

    Thank you for putting Glagow on my map of places to visit Anabel 🙂 and for stopping by pret-a-vivre. Have a beautful week!


  13. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) March 23, 2016 / 18:24

    I LOVE that stained glass (I’m always a fan of atypical stained glass designs), and your Women of Maryhill tour sounds great. It must be fun doing the research for something like that! I’m too nervous about public speaking to even think about leading tours (every time the project I volunteer on has an open day, I never sign up for it, because presenting, ugh!), even though I always think I might enjoy it if I could get past that, because I like sharing interesting bits of history on the blog and with friends who don’t really care. 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh March 23, 2016 / 19:02

      I think you’d be great if you could get past that! 10 minutes before I always think “why am I doing this?” Then as soon as I start I love it.


  14. jazzfeathers March 26, 2016 / 20:56

    Hey, haven’t I just told you I’d like mor estories? You are a seer! 😉

    I’m sorry you didn’t make it to the challenge, it would have been nice to visit one another. Oh, wait! That’s what we do normally!
    And I’m happy you decided to share what you’ve researched anyway. Can’t wait to read more.


    • Anabel Marsh March 26, 2016 / 23:30

      As I said several comments ago – time! I think I’m catching up with you now…..


  15. rosemaylily2014 March 27, 2016 / 14:55

    What a great role Anabel must be so interesting leading the historical tours!


  16. susansperspective April 3, 2016 / 23:00

    This was a fascinating post – thanks for sharing it. =) Those stained glass windows are just gorgeous. I am now following your blog. It is so good to read about things in Glasgow. My Aunt Kate still lives there and is in her 94th year! I have visited Glasgow way back when I was but a child and the memories I made there still cling to me today.


    • Anabel Marsh April 3, 2016 / 23:07

      It is a wonderful place, I hope you are able to come back some day. Thanks for following.

      Liked by 1 person

      • susansperspective April 4, 2016 / 00:30

        I would love to come back some day…will have to see how the finances work out. =) As for the follow, I have a feeling I am going to enjoy checking in on your blog so no thanks are necessary. 😉 lol In any case you’re welcome. =)

        Liked by 1 person

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