IT was a form of housing meant to provide the solution to overcrowded slums in Scotland's biggest city - which quickly became ghettos of decay and decline.

Now researchers are gathering the experiences of residents of Glasgow's notorious high rise flats as part of a project to document the social history of the city's tower blocks for the first time.

The multi-storeys were hastily introduced in areas ranging from the city centre to outlying suburbs post Second World War, to address a major housing shortage and replace run-down tenements which were razed as part of a massive slum-clearance programme.

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At the peak, Glasgow is believed to have had one of the highest concentrations of tower blocks in the UK, with around 230 in the city. In recent years, however, many have been torn down after becoming viewed as brutalist monuments to failed social housing.

Lynn Abrams, professor of modern history at Glasgow University, who is leading the research, said: "They were regarded by some as the solution to the problem of working class housing in cities like Glasgow, where there was a huge overcrowding problem and of absolutely dreadful housing stock which would have cost a fortune to renovate in the post-war era.

"The high rises were seen as a cheap solution and a quick solution - and they could also be packed full of what were then regarded as 'mod cons', such as indoor toilets, bathrooms and running hot water and heating."

"When people moved into them, they did think they were marvellous - and they were. They were warm and cosy and had all those facilities that people needed.

"But there were so many problems with them, mainly to do with the quality of the housing stock. Quite often the quality really showed through after a few years - with problems with damp, ill-fitting windows, maintenance and the lifts working. There were all sorts of issues with them quite quickly."

The two-year research project will focus on high rises in four areas in Glasgow: Moss Heights in Cardonald, Wyndford in Maryhill, Castlemilk and the Gorbals. Abrams said: "Our aim is to look at the social history of public housing in Glasgow, which really hasn't been written.

"Everyone writes about the tenement, but we don't know anything very much at all about the 20th century history of social housing in Glasgow."

Co-researcher Dr Valerie Wright, a research associate at Glasgow University, said research had shown the city council - then known as Glasgow Corporation - had visited Marseilles in the 1950s to investigate the work of modernist architect Le Corbusier, who was known for his concept of building high rises as "streets in the sky".

But while the tower block he designed in Marseilles had facilities such as restaurants, a nursery and even a swimming pool, often it was only the concept of high rise housing which was exported to other places.

However Wright pointed out some of Glasgow's high rises had been more successful than others - such as Anniesland Court, a Grade A listed 24-storey tower block at Anniesland Cross.

She said: "It is the only listed high rise building in the whole of Scotland and it is really popular - there are really long waiting lists to get in it and quite a community feel."

She added: "With this study we are looking at the past with the idea of informing the present and the future."