GLASWEGIANS who lived in multi-storey high flats in the 1960s and 1970s are being asked for their recollections by researchers aiming to capture the social history of the city before it is lost to time and demolitions.
The Red Road flats in the north of Glasgow are to be demolished in a single controlled explosion this Sunday, after their destruction was put on hold last year. The 'blowdown' of the six remaining flats was controversially proposed as part of the opening ceremony of Glasgow's hosting of the Commonwealth Games.
It was cancelled due to objections from former residents who thought the destruction of their past homes should not be part of the Games celebrations.
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The fact that not all had unhappy memories of the 'multies' is now being borne out by work carried out at Glasgow University's Department of Modern History.
The team has unearthed research by social historian Pearl Jephcott, who aimed to find evidence of concerns about the widespread rehousing of communities into the high rise flats, but instead found that 90 per cent were satisfied with their new homes. Her work was not widely publicised.
However Professor Lynn Abrams said that while many residents were happy to have left behind outside toilets and inadequate hot water, the problems which would afflict multi-storey flats such as those at Red Road were already becoming evident.
"Red Road polarises people," she said "The flats undoubtedly became the symbol to some of all that failed in the city's high rise experiment, associated with isolation, anti-social behaviour and crime."
To others, however it was home, she said. "What else could they be at the time but satisfied. But the word satisfaction hides a multitude of issues."
In fact, interviews carried out by Ms Jephcott, including 20 with Red Road residents, highlighted a range of concerns. Ms Abrams said the issues included "social problems such as isolation and loneliness and the absence of provision for children, economic problems surrounding high rents and expensive utility bills and problems with the build quality of the flats with thin walls, ill-fitting windows, dangerous balconies and malfunctioning lifts".
Elderly residents complained that someone could die and no-one on their landing would notice, while where play facilities did exist, young children could not use them as they were afraid to, or afraid of the lifts, or lifts were already broken.
Now the university's Housing, Everyday Life and Wellbeing Team is calling for more former residents of Glasgow high rises to come forward with their memories, good and bad, of their experience.
Housing association GHA and specialist contractors SafeDem are responsible for Sunday's controlled explosions, and are expected to release details shortly, but have already announced that all six blocks will be destroyed in a single blowdown, following feedback from local residents.