THE Duke of Edinburgh, accompanying the Queen on a much-publicised visit to the Gorbals in late June, 1961, ventured into the close at 65 Sandyfaulds Street, and called upon one of the residents there, having spoken to her through her kitchen window from the back green.

“I told him the floorboards were giving way,” the householder, a Mrs Meek, later told reporters, “and warned him to be careful. The Duke said that was awful and that we would have to watch where we were walking.”

Somewhere in the throng in nearby Waddell Street, a young man was heard to remark: “We’d all heard so much about the Gorbals. We imagined we’d be walking through 3ft of mud.”

As the Queen and Duke approached, two steam shovels with wires attached pulled away from derelict tenements in the street. Masonry rumbled to the ground amidst a cloud of dust, and four demolition workers on the roof raised a cheer.

In new flats on Commercial Row, the Duke went out onto one balcony, and admired the decorations and the furnishings inside. “Is this all on the never-never?” he asked the householder. “Not at all,” she replied with pride. “Everything’s paid for.”

Read more:

Herald Diary

As the Glasgow Herald noted, the royal couple that day were seeing for themselves both the old Gorbals and the new. The Queen visited six families in a blackened Victorian tenement in Sandyfaulds Street, where a family could live in a single-end with a bed recess and without hot or cold running water.

But she also called in on a new maisonette block of all-electric flats, and saw the nearly-complete, 20-storey high-rises of the first Hutchesontown-Gorbals redevelopment area.