Opening the door on Glasgow at war

30 August 2018

Barrowland hosted the jitterbug champisonships and featured in Lord Haw Haw's infamous broadcasts

Barrowland hosted the jitterbug champisonships and featured in Lord Haw Haw's infamous broadcasts

PhD student Kevin Morrison will open a door to Glasgow’s wartime history as the city celebrates its architecture in September.

Kevin will lead Home Front Walk: Glasgow Buildings in Wartime 1939-1945 – an exploration of how the city centre was transformed by war as part of Glasgow Doors Open Day Festival. 

Starting at the Mitchell Library and ending at Glasgow Green, Kevin will reveal where the city’s air raid shelters, dance halls, sirens and canteens once stood as well as share stories of the citizens, allied troops and visiting dignitaries who shared Glasgow’s darkest hour. The tour will take in the Barrowland – venue for the jitterbug championships of 1940, earmarked as an emergency morgue, and mentioned in Lord Haw Haw’s infamous broadcasts – Charing Cross station, where many of the city’s children were waved off as evacuees, and the North British Hotel where Winston Churchill dined with US politicians.

Kevin said: “Behind the blackout curtains and blinds, Glaswegians organised air raid precautions from nerve centres, danced the jitterbug under bright lights, organised billets for tired service men and women and allied troops and reported blackout infringements.

“The guided tour explores some of the exciting information I have discovered in material from Glasgow’s archival centres and tells the stories of the civilians who lived and engaged with the cityscape in wartime.”

A special after-dark tour exploring Glasgow’s blackout and air raid precautions, including the location of air raid shelters constructed in the city centre, is already sold out but day-time walks can be booked here

?Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival is an annual event celebrating the city's architecture, culture and heritage. Each September it helps throw open the doors of more than 100 historic buildings including theatres, museum stores, factories, studios, and breweries to the public, for free.