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Scotch thistle
Part one: Scotland


GETTIN' OOT OF GLASGOW:  a semi-fictional look at the life of the MacGibbon family and their neighbours in Saltmarket Street, in the old part of Glasgow, 1848-49. What was behind the emigration decision?

Masses on the march – would-be revolutionaries revolt doon a’ Glasgow Green, and the MacGibbon grocery business cops a hit.

Monie a mickle makes a muckle – the tiniest fraction of a farthing was accounted for.

Sliding toward the abyss – the Saltmarket Street area had been a high class neighborhood. No more: the middle classes were getting out fast, as displaced highlanders and Irish emigrants moved in. Disease, crime, intemperance and lewdness were rampant.

Oot ’n aboot on business – walking around down-town Glasgow, learning about the Otago emigration scheme, and discussing it with the "guidwife".

Winding up the new Pilgrim Fathers attending a meeting to publicise the Otago Colony.

On the Seventh Day – Sunday was no day of beer and skittles in the Free Church community. An insight into the activities and attitudes of the people who formed the ruling clique in the new colony of Otago.

Glossary – selected Scottish words and phrases

"We’re goin’ abroad" – visiting wealthy brother David and his family in a better part of town, to break the news: a new start, in a New Zealand community founded on Free Church principles.

All the fun o’ the Fair v not everyone in the Saltmarket was uptight. Fun, games and the bizarre at the annual Glasgow Fair.

Last days in Scotland – nostalgia, apprehension and hope as the family prepares for the big voyage.

Separating fact from fiction – a discussion of fact and supposition in the foregoing stories.

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High Street slum

A 'close' leading off Glasgow's High Street, in 1867. The photo, by Thomas Annan, was taken shortly before many of the worst slums in the old part of the city were demolished. Saltmarket Street was close to High Street, and had similar slums. Click on the image to see an enlarged version (25K), which proves the adage that one picture is worth a thousand words.


Below is the location of John McGibbon's business on Google Maps. (The blue marker at 147 Saltmarket.) You can left-click and hold the mouse button to move the map around and see the address in relation to points of interest, such as the Clyde River and Glasgow Green (both south of the marker).

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