The lovely Viewpark Glen and former Douglas Support Estate in Lanarkshire was certainly a memorable part of my childhood. Memorable because my father took me there as a boy when visiting my grandmother who lived on Alexander Avenue in the solidly working class Viewpark housing scheme nearby. A place I came to step on a train in Nottingham and head up for summer holidays with my father’s family.
It was very much inhabited by mining communities back in the day, where the people of Viewpark, Uddingston, Bellshill and other local communities would earn a living the hard way, in long, hard shifts down the many former coal mines in the area.
Bellshill and environs historically had many a famous son and daughter, especially in the field of football players. Back in the day, those all-time greats, the legendary Alex James of Arsenal and Preston North End and Hughie Gallagher of Newcastle United, Chelsea and others learned their trade in junior football in the town. Another legend, Sir Matt Busby from the village of Orbiston also trod the same path. Viewpark itself boasted two bona fidelatter day greats in wingers, Jimmy Johnstone of Celtic and John Robertson of Nottingham Forest. There have been literally dozens of others too.
However, I digress. As a stark counterpoint to the gritty and hard living presented in this area of North Lanarkshire was ‘Oor Glen’. Viewpark Glen felt quite a mystical and mysterious place to me as a child – especially leaving the rows of houses and little roads behind and descending into what felt almost like another world – one of considerable beauty. It was a place to play, to explore and for me, a place I could be together with my dad, amongst the quite unexpected flora and fauna. The peace, the quiet.
It owns a history too. Beaker Folk roamed and hunted in this glen with bows and arrows in 2000 BC, paving the way to an eventful later history with its Roman remnants, the Red Douglas family and all. This is not meant as an exaustive review of the area by any means but truly, this is a place that is well worth researching.
A place that holds a piece of my heart and family memories.
To my late father, John Frew of Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland.