Monday, 10 January 2011

The brewery under the station

There’s a legend in Glasgow that there is a lost street underground. Sometimes it is said to be underneath the shopping thoroughfare Argyle Street; more often it is claimed to be in the bowels of Central Station. To support the story, the mysterious padlocked staircases on the high level platforms are cited as evidence. Uncles, men in pubs, taxi drivers and other such reliable sources will recount delightedly how a former workmate or relative — never the tale-teller himself — was once taken down there and saw a street complete with intact shop-fronts.


It is rubbish of course. There is no street down there, just storage space and car parking.

The kernel of truth in the legend is that Central Station is built on the site of a street that no longer exists. Alston Street was the main street of a village called Grahamston which was obliterated to make way for the station. It ran north-south through where the concourse now is. But every trace of it was demolished when the railway station was built.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I've just found out that there was a brewer in Alston Street. James Haigh was his name, but he didn’t manage to make a success of his business. In February 1824 he went bust and his assets were seized, presumably to pay off his creditors.

Haigh’s next venture, if it was him, wasn’t any more fortunate. In 1828 a J. Haig, brewer in Glasgow, is once again being declared bankrupt.
And yet again in 1833, by which time he’d moved elsewhere:


The railway wouldn’t come to Grahamston for another fifty years or so. Did anyone take over Haigh’s brewery?

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