East of the M60’s 2021 Advent Calendar looks at a futuristic vision for Glasgow city centre

What does Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow have in common? If you know your roads, all the above cities are bisected by urban motorways. Leeds has the M621; Manchester’s A57(M) and A635(M) – the Mancunian Way – are motorway class roads. Cutting part of the city of Glasgow is the M8 motorway. Particularly at the Anderston end of the city.

The M8 creates some sort of a wall between Glasgow’s city centre and the west of city, including Kelvingrove, Ibrox and Cessnock. In 1971, Glasgow 1980 gave us a vision of free-flowing traffic, subways and footbridges. The western part of the city beside the M8 motorway was flanked by tower blocks in 1980. Mainly office blocks, hotels and an edge of city centre shopping precinct with a bus station.

Much of the plans in Glasgow 1980 had their roots in the Bruce Report. In 1946, Anderston Cross was designated as a CDA (Comprehensive Development Area), which led to extensive slum clearance. Its recommendations included an inter-urban motorway – which we know as today’s M8 motorway.

The main commercial centre was Anderston Centre. Now known as Cadogan Square, Anderston Centre was a multi-use development like Piccadilly Plaza. It had chain stores – John Menzies, Comet and Safeway being tenants at one point. A westerly bus station, taking some pressure off Buchanan Street, opened in 1977. Anderston Centre opened in 1972; in 1973, Scotland’s first Independent Local Radio station Radio Clyde 261 set up home there for ten years.

By the mid-1980s, the reality was much different. The precinct started getting seedy and became part of Glasgow’s red light district. The bus station closed in 1993 and in later years, the mixed-use development adopted its present name of Cadogan Square.

Behind tomorrow’s Advent Calendar door, we shall be taking a trip to the merchant city. The one time Second City of the British Empire. Stay tuned for further announcements.

S.V., 07 December 2021.

Image by Miles Glendenning, 1983 (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)yes, the author of the magnificent Tower Block book of 1987.

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