Working as a bookkeeper in Clydesdale during WW2 by Annie Atkins

Typical Glasgow tenement house- Description Dumbarton Road in Glasgow's West End, Scotland. Permission under GNU Free Documentation License

Typical Glasgow Tenement buildings

Tenement Life
Was brought up in a single end tenement in Glasgow on Lugton street. Lived on one landing and then went down half a landing to get to the single toilet. There was one toilet for one family. Inside the tenement was a black sink made of rough stone, possibly basalt. It wasn’t a belfast sink. She moved with her Mother and Father to another flat with a room and a kitchen just before her brother

An example of a hole in the wall bed from New York which also had tenements- Herkimer_House_wall_bed

An example of a hole in the wall bed from New York which also had tenements

was born. There was a built in bed in the kitchen known as a “hole in the wall” with a curtain across it.

Working Life
Annie worked as a bookkeeper at the Co-op. People used take a list into the Co-op and then a boy came out with the groceries. Also worked for Frasers Garage as a wages clerk. The garage sold vans, cars and engines for small boats. Annie remembers a one day apprentices’ strike and it affected the whole of Clyde. It was a waste of time and did not succeed. She went swimming!

In the 1950s she went to night school to do her A’Levels. She then taught primary school for three or four years but didn’t like the organisation. During this time there was 70 % unemployment. Clothing was very poor. There was a song called Nobody’s Child which came out at that time. She worked for a time at the Glasgow Assistance Board (GAB) teaching people how to fill in the unemployment forms.

Memory contributed by Annie Atkins from Fochabers

Additional information

Glasgow story website covering unemployment in 1950sGlasgow Story website
– Lots of information about the History of Glasgow and the life in the tenements.
-1950s to the present – a challenging time for employment in Glasgow.

Nobody’s child You-Tube clip of the composer and singer Hank Show performing the song.

Shettleston History Project

“This site was created by members of the Shettleston History Project. From September 2005 the group has been researching the history of Shettleston and the experiences of the people who live and work there. It was decided to put together a website to showcase the work the group has done since forming. ”  Shettleston is a district in the East End of Glasgow. Here is a set of links on the Shettleston History Project to other sites related to Glasgow tenement life.

National Trust Tenement House in Glasgow
National Trust Tenement House in Glasgow“The Tenement House is an authentic 19th-century Glasgow tenement house and was the home, for over 50 years, of Miss Agnes Toward, an ordinary lady who kept all sorts of things others would have thrown away.”

On the website is a series of photographs of the inside of the flat. It seems to be at the upper end of tenement life compared the stories like Annie’s above.


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