Paddy’s Last Day. Paddy’s Market, Glasgow, Scotland, 2009 – click Film link above

Paddy’s Last Day. Paddy’s Market, Glasgow, Scotland, 2009. Photographs by Iain Clark. Audio by Mark Freegard with Neil Gunn and Iain Clark

Paddy’s Market lasted for 200 years. It allegedly started when a starving Irish immigrant escaping the potato famine arrived off a ship in Glasgow and tore the shirt off his back and offered it for sale. Many of the ‘hawkers’ in the market were third and fourth generation inheriting their ‘pitches’ from their parents or grandparents. In 2009, in a blatant example of cultural cleansing by Glasgow City Council, Paddy’s Market was branded a “crime ridden midden”. The City Council alleged that the nature of the market had changed and there were real concerns about the amount of crime associated with it, including drug dealing and the selling of contraband items including alcohol, cigarettes and music. “The hottest of crime hot spots in the city of Glasgow is Shipbank Lane itself,” they claimed. “Slums and outside toilets are part of the history of working class Glasgow, but we’re not going backwards to that. Unfortunately Paddy’s has moved backwards but Glasgow also needs to move on.” This view was angrily opposed by the stall holders who regarded the actions by Glasgow City Council as a means of ‘cleansing’ the area prior to Glasgow playing host to the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Glasgow has lost an important and historic part of its culture and we are fortunate that Iain Clark was able to record for perpetuity the atmosphere of a very special place.