Photos give rare glimpse of life in Glasgow First World War barracks

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Rare photographs showing life in a Glasgow barracks during the First World War have gone on display in Scotland for the first time.

The pictures, captured by Scottish Medical Officer Fred Davidson during his time serving with the 1st Cameronians, show action from the front line and daily life at the Maryhill Barracks, now the site of Cube Housing Association’s Wyndford estate.

His pictures, which are said to be among the earliest images of the conflict, have now “come home” in a special exhibition at Maryhill Burgh Halls to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The photographs were unearthed and catalogued by Fred’s grandson, Andrew Davidson.

Maryhill Barracks
The photos give an insight into life at Maryhill Barracks in Glasgow (By permission of Andrew Davidson/PA)

“For example, when the battalion left to go to France, the whole community was out on the streets to wave them off.

“Maryhill Barracks was a community in itself, with different regiments stationed there. It was home to 1,000 people.

“Fred was one of the few who took photographs of the barracks so these are rare pictures.

“I think he would have been tickled to see his pictures in the exhibition so close to where he was living.”

The Victorian barracks was decommissioned in the 1960s when the site was given over to social housing, with the Wyndford becoming home to thousands of people over the years.

Soldier on the front line
A photo from the collection shows soldiers at an undisclosed front line location (By permission of Andrew Davidson/PA)

Cube director David MacKenzie said: “I am thrilled that Fred’s pictures have finally come home. They offer a unique glimpse of life at the barracks, which is now home to so many people. They really bring the past to life.

“Everyone at Cube is delighted to share the chance to celebrate the rich heritage of this part of Glasgow. We are very grateful to our partners, Maryhill Burgh Halls and to Andrew for everything they did to make this happen.”

The photos will be on display at Maryhill Burgh Halls until December 31 2018.

Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “This extraordinary exhibition will let local people gain a deeper understanding of the impact of the conflict on their community by exploring and sharing their heritage through this fascinating collection of rare and poignant images.”

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