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Glasgow's slavery links revealed by interactive walking tour

September 4 2020

Glasgow's slavery links revealed by interactive walking tour

Hoskins Architects have authored a digital walking tour of Glasgow which aims to shine a light on the city's historical connections to slavery and racist ideology.

Developed for the Glasgow Doors Open Day Festival the Hidden Stories Map harnesses the power of creative arts and design to communicate uncomfortable truths and has been compiled in collaboration with Stuco Design, the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights and councillor Graham Campbell.

In a statement, Hoskins Architects wrote: "The story of how Glasgow was shaped by the Transatlantic slave trade is fascinating, as is the lack of discussion and formal education around it. Understanding our history and these ideologies is imperative, as it will help us better understand and question racist ideas that continue to affect people’s lives now.

"The aim is to continue developing this collaborative work into a more comprehensive resource to be used in schools to give young people a better understanding of Glasgow’s built environment and the history that shaped it, and to promote discussion about how we can address inequality in our society."

The app-based walking tour is delivered by GuidiGo and incorporates interactive tools, challenges and stories which bring the period to life through drawings and narration. 

Rani Lakshmi Bai was a resistance figurehead against British rule in India
Rani Lakshmi Bai was a resistance figurehead against British rule in India
Veteran political campaigner and activist cllr Graham Campbell contributed to the project
Veteran political campaigner and activist cllr Graham Campbell contributed to the project


Rachel Francis
#1 Posted by Rachel Francis on 4 Sep 2020 at 15:30 PM
Much of Glasgow was built from the profits of tobacco sales, the tobacco they sold probably killed more people than slaves who died, I'm surprised there isn't more outrage about the links to tobacco the cancerous substance that has brought so much death and destruction to the world.
Jerry Was A Race Car Driver
#2 Posted by Jerry Was A Race Car Driver on 4 Sep 2020 at 15:52 PM
This is a great initiative - something that I think Glasgow could definitely be doing more with, particularly when you think of how much the wealth of these merchants was built on such horrific practices.

And as bad as smoking may be #1, I don't think its really in the same league as slavery tbh.
#3 Posted by David on 4 Sep 2020 at 15:56 PM
#1 probably because the consumption of tobacco products was and is a choice. The slaves that were forced to work in horrific conditions had to endure hardship, brutality, trauma and death that I don't think can be compared to the experience of the average cigarette smoker.
An interesting concept by Hoskins, I would love to see the Egyptian Halls on Union Street redeveloped as Scotland's museum of slavery, as a recent competition entry proposed.
#4 Posted by Spike on 4 Sep 2020 at 16:39 PM
Yes, developing the Egyptian halls as a museum of slavery is an excellent proposal and save a much loved building.
Ernest Knox
#5 Posted by Ernest Knox on 5 Sep 2020 at 00:37 AM
It would be poignant if Glaswegian trades people came together and developed a slavery museum in the Egyptian hall by giving their labour and services for free, so it would be developed by people who were paid nothing just like the slaves. Obviously they would still have to raise money for materials.
Jessica Chang
#6 Posted by Jessica Chang on 5 Sep 2020 at 01:02 AM
If slavery was so bad then why do so many people in Scotland (including the current justice minister) worship someone who was a slave trader?
#7 Posted by Corbynthebestprimeministerweneverhad;) on 5 Sep 2020 at 01:25 AM
A museum of slavery? Aye, I see that one being a popular venue for the kids on a wet Saturday. That won`t need bucket loads of council tax payers money chucked at it year in year out, not at all. Maybe we could also have a museum for the coalition for racial equality and wokeness on the top floor. They could sit there with no electricity and share a raw turnip in their peasant clothes and flat caps, misty eyed thinking about who they`ll put in their gulags first.
#8 Posted by Cadmonkey on 5 Sep 2020 at 10:34 AM
Slavery Museum?
I’d prefer to have the pot holes filled thank you very much.
Jerry Was A Race Car Driver
#9 Posted by Jerry Was A Race Car Driver on 5 Sep 2020 at 11:13 AM
#7 Ooooh, edgy.
Penelope Galbraith
#10 Posted by Penelope Galbraith on 5 Sep 2020 at 13:30 PM
Someone misgendered my cat once, can we have a museum to remember that event too?
#11 Posted by Jim on 7 Sep 2020 at 08:35 AM
What a lot of woke nonsense and who exactly is going to pay for this ?
Robin B's Discount
#12 Posted by Robin B's Discount on 7 Sep 2020 at 09:26 AM
@Jim, did you not see that number 5 reckons tradesmen should all chip in and do it for free! What mental world full of unicorns and candy floss do some people inhabit? Was it too much acid in the 90s, who knows.

For what its worth, i completely agree that a museum of slavery would be a terrible idea. The umbrage at it seems to be a 'woke' fad and easy target. They'll probably move onto hamsters or chewing gum next.

Be interesting to see if all these moral compasses are interested in combating modern slavery? I would expect that they all rock about in Primark, Nike and other dodgy slave ridden brands.
Rem Koolbag
#13 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 7 Sep 2020 at 10:47 AM
The reactions and comments here show just why education on such matters is a vital thing in today's society. For tomorrow's society.
How Patronising
#14 Posted by How Patronising on 7 Sep 2020 at 17:24 PM
I’m absolutely sure I don’t need “educated” by you Rem.

What a lot of nonsense
Big Shuggy the Plasterer
#15 Posted by Big Shuggy the Plasterer on 7 Sep 2020 at 17:30 PM
Aye ...... I can just see Big Shuggy the plasterer from Drumchapel giving up his time to build a museum of slavery for free because he feels guilty for the sins of his forefathers.

Get Real.
#16 Posted by Recycler on 7 Sep 2020 at 18:26 PM
Couple of quid on a packet of rolling baccy! That would fund the museum in a week and be fair as it reminds those smokers the origins of their product.
#17 Posted by Apple on 7 Sep 2020 at 23:33 PM
The average working-class person in Glasgow wasn't responsible for slavery, it was a small ruling class that were responsible for it, you can’t blame everyone today for the actions of a small group hundreds of years ago. The slaves were mostly sold into slavery by their fellow Africans, nobody blames the Africans living in there areas today for their ancestors selling the slaves to the Europeans.
Gandalf the Pink
#18 Posted by Gandalf the Pink on 8 Sep 2020 at 10:19 AM
#6. 'If slavery was so bad' - idiot. What a stupid thing to say. Go read a book, or if you can't manage that, try 'Google'...
#10. 'Someone misgendered my cat' - I dont believe this, mainly because you don't appear intelligent enough to be responsible for a cat.
#17. Blaming Africans for slavery. Class. Forgetting that slavery wasn't just from Africa? Slavery touches all corners of the world. If you were to visit the Museum of Slavery in Liverpool (or open a book) you'll find out more and perhaps become 'woke'. Any just so you know, if you were to do an ounce of research before typing away you will find that the history of black slave traders is very much talked about. Any museum to slavery would cover historical slavery from Africa and around the world, yes, but also modern day slavery.

Man, what a depressing read. Come on people, 'woke' up.
Walt Disney
#19 Posted by Walt Disney on 8 Sep 2020 at 12:10 PM
I'm personally appalled by the intrinsic cultural appropriation of the Egyptian Halls. I would like to see it demolished along with all of Thomson's colonialist works and replaced by an independent Scotland climate change refugee cooperative...with a balcony where we could fly flags and clap things.
#20 Posted by Sven on 8 Sep 2020 at 13:52 PM
I do not see the value in this. A few streets have tenuous links to slavery (none of which took place in Scotland). Does Libya need a museum to terrorism as one of its citizens killed 22 people in Manchester? Expat Scots returning remittances home is no different to what is happening in Scotland now with Pakistani and the many refugees sending money back home.
#21 Posted by Sven on 8 Sep 2020 at 13:57 PM
@#18 "Blaming Africans for slavery". Stronger tribes attacked weaker ones, killing off the old and sick and selling the left overs as slaves to Europeans, Africans and Arabs. If European and Americans did not take the slaves to the Americans then they would have become eunuchs in Arabia or more likely killed.
Gandalf the Pink
#22 Posted by Gandalf the Pink on 8 Sep 2020 at 18:42 PM
Arguing slavery was a good thing? Wow... Arguing that the money made from slavery is akin to sending back money from work? Wow...

Aren't there statues needing your protection?
#23 Posted by Apple on 8 Sep 2020 at 22:43 PM
People in modern day Scotland/UK today are meant to feel this collective guilt for something that was done by a small elite centuries ago, it’s kind of hypocritical that modern Africans aren’t expected to feel the same collective guilt that their ancestors sold fellow Africans into slavery.

As Sven says many of the people who were enslaved would have been killed by the fellow African tribes who captured them, that’s not defending slavery that’s just being realistic, not something that’s allowed by certain narratives.
#24 Posted by IndyNoo on 9 Sep 2020 at 09:39 AM
Oh Glasgow; I thought it was just the Architecture you produce that was woeful - that stinking attitude apparently permeates it's inhabitants. No wonder it is struggling.
Damp Proof Membrane
#25 Posted by Damp Proof Membrane on 9 Sep 2020 at 09:41 AM
Ach, so many comments from folk who are unread on slavery - just whataboutery, ignorance and deflection. Uncomfortable truths - see most of the comments who are obviously highly uncomfortable. Result.

Good work Hoskins. Keep doing what you're doing aye. Mair power to yer elbow.
#26 Posted by David on 10 Sep 2020 at 16:12 PM
#24 you think that these comments/attitudes are typical of your average Glaswegian? Oh please. No doubt all are coming from other parts of Scotland, as people in Glasgow are actually very educated on this subject, illustrated by the scale of demonstrations that have taken place in the city over the last few months, while the rest of Scotland remained virtually silent. Not to mention the fact that it is the only large, cosmopolitan, multi cultural urban area in Scotland with a wealth of different nationalities, religions and backgrounds that make up its inhabitants.

As for the architecture comment, well yes I can't fault you there, but as the centre of design and architecture in Scotland, it is the best of a bad bunch.

I still stand by my original comment that the Egyptian Halls would be an excellent site for a museum of slavery; not only rescuing the most high profile at risk building in the country, but providing a resource for tomorrow's society. For those moaning about cost, if you are all that desperate so see your potholes fixed, why not write to your local MSP and propose closing down the Kelvingrove or the National Galleries of Scotland to save some money.

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