GETTING thrown out of the local cinema, ‘romantic’ walks by the canal and the day the coalman’s horse died were all part of Philip Kelly’s formative years in 1930s Glasgow.

The long-time Evening Times reader (he was once told by the editor to come up with a ‘nom de plume’ because he had so many letters published in our pages) died in 1983, and his funny and moving stories have been captured in his - as yet unpublished - memoirs.

Philip’s daughter Helen Windsor, who discovered her father’s writings in a cupboard, has been working on editing them for many years – Thanks for the Memories revealed last year her search for details on old friends of her dad’s, boxer JP Boyle and his brother Callum.

Following our recent feature on reader Margaret Nicol’s Townhead childhood, Helen got in back in touch to share her father’s memories of this part of the city.

Philip, a Royal Navy radio officer, writes: “I had been promoted from St. Kentigerns to St. Mungo’s Academy in Parson Street. A new era began and I made a whole new bunch of friends.

“St. Mungo’s necessitated a tram ride from Springburn and a sandwich for lunch. A little shop (at one time run by Jimmy McGrory, a famous Celtic forward and manager) was then run by Granny Smith. She made tea in a little back room for the noisy crowd of us. She had two grown sons, one a bookmaker of reasonable standing and the other, Jimmy, whose ambition it was to be a coalman.”

Glasgow Times:

Philip recalls the day Jimmy brought his newly acquired horse and cart back to the shop for public appraisal.

“It was hot and sunny and the back room window was open,” he writes. “As we ate, we were most startled to see the horse keel over on its side and die, still attached to the coal cart. All of this was tragically humorous. Jimmy had apparently been taken in by the salesman so his dream ended.”

Philip recalls the ‘lads and lassies of Townhead all growing up’.

Read more: Remembering Townhead tenements before motorway tore through

He adds: “I had a new girlfriend, Cissie. Her father controlled the Townhead Swimming Baths and I was hoping to get a free season ticket but this never materialised. Apart from congregating outside the St. Paul’s Church Hall, a billiard room and dancehall, we spent winter hours in Gizzi’s Café.

“We did the romantic Townhead rounds of taking the girls for walks along the canal banks, which was anything but a Hollywood setting for such, with the dirty waters and the broken-down age-old locks and water gates.”

Glasgow Times:

Philip remembers a dramatic moment at the local cinema, The Grafton.

“The film had started and after shuffling to seats in the dark my mate, assuming that the seat in front was empty, threw his coat right over the head of the lady who was sitting there,” he says. “She screamed, which startled him so that he landed back on the lap of the lady next seat to him, who also screamed. Despite much protestation we were hurriedly ejected onto the street….”

Read more: The day four Glasgow students handed over the Stone of Destiny

Do you remember the local coalman, the Grafton Picture House, or Gizzi’s café? Did you waltz at the old Glasgow dance halls? Send us your memories and photographs, either by email to or by post to Ann Fotheringham, Glasgow Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB.