KENNY Donaldson was clearing out his mother’s house after her death three years ago when he found some extraordinary photographs which capture a moment in time Glasgow was experiencing great change.

The pictures, taken from his grandparents’ top-floor flat in the St George’s Mansions building at Charing Cross, show, in rare detail, the construction of the M8 as it passes through the city, severing the West End from the city centre.

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“My gran and grandpa were decanted from that flat, I think in the eighties, because the Corporation was doing work on the building which meant they couldn’t live there,” says Kenny, 65.

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“When I was a child, we’d be allowed to climb out onto the balcony, with my dad or grandpa holding onto my belt because we were so high up.”

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Kenny’s grandfather, William, worked as a typesetter for the then-Glasgow Herald at its former offices in Mitchell Street.

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“Every so often, someone from the paper would come in to take a photograph from the balcony to use the vantage point,” he remembers.

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“He always used to say the reason he had that job was that no-one else wanted to do it, he would work from 7 o’clock at night to 7 in the morning.

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“He was a blacksmith by trade and he was a real character. He would walk everywhere and he had this black leather shopping bag, which he’d take with him down to Anderston or Partick to do his shopping and he’d come back.

Glasgow Times: Kenny Donaldson pictured outside his grandfather William's home at Charing Cross years laterKenny Donaldson pictured outside his grandfather William's home at Charing Cross years later

“You would take things for granted then, like the coalman coming up three flights of stairs with the coal bags.

“The flat itself was immaculate, my gran worked at Copelands in Sauchiehall Street so the house was always full of china ornaments and it was quite posh really.”

Their two-storey penthouse flat would be the envy of any modern house hunter. But its unique views were all but lost on its former occupants.

“They would mostly sit in the backroom, which was a kitchen with a little folding dining table and a leather sofa,” he adds. “We always just used that room and only occasionally use the front room. It was massive, it was a huge big house. I have very fond memories of it.”

Kenny grew up outside Glasgow and now lives in East Lothian but his grandfather taught him everything he knows about the city he considers his “home town”.

“My grandpa would take me all over the city, across the river on the ferry and to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery,” he says.

It was only at the suggestion of Kenny’s father, Bill, that his grandfather captured the stunning scene of the motorway in the early phase of its construction coming up through the city. The pictures show the city as it was in the process of being overhauled by ambitious planners.

They capture a view which would not have been possible prior to the levelling of much of Anderston to make way for the motorway, or now after the construction of an office block which runs over the motorway, obscuring the scene at Sauchiehall Street.

Kenny adds: “My father said: ‘You should get photographs of this, so you can remember what it looked like and what they did to Glasgow.’

“Some people said it must have been terrible for your grandfather to see all this but he never seemed upset about it."