IT WAS a very short road, but Stow Street in Cowcaddens was a busy place.

In fact, it attracted shoppers from far and wide.

Mention of it in these pages always sparks plenty of memories from our readers, even though it is long gone, having been part of the area demolished in the 1960s.

Times Past regular Dan Harris recalls it well.

Glasgow Times: Queens Arcade, Stow Street, 1956

“Stow Street was used by many hundreds of people from nearby districts, both for the variety of shops it had, and as a short cut to the back entrances of Woolworths and Marks & Spencer on Renfrew Street,” he explains.

“Sometimes we just used either of these shops as a shortcut to get to Sauchiehall Street to go to the La Scala cinema.”

At the top of Stow Street sat Queen’s Arcade.

“It was one of the properties owned by the eccentric millionaire, AE Pickard,” explains Dan.

“One of the shops inside was The West End Misfits, which had ‘clothing for men of all shapes and sizes’ displayed in its window.”

He laughs: “I think they would have to change the name of the shop if it was still trading now…..”

Even when Dan and his wife Marion moved to East Kilbride in the late 1950s, the couple returned regularly to Stow Street.

“We’d go to Crocket’s for hardware, like paraffin heaters, and Lawrence for carpets,” he recalls.

“I knew the Demarco family who lived at 27 Stow Street, who had once owned a cafe in Cambridge Street.

“I visited them regularly when I was a wee boy.”

Like most working class areas, says Dan, Stow Street had its ‘street bookie.’

Once, says Dan, the Stow Street bookie and the Oakbank Street bookie bet each other they could form a street football team and win a match against the other.

“The game was arranged to be played on a Sunday, at Oakbank Street’ ‘private’ pitch which was located in the grounds of a disused quarry,” says Dan. ”Both teams were schoolboys. There was a big turnout of spectators and I played for the Oakbank team. We knew every divot and stone of that pitch.”

Dan also recalls a near miss for the street bookie.

“I remember once, when he was given a tip off about a police raid, he was given shelter in one of the houses in a close until the police had gone,” he says, adding with a laugh: “The occupants of the house were two nuns…”

Cowcaddens was a thriving area. In 2017, after an article in our sister newspaper The Herald referred to its ‘slums’, Canadian reader Barbara Paton got in touch from Toronto.

“Although Cowcaddens had high-density housing, mainly tenement buildings, the area was very busy, vibrant, and filled with various retail stores,” she wrote.

“One former street, Stow Street, had people coming from all over to shop there, and the former arcade, Queen’s Arcade, at the top of that street, was also full of busy stores. This arcade led on to Renfrew Street across which was the former Woolworths Store, and to Marks and Spencer, extant.

“The former Stow Street was my birthplace 83 years ago, in a tenement on the fourth floor, and nobody considered the tenements “dark and forbidding”. Granted, the backyards had limited space due to the fact that bomb shelters had been erected in some. The garbage areas, called middens, had mostly ashes in the bins, and those came from coal fed fires.

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“The former cafe owner Joe Pieri said in his book Tales of the Savoy that Cowcaddens was different from other Glasgow slum areas. He was partially correct in that, as it was different – but not as a slum area. It did “lie side by side” with the city centre as it was and had always been a big part of that area.”

Do you remember Stow Street and Queen’s Arcade? Get in touch with Times Past to share your memories and photographs.