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Following the recent renovation and relaunch of the Queens Park Arena SGHET are welcoming any stories or photographs of the bandstand & Queen’s Park. In the months to come, we will set up pages that will give a unique record of the area and an insight into its rich and vibrant past.

Submit your stories in the comments below.

Queen’s Park Arena (originally Bandstand) started life towards the end of the 1800s. Saracen Foundry of Walter Macfarlane & Co were commissioned to create a circular cast and wrought iron construction that was originally installed west of Pathhead Farm (the current council buildings in Queens Park) before being moved to the ‘bandstand field’ in 1912, which is the current arena site. The bandstand was originally used for concerts, public meetings, political rallies and many other events. The original bandstand was moved to Duchess Park, Motherwell in the 1920s and the site lay vacant until 1930 when the second bandstand was installed. This was a rendered brick building with the stage facing south (looking up Camp Hill towards the flagpole), with wide terraces carved to give it a natural amphitheatre feel. The tiers formed were spacious enough for folding chairs and even tables.

In 1960 the May Day marchers marched from George Square to Queen’s Park and welcomed a global celebrity in the form of sport, movie and singing star Paul Robeson. Robeson, born in 1898, had a long and proud record of social and political activism, a record that saw him black-listed and shunned in America. At one point, to stop him travelling the world, the US authorities even confiscated his passport. Robeson was so inspired by tales of Red Clydeside that he accepted the STUC’s invitation to join them in marking International Workers Day. The annual march had been taking place in Glasgow since the 1890s when crowds up to 100,000-strong would march to Glasgow Green, there to party, picnic, and listen to political speakers. On arrival at Queen’s Park, Robeson serenaded the crowd with ‘Ol’ Man River’, the lyrics of which work as well for the Clyde as they do for the mighty Mississippi.

Ol’ man river,
Dat ol’ man river
He mus’know sumpin’
But don’t say nuthin’,
He jes’keeps rollin’
He keeps on rollin’ along.

In 1996 the bandstand was destroyed by fire and fell into a terrible state of dilapidation and it wasn’t until 2009, when four community councils explored the possibility of a restoration project, that we finally had plans for a new bandstand or ‘arena’ and by 2013 the final arena was completed.


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