Glasgow

Glasgow by Alan Taylor

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Authors: Alan Taylor
however cheerfully it might be paid.
    Fascination was the word for it. Glasgow people accustomed to abundant space and every comfort packed themselves gladly into cottages in a way that is best described by the sanitary inspector’s word ‘overcrowding’. The cottages were without water supply; the rooms were small, the ceilings low, the windows sometimes so tiny that the ventilation was almost negligible; and after a stewing hot night one had a real need of all the fresh air the hills and glens and sea could give. In such a night, unable to sleep, I lit a candle in order to read and, lo, the wall-paper was swarming with wood-lice! But was I ‘scunnered’ at Arran? A thousand times no!
    Yet I have since wondered how my mother tholed it. Seven of a family, maybe a visitor or two, the father bringing another at the weekend, and all the difficulties of catering at the head of a glen, maids raging at the small open fire, every pint of water to be carried in from a spring – not much of a holiday for her. Perhaps she was leal to Arran, as well as faithful to her motherhood, for as a girl she had tasted of its delights, without the responsibilities.

    KENNEDY JONES, c . 1885
Neil Munro
    Born in Glasgow, ‘K.J.’ (1865–1921) as he was known, was educated at the High School before embarking at sixteen on a career in journalism. He worked as a reporter for several local papers before moving south, where he fell under the influence of Alfred Harmsworth. Always entrepreneurial, he returned to Glasgow in 1895 and acquired the Daily Record. Though not titularly its editor, ‘K.J.’ determined its style and content, increasing sales from 100,000 to half a million within three years of its launch. Here he is recalled by the journalist and novelist Neil Munro (1864–1930), author of the sublime Para Handy tales .
    In the middle ’eighties a young Glasgow lad, living with his parents in Crown Street, Gorbals, started on a Press career, which terminated in London about the year 1921, when he retired, reputedly a millionaire.
    He had begun as acting editor of a boys’ paper, and so made certain of having his own contributions accepted. He finished as a partner of the late Lord Northcliffe, whom he was largely instrumental in launching into daily journalism.
    In his retirement he occupied his time by keeping a stud of racing horses, and, as a director of Waring and Gillow, took an active interest in Mr. Donald Matheson’s preliminary schemes for what was to be the grandest hotel in Scotland, possibly Britain – Gleneagles. But the war intervened; all work on Gleneagles was suspended for some years, and he did not live to see it finished. His last work was to write a volume dealing with his own part in the development of the ‘new journalism’.
    For a certain number of years the destiny of The Times itself had been to no little extent in the hands of Mr. Kennedy Jones, the lad from Gorbals.
    The first time I met Kennedy Jones was on a Monday night in the stalls of the Princess’s Theatre, Glasgow, where I had gone to write a notice of The Shaughraun , as played by Hubert O’Grady’s touring company. There was a sparse audience, which doubtless accounted for Mr. O’Grady’s bad temper that night.
    Sitting next to me was a remarkably precocious young fellow I had never seen before, or heard of, who took an early opportunity to let me know he was editor of a new weekly called The Detective , which I had not yet seen. It appeared that The Detective specialised in short stories of crime and its nemesis, mainly written by himself, and in guinea competitions.
    The previous week he had offered a guinea for the best short contribution dealing with the stage, and written by a professional actor. The guinea had been won by an actor in Hubert O’Grady’s company, to whom he was going to present it personally at the end of the performance.
    I accepted an

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