Running like a main artery through the heart of the West End, Byres Road is one of the most Bohemian areas of Glasgow with an atmosphere unique in the city. Beatrice Colin wanders along its length from the lush Botanic Gardens right down to the River Kelvin and Partick Cross.

Partick, or Perthick as it was known in ancient times, was the site of the royal residence of King Morken, persecutor of St Mungo. It remained a village with a castle until well into the 18005. On the western banks of the River Kelvin nearby, the Bishops of Glasgow built a palace and housed their cattle in byres. Although the palace is long gone, the name stuck.

During the Industrial Revolution, wealthy city merchants and shipbuilders started to build villas in the area, favouring its fresh airy position (the strong westerly winds blew the smog eastward). The Botanic Gardens with its large collection of orchids, and Kibble Palace were constructed on the site of an old farm and they soon became popular meeting places and venues for concerts.

In 1872, the whole land was annexed to the city of Glasgow and the area began to develop. Glasgow University was moved from its position beside the High Stret to the West End and, rejecting the home-grown talent of ‘Greek’ Thomson and Mackintosh, they chose George Gilbert Scott, architect of London’s St Pancras Station to build the new university in Victorian Gothic style. As the city spread westwards, villas were split up into flats and tenement buildings, more spacious than their inner city equivalent, were constructed for the middle classes and professionals. The BBC moved to its present position opposite the Kibble Palace in 1923 and soon the population of the area was the heady mix of artists, media types and students it still attracts today.

I Rallta Bags 306 Byres Road, 339 7879. Bags from floor to ceiling in every colour, style and size. From rucksacks to suitcases, if you need something to sling over your shoulder, chances are you’ll find it here. The shop is fairly new to the area and it has already gained a reputation for its vast array of good quality, unusual stock from around the world. Gloves, purses, belts and umbrellas are also available. I Curlers 256 Byres Road, 334 1284. Once the only drinking hole for miles around, Curlers has been a fixture on Byres Road for well over a century. A traditional pub in the true sense, this is a place where you come to drink and talk about the Premier


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League. Downstairs in the smallest bar there is a mural along one wall depicting some of the pub’s regulars over the years. Painted in 1955, Hugh MacDiarmid and Jack House are featured, but only one, Wee Tammy, is still alive and drinking. Elsewhere there are three more bars where bargain lunches are served and regular live music is put on. I Starry Starry Night 19-21 Dowanside Lane, 337 1837. Situated in a mews cottage just yards from Byres Road, this shop houses one of the most extensive collections of vintage and antique clothing in the city. From chiffon evening gowns from the 305 to psychedelic jumpers from the 605, there is a huge choice of reasonably priced retro-fahion.

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through the corners of the shop for that find of a lifetime. Good for that difficult present as they also stock unusual hats, hat pins, patchwork quilts and dolls.

I John Smith 252 Byres Road, 334 2769. The oldest booksellers in Scotland, John Smith has been in Glasgow since 1750. Now right beside the underground station, it’s a popular place for meeting peOple nobody minds if their friends are late if they have this many books to browse through. Specialising in paperbacks, women’s and gay literature, the atmosphere is informal and the staff are unobtrusive. Upstairs there is a record department which has a huge

range of imports, psychedelic and 603 music. I Peckhams 100 Byres Road, 357 1454. A legend in its own lunchtime, this delicatessen is now a West End institution. Stocked with the unusual (anyone for quails’ eggs or goats' cheese wrapped in nettles?), the extravagant and the simply delicious, Peckham’s policy of being open 363 days a year, 8.30pm—midnight, means you need never eat boring food again. Together with a selection of good wines, beers and spirits, fresh flowers and Belgian chocolates, you could stock up for a night of pure self-indulgence.

I Ubiquitous Chip Ashton Lane, 334 5007. Mecca for mangeurs. The

66'l‘hc l.is124 April 7 May 1992