Glasgow flourish

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Any attempt to get some perspective on the tragedy at the Clutha bar in Glasgow may be little consolation to the aggrieved or those anxious to pay their respects (your report, 5 December).

This is a setback that will both dent the confidence of Glasgow and inspire it to recovery.

It is worth remembering that for a four-year period in the late 1960s and early 1970s the city was becoming almost a byword for disaster.

In 1968, a number of people perished in the January gales; some months later 22 employees died after a serious fire at a warehouse in James Watt Street in the West End; the Ibrox stadium disaster in early 1971 left 66 dead; there were fatalities after an explosion at Eglinton Toll in Clarkston the same year and at a fire in a factory in Kilbirnie Street on the Southside the following year.

The city recovered.

Its social problems (including sectarian divisions) are well documented. But men and women of vision helped transform it almost beyond recognition.

After the much publicised football riots in 1980 the then Lord Provost Michael Kelly declared: “Who would want to come and visit a place whose image was portrayed in that way?”

But thanks partly to his and others efforts, the cultural and urban face of Glasgow did change. It didn’t quite remove the reputation for some appalling poverty and gang warfare.

It did create an artistic and architectural environment that more and more people could enjoy. The Commonwealth Games next year might be dismissed by some as just another ten days of sport. It will still be a symbol of a city that took the knocks and yet recovered to deliver the very best.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court

Glenrothes

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