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Updated 06/27/2019


Invisible in the Cowcaddens

Cowcaddens is an area of the city of Glasgow, Scotland. It is very close to the city center and is bordered by the newer area of Garnethill to the south-west and old Townhead to the east.

Cowcaddens was originally a village and became an industrious and thriving part of the expanding Glasgow, being close to Port Dundas and the Forth and Clyde Canal immediately to its north. Its boundaries merged into the City of Glasgow in 1846. By the 1880s, the area was becoming a slum district with the highest level of infant mortality.

The southern fringes of Cowcaddens have historically housed one of Glasgow's premier entertainment districts, with theatres and music halls including the former Scottish Zoo and Hippodrome in New City Road, the Grand Theatre at Cowcaddens Cross, Theatre Royal at the upper end of Hope Street, the massive Cineworld multi-story cinema complex and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall at the top of West Nile Street. The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, now known as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is in Renfrew Street at its junction with Hope Street. From 1957 to 2003, the headquarters of STV (a television channel serving Scotland) were located there - having since relocated to Pacific Quay. Two other former theatres, the Royalty Theatre and the Glasgow Apollo (now occupied by the Cineworld complex) used to stand close to the area.

The former Cowcaddens Free Church now houses the National Piping Centre. The author notes that, “Invisible in the Cowcadens was written while waiting to be noticed by reception staff at the National Piping Center.”