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.”