Fireworks

1839

Fireworks

Govanhill (the hill above “little Govan”) started as a few cottages and a coal mine near Bankhall St (Cathcart Road and Calder St), and the settlement in 1700s was called Fireworks. William Dixon, an incomer from Northumberland, owned the mine and bought up most of the surrounding land, and in 1839 his son, William Dixon Jnr. built the famous Govan Ironworks nearby – known as Dixon’s Blazes because of the flames from the furnaces lighting up the sky day and night. By the 1870s the Dixons began to lay out the area and sell it off for tenement housing – much of it of good quality (with inside toilets) and insisting on wide streets. Govanhill and Crosshill became solid working class and middle class neighbourhoods growing from a few hundred to over 10,000 by 1901. Dixon’s Blazes and nearby Dubs (Queens Park Railway Works) at Polmadie became major local employers with over 1000 men each, including Lithuanian and Irish. But the majority of Govanhill incomers were Highland and Lowland Scots who went on to establish churches and open shops to service the community.