New public artwork unveiled for the Gorbals and Laurieston



Crowd listening to the welcome speeches
Crowd listening to the welcome speeches

A new permanent public artwork by artist Liz Peden of Gorbals Arts Project was unveiled last week in the Gorbals.

The Allan Pinkerton panel is unveiled by his last remaining descendants in Scotland with some help from a St. Francis Primary School
The Allan Pinkerton panel is unveiled by his last remaining descendants in Scotland with some help from a St. Francis Primary School

Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss joined descendants of local famous faces to celebrate the unveiling of the 7 Arches, a unique history wall in Glasgow.

Liz Peden has created a striking permanent installation in the Cleland Street Underpass that celebrates figures of significance to Laurieston and the Gorbals, including renowned artist Hannah Frank, Allan Pinkerton –who established Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, and Benny Lynch –Scotland’s first world flyweight boxing champion.

Alongside Alison Thewliss MP for Glasgow Central, the Hannah Frank panel will be revealed by her niece, Fiona Frank; the Benny Lynch panel by Bryan Turnbull from the Benny Lynch Campaign and Douglas Wilson, the grandson of Benny Lynch’s trainer; the Allan Pinkerton panel by Roy, David and Gary Pinkerton, three of his last remaining descendants living in Scotland – along with local schoolchildren from Blackfriars and St Francis’ Primary.

Fiona Frank, niece of artist Hannah Frank, whose work is depicted in this panel 'Girl in a Wood' (1928)
Fiona Frank, niece of artist Hannah Frank, whose work is depicted in this panel ‘Girl in a Wood’ (1928)

The artwork has been delivered with support from WAVEparticle as part of the award-winning Art & Living: Laurieston art strategy for the area, which is being delivered in partnership with New Gorbals Housing Association and Urban Union.

Liz Peden said: “The Gorbals is a performer before an audience”.

She described the work as a history wall of famous people born in the Gorbals, and chose this idea to “demonstrate to our young people that no matter where you come from, you can achieve great things.”

The artwork comprises four black and white, five-metre high dibond panels, one in each of the four alcoves on the North side of Cleland Street underpass.

Across the road on the South side of the underpass, three weathered corten steel panels carry quotations in relief that reflect each of the historic figures.

For Benny Lynch, the quotation is from a report in The Herald in 1935, after Benny became the world flyweight boxing champion: “The Scot fought like a human tornado from the first bell.” 

Bryan Turnbull of the Benny Lynch Statue Campaign, a school pupil from St. Francis Primary School, Eddie Wilson (son of Benny Lynch's trainer Sammy Wilson), and Douglas Wilson, grandson of Sammy
Bryan Turnbull of the Benny Lynch Statue Campaign, a school pupil from St. Francis Primary School, Eddie Wilson (son of Benny Lynch’s trainer Sammy Wilson), and Douglas Wilson, grandson of Sammy

At night-time the steel panels will be flooded with coloured light from a ground-based lighting system, thereby creating three slowly changing light-wells that will welcome passers-by through the underpass.

Together these panels are known as 7 Arches and transform Cleland Street Underpass, giving the public a chance to enjoy unique artwork that focuses on the history and heritage of the local area.

Constituency MSP Nicola Sturgeon said:  “The project has its roots in the local community and I think that shows. They have created artworks which local people strongly identify with and which are unique to the Gorbals and Laurieston area.”

Fraser Stewart, director of New Gorbals Housing Association said: “Gorbals Arts Project has completed several excellent works in the Gorbals and this is a fantastic addition to their wonderful contribution to our public spaces.

The Glasgow Map panel is unveiled by Robert Greenhorn, Portfolio Manager, Commercial Estate at Network Rail with the help of a St. Francis Primary School pupil (not pictured here)
The Glasgow Map panel is unveiled by Robert Greenhorn, Portfolio Manager, Commercial Estate at Network Rail with the help of a St. Francis Primary School pupil (not pictured here)

“The underpass is the link between our Hutchesontown and Laurieston neighbourhoods and Liz has created a fitting tribute to all of the Gorbals and transformed what was a dreary and bereft space.”

Susan Hallsworth, managing director of Urban Union said: “This new artwork is a continuation of our commitment to celebrate the local community throughout the regeneration of Laurieston.

“It captures the vibrant history of the area as we look to the future of a new community for life in Laurieston.”

Peter McCaughey, lead artist of WAVEparticle said: “It’s been a pleasure to support Liz Peden of Gorbals Arts Project, who has created a striking artwork that is all about celebrating the rich connections within the Gorbals and Laurieston.

“Relationships have been everything in making sure this artwork happened, from the support of the committed staff at New Gorbals Housing Association, to the team at Urban Union, and from a couple of great managers at Network Rail to key people within Glasgow City Council DRS.”

Photographs courtesy of Andy Gallacher, Anthony ÓDoibhailein and Weber Shandwick.



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