Glasgow’s Got History #001: Canoes Abound!

Glasgow is a wonderful place to live - so rich in history and so alive with modernity at the same time. We at Student Tours Scotland are delving into the historical aspects of the city from earliest times to the modern age. We'll take you along on the journey as we go.

There is a sign that lingers in the remains of Tontine Lane in the Glasgow Merchant City near Glasgow Cross. Tontine Lane itself is pretty historical. The old building which was attached to the Tollbooth Steeple is long gone but the lane, with it's three entrances pays homage to it in 2013. Recently, a set of gates were created to stop hooligans and undesirables hanging out in Tontine Lane and sadly the hidden neon signs (there are three of them in total - albeit two are turned off just now) are now inaccessible.

On the Trongate side to Tontine Lane is one of Student Tours Scotland's favourite hang out spots on a rainy tour of Glasgow Cross. The Canoe Was Found here sign is actually more than just a City of Lights landmark. It highlights an important aspect of Glasgow's history. The sign itself harks back to a period of Glasgow from before the Roman conquest (if you can call it that) of the south of Scotland. The fact is, simply, that a canoe was found here. It shows how high the waters of the river came into what is now St. Enoch and the Merchant City. In fact several of these dug-out canoes have been found preserved - in Calton and Springfield Quay as well. 

The caneo was found in 1871 during excavation work and a version of it lies in the Glasgow City Council museum collection - it was present in the old Kelvin Hall Transport Museum - the collection of which now lies in the new Riverside Museum. So next time you pass Trongate, be sure to check out the illumination in Tontine Lane for a little glimpse into the history of Glasgow.