Coming Together
Tighinn Còmhla

B’ e seann drochaid Stockwell aon de na h-àiteachan coinneachaidh bu thràithe a bha aig na Gàidheil sa bhaile (a’ chiad drochaid cloiche sa bhaile) air làrach Drochaid Bhioctòiria an latha an-diugh. Air a togail ann an 1345, chaidh aon de na boghaichean a ghibhteadh le Gàidheal – Helena, banntrach Sir Cailean Òg Caimbeul à Loch Obha, do am buineadh am fearann air bruachan deas na h-aibhne.

Anns na 1780an, bhiodh luchd-labhairt na Gàidhlig a’ cruinneachadh uair sa mhìos airson club còmhraidh anns an taigh-seinnse a bha aig a’ Bh-ph Scheid, Clobhs Bhochanain (làrach Debenhams an-diugh). Am measg nan daoine a bhiodh a’ dol ann gu cunbhalach, bha Seòras Mac an Tòisich, athair Theàrlaich Mhic an Toisich, a fhuair cliù an ainm a’ chòta.

Is dòcha gur e an t-àite coinneachaidh fon drochaid rèile tarsainn Sràid Earra-Ghàidheal a bu chliùitiche do Ghàidheil sa bhaile, drochaid a chaidh a thogail ann an 1906 agus a choisinn am far-ainm ‘Hielanman’s Umbrella’. Bhiodh Gàidheil bho air feadh a’ bhaile a’ coinneachadh an seo airson taic às dèidh an obair no air madainn Didòmhnaich às dèidh na h-eaglais a chluinntinn naidheachdan bhon taigh. Bha an cleachdadh seo a’ dol gu làidir sna 1920an agus 30an ach chaidh e a-mach à fasan às dèidh a’ Chogaidh mar a bha a’ choimhearsnachd a’ sgaoileadh agus daoine a’ faireachdainn cofhurtail gu leòr sa bhaile.

One of the earliest meeting points for Gaels in the city was the Old Stockwell bridge (the city’s first stone bridge) on the site of today’s Victoria Bridge. Built in 1345, one of its arches was contributed by a Gael – Helena, widow of Sir Colin Og Campbell of Lochawe, whose family owned the land on the south bank of the river.

In the 1780s, Gaelic-speakers congregated once a month for a conversation club in Mrs Scheid’s Tavern, Buchanan Close (today the site of Debenhams). Regulars included the entrepreneur George Macintosh, father of Charles Macintosh of raincoat fame.

Perhaps the most famous congregating point for Gaels in the city was under the railway bridge across Argyle Street (built 1906), nicknamed the Hielanman’s Umbrella  (‘Highlandman’s Umbrella’). Gaels from across the city would meet here for support after work or on Sunday mornings after church to exchange news from home. The practice was at its height in the 1920s and 30s but died out after the War as the community spread and they felt more at home in the city.