top of page
  • Iain Corbett

Drumchapel Mural

In 1950’s Glasgow, business and industry were booming. People flocked to the area in search of a more prosperous life, and Glasgow quickly started to, literally, overflow. In response, Glasgow City Council built four new, highly desirable, housing schemes on the outskirts of Glasgow: Milton, Easterhouse and Castlemilk sit to the north, east and south respectively, with Drumchapel being built to the west.

Initially with a population of over over 30,000, made up predominantly of working families, Drumchapel was a sought after place to live and bring up young families. However, as factories and shipyards closed in the ‘70s and ‘80’s, unemployment soared and the reputation across these four communities changed dramatically, and rapidly.

Today, Drumchapel houses less than half of its initial capacity at around 13,000 residents - with around a quarter of that figure being children under the age of 18. Around half of people in Drumchapel live in poverty and around 70% of occupants live within 500 metres of vacant or derelict land. Drumchapel is in the top 5% of deprived communities in Scotland and life expectancy is considerably lower than the Scottish national average.

Pretty bleak, right? Well, maybe not…

Neighbourly Lab's Programme Outreach Lead, Iain Corbett, has worked in Drumchapel in a variety of guises over the years and paints a very different picture.

To Iain, Drumchapel is wealthy - not in financial terms, but it is wealthy in a whole host of other ways: it has a rich history, community spirit in abundance, a wealth of organisations and people striving to make their community better, connection and love is plentiful and there is a copious amount of young people full of energy, ideas and enthusiasm that make the future seem that little bit brighter.

Everyone who has been lucky enough to work in Drumchapel speaks about that magic ‘something’ in the community. A ‘something’ that money can’t buy.

Neighbourly Lab has had the privilege of working with the young people in this bountiful community, so when it came to contributing to D70: a celebration of 70 years of Drumchapel, it was only right that this was led by the enthusiastic young people mentioned previously.

After a series of workshops with young people, hosted by the inspirational G15 Youth Project, the young people decided on two projects they wanted to run to celebrate as part of D70. The first a Drumchapel Mural Trail and the second a Dragons Den style participatory budgeting project (more on this in another blog).

Young people spoke about the street art renaissance happening across Glasgow, with the city centre becoming awash with giant spray painted murals bringing colour to the once drab city. This culture spilled over into communities like Maryhill in the north and Calton in the east, which now have bright, bold and beautiful art pieces celebrating the communities and their history.

Drumchapel didn't have this. Although surrounded by greenspace in the form of the Bluebell Woods, Drumchapel, like Glasgow of old, was pretty grey. So the young people wanted to do something about it.

With permission, Neighbourly Lab and the young people from G15 Youth Project are brightening the community up, little by little.

The first mural, was a dedication from the young people of Drumchapel to the service personnel of Drumchapel and their families as a mark of gratitude and respect, and we were absolutely delighted to be joined by some of those from Drumchapel Baptist Church (Church on the Hill to the locals) whose family members are remembered in the adjoining Garden of Remembrance who were heartwarmed by the young people's sentiment and gesture.

The next pieces were to be found on either side of a large shipping container, next to the MUGA (multi-use gymnasium area) ‘up the hill’. These pieces celebrated 60 Years of Drumchapel Baptist Church and D70 respectively. This piece was again done by the young people at G15 Youth Project but this time they were joined by others from Drumchapel High School as well as local parents and residents. More murals are planned for St Marks Church and Antonine Care Home with completion due by end or March 2023.

These intergenerational projects bring together people whose paths may never cross, and give them a chance to collaborate and to improve their community. Murals done by the people of Drumchapel for the people of Drumchapel. So, if you are ever in Drumchapel take the time to stop by and see them. Take a minute to breathe and to soak up that special ‘something’...but don't lean on the wall, it’s wet.

bottom of page