33 Wilson Street, Glasgow.
James Shirra’s Bar, 1889.
James Shirra wine and spirit merchant traded from this old pub as early as 1863. In order to keep up with the ever growing trend that so many pubs in the area had been up-graded Mr Shirra transformed the old pub which was in desperate need of renovation. He was resolved to remodel and reconstruct the whole interior. His biggest task was to lower the floor some two feet, with was successfully completed followed by the transportation of the bar counter which was made from the finest mahogany in the shape of a horse shoe, this shape of bar was then the very popular.
The passage round the bar was wide enough to admit a brisk trade, little snug’s took up the rest of the floor space. Numerous pictures of sporting events and celebrities hung round the walls of the bar parlour or snuggery that was reserved for friends of Mr Shirra’s. A fine open staircase leads to the large hall above which accommodates 130 people, for social meetings, presentations and smoking concerts.
Mr Shirra stocked good quality liquors, including Allsopp’s and Salt’s beer, his 15 year old Scotch whisky “Perfection” was his specialty, and Ballochmyle famed brand of old Scotch, Renault’s brandy 1879, he did a roaring trade in snacks such as sausages, Welsh rarebits, hot pies which was served from the front bar.
Mr Shirra’s grandfather was proprietor of the Burnfoot Distillery, Kippen, Perthshire and his father traded as a wine and spirit merchant in the Gallowgate from 1852. James was also born on the Gallowgate. The old pub on the Gallowgate was called Shirra’s Vaults and later became the property of David Graham of Graham & Sons. This firm owned pubs all over the city of Glasgow including 552 Gallowgate (The Four Ways,) 131 Broad Street, 5 Marlborough Street, 251 Gallowgate (The Haven,) 37-45 Saltmarket (Graham’s Bar,) 1-3 Saltmarket, 18 Graeme Street now Bell Street (House of Lords,) 393-95 Paisley Road, 58 Bridge Street (The Laurieston Bar,) and 17 Moore Street.
In 1875 James Shirra was trading at 552 Gallowgate, Mrs Janet Shirra had two pubs one at 216 Duke Street at the corner of Bellgrove Street and 90 Green Street, Calton.
The Shirra family sold up around 1894 when Thomas A Pirie took over the Wilson Street pub. Robert Mill was landlord in 1912 followed by James L Bennie, the pub closed down when the World War started and never opened up again as a public house.