169 Stockwell Street, Glasgow. G1 4SP. Tel: 0141 552 7400.
The Clutha Vaults. 1992.
The History of this popular Bar…
In 1814 a year before the Battle of Waterloo a gentleman called, Matthew Park built a handsome tenement at the foot of Stockwell Street this land was known as Park’s land. It wasn’t until the year 1819 four years after the Battle of Waterloo when a licence was first granted to a gentleman called John McSymon to sell porter and spirits, the address of these premises were 9-11 Park place named after Matthew Park.
In the early years, there were many licence holders for these premises and in 1844, the licence was transferred to a gentleman called Patrick Conway. Mr Conway was born and bred in Glasgow and resided at 7 Park Place only a few yards from the pub, this successful business stayed in the Conway family for over thirty years.
In 1888 the licence holder was a Mr Thomas Brown who was born in Blantyre, he was a very successful businessman and owned two other public houses in the city, one at 16 South Wellington Street, and the other at 278 Parliamentary Road. Mr Brown started his trade as bar boy in a pub at Bridgeton Cross called “The Green Rest.”
In 1892 a gentleman called George Johnson took over this old established shop, he was born in Hope Cottage, Shawlands and was educated at Millar’s school, Crossmyloof, after his education here he passed a civil service (inland revenue) examination, but never entered this trade, instead he turned his attention to market gardening at Riddrie, near Hogganfield.
George Johnston. 1892.
Mr George Johnston was just one of the proprietors of the Clutha Vaults.
He did not stick to this job for long and moved to Cambuslang where he learned the trade of Wines and spirits. Mr Johnson was a very popular man in Cambuslang, he was a member of the school board, a member of the Burnbank Swifts, his home was in Cambuslang, he had a public house here, and was secretary of the Cambuslang Football club, the Cambuslang Brass Band was grateful to him as he advanced them the sum of £250 for new instruments, the people of Cambuslang were also grateful as he was responsible for the erection of the Johnsons Hall. He was also very popular in the city of Glasgow and was well known for his own blends of Highland malts called “Real Duke” and “Clutha.”
The name Clutha is an ancient Gaelic word meaning the Clyde, there were also small steam passenger boats on the Clyde called Clutha’s these boats were numbered 1 to 12 and the fare would have cost a penny to cross the river.
The cellars were always stocked with the very best of liquor and one could always purchase: Moet & Chandon’s Champagne, Roussillon’s & co.’s Epernay, Dubois, Freres & Cagnion’s Cognac of 1858, La Rosa 60 year old, Burgundies of 1863, Kirker Greer & co.’s old Irish, Talisker 10 year old, Guinness, Bass in bottles, Pentland 90s ale on draught, Schweppes mineral water, Ross’s dry ginger, Allsopp’s lager and speciality “Real Duke” and “Clutha” blends of Scotch whisky retailing at 3s 6d per bottle.
The interior of the bar consisted of a Mahogany horse shoe bar with a gantry containing six large barrels, and six little snugs each containing its own table and six chairs.
In 1899, the licence was yet again transferred to a Mrs Margaret O’Kane McLaughlin she resided at 92 Queens Drive, Crosshill. Mrs McLaughlin changed the name above the door of this old howff to “McLaughlins,” she also owned the Old Eagle Inn, Howard Street.
The name above the doorway of this old establishment has changed with the times… “Clutha Vaults” “McLaughlin’s” “Popinjay Bar” “The Weemann’s” “The Merchant.”
Image of the Wee Mann’s now the Clutha. The image was taken from a movie called Death Watch. Thank’s to Richard Rinn for the image.
The rent for the premises in 1899 was £180.00 per annum and a gill of 10 year old Scotch whisky was 10d, 1920 a gill of whisky was 1/8 and rum 2/1, 1929 a pint of draught beer was 6d, 1976 a pint of lager was 30p, heavy 28p and a quarter gill of whisky was 33p.
Wages in 1932… Charge hand, £3.00 per week, Bar boy, 14/- per week and Friday & Saturday man 16/- per 2 days.
The Merchant. 1990.
When the pub was called the Merchant, the last licensee before it closed down was Patrick (Pat) Hughes, Patrick was only 5 foot 2 inches tall and was nicknamed the weeman. Mr Hughes called this public house the Weemann’s, as there was already a Weeman’s on the Gallowgate so he added the extra “N” so there was no confusion. The pub lay empty for a couple of years before Brendan McLaughlin took it over.
In 1992 a well-known publican Mr Brendan McLaughlin took over the premises completely refurbishing the interior and exterior, and it was myself that was responsible for giving this old pub its original name “The Clutha Vaults”.
It was advertised in the Glasgow Evening Times that Mr McLaughlin was looking for a name for his new pub. It stated the the name must be related to Glasgow. I thought “The Clutha Vaults” had a good ring to it, and being so near the River Clyde was a great name for the pub. In Gaelic Clutha means Clyde. After many months of research I discovered that the pub was already named the Clutha Vaults in the 1880s. What a coincidence.
This image shows the tenement building above the Popinjay Bar in the 1960s now the Clutha Bar.
One of the owners of the Popinjay Mr James Omand on the left with head barman on the right. Before Mr Omand took over the pub from Mrs McLaughlin, the pub name then was McLaughlin’s Bar. James Omand renamed the pub to the Popinjay. Omand wasn’t new to the trade as he was licensee of licensed premises at 40 Port Dundas Road. The picture above was taken in 1938 in the Port Dundas premises, the interior of this pub was exactly the same as the Popinjay. Thanks to Ronnie for the image.
Mr Omand kicked out a well known gangster in his pub many years ago. After he pushed the gangster out in the street there was a scuffle, Mr Omand then returned to serve his locals and one of the customers said ” James you a bleeding” Mr Omand put his hands on his throat and seen all the blood. The gangster had pulled out a razor and slashed James while he had a scuffle outside, the blade was that sharp he never felt a thing.
The Clutha Vaults.
This is one of Glasgow’s oldest pubs, in the past it has been known as the Merchant, the Weemann’s, The Popinjay. To read the full history of this very old establishment click here.
The image above was taken before the tragic helicopter crash.
Below are some images around Stockwell Street and the Bridgegate…
Stockwell bridge with the tenement building where the old pub was situated.
This is another view of the same scene.
This view of the Bridgegate and Stockwell Street shows how the tenement used to look like.
The Popinjay Bar 1950s. Note the Red Hackle advert on the side of the building.
Up To date News…
Today 29th November 2013 a tragic Helicopter crashed onto the roof of the Clutha…
The Clutha Helicopter Crash. 2013.
The Clutha Helicopter Crash. 2013.
A police helicopter crashed into the roof of one of Glasgow’s oldest Pubs the Clutha, Stockwell Street. It is now known that 8 people are now dead, 3 of the Helicopter crew died along with 5 customers of the Clutha. A further 14 people are being treated for “very serious injuries” in hospitals across the city.
A major investigation is under way and the Air Accidents Investigations Branch will conduct an inquiry into the crash.
It is thought that about 120 people were in the pub at the time of the crash.
Many were rescued or escaped but others were trapped by a collapse on the left-hand side of the building.
The three occupants of the helicopter who died were two police officers and a civilian pilot.
A significant number of personnel from Police Scotland, The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Ambulance Service are still at the scene.
Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House told a news conference on Saturday afternoon that they would remain there for some time.
He said: “This is a complex and ongoing rescue operation. It will not be a quick operation. It is a very complicated and indeed dangerous scene.”
Chief Constable House said the operation would go on “for many days yet”.
He paid tribute to the emergency service personnel who were working at the scene and the people of Glasgow who disregarded their own personal safety to help survivors in the aftermath of the crash.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the same news conference that the increased death toll from the crash was “news that everybody today has been both dreading and expecting”.
“Our hearts go out to everyone who has been bereaved. It is impossible to imagine the grief and loss that they are experiencing,” she said.
“They should know that the thoughts and prayers of everyone across the city, and indeed across Scotland, are with them at this unimaginably difficult time.
Ms Sturgeon also praised the courage and fortitude of the emergency services and people of Glasgow in the aftermath of the crash.
She added: “I think we were all moved last night by the way in which those who were in and around the scene did everything possible to help and the outpouring of concern and kindness today, I’m sure, will be a comfort to those affected.”
- A large area of the city centre has been cordoned off
- Mass held at St Andrew’s Cathedral in city for those involved in crash and emergency services involved in response
- Council has cancelled St Andrew’s Day celebrations in George Square as a mark of respect
- A minute’s silence was held ahead of the Falkirk v Rangers match
- Flags are flying at half-mast on Scottish government buildings
- Injured were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Western Infirmary and the Victoria Infirmary
- Police Scotland Casualty Bureau number is 0800 092 0410 – for those concerned about relatives
- Glasgow City Council has opened a family reception centre at 40 John Street
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond earlier described it as a “black day for Scotland.”
Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to the bravery of the “ordinary Glaswegians” who rushed to help.
The Queen has said her thoughts and prayers are with the victims of crash.
William Byrne, 45, from Coatbridge, who was in the pub when the helicopter came down, returned to the scene this morning.
“There was a loud bang. Then there was dust and the lights went out. It was surreal,” he told BBC Scotland.
“We didn’t know what had happened. At our side of the pub at least two people were trapped under the gantry. Myself and others lifted it up and managed to get them out. I spent some time with one injured man.”
He added: “At our side of the pub I would say there were less than 10 people injured, mainly walking wounded, not seriously injured. One girl had clearly been hit on the head – she had a big bump.
“The other side of the pub took the brunt. Myself and my friends managed to get out without a scratch. Everyone helped everyone else to get out.”
Helicopter operator Bond Air Services said it was working with the police and emergency services.
A statement added: “Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this tragic incident.”
About 250 people attended a special service at St Andrew’s Cathedral on Saturday afternoon.
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia told worshippers: “We pray for those who have lost their lives, who are injured, the bereaved, and the emergency services and members of the public.
“We pray for our city of Glasgow, which is in mourning today.”
The band who were playing in the pub at the time of the crash, Esperanza, released a statement on their Facebook page.
Bassist Jess wrote: “Waking up and realising that it is all definitely horribly real. Despite the situation everyone was so helpful and caring of each other.
“The police, ambulances, firefighters all did a stellar job and continue to do so today in extremely difficult conditions.”
Eddie Waltham, a former firefighter who had a friend inside the pub, told the BBC: “A roof joist came down and hit him and pushed him towards the window which is at the left side of the left door.”
He added later: “My own reaction was to run straight up to the pub.
“It was amazing to watch just how people were trying so hard to get into this building.”
Gordon Matheson, the leader of Glasgow City Council, said his heart went out to the families affected.
He also praised the response of ordinary people in the area before the emergency services arrived.
Mr Matheson said: “People who were in the pub, the people who were in the streets and who just helped out their fellow human beings who were out having a good time.
“It’s Glasgow at its best you know, if people are in need the spontaneous response is to go to their help. And I want to pay great tribute to that and I’m very proud as leader of the city that that was the reaction. It doesn’t surprise me.”
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “This is a black day for Glasgow and Scotland but it is also St Andrew’s Day and we can take pride in how we respond to adversity.
“The response from our emergency services and citizens has been exemplary.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This is a tragic event and our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends who lost a loved one last night.
“I want to thank the emergency services who worked tirelessly throughout the night and I also want pay tribute to the bravery of the ordinary Glaswegians who rushed to help.
“We have offered the Scottish government our support in any way we can and we are all wishing a speedy recovery to those who are injured.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband described the crash as an “unimaginable horror”.
He added: “My thoughts are with… the people of Glasgow who are an incredibly strong people, who showed, I think last night, in their reaction when the helicopter hit, a great bravery, a great courage, great calm in the midst of all this.”
I feel for all the customers who have died in this tragic accident, and all the people who have been injured and hope they all make a speedy recovery. My thought also go out to the owners of the Clutha. John Gorevan.
I would like to thank everyone who has left donations for the Victims of the Clutha Helicopter Crash in 2013.
The 10 Victims of the Clutha Helicopter Crash…
Pilot David Traill, 51; Constables Tony Collins, 43 and Kirsty Nelis, 36; and customers John McGarrigle, 57; Mark O’Prey, 44; Gary Arthur, 48; Colin Gibson, 33; Robert Jenkins, 61; Samuel McGhee, 56; and Joe Cusker, 59. R.I.P.
I would like to thank everyone who has donated their precious money to the VICTIMS of the CLUTHA HELICOPTER CRASH.
During the 1920s the area around the pub was rife for illegal stills and many