389 Gallowgate, Glasgow.
The Rob Roy. 1991.
This was one of my old favourite pubs in the east end of the city.
Situated at the corner of the Gallowgate and Hill Street, it was a popular haunt for employees of the meat market and Tennent Caledonian Breweries.
There has been a pub on this site since at least the 1830s. In 1863 Archibald MacPherson took over this old established howff, Mr MacPherson was a prosperous businessman also having pubs in 278 Main Street, Bridgeton, 2 pubs on Duke Street, one at 200 and the other at 263 Duke Street, 460 Paisley Road, 224 Castle Street, 8 Dale Street and the very old established “Monteith’s” tavern 387 Argyle Street.
Archibald took over “Monteith’s” tavern in 1875, however he was not to live long to enjoy his small empire of pubs or to watch his young family growing up, he drowned in the summer of 1878, while fishing opposite Dunoon. His wife Margaret carried on the business and when Hugh the eldest son was of age he helped his mother in the running of the family concern.
The old “Monteith’s” premises were converted into a store and bottling department for wholesale no drink at the bar was sold, every inch of ground floor was taken up with puncheons, butts and barrels. The underground cellars were also full of the very best wines in wood and bottle from the choicest vineyards. La Rosa 40 year old, Burgundies of 1863 and 1867, stacks of hocks of 1857 and 1868, ports of 1870, sherries of 1862 and scores of other bottles some of them over 50 years old. A large stock of whisky was also ready for vatting, prominent among them was “Orkney,” of 1882, “Royal Brackla” and “Long John,” old brandies and Vieux Rhum.
At the rear of the building a Highlander Donald McDonald, a brother of Mrs MacPherson was in charge of the bottling, another brother Alexander was cashier. It was somewhat a family affair at Monteith’s old premises.
In 1899 Robert Allan Stevenson took over the pub on the Gallowgate the name above the doorway was then Stevenson’s which stayed in the family until around 1930.
Gallowgate publican Archibald McIntyre then took over the pub, Archie had McIntyre’s Bar further alone the Gallowgate at no. 615 next to the Bellgrove Hotel, his father Dugald had it before him acquiring it in 1898. On the outbreak of the Second World War the Gallowgate pubs were run by Mrs McIntyre as all the young male members of the family were in the forces. Dugald McIntyre then took over the licence, however in 1945 young 21 year old Dugald was killed in action, he was in the Merchant Navy. The McIntyre family continued to run the pubs successfully until the 1950s, the Rob Roy however was sold to Colin H M McNab in 1960. Colin’s son John then took over the running of the pub running it until it closed in the 1990s. John was a real gentleman when I met him in the Rob Roy many years ago he always welcomed me when I was researching the Gallowgate pubs.
Interior view of the Rob Roy circa 1960 with John McNab in the foreground.
One day not long before the pub closed, I gave John McNab a visit, we chatted about the various pubs on the Gallowgate when he stopped and looked over towards the small glass heated cabinet that held the hot pie’s, and said to the barmaid his wife, there’s the little bugger there, I looked round thinking he was talking about some child that came into the bar, John and his wife laughed, I still couldn’t see anyone, then John pointed him out to me, a small mouse eating crumbs on the bar, I jumped as I am still not very sure when rodents are around me.
John was great at telling stories and talked about the barber’s shop that used to be next door, the barber himself would frequently nip into the bar for a quick one in between customers. It was for this reason he became known to the locals as Sweeney Todd. One day he dived into an adjacent toilet and within seconds was screaming. “There’s a dead body on the toilet,” he told people who crowded round to investigate.
There was a body, as such, mischievous workers at the nearby meat market had skinned a sheep and deposited it on the WC for him to find.
Group of eastend publicans back row on the far right is Archibald McIntyre, owner of the Rob Roy, Gallowgate and McIntyre’s Bar also Gallowgate. 1934.
To read more on the pubs on the Gallowgate read up & Doon the Gallowgate by John Gorevan. A copy can be bought for a few pounds at the Hielan Jessie on the Gallowgate or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org