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From brides to the Bridewell, women's lives in a Glasgow city-block

Baker, Nina (2010) From brides to the Bridewell, women's lives in a Glasgow city-block. In: Womens History Scotland Conference 2010, 2010-10-15 - 2010-10-16. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In investigating the background of a gap site proposed for development in central Glasgow, I was struck by the range of uses to which it had been put in the past couple of centuries. At the corner of the High Street and Duke Street, it lies at the heart of Glasgow's earliest centre and must also have a striking medieval history too, but this paper looks at modern recorded data to draw out hints of how life was for ordinary working class and underclass women in the period from the early 19th century to the present. For this block has included manufactories, housing, commerce and the great Duke street prison, the female part of which was colloquially known as the Bridewell, as was often the case in other cities. Strikingly, the corner building also housed, for a period, the local Registry Office. Data from land records, maps and plans are combined with census and postal and trade directories and other records, to weave a story of this small corner of a great city, through the lives of women living, working and incarcerated here.