Susan McFarlane - Resident for 30 years

Susan McFarlane (72) is one local Red Road residents who was amongst the first tenants in the Red Road Flats when they opened in the 1960s. Her memories share a time of new beginnings and new hope for the area, giving an important reflection on the current plans for demolition. blue_card_design

I was one of the first to move in. You didn’t get your flat allocated, just the block and there was a ballot that was held downstairs. I got (floor) twenty-one. I had a young family – Karen was three and Stephen was five – so I thought ‘I’m not going all the way up there’ but no one would change with us so we were stuck with it. I wouldn’t have swapped after I found out that it was actually quieter the higher up you were. The views were beautiful too.  I loved the flats – they were great at one time.

We came from a room and kitchen in Bridgeton and the roof fell in during a storm. That’s why we moved there and at first it was amazing.  It was the neighbours that made it. We all had kids the same age and we all looked after the old folk.  We would come in and out of the houses and make sure they were all right. It was great for the kids too – they called them their grannies and all that.  New Years were great up there. The door was open to all the neighbours. Or if you were stuck for a babysitter any of the neighbours would take your kids. We used to have birthday parties in the community hall.

I used all the shops in Red Road; there was a wee bakery, a hairdressers and all that. In fact I still use the hairdresser that used to work in the shop here. Now there’s only two shops left. I remember sitting on the grass out there – all the neighbours together. I keep in touch with a couple of them that have moved out now. But they’re friends for life.

You could even get out on the roof – that’s where we put the washing out. It was windy though right enough. Some days you could feel the building sway. When you went to the toilet you could see the water moving around.  The atmosphere of the flats has changed now but I still didn’t want to move. Don’t get me wrong, my new house is beautiful but now it seems strange to me that you open your door and you’re straight on to the street. I’m so used to calling a lift and then just having to stand there.

Before the concierges started we had terrible trouble with the lifts. They were never working and you’d get in after going out for your messages with all your bags and you’d try and get up all those stairs. Luckily I used to know a few people low down so I’d leave the bags with them and come and get them later on when the lifts were working. It didn’t bother the kids – they’d run up and down them. But it bothered my husband when he got in from work and there was no lift on. The best thing that happened in the flats was when the concierges started. If there was anything wrong we buzzed straight down to them. It made you feel very secure when you got home at night too.

I’d like to be there when the first block comes down – I’d like to be there. I’ll feel quite sad, they’ve been a big part of my life. But you’ve got to move with the times haven’t you?

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