By the 1600’s, Glasgow probably had a population of 7,000.
In 1626 a new tolbooth was built. It was demolished in 1812 except for the steeple.
Today it looks like this:
The Tolbooth Steeple played an important part in the jurisprudence of the period. Its High Street face was cheerfully garnished with spikes for the heads of traitors and other first-class misdemeanants.
Commoner criminals were hung against its Trongate face. A scaffold was raised for them to the height of the first floor, facing appropriately down the Gallowgate, and the prisoner was brought out from the Tolbooth by a little window door.
Below this, on the level of the street, a low half door led direct to the prison, by a turnpike stair in the steeple.
Here are some pictures of The Tolbooth Steeple over the years…
Looking North Up High Street, 1887:
Men consulting electoral rolls posted on the Tolbooth Steeple, 1904:
The Tolbooth was demolished in 1921:
Illustration (Date Unkown):
Painting by artist L.S. Lowry:
Did you ever hear the story about the planned re-location of the Tolbooth Steeple?
Head on over to PART II to find out.