Cranhill is a housing estate in the east end of Glasgow. Like many similar housing schemes, it was built in the early 1950s on the outskirts of the city to alleviate the post-war housing shortage. However, unlike the 'big four' schemes, Easterhouse, Drumchapel, Pollok and Castlemilk, Cranhill was relatively compact rather than sprawling.
It is borderd by Carntyne and Riddrie to the west, Greenfield to the south, Queenslie to the east and Ruchazie to the north. Most of the streets were named after Scottish lighthouses for example, Startpoint Street, Lamlash Crescent, Skerryvore Road etc. The main street, running east-west through the scheme is Bellrock Street.
The housing stock consisted mostly of four-storey tenement blocks, each with eight flats with the end close in each street called a "T" close with 4 flats. As well as the tenements, there were also maisonettes, cottage flats and tower blocks.
Most of the flats were typical family accommodation of the time, containing a kitchen, bathroom/toilet, two or three bedrooms and a living room. Many of them had balconies or verandas overlooking the street and all were a vast improvement on living conditions in the old inner Glasgow slum tenements. For many of the families who moved in, this was their first access to green fields and nearby farms, and the playing areas were paradise compared to the rat-infested back-courts which the children had formerly suffered. In the early days of the scheme, prior to the construction of the high flats on the site in 1963, the 'Sugarolly Mountains' proved a popular unofficial play area. This was chemical waste dumped by a local factory.
As the scheme became established and the community grew, amenities were put in place. Bus routes were extended through the scheme to make it easier for people to travel for work or pleasure, to the City Centre or the nearby shopping areas of Shettleston and Dennistoun. Other basic needs were served with the establishment of three local shopping parades. Cranhill Park became the heart of the community.
There were several Primary schools, St Andrews High School RC and Cranhill Secondary School. At its peak, Cranhill Secondary had a roll of some 1300, but both secondaries in Cranhill were razed in the 1980s and replaced by private housing estates due to population decline.
The most famous local work of art is the Cranhill Water Tower, at the corner of Stepps Rd and Bellrock St. One of several huge elevated storage tanks built to provide high-volume, high-pressure storage, Cranhill Water Tower is unique in having a square concrete tank, in contrast to its cylndrical neighbours in Garthamlock, Drumchapel and elsewhere. At night, the whole magnificent edifice is illuminated a vibrant green, with white spotlight lights shining from the base of the tank down to the ground.
Most of the original housing stock has been demolished. Less than half the tenements remain and the maisonettes were one of the first casulaties of the regeneration. The tower blocks, too, are condemned and will be demolished over the next decade or so as they suffer from chronic low demand.
The 'backfields', with their helter-skelter and a hangout for kids 'dogging' lessons, is now a construction site for semi-detached homes. Unfortunately, the Park today is in a dilapidated state, highlighted by the partial collapse of the pitch-and-putt green over a decade ago.