Drumchapel is a large housing estate on the north western outskirts of Glasgow. It is bordered by Garscadden to the south and the towns of Bearsden and Clydebank to the east and west. Land to the north is rural.
Construction on 'The Drum' began in 1953 to provide housing for slum-dwellers displaced by the slum clearances of inner city Glasgow. Houses were still being built up to the end of the 1960s with three tower blocks at Linkwood Crescent being one of the last major projects in the area. At its peak, it was home to over 30,000 people. It was one of the Big 4 tenemental schemes built by Glasgow City Council, the others being Easterhouse, Pollok and Castlemilk.
Like the others, poor planning was the downfall of Drumchapel. In the early days of the housing scheme there were no amenities with the exception a telephone box and a post office with a bus running to and from central Glasgow every half hour. The shopping centre was not completed until the early 1960s. Very quickly the estate became unpopular and comedian Billy Connolly, who grew up in Drumchapel, referred to it as "a desert with windows."
In 1990, steps were put in place to regenerate the area which had suffered a great decline in population to just 18,000 as residents moved from the area. Of the 8,800 homes, 89% were owned by the council (90% of these were tenement flats). Only 143 had been sold under the Right To Buy scheme. 78% of Drum residents were unemployed and there was a 13% vacancy rate, with the worst area being Kingsridge-Cleddans at the north-western edge of Drumchapel. Despite only making up 18% of the total housing in the estate, it accounted for over half of the vacant properties.
The council took action against the poverty that was sweeping the estate and announced in 1990 that £150m would be spent on regenerating the scheme over the next 15 years.
At present, The Drum is in a major transitional period. While there have been improvements in many parts of the scheme, large swathes are made up of vacant land where flats used to be. As money was spent on refurbishing some of the 1950s tenements, these continued to be neglected and trashed by problematic tenants forcing unplanned demolition in many cases.
A more positive reflection is the recent success of actor James McAvoy who hails from The Essenside area of the scheme, incidentally the same area as football pundit Andy Gray.