By Heather Cumberland, Development Officer
Heading up towards the Copperworks and Spire View Housing Associations’ offices, you can’t miss The Spire which is looked after by the Rosemount Development Trust. It towers above everything round about it, quietly watching over Glasgow City. Margaret Brownlie from Spire View Housing Association tells me ‘It’s the highest point in all of Glasgow’, which when standing beneath it is easy to believe! It is just one of the community-owned assets in the area.
Fiona Murphy, director of Copperworks and Spire View Housing Association leads the way down the hill towards the mural. On route down, I lost Margaret and Fiona a number of times as a lot of people were stopping for a chat or to give updates on families and friends. Here there is a true sense of community, everyone working together.
Once we had regrouped, we rounded the corner onto Royston Road to see a cluster of people ogling the wall about 30 meters ahead and a photographer standing on the opposite side of the road. The mural was already creating a bit of a buzz! For 3 months, we had talked about the mural going up. I had seen draft versions and was involved in a bit of back and forth about putting the creative plan into action. But now, standing here in front of the real thing, I was a little lost for words. The fresh bright paint was striking in the more muted tones of the area, very representative of the community spirit alive in the area.
In the mural you can see buildings of Royston, including the Roystonhill Community Hub and The Spire which are run by community owners. In the centre you can see ‘The Duke’ standing proud, traffic cone on head, as representative an image of Glasgow it ever there was one! And framing the image, we have the people that are ‘painting’ the picture, showing us how the community are the ones that bring everything together.
A lady passes by with her shopping, she is staring at the wall. She stops for a chat with Fiona and Margaret, getting the details. I ask her what she thinks of the mural, and she tells me:
‘It’s nice to see a bit of colour about the place’. She smiles and continues on her way, stealing a last glance back at the wall.
I spy two young men, watching the mural (and us!) from a distance. They move gradually closer and closer, trying to see what is going on. They settle on a wall on the opposite side of the road. A mum and her son wander past, he is inspecting every element of mural from the boy on the bin to the traffic cone.
Another woman pauses on the path to avoid getting snapped by the photographer. She promptly put her bags on the ground to pull out her phone and gets her own shots! Everyone walking by is engaging with us and the mural.
Some claim it’s a Banksy (they are going to get some plexiglass to protect it!) but only some of us know that it was The Rebel Bear….
After making sure that we got in a selfie or two, we leave the mural to head up to the hub on the hill.
The 2 young men dart across the road, finally taking the opportunity to get a closer look. It is definitely worth the close up!
Community ownership is what brought the CO Hub, Housing associations and The Rebel Bear together, so that we could celebrate communities and how they are the most qualified to meet the communities needs. That is definitely the feeling that you have as a visitor to the area. Everyone wants to chat with the Fiona and Margaret, because not only do they support the community, they are part of it. That is why this mural perfectly placed to celebrate both the communities of Glasgow and community ownership.