No Mean City is a novel written by Alexander McArthur and H. Kingsley Long and is about the razor gangs of the Gorbals, a notorious working-class district on the south side of the River Clyde. It was set in the inter-war years and did nothing to change people’s perception of Glasgow’s tough reputation, one in which the stereotype is likely to be a heavy drinking sectarian football fanatic who might well have worked as a welder in a Govan shipyard and spent his Saturday nights trying to drink Sauchiehall Street dry.
Glasgow’s tough reputation stems from the days when it was the ‘Second City of the Empire’. The industrialization of Glasgow produced shipyards, factories and slums, and although there are plenty of examples of some fine Victorian classical architecture, I don’t think that even the staunchest Glaswegian would say that they live in a beautiful city – but beauty is only skin deep. Scratch below the surface and you’ll find that there’s a lot more to Glasgow than you might have realised.