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Old Glasgow Pubs by john gorevan


The Commercial Bar.

320-22 Ballater Street, Gorbals, Glasgow.


exterior view of the Commercial Bar with William Byrne 1955

The Commercial bar with owner William Byrne and head barman 1955.

The Commercial Bar was situated at the corner of Ballater Street and 49 Commercial Road hence the name of the pub. This photograph was taken with Mr Byrne the licensee outside the premises shortly before the pub was demolished in 1955.

Ballater Street was originally called Govan Street.

The history of this old bar can be traced back to 1839 when spirit dealer and grocer William Stewart acquired a licence for the premises. William continued to run this pub until 1869.

In 1870 George Robin took over the pub. George had a partner in this business and traded under the title of Robin & Hutcheson. His business partner was Thomas Hutcheson who resided at 1 Houldsworth Street, Dumbarton Road.

The firm comprised of wholesale and retail premises including 49 Commercial Road, 49 Great Eastern Road now the Gallowgate, 15-45 Princes Street and 79 Sandyfaulds Street. The first pub they had was in Main Street, Anderston.

George also had his own businesses which included 19 Norfolk Street, 21-23 Main Street Anderston, 437 Argyle Street (Ramshorn Bar). George was living with his family at 45 St Vincent Crescent.

In 1875 George was trading at 464 Gallowgate (Royal Bar), 15 Dundas Street, 19 Norfolk Street. His other businesses with partner Thomas Hutcheson included Wholesale & Retail Wine & Spirit and Malt Whisky Merchants, 15-45 Princes Street, 49 Commercial Road, 117 Great Eastern Road (Celtic Bar) and 79 Sandyfaulds Street.

George Robin continued to run this pub until 1887, he probably passed away and his son William Robin then took over the pub, William also inherited 15-45 Princes Street, 69 Norfolk Street (Robin's Bar) and was living at 30 Corunna Street.

William continued in these premises until his death in 1912. His wife Edith took over the pub until the early 1920s.

Other licensees for this old pub were Samuel Leckie 1925, Peter Murphy 1930, Thomas Scott 1937. Mr Scott was also licensee at 2493 Dumbarton Road,Yoker, and 203 Wallace Street, Glasgow.

The last licensee was William Byrne.


Facts on this pub...

When publican Thomas Scott ran this pub the locals called the pub Tommy Scott's.

The Robin family took over this popular bar in 1888. The founder of the business was Peter Robin who had pubs on Great Eastern Road now the Gallowgate from as early as the 1840s. His son George Robin occupied premises in Gallowgate, Dundas Street, Princes Street and Norfolk Street.

In 1888 the Govan Street ( Ballater Street ) premises were taken over by William Robin, he also own extensive premises at the corner of Norfolk Street and Warwick Street, known as William Robin's spirit vaults. When he died in 1912 his wife Edith took control of the business.

Charge-hand Mr P C Masterton was employed with William Robin from 1890.

Mr P C Masterton

Mr P C Masterton. 1892.

During the 1930s Thomas Scott was running this pub, he continued to hold the licence until after WW2.

The last licensee was William Byrne, he was forced to leave the premises in 1955 as a result in the City Council's major redevelopment scheme that saw the Gorbals old businesses and tenements being demolished. The Commercial Bar was one of the first pubs in the area to be flattened by the bulldozer's.


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