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Old Glasgow Pubs by john gorevan


The Oriental Bar.

4 Finnieston Street, Glasgow.

Mr John Douglas. 1901.

The Oriental bar, 4 Finnieston Street was one of twelve public houses on this old street. The pubs on this street were full of sailor's, mariner's, engineer's, labourer's from all over the world.

In 1853 Robert McLellan was the first publican to run this public house. The following year James Paterson, wine & spirit merchant acquired the licence. James resided with his family at 3 Minerva Street, Glasgow.

Mr Robert McLellan served the locals here until 1865.

Alexander McGregor was the next spirit merchant to take over this pub. Mr McGregor made a good living from this pub. He lived with his wife and family firstly at 123 Kent Street in the east end of the city before moving to better accommodation at 50 St Vincent Street. Alex McGregor sold up in 1877.

The next spirit merchant to run this pub was James Smith from 1878 to 1890.

From 1891 to 1895 Henry Skinner was the holder of the licence before well-known wine and spirit merchant John Douglas took over.

Mr John Douglas was a member of the Tradeston Defence Association in the early part of 1900s. He also owned pubs at 46 Cook Street, 465 Cathcart Road. Mr Douglas stayed as licensee until 1910.

Mr John Douglas was born in Florence Street off Cumberland Street in the Gorbals area of the city. He was educated at the local school and then on to Hutcheson's School under Mr Thomas Menzies, F.E.I.S.

After leaving school he worked in some minor situations, but this was not for John. He then entered the service of the well-known firm of Messrs Mowatt Bros., flour importers, as a traveller and cashier, a responsible position and arduous position, in which he wrought not only in Glasgow, but the whole of the West of Scotland.

John remained in this position for seven years. He then went on to work for Colonel Menzies of "Auld Scottie" famed whisky. He left this firm after four years. He was entertained by Colonel Menzies and his wife, giving him many gifts for his hard work.

He then left Glasgow to work in London to represent the well-known firm of Messrs John Walker & Sons, Ltd, distillers, whisky and wine merchants and brokers of Kilmarnock.

John Douglas then got married to Miss Skinner, daughter of Mr Henry Skinner, one of the best known and most respected members of the trade. After being in London for over two years, hearing that his father-in-law was very ill and anxious to retire from active business life, Mr Douglas was induced to resign his position in London, returned to Glasgow.

He then purchased a public house at 465 Cathcart Road and 4 Finnieston Street. A week after opening the business in Glasgow his father-in-law died.

John was a strict businessman and attended his premises every day. John also managed as trustee of the late Mr Skinner public house at 46 Cook Street, which licence was also carried on in his name.

Mr Douglas was nothing if not social. He was much sought after by the promoters of Smoking concerns and other social gatherings, where his genial presence, capital song, and other flowing goof humour made him a welcome guest and acquisition.

John was a zealous Mason of "Athole" Lodge, no. 413, an old Oddfellow of Lodge "Queen Victoria", and a prominent member of the Bank Burns Club, a member of the Wine, Beer, and Spirit Trade Benevolent Association, a bowler with the Cathcart Bowling Club.

He was also a proficient swimmer, fond of pictures and a keen cultivator of flowers.

David F Gunn then took over the business, David ran a successful pub here until 1931. Mr Gunn survived the depression of the WW1 which was very hard work during war times. Many pubs closed sometimes for two days because of the shortage of beer.

Michael Foley another well-known Glasgow wine and spirit merchant took over in 1932. Michael also owned the Oriental Bar in Govan Road.

In 1937 Alexander Grant was the licensee, Alex was still running this pub until the early 1940s.

William Gallagher ran the Oriental Bar from 1945 until around 1967, the pub was then demolished.


In The NEWS 1965...

2 Jailed After Pub Robbery.

Two men were each jailed for nine months at Glasgow Sheriff Court, when they admitted assaulting and robbing a publican and his barmaid of £11 16shillings.

They are Frederick Owens 25 of 17 Kelvinhaugh Street, Finnieston, and Bernard O'Hara, Finnieston, Glasgow. The Court was told that Owens and O'Hara went into the pub at 4 Finnieston Street on the night of January 26th and after one pint of beer, they were asked by publican William Gallagher to leave as he thought they had to much to drink.

They did, but minutes later dashed back, and while Owens ran behind the bar counter O'Hara seized the publican and barmaid. Owens grabbed a handful of notes and coins and both men ran out.

Later they were seen fighting in Argyle Street and arrested. They were later identified by Mr William Gallagher and the barmaid. An agent said the men had been celebrating a win at the dogs and had to much to drink. The incident was not planned, he said, it came over them on a spur of the moment. They were found guilty.


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