Saturday 18 June 2022

Greenock's Ghost Closes

A walk along Cathcart Street in Greenock gives glimpses of the many closes, or narrow lanes, that once led down to the River Clyde from Greenock's main street.

You can see where these closes once stood by the signs on the walls of the present day buildings. Once the busy, noisy, thronging heart of the town, many were also dirty, overcrowded and crime-ridden places.  However they do add a colourful side to Greenock's history and were where many ordinary people lived and worked. 

Sign showing where Broad Close once stood.

Broad Close was once one of the main lanes down to the River and, for its time, was considered wide!  The local gaol was situated here thus the depiction of the jougs (iron collar used as form of punishment).  You can read more about it here.

Another "ghost close" was the notorious Longwell Close - so called because it houses one of the town's main wells.  There's still a stone on the ground marking where the well once was.  You can read more about it on this blog here.

Drummer's Close still exists in part.  It once ran south from Dalrymple Street (at the Municipal Buildings) and has a very interesting history which you can read here.

Then there's the interestingly named Mince Collop Close - which once stood just off William Street.  Learn more here.

Many of these closes were destroyed during improvements to the town in the 1880s.  It is good to know that the ghost of their presence still remains in the street signs along Cathcart Street a reminder of an important aspect of Greenock's history and heritage.

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