A pend is a Scottish architectural term meaning a passageway through a building, usually from a street to a courtyard, most often for pedestrians. It has also been used to name other passages too, such as the two-and-a-half century old Halloween Pend in Glasgow.
The Forth and Clyde Canal was an important part of the country’s industrial revolution. When it was opened in 1790 it helped connect the North sea to the Irish, forging commercial links from Scandinavia to the Americas. At the same time, the waterway sliced through rural lands on which sheep and cows had grazed for centuries. Tunnels were dug so that the drovers could still take their animals to the markets.
However, the once pastoral landscape changed rapidly as factories began to be built along the canal’s banks. A century later and ordnance survey makers sometimes even forgot to record the tunnel’s location, though it was still known locally. As a child in the 1940s my grandmother and her friends would use it as a shortcut to play.
Of course, the invention of the steam engine and the Railway Mania that followed in the Nineteenth century made the canal itself obsolete. It was closed in the 1960s and fell into dereliction, with numerous campaigns to have it filled in entirely after the tragic drownings of local children. It did endure though, and was reopened for pleasure boating at the turn of the new century. The Pend survives too, albeit almost entirely forgotten and practically inaccessible, only accessible at the end of a dreich industrial estate on one side. It is overgrown with vegetation and littered with rubbish, and filled with inches of thick mud which threatens to ruin your shoes with every step.
The north entrance
The south entrance
But why is it called the Halloween Pend? Perhaps because of it’s unusual path. It doesn’t run straight but rather curves, meaning both entrances aren’t visible at the same time, and you’re enveloped in inky darkness in the middle. Spooky stuff!
This concludes today’s history lesson. Take care and be sure to have a wonderful day!