After the petition to rename Duke Street made headlines last week, and this week councillors revealed plans to link the M8 and M77, it’s been quite an exciting few weeks for one of Britain’s longest streets. But how much do you truly know of its dramatic history?

GlasgowLiving brings you; 12 Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know About Duke Street.

12. Early Beginnings

Named in 1794, at 222 years old, Duke Street is one of Glasgow’s oldest and most famous streets.

11. The First 13

Up until 1750 Glasgow had a grand total of only 13 streets, Drygate and High Street being two of the original 13. Drygate itself is even older and is thought to be one of the oldest thoroughfares in the entire city. It has been rumoured that brewing in Glasgow dates as far back as the 12th century and initially brewing was thought to have been conducted next to the Molendinar Burn. Being one of the first known sources of fresh water in Glasgow the Molendinar was perfect for early ale brewers.

10. University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow’s original premises resided on Duke Street. For more than 400 years, between the years of 1460 and 1870, Duke Street laid claim to ownership of one of the greatest universities in the Western world…Relocating to the West End, Glasgow Uni has continued to be a beacon of educational inspiration throughout the world.

9. Rich Pickings

Although Duke Street and the East End in general has suffered a downturn in fortunes throughout the last few decades, living on Duke Street was previously considered very prestigious. Legendary Scottish singer Lulu said of moving away from Bridgeton and closer to Duke Street; “When we moved from Soho Street across the railway bridge to Garfield Street, it was only a couple hundred yards, but mentally it was a lot further.” Said the Glasgow local. “We had edged slightly up in the world, because we now lived closer to Duke Street and further away from the Gallowgate. There weren’t so many poorly dressed kids or runny noses.”

8. Britain’s Longest Street

Although credited as being Britain’s longest road, Duke Street is actually second to King Street in Aberdeen, which when measured was found to be 0.2 miles longer. For many years it was universally accepted that Oxford Street in London was Britain’s longest street, until a Mr Gemmell, a well known Glasgow property developer at the time, had them measured.

7. John Butterly MBE

The entire Southside of Duke Street was threatened with demolition in the 1960’s, following Glasgow Corporation’s decision to raze 1100 tenements. John Butterly defied the council (and the odds) helping save 1100 tenements and retaining a community which was in serious danger of being dismantled.

Reidvale Housing Association, established by John Butterly, paved the way for the “British Housing Association” revolution which helped put power back into the hands of the average person. Granting homeowners the opportunity to make decisions which would affect their own homes.

One of Butterly’s most famous retorts when told that the South Side of Duke Street was to be demolished and the residents relocated to Easterhouse, he said; “You go and live in Easterhouse if you like. I will not.”

6. Bathgate Street Mafia

The Bathgate Street Mafia, a group of local campaigners can also claim responsibility for saving huge parts of the East End community. Literally laying their lives and bodies on the line. Standing in the way of bulldozers as they attempted to knock down tenements and the homes of local residents.

5. Razed Stakes

Rather ironically, many of the new schemes and high rises that council chiefs had earmarked for the people of the East End, would become a symbol of Glasgow Housing Association’s failings. Bluevale and Whitevale Towers faced the same negativity surrounding the Red Road Flats, each has now been, or is currently in the process of being dismantled. Bluevale has been completely deconstructed, Whitevale is currently being dismantled, and let’s not mention the Red Road debacle.

4. Duke of Montrose

Duke Street itself is said to have derived its name from the Duke of Montrose, whose residence overlooked the surrounding area. In a strange turn of events, Bonnie Prince Charlie who the Duke of Montrose defeated at Culloden, actually stopped at the nearby Wellpark brewery whilst retreating from England.

3. Duke Street Prison

Duke Street had one of eight prisons that stood in Glasgow, opened in 1840, conditions in the old prison were seemed so awful that the prison gained infamy after being mentioned in a street song sung by children in Glasgow. After responsibility for prisoners was transferred to Barlinnie, the prison shockingly remained open and instead became a woman’s only prison until 1955. Duke Street prison also takes the unwanted accolade of being the last prison in Scotland to hang a woman.

2. Coai’s; Glasgow’s Most Famous Restaurant

Coai’s in Duke Street is one of Scotland’s most famous restaurants, loved by generations of Glaswegians, the business itself has been passed down through three generation of the Coia family. First open in 1928, the Dennistoun based company, synonymous with high quality food, has expanded into the premises next door enabling them to now offer a takeaway option. After 88 years the well established restaurant is still firmly known as the beating heart of Duke Street.

1. The Rebirth of the East End

Since the phase one development of the East End Regeneration Road, (EERR) Glasgow City Council has revealed an increase of more than 4500 jobs in the local area. With the news that a £60 million pounds four lane carriage way is expected to be greenlit by councillors, Duke Street will continue to see revitalisation. The connection of the M74 and the M8 locally known as Glasgow’s “missing link” will see an increase in business, both local and international flock to the once barren East End.