Drumchapel VS Bearsden: The story behind Glasgow’s REAL divide of class, poverty and snobbery

Side by side somewhere along the northern edge of Glasgow there are two neighbouring areas, a town and a housing scheme, are two extreme examples of areas that highlight the stark divide and deep rooted problems that blight this part of the world.

Outside London no other other part of the UK can come to close to the levels of inequality in the Greater Glasgow area that takes in leafy suburbs of East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire as well as the rough and ready schemes of Glasgow from Easterhouse and Calton in the east to Possil and Drumchapel in the north.

And it is the notorious northern housing scheme of Drumchapel beside its much more affluent and illustrious neighbour Bearsden in East Dunbartonshire that demonstrates this more than anywhere else.

Despite being less than a hundred yards apart young men living in Drumchapel are twice as lilkely to die before the age of 30 than those in Bearsden and a woman from Bearsden will earn on average more than double a Drumchapel male and expect to live TWENTY THREE years longer.

Some of the stats are absolutely mind blowing:

  • Life expectancy: Bearsden male: 81 Drumchapel male: 64
  • Life expectancy: Bearsden female: 87 Drumchapel female: 72
  • Average wage: Bearsden male of working age: 50kpa Drumchapel male owa: 14kpa
  • Average wage: Bearsden female of working age: 38kpa Drumchapel female owa: 11kpa
  • Child poverty rate (SIMD): Bearsden Academy: 4%  Drumchapel high: 93%
  • School leavers to further education: Bearsden 87% Drumchapel 11% 
  • Chance of surviving major surgery: Bearsden 97% Drumchapel  22% 

But what do the neighbours think about each other? Well there certainly doesn’t seem to be much sympathy from the Bearsden end.

Speaking to Holyrood Magazine on the issue Alice, 42, from Bearsden said: “I think, for Bearsden and Drumchapel, for being so close, there’s a huge divide.

“It’s literally, you could just draw a line where Bearsden ends and Drumchapel starts; it’s like where all the problems start.

“They look unwell, you know? They’ve got a terrible complexion, more often than not they are, you know, overweight, not working, young kids, you know? It’s just a big, vicious circle for them.”

Her friend Lauren, 50, from Drumchapel agreed: “Yes, you can sort of stand two people together and say well, I can see that that’s the rich one ‘cos they look better.”

                   Drumchapel Shopping Centre

Speaking on a potential crackdown of “slobby dressers” in the area last year, one young business owner from Bearsden called people from Drumchapel an “eye sore”:

Daniella, 29, from Bearsden said: “People that live there can be such an eye sore on the whole wider community.

“We need rid of the scruffy tramps our streets and then they should focus on obese and overweight people next- what kind of example do these people set for the future generations?”

Ancient Roman Stones in Bearsden.

Benny, 33, from Drumchapel said you couldn’t pay him to sit with a “snob” from Bearsden.

The panel beater said: “A dae know some good guys fae Bearsden but ye got a lot of ar***oles as well.

“And to be honest a would rather sit in a pub with three Drum boys with less than a tenner between us that sit with a group of kiddy on posh wanks with 2 grand in the kitty.”

But Kayleigh, 21, from Drumchapel seen things a little differently.

She said: “To be honest I have friends of Bearsden and people are just the same wherever you go, some good some bad.

“I think a lot of people from Bearsden have a bad image of people from Drumchapel and vice versa and I think that’s a real shame.

“Sure some people in Bearsden of Milganvie might have a better car or better job but most people in Drumchapel are good hard working people as well.”

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