THEY pioneered European art movements, designed banners for suffragette processions, created the first women’s library in Scotland and made Garnethill the most exciting cultural and multicultural hotspot in Glasgow.

This Sunday, the women of Garnethill, past and present, have their turn in the spotlight as part of Glasgow Women’s Library’s series of heritage walks around the city.

Chances are you will have heard of many of the businesswomen, artists and community activists who have lived and worked in this small, bohemian part of the city – but there are some you may not have realised have had such a huge impact not just on Glasgow, but on the rest of the country and beyond.

The tour starts on the corner of Sauchiehall Street, once Glasgow’s finest thoroughfare, home to palatial department stores which slowly changed the way people – and women, in particular – shopped.

Copland and Lye, Pettigrew and Stephens - Scotland’s largest department store – Daly’s, known as ‘Harrods of the North’ and Trerons’ Magasin des Tuileries, which promised ‘Paris in Glasgow’ all realised shopping was as much about pleasure as it was about necessity.

A little further down Sauchiehall Street lies the original Willow Tea Rooms, opened in 1903 by businesswoman and art patron Kate Cranston.

The slightly eccentric, but progressive and forward-thinking Miss Cranston was ahead of her time when it came to the necessity of training and attitudes to women outside the home.

Garnethill, originally called Summerhill, is said to have been re-named in honour of Thomas Garnett an early supporter of female education. He was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at the new and progressive Anderson’s Institution in 1796, “the first regular institution in which the fair sex have been admitted to the temple of knowledge on the same footing as men”.

Half the students at his popular lectures were female and, in his words, represented “an era in the annals of female education which posterity may contemplate with peculiar pleasure.”

From the 1820s Garnethill developed into a leafy suburb but by the 1970s it was in decline and artists including Margaret Watt, Carol Rhodes, Irene Keenan and Jane Sutherland began its regeneration. Most of this environmental art is gone but one mosaic and a gable end survive in the urban oasis of Garnethill Park.

A key player in the site’s development was “Battling” Betty Brown, an STV cleaner and union representative who chaired Garnethill Community Council.

This former Evening Times Scotswoman of the Year organised groups to recycle masonry from skips and demolished buildings for the park and her determination to support her community was legendary.

From one Scotswoman of the Year to another. Adele Patrick, who won the title in 2015, founded Glasgow Women’s Library in a building at the corner of Hill and Dalhousie Streets in Garnethill. From a small grass-roots project run by volunteers it has grown into a nationally respected and important museum celebrating women’s contribution to society, art, literature and more.

Garnethill was once home to Glasgow High School, whose graduates veteran journalist Katherine Whitehorn; writer and broadcaster Muriel Gray; Lady Hazel Cosgrove, the first woman to be appointed to a permanent seat as a judge in the Court of Session; and Alison Sheppard, Olympic and Commonwealth Games swimmer.

One of Garnethill’s most well-known daughters is author Denise Mina.

She left school at 16 and did a series of lowpaid jobs before attending a writer’s course at Glasgow Women’s Library and publishing her first novel. – entitled, Garnethill – in 1999.

Glasgow Women’s Library’s Women Make History group launched Glasgow’s first Women’s Heritage Walk in June 2007 as part of the West End Festival programme and now it is a popular part of its annual calendar. Throughout summer 2017, they will be running fortnightly walks – visit for details.