Eye Spy Glasgow: A dire warning for Glasgow's backstreet boys

So many reminders of old Glasgow have disappeared over the years that it is gratifying to find a real hidden gem.

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This weather-beaten sign - or what is left of it - has survived in a Glasgow back court.

And it threatens dire consequences to any street urchins who dare disturb the peace and quiet by playing games outside.

The sign, in Royal Exchange Court right in the heart of the city centre, is now very difficult to read.

But on close inspection it is possible to make out the wording: "Boys found playing at balls or Marbles will be handed to the Police".

It's difficult to imagine now how a bunch of kids playing marbles could cause a problem to anyone.

And the sign seems sorely out of place in Glasgow, a city where "tanner-ba" football players honed their skills on every piece of waste ground and in every back court they could find.

Perhaps what this reveals, however, is a more genteel and, dare we suggest, snobbish, side to those who populated central Glasgow in Victorian times.

Royal Exchange Court backs on to Royal Exchange Square, one of the city's architectural masterpieces.

What is now the Gallery of Modern Art was once the Royal Exchange. It dates from the early 1800s when it was built round the mansion house of a tobacco merchant.

So wealth and privilege were the dominant features of this part of the city.

The residents of Royal Exchange Court would not have produced urchins who played footie in the street, rather young men and women bound for a private school education.

Ironically the sign is displayed on the back wall of what is now a charity bookshop.

The wording has almost been washed away by the elements but it would be a shame if this reminder of Victorian Glasgow was ever lost.

The Royals

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