THE piece of shrapnel is old and rusty, but it has pride of place in John King’s impressive collection of Baillieston photos and artefacts.

“The bomb fell in a field behind Swinton Primary school – so of course, as soon as we could, we went looking for it,” smiles the 87-year-old.

“I’ve kept a bit of the shrapnel ever since, along with a piece of German plane I found, and an old piece of shell.”

He recalls: “War was frightening, the sirens and the noise, but it was also exciting for us kids. Life became a bit boring without it, in our minds.”

John was one of dozens of residents who came along to our Thanks for the Memories drop-in event at Baillieston Library.

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“I moved here when I was two, and have stayed here all my life,” he explains. “Our family business was on the main street – Alex King, Ironmonger.”

He adds, with a laugh: “Although, my grandfather was more than just an ironmonger, he was a plumber, a tinsmith, a gasfitter, an electric bellfitter…you name it, we did it.”

John and his brother Kenneth took over the running of the business from their father James and his father Alex before him.

“I worked from when I was 15 until I was 70,” says John. “It was a fine place. And because I was a plumber, I worked in every building and every shop on the main street, so I decided to draw up a map of them all.”

The result is a huge, intricately detailed diagram of all the businesses on Baillieston’s high street from the 1940s until the 1960s.

It’s just one little gem in John’s vast collection, housed in a pile of fat red ringbinders and lovingly added to over the decades.

“I started collecting old photos, and it just grew from there,” he laughs.

Many local residents were delighted to listen to John’s great stories of Baillieston’s past – and add a few of their own.

“My father ran a haulage business here, and even now, people still tell me they remember the lorries that ran through the streets of Baillieston,” says Michael Roche.

“There were maybe 25 or 30 lorries, so it was a big concern.”

Michael’s grandfather James came to Glasgow from Ireland in the 1920s.

He built up his business, and eventually came to own much of the land in the local area, including where the bowling club is now.

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“I think our house might have been one of the old stagecoach stops,” says Michael, a retired surveyor. “It was a great house, with two front doors and two staircases inside! I loved living there.

“Baillieston was a fine place to grow up in. We spent a lot of time in the sandpit, a big area with football pitches and a cycle track. It was a great place to live.”

Over the next few weeks, Thanks for the Memories will be bringing you more Baillieston memories. Did you live in the area? Do you have old photos and stories to share? It would be great to hear from you.

We would love to hear your memories of Baillieston, Garrowhill and Mount Vernon - email or write to Ann Fotheringham, Evening Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB and share your photos and stories.

Through our regular library drop-in events, which have now taken place all over the city, and our letters page and email banks, we are compiling a fantastic archive of stories and pictures, all dedicated to the city we love.

We would love to hear more– where did you grow up? Where did you work? What are your favourite memories of your old neighbourhood? Can you remember the old theatres, dance halls and shops? Which ones stick in your mind? Get in touch – and don’t forget to add a contact name and telephone number or email address.