©Margaret Mitchell

In 1869, a battle of wills and money was going on in Glasgow. Before the building of the new suburb of North Kelvinside on the southern edge of Maryhill, two landowners could not agree on a mutually agreeable remuneration for their lands to join enabling a public carriageway. Thus, one of them built a ‘dead wall’ that stopped access to parts of the new suburb into neighbouring land.
 
Over 145 years later, Katy stands before this wall with her handmade placard, which she had taken to a large rally at City Chambers protesting at the overcrowding at her inner city school. Her school was built against much initial local opposition after the closing and merging of four local schools into a single ‘super’ one. Just three years after it opened, and with nearly 700 children enrolled, Katy stood in protest waving a placard in George Square.
For children like Katy, deciding to protest at City Chambers carrying their placards, making their voices heard, and taking a stand on their daily educational experience is an early lesson in activism. However, as restrictive conditions continued after the protest, another lesson can also be learned: that we can have a voice but it is not always listened to.
 
The dead wall is a local landmark of stupidity and selfishness, in deed and in action. A road was eventually built leading behind it and the wall became just an irritation, no longer an obstruction. Yet other historians assert that this is not the site of the dead wall but actually a wonder of architecture by Greek Thomson.
 
So perhaps what appears ugly and obstructive is actually towering and grand. Tall and proud like Katy and her placard.

Extended Story: Portrait with Text