The housing scheme is about 3 miles north of Glasgow City Centre and the district was built around the existing Ashgill Road which defines its southern and eastern borders, and Liddesdale Road which had previously connected Colston to Balmore Road. The new streets were all named after Scottish islands (Berneray, Birsay, Castlebay, Cathay, Egilsay, Longay, Mingulay, Ornsay, Raasay, Ronaldsay, Scalpay, Scaraway, Shilay, Skerray, Stornoway, Torogay, Vallay and Westray) and housing styles varied between gray stone apartment houses with back and front door, pre-fabricated apartment housing with brown or white cladding, and 4 storey flats – some with open verandas that usually housed 8 dwellings. All housing was rented social housing and the area had only a few private homes in Liddesdale Road/Birsay Road and Loskin Drive, which had existed prior to being engulfed by the new development. The scheme was completed in 1952, but further housing was added in later years including high-rise flats in Castlebay Drive in the late 1960s.
There were four shopping areas at Skerray Street, Scaraway Street, Westray Circus and Liddesdale Square. The area was served by Glasgow Corporation bus numbers 8, 28 and 47 (later 48) (although the latter confusingly showed High Possil on the destination board). Buses 8, 29/129, 31/37 and 75 serve the area now.
The scheme boasted 4 primary schools. Saint Augustine’s Primary in Liddesdale Road, Saint Ambrose in Mingulay Street, Miltonbank in Scalpay Street and Chirnsyde Primary in Ashgill Road. The main secondary school in the area was Saint Augustine’s which neighboured Saint Augustine’s Primary in Liddesdale Road. The local Catholic church is in nearby Liddesdale Square where there is also a Methodist church which shares a Minister with the Methodist Church in Kilsyth) and Colston Milton Church in Egilsay Crescent (Church of Scotland). The Church of Scotland Manse is located on Birsay Road.
The scheme suffered from poor social planning. There were no pubs, cinemas or community amenities. A community centre was built in Liddesdale Road in the early 1970s, but other entertainments were a bus journey away and there were no factories or industry in the area. The scheme was part of the Maryhill parliamentary constituency.
Famous people who lived in Milton include footballers Frank McAvennie (Celtic and West Ham), Dylan McGeouch, (Celtic, Stephen Maguire (Snooker Player), and Kenny Dalglish (Celtic and Liverpool) - whose first team played on the spare ground at Egilsay Street and was called “Milton Milan”.
The area suffered from social problems and by the late 1960s, urban decay began to set in with gangs of youths constantly having fights and later Milton became one of the worst areas in Europe for drug abuse.
In the late 1980s, demolition started on many of the flats and these have since been replaced by social housing more suited to urban living. Saint Augustine’s Secondary School was demolished and its football grounds lay unused. Although work is now nearing completion on a new floodlight, grass seed with drainage, 11-a-side state of the art pitch. The last of the original flats in Scaraway Street were demolished in 2006 and parts of the area stand desolate. However, the area witnessed an upsurge of community activity to oppose the city councils plans to build private housing on the site of the Saint Augustine’s playing fields. Local community activists led a successful campaign winning a public inquiry into the future use of this valued green space. The local campaign group have drawn up plans for a state of the art sports complex. They are at present awaiting a final decision as to when work will begin. Meanwhile, there is still very little social activities in the area and still no pubs or cinemas.
St. Ambrose and St. Augustines schools were merged in St. Monicas (Milton) Primary School. This also holds Milton Community Campus.