Rottenrow (Scots: Rattonraw) is a famous street in the city of Glasgow in Scotland. It is located at Townhead, in the northern periphery of the city centre, and is located entirely within the John Anderson Campus of the University of Strathclyde.
Rottenrow dates back to the city's medieval beginnings, and once connected the historic High Street to the northern reaches of what is now the Cowcaddens area. The origin of the street's name is subject to debate. Some believe that it is derived from the Gaelic phrase Rat-an-righ, which translates as "Road Of The Kings" - presumably in relation to its close proximity to Glasgow Cathedral. However "Rotten Row" is a common street name in towns and villages throughout England and Scotland. It describes a place where there was once a row of tumbledown cottages infested with rats (raton) and goes back to the 14th century or earlier.
The street became dissected and realigned by the exponential growth of Glasgow's city centre during the Industrial Revolution, and originally was home to a large amount of tenement housing, much of which had deteriorated into a slum by the middle of the 20th century. Following the Bruce Report in 1945, Townhead was made one of many Comprehensive Development Areas (CDAs), which saw all of the slums cleared and the area rezoned for educational use in preparation for the former Royal College of Science and Technology’s growth into a university.
Rottenrow is best known however as the address of the Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital (usually nicknamed by locals simply as "The Rottenrow"), founded in 1834, and became a world-renowned centre of excellence in gynaecology for over 100 years.
The Maternity Hospital building had become inadequate by the end of the 20th century, and had fallen into a state of serious disrepair. In 2001, the hospital moved into an extension to nearby Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and the building was purchased by the University of Strathclyde and subsequently demolished.
The site was redeveloped by the University into a public park designed by Gross Max landscape architects. Known as Rottenrow Gardens, the centrepiece of the park is George Wyllie's 'Monument to Maternity', a sculpture depicting a giant metal nappy pin. The front and side porticos, foundation and basement walls of the Maternity Hospital were preserved, and incorporated into the design of the park. Rottenrow Gardens was officially opened on 25 June 2004 as part of the University's 40th anniversary celebrations by the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Councillor Liz Cameron. Some elements of the park will be permanent, others being temporary in anticipation of future Strathclyde campus expansion and renewal.
- Cameron, Kenneth (1959). The Place-Names of Derbyshire. Nottingham: English Place-Name Society. pp. 435, 449.
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