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Old Glasgow Pubs by john gorevan


The Old Eagle Inn.

83 Howard Street, Glasgow. G1.

Old Eagle Inn

To read the history of the Old Eagle Inn Click here.

The Old Eagle Inn was founded at leased 1818, as there was a gas bill in the old premises with that date on it. In the early years of the Eagle a Mr Wallace was proprietor followed by a Mr Tulloch, the licence was them transferred to his son. Edward McLaughlin took the inn over in 1879.

The original Old Eagle Inn, in Maxwell Street, with James Fraser as landlord, was a favourite resort of the nobility and gentry. In 1816 a rider called on Fraser to hire "a horse the length of Paisley," but Fraser retorted he "had some long horses but none so long as that." The upshot was that the rider came to grief outside the city, the horse having to be destroyed, and the damage came "to the length of £18."

A main of cocks was fought in the courtyard, with 1,000 guineas as stakes, between Provost Jacob Dixon of Dumbarton and Maule of Panmure. The latter was a reckless gambler and spendthrift. His family name was Ramsay, as being the second son of the Earl of Dalhousie, but on succeeding to an estate he took the name of Maule.

Mr Raymond McCrudden. 1971.

Mr Raymond McCrudden. 1971.

Of all the items in the collection at the Old Eagle Inn, Howard Street, the one which interests licensee Raymond McCrudden most was not on display.

This was because the item, a gilded wooden eagle, had only recently been brought out of storage and Raymond was doing some historical research to check if the eagle was from the lantern of what used to be the neighbouring St Andrew's Church.

The carving was the subject of a heated correspondence in a Glasgow paper during 1898 when an angry reader set out to trace the eagle and restore it to its former owners.

Identification of the eagle carving could tie up some inquiries which Raymond had been making about the history of his bar, according to legend stretching as far back as 1690 but definitely recorded as being in existence in 1818.

The inn had been in his family's care since his father moved in during 1929 and Raymond took it over in 1970 from his mother, who had run it since the war.

Raymond's interest in the historical background of the Old Eagle Inn was sparked off by a letter received from the county architect of Clackmannan enclosing records found during alterations at Ochil House, Alloa, which confirmed the fact that a stagecoach run had been in existence from the Tontine Hotel, Alloa, to the Eagle Inn as early as 1790, and Raymond had a coach waybill dated 1823 from that service.

The 15 other items in the Old Eagle collection, all linked to the title theme, were of much more recent origin. They were: two stuffed golden eagles; two gilt eagles (one of them a century old which came from Lang's the distillers); three paintings by Ralston Gudgeon (one of a peregrine falcon); three photographs; two small models from a chemist's shop; a wood carving; a three-dimensional photograph; and a nameplate plaque from H.M.S. Eagle.

The last-named, although differing in representation from the others, was very much in keeping with the traditions of the Old Eagle Inn, for as well as being the calling point for the stage coach it had always been a favourite port of call for seafaring men.

It was a particular favourite of the whaling crews who called at Glasgow and, indeed, is mentioned in "Whales and Men," an American book on the subject.

This reference has a sequel in the recent call by a visitor from the United States who had read the book and was retracing the various routes and ports visited by the whalers. During his visit he photographed the Old Eagle Inn and neighbourhood and later sent Raymond copies of some of the photographs he had taken.

Raymond's favourite in his collection was the stuffed golden eagle from the Hebrides, which was perched centrally in a large glass case between the lounge and public bars.

The eagle was found wandering outside Stornoway with a broken wing and having to live on grubs as a result. It was caught then flown by B.E.A. to Edinburgh, where a museum curator fed the bird to get it ready for an operation to fit a template on its broken wing.

The eagle, however died under the anaesthetic, so the curator put on his taxidermist coat and made as excellent job of stuffing the bird. The golden eagle then came into Raymond's hands and was installed in its eyrie in the gantry to give a new focal point to the Old Eagle Inn. 1971.


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