Old Hampden Cafe.
9 Bridge Street, Glasgow.
There has been a pub at this site since at least 1875, Mrs Margaret Reid occupied the premises then, she also ran the Union Railway Station, licensed premises in Dunlop Street. In 1887 John G Crichton took over the premises which was then called the Old Hampden Cafe. Since he took over the establishment it gained a reputation and was a popular athletic rendezvous in Glasgow. Mr Crichton himself was an enthusiastic out-door sportsman, he had nearly fifty medals for achievements in the athletic world, he was a very unassuming man, and didn't believe in unnecessary publicity. The following from "Bell's Life," a journal whose reputation was well known in those days, gave Mr Crichton a well earned credential:- "Farewell to the sack." Such was the soliloquy that fell from J G Crichton's lips when he had won the sack race. Crichton, many will be sorry to hear, has resolved to run no more. His career has been a very brilliant one. Out of thirty six starts he has thirty five wins, and the record would not have been broken but for an accident over which he had no control. J G Crichton is the cleverest sackist I ever saw, and in my day I have seen several very clever performers, and, above all, he is every inch of him a gentleman. Crichton always had a word of encouragement for every youthful competitor, and by many his resolution to leave the track will be received with profound regret." Such is the testimony of the most accredited sporting paper in the country of his record in this particular line of athletics. Mr Crichton was a member of the celebrated Queen's Park Football Club, which he joined in 1874.
John G Crichton was born in Glasgow in 1855, and between 1870 and 1874 was overseas on a sugar estate in the West Indies. On returning to Glasgow he for some time managed the Roseneath Cottage, Paisley Road and there acquired a thorough knowledge of the Licensed Trade. In 1887 he became the landlord of the Old Hampden Cafe, Bridge Street. Mr Crichton believed that the man who drinks should also have the opportunity of eating, the Old Hampden Cafe had very cheap snacks. It was also patronised by the theatrical profession. The interior arrangements were very clean and well furnished, the rooms were decorated with paintings and engravings, there was an original painting by Frith with the title of "Epsom Racecourse, 1848." Mr Crichton was offered eight pounds for the painting but reclined the offer. There was also on the walls a photograph of Scotland's First International Football Team, with the names of the players. The rooms were literally covered with portraits of theatrical, political and athletic celebrities and what is known as the snuggery of the Cafe contained more portraits and illustrations of sporting and field incidents.
John G Crichton continued as landlord of the Old Hampden Cafe until the end of the First World War, he sold the business to William R Duthie in 1920, the premises were closed for good a short time later.