From There… To Here

The social history of Wester Hailes


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Many local people, especially in the Calders, will remember Clare Galloway who lived and worked there for a number of years. Clare is a hugely talented artist and visionary who became passionately committed to transforming the environment of the Calders and the living conditions of its residents.

Soon after moving into the area she joined the Calders High Rise Neighbourhood Council and before long she had become it’s chairperson. In this role, she brought tremendous energy to the tasks of championing the area, badgering the authorities to recognise and tackle long-standing problems and reinvigorating local people and organisations with her fresh and radical thinking.

Sadly, Clare moved away in 2008 and it was a huge loss to the community. Now she has written a no-holds-barred piece about her experiences as a resident and activist in Wester Hailes. Find it at: Hailes.pdf

It is worth a read if you are at all interested in the issues and problems surrounding peripheral housing estates and multi-storey flats. You might not agree with everything says but her insights and conclusions are certainly provocative and stimulating.



  1. Many thanks for this aticle, and the link to the written piece about my experiences in the Calder high-rises. It was an honour to live and work in the area- literally the honing of my life-purpose/ work direction… but so very very challenging on many levels, not least of which were the sense of being a frustrated third-class citizen, without voice or rights to the most basic safety and security. SO many aspects of living in such conditions seemed so unnecessary, but of course, any real change would have to come from the grassroots first… during the years I was there, we embarked on various successful initiatives, and my mind was always buzzing with the possibilities… But change is so slow!! And without the most basic services, it is really hard to get out of that waste-of-energy cycle of reaction and anger at the faceless ‘system’ who ‘condone’ such ugly environments… And yet, some of the most beautiful moments were spent there, on the 12th floor watching the sun set, sharing cans of Lamot with neighbours, cycling along the canal in a sunny morning… Living in the Calders taught me not to judge, and that there is profound beauty in all things.