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The western face of Hielanman's Umbrella. The junction between Argyle Street and Hope Street is in the immediate foreground.

The Hielanman's Umbrella (English: Highlandman's Umbrella) is a landmark in the centre of Glasgow, Scotland. It is the local Glaswegian nickname for the glass walled railway bridge which carries the platforms of Glasgow Central station across Argyle Street.[1]


Due to the forced displacement of people during the second phase of the Highland clearances in the 19th century, 30,000 highlanders who spoke Scottish Gaelic, but not English, came to Glasgow to find work.[citation needed] When arriving in the city they were housed in many different areas of Glasgow. Over many years highlanders continued to arrive and began to keep in touch by meeting under the bridge, mostly at weekends.[citation needed] With the city's inclement weather and the meeting of the highlanders it came to be known as the Hielanman's Umbrella.

In 1998, the bridge was substantially refurbished by Railtrack (and later Network Rail) in line with the rest of the station - its distinctive Venetian style windows were reglazed, and the gold "Central Station" lettering was applied. Efforts were also made to improve the environment underneath the bridge to encourage retailers back into the shop units - high powered lighting and extractor fans were installed. The street level entrances to Central Station under the bridge were also upgraded.

In 2001, a new entrance to the burgeoning Arches nightclub and restaurant complex was added under the bridge which has led to the level of pedestrian footfall increasing markedly.


External linksEdit

  Media related to Hielanman's Umbrella at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 55°51′30″N 4°15′30″W / 55.85847°N 4.25824°W / 55.85847; -4.25824