Chris Leslie is a documentary photographer and filmmaker who travels across the world documenting a range of social and healthcare issues. He is currently concentrating on The Glasgow Renaissance which tells stories of regeneration throughout Glasgow. Here is the second of three articles Chris has written for Central Station to further explain his project.


The Human element – People behind (and in) the photographs and stories

THE EVICTED – Margaret Jaconelli, Dalmarnock Resident

Commonwealth Games in Dalmarnock eviction
Margaret walks along Ardenlea St in April 2008

As I venture round the empty landscapes of Dalmarnock photographing the empty tenements of Ardenlea St, I failed to see the net curtains indicating signs of life.  A woman’s voice calls me from a window, asking me what I am talking pictures of. It takes me a while to pinpoint her location as I’m faced with what I thought was a desolate, empty ruin. This was my first meeting with Margaret Jaconelli.

She has been living in Ardenlea St alone for over 5 years. All the other tenants were rehoused, as the buildings were to be demolished at some point. She held on stubbornly as she was one of the few who purchased her home back in the late 1970s.

Come the announcement of the Commonwealth Games coming to Dalmarnock and the plans to demolish Ardenlea St and much of the rest of the area are top priority. Margaret was offered a ‘market value’ of her 2 bedroom flat of £29,000 and asked to leave.  Knowing fine well she could never afford a new property with that settlement she refused and the long battle to evict her began.

It ended in March 2011 when she was served a compulsory purchase order and days later she and her family were evicted at 5am by sheriff officers and over 100 police who cut off and surrounded her home. Margaret continues her fight and has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

You can view the short film documenting her story below:

THE POLITICIAN – George Redmond, East End Councilor

Margaret Jaconelli Eviction Dalmarnock
George Redmond stands on the corner of Ardenlea St

On Dalmarnock Gala day in 2008 I was introduced to George Redmond and joined him on a tour of the ruins of Dalmarnock. George used to live on Ardenlea St as a child, he shows me the empty plot of derelict land in between two destroyed tenement flats where once his home stood. He’s very keen to emphasise his role in facilitating Glasgow getting the Games and talks of the transformation of the area for the better.

Commonwealth Games in Dalmarnock eviction
George Redmond and Margaret have a confrontation.

As we end the tour we bump into Margaret, who happens to be one of George’s constituents. He tells Margaret that he is still trying to work something out for her, but in reality the Commonwealth Games will be for the greater good of the area and someone has to ‘take it on the chin.’

Roll on 5 years and Dalmarnocks landscape has been transformed and George Redmond has his eyes on the grand prize as leader of Glasgow City Council.

THE YOUNG TEAM – Dalmarnock, 2008

Pre Commonwealth Games in Dalmarnock
Dalmarnock Youth – 2008.

John and friends don’t seem too bothered initially when asked about what they think of the Commonwealth Games and what it means for Dalmarnock. But when I push a bit further and ask about job prospects and their future, he tunes in a bit more. He’s keen to be offered an apprenticeship to be a joiner or electrician. The local press and propaganda machine is hard at work explaining how many apprenticeships are to be made available for the East End youth.

But no one seems to offer them anything more than apprenticeships. When I chat to the local youth leader, he’s dismayed that no-one seems to be talking of or offering the local youth management trainee schemes, or telling them that they can aspire beyond that of an apprentice.  It’s as if they are only expected / allowed to reach a certain limit.  After 30 years of decline and poverty, social inclusion, any assistance or promise of jobs and new builds will always be gratefully accepted by the community.


Sighthill, North Glasgow
Davey’s Bedroom

Prior to demolition, all the flats in Fountainwell court at Sighthill go through a process of soft stripping, when all furniture and the window frames, plumbing and pipes are removed. All that is left prior to the actual blowdown is an empty wallpapered shell of a former home.

As I walk round the empty flats, some walls are painted bright colours, reds, greens and blues (sometimes dependant on their sectarian stance) perhaps to escape monotone grey concrete and concourse that surrounded them.  On the 14th floor of Fountainwell Court was the home of ‘Davey’ – the painter and decorator who had decorated his entire flat, walls and ceilings with everything and anything from supermarket flyers, newspapers, frozen burger boxes and margarine tubs.

My guide from the Demolition company is locally from Sighthill and knows all about Davey, he says he knows what boozer he drinks in so I could meet him, but he warns me “he’s a bit mental though, but a great painter and decorator.” Wandering through his former empty home looking at the meticulous way he has covered every inch of it, I understand both points.

I decide not to go looking for Davey and think that the pictures are better off on their own to document and give a somewhat unique insight into high rise living (and individuality).

Sighthill, North Glasgow

Sighthill, North Glasgow
Davey’s Hallway

You can view a short film on Sighthill below:

Written by Chris Leslie

Chris is looking to get the project exhibited / published. If you’re interested please email him at

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Take a look at Part One of Chris Leslie’s Glasgow Renaissance here & Part Three here.