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Old Glasgow Pubs by john gorevan


The Kiwi Bar.

42 Cowcaddens, Glasgow.



The Kiwi Bar.

The Kiwi Bar was originally called The Barnsmore, named after...... to read more on the history of the Barnsmore and one of it's famous proprietors click here.

There has been licensed premises here since 1852, as this was a very old established pub over the years many licence holders have taken over this notorious Glasgow howff. Including Peter McCrudden.

James Murrin or better known by his locals as Jimmy, took over the Barnsmore in 1960 with partner Willie McFadyen, they both were buddies and barmen in the merchant navy in the 50s. Jimmy joined the merchant navy as a pantry boy in 1929 and became barman,an in 1936. Jimmy was head barman on the Captain Cook, he was in charge of five bars and two shops, catering for 1100 passengers and 350 crew. The Captain Cook carted thousands of Scots emigrants to Australia and New Zealand after the war.

Kiwi Bar

Exterior view of the Kiwi Bar with Willie McFadyen and Jimmy Murrin.

When he came ashore he bought the pub on Cowcaddens in partnership with colleague Willie McFadyen and renamed the pub to The Kiwi because of their association with New Zealand. Jimmy Murrin was a teetotal and a none-smoker, he only tasted alcohol once, when he was in the merchant navy, his ship was wrecked off the Nova Scotia, he had to stand on deck for an hour and a half in freezing blizzards waiting to be picked up. On the relief ship he knocked back a tot of rum in one, then he drank his mates, it hit him after a few minutes and slept on deck for seven hours in a furious storm.

The Kiwi Bar was mainly a whisky shop and sold quarter gills, one gentleman a local businessman used to come into the bar three or four times a week, from 11 until 2pm, in that short space of time he would go through a bottle of whisky and walk out the door without a stagger. Another customer suffered from an ulcer, but still liked his hauf, he used to buy a whisky and half a pint of milk, this weird mixture caught on and for months a dozen regulars were drinking this Kiwi Special.

Kiwi interior3

Some of the locals in the Kiwi Bar.

Kiwi Bar Closes 1976

Kiwi Bar Closes Down 1976.

The Kiwi Bar was closed down by the City Council in 1976, it was another Cowcaddens Local to bit the dust as Cowcaddens saw the bulldozers clear away the old tenements and many old city landmarks, many of them public houses.

kiwi interior4

More locals posing for the camera.

kiwi interior7

The thirsty customers crowd the bar for last drink of the night.

Kiwi Interior

Four of the many barmen in the Kiwi Bar. Left to right Willie McFadyen, Jimmy Murrin, Andy Fulton and Willie Twigg.

Kiwi interior1

Seven barmen were needed to serve the locals of this popular Cowcaddens pub.

Kiwi interior2

Who are these people on the left of the picture?

Kiwi Interior6

Willie McFadyen and Jimmy Murrin posing behind the bar.

Kiwi interior5

A typical night in the Kiwi.

In the NEWS 1976...

Kiwi closes down 1976

Last toast to the Kiwi Bar from owners Jimmy Murrin and Willie McFadyen. 1976.

Good-bye to the Kiwi.

The year 1976 has seen the end of many things, but one of the most unfortunate was the closure of that popular quarter-gill pub the Kiwi Bar in Cowcaddens.

Owners Jimmy Murrin and Willie McFadyen shouted "time gentlemen" for the last time this week as the District Council nailed a demolition order to the Kiwi's Coffin.

More than 125 faithful regulars, who came from all over Glasgow crowded into the tiny free house to pay their last respects to a pub that for 15 years provided lubrication for the nearby offices of STV, Sunday Post, British Rail, and Scottish and Newcastle.

The owners, who were barmen in the merchant navy together in the 50s were presented with pewter mugs and a few wet hankies to mark the Kiwi's passing. So now yet another good pub with good service and atmosphere has gone to the wall.

I hear Tennent Caledonian are planning to build a brand spanking new restaurant and bar on the site of the Kiwi. It will have a hard job living up to the standards set by its predecessor.


Heard at a city bus stop - "I never use that pub now. The barmaid kept telling me all her troubles."


Heard in a staff restaurant - "I'd like to ask Arthur Negus the age of this rock cake."


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