The follow up to The Gangs of Manchester has now been published in paperback. You can buy City of Gangs: Glasgow and the Rise of the British Gangster here. City of Gangs looks at the Glasgow gangs of the 1920s and 1930s, the era of the Billy Boys, the Nudies and the South Side Stickers.
The Billy Boys, based in Bridgeton in Glasgow’s East End, were the largest and most powerful gang in the city. Their song – “Hello, Hello, We are the Billy Boys!” – is the subject of on-going controversy. The Billy Boys were avid followers of the Rangers Football Club, and the wider body of Rangers support adopted the song as a club anthem. However, the overt sectarianism of the lyrics (“Up to our knees in Fenian blood”) has been fiercely condemned both within Scotland and further afield.
The Nudies were a much smaller gang, based in the Gorbals district on Glasgow’s South Side. Legend has it that the gang’s name referred to the scanty attire of its female members – and nude sun-bathing on the moors was the subject of some controversy in the Scottish press during the 1920s! Gangs on the South Side of the city tended to be more ecumenical than their counterparts in the East End and the largest of the South Side Gangs – the South Side Stickers – had Catholic, Protestant and Jewish members.