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The Hidden Lane Into The


Hidden Lane… who knew?


Anyone strolling up Argyle Street lately, can’t help but notice a buzz about the place. Trendy restaurants and chic shops jostle with independent food suppliers and pubs where you can get real beer. But the change hasn’t


happened over night, far from it. It all began 23 years ago at the back end of a previous recession. Joe Mulholland needed somewhere to run his business from and he found it in a semi- derelict building, through an archway off Argyle Street. Quickly


he saw the potential in providing spaces where people could run small creative businesses. Now there’s room for some 200 writers, artists, musicians, architects and makers in what Joe calls a “village within the city”. “The Lane, according to everyone who has known the area, has been the catalyst for change. Back then there was nowhere to go for a coffee or a meal at the time.


“Places have gradually opened because clients were coming


24 | West End Life – August/September 2013 @westendlife


THE HUB OF CREATIVITY


to see people here and were so surprised to find such an interesting place, yet there was nowhere to go,” he added. Some commentators are claiming that this part of the city has taken over from Byres Road as the home of the Bohemian, the creative and the original.


But Joe is determined that what he offers through The Hidden Lane and additional property nearby that he will soon have available to let will not succumb to the developer’s open chequebook.


Despite huge offers from firms wanting to transform the lane into chichi mews cottages – 147 of them according to Joe – he insists the creative community is too important to compromise. He said: “It’s a unique place for people within the city. It will be here forever – when I do die, my children are equally anxious to keep it going.”


What he calls his “hobby” is just as important too. The small but perfectly lit The Hidden Lane Gallery shows a range of exhibitions, including regular works by photographer Margaret Watkins.


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