Saturday, March 8, 2014

Edinburgh and Glasgow Rivalry




The old adage “Edinburgh boys came to Glasgow for a laugh and go home in stitches.” Suggests Weegians (Weegies) have an infectious sense of humour but are more than likely tough diamonds subject to the odd outbreak of violence. East coasters (Edinbuggers) on the other hand enjoy good company but tend to be taken for granted. Stereotypically Glasgow folks were considered to be of Highland /Tchuchter origin and Embra more Anglo-Saxon. Industrial Glasgow was populated with working class boozers and the more highbrow Embra had more sober snobbery. All of which was kept alive by music hall comedians.

Glaswegians consider Edinburgh to be in the east - the Far East. Edinburghers consider Glasgow to be in the west - the Wild West.

Rivalry between cities is not uncommon and has been around from antiquity but the Glasgow Edinburgh thing (Auld Reekie verses the Dear Green Place) does seem to be one of the best known in the world. No one is entirely sure just how this came about but we are certainly famous for it. Today the controversy is kept alive through football and architecture.

However an academic from St Andrews University may have discovered the real reason the two cities came to blows. During the 17th century (1656) a stramash started when Glasgow’s town councilors complained to bakers their bread was rubbish. After two Embra bakers offered to bake Glasgow bread to Edinburgh standards the gloves were off.

This may also gave substance to why the good folks of Edinburgh are referred to as “pan loaf.” The origin of the pan loaf is a bit of a mystery but because it was more expensive to produce and less common it was eaten by the upper-class citizens. Commoners ate plain loaf (plain bread) . Hence, to speak with a pan loafy voice is to speak in a posh or affected manner e.g. Morningside (fur coat and nae knickers). These were people wishing to seem ultra-refined and wanted to give the impression they were few rungs further up the social ladder than they actually were.

The death knell of plain bread came with the introduction of the modern toaster and the style of bread (the crust on top being darker and harder well fired crust on the top and bottom and larger than the pan loaf).