Famous Scottish Street Gangs

Gang name – Edinburgh. I can certainly  confirm from personal knowledge that there were actually gangs in Edinburgh – I can remember well careful we were as teenagers, to avoid any contact with the ‘Valdor’ (phonetic pronunciation, actually “Val d’or” ) gang from Tollcross, where there was a cafe of the same name – maybe this is where they gathered. This meant that when they swept through our area – Horne Terrace; Yeaman Place etc – we stepped into the gutter to avoid holding up their progress! Also, there used to be pitched fights on the Union Canal banks, close to where Edinburgh’s most famous resident, Tommy Connery, and I lived. Bicycle chains, worn around the neck and hidden by jacket lapels were the favored weapons and police routinely checked youths before they were allowed to enter the Fountainbridge Palais de Dance at night, by running their hands around the boys’ collars and lapels. Terrible fights inside sometimes occurred, especially when the city was being visited by US sailors.

Historical Streets

From the mid 1950’s-70’s, I was born and grew up in Musselburgh, Midlothian, 6 miles East of Edinburgh, and later worked and lived in Edinburgh. When I was a boy/teen, I don’t recall gangs with special names as such, they were more informal in gang structure. But if the Pans (Prestonpans), Ternent (Tranent) (towns in East Lothian) or Porty (Portobello – part of Edinburgh) were coming to our town, it usually got known beforehand and gangs from either Wallyford, Pinkie or Fisherrow (all parts of Musselburgh) would be waiting to have a big sort out. Sometimes eg a gang of Panners might gate-crash a disco in Musselburgh and teams from Pinkie, Wallyford and maybe Fisherrow would either be waiting for them or would rally from street-corners, pubs and snooker halls to have a session. Musselburgh was a bit sensitive to gangs invading from other places.

The main rivals were the Pans. Not many Edinburgh gangs had memorable names in the manner of Glasgow gangs, it was more the areas where the gangs came from that they were known by eg:- Niddrie, Craigmillar, Leith, Oxgangs, Clermiston, Sighthill, Drylaw, Muirhouse and one of the worst gang areas – Pilton (should have been Piltdown LOL)They tended to put “Mental” in front of their name eg Young Mental Drylaw, though the major Oxgangs gang was called Bar-Ox. There was also the likes of Young Niddrie Terrors and Clerrie Jungle. Edinburgh and Musselburgh gang members also tended to put graffiti over walls in their own and other areas, usually with “Fi” (from) in the words eg “Padge Fi Pinkie”. I don’t suppose Pilton did graffiti as they might be not even able to read and write!

To quote the Edinburgh News “The most infamous graduate of the city’s gangs is perhaps George “Dode” Buchanan, who became one of the city’s biggest heroin dealers after learning his trade with the Niddrie Young Terror. The 50-year-old former bodybuilder was locked up for eight years in 1974 as a teenager for attempted murder, and later for 12 years for heroin dealing. Would-be hitmen Marc Webley and James Tant were both members of the Young Mental Royston gang. They were jailed in 2005 for the shooting of convicted drug dealer Peter Simpson. Webley, then 20, already had 60 convictions to his name, dating back to his early teenage gang days, and harboured ambitions to become the major drug dealer in north Edinburgh. One notable Glasgow gang we forgot among the Tongs, Cumbie and Toi was the Cody (Come On, Die Young).

One big difference between Glasgow and Edinburgh gangs was that Glasgow gangs had the reputation for being truly mental. While the more violent Edinburgh gangs might tool up with razors, knives, knuckle-dusters and hammers/clubs for the big occasion, the more violent Glasgow gangs would come with all that plus sharpened military swords (old sabres and Samurai swords), bayonets, kukris and hatchets and sometimes firearms. The famous secret defensive weapon for some of Glasgow’s gangs was of course to sew safety- razor blades or pins to the underside of coat/jacket lapels, so when someone, say, passing in the street tried to grab you by the lapels to “pit the heid” on you, they would get sudden handfuls of painful cuts and holes instead, leaving the defender to launch his own head-butt on the attacker. The head-butt is a Glasgow institution (The Glasgow Kiss) sometimes launched with the words “Can yer murra sew ?” “ ”Bang !!!” ” “Getter tae f***in’ sew that ya b*sturt”

But “Padge” sounds like the name of an ancient old scruffy dog that does nothing more fierce than lie by the fire. It’s not properly gangstery, it it? Huh, young neds these days …Well, fun! Seeing a recent addition to this thread, I read the whole thing again, and I had quite forgotten that Mavericker guy. If I remember rightly, he made all sorts of other odd threads too, all about his plans to make some great comic book or graphic novel. All a bit funny.

Memories from a member.