Sheepsheid Terrace

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SHEEPSHEID Terrace in Helensburgh, or the Sheepsheid as it is commonly known, has an interesting story to its nickname.

Officially the building, off West Princes Street and easily seen from between the Masonic Hall and Princes Court, is called "Westwood Place".

Near what is now 67 West Clyde Street, folk used to go up the close to the back door of the butchers to buy cheap meat, and the close was known as 'Lug Close'.

When Westwood Place was being built, to house some of the navvies working on the construction of the West Highland Railway which started in 1889, a butcher's message boy threw a sheep's head up to an apprentice working on the site and, instead of throwing it back, the apprentice built the sheep's head into the wall . . . and the building has been known as the 'Sheepsheid' ever since.

A sheep's head would have been a popular dish with the navvies, as it was cheap. The head could be boiled until the meat fell off — this dish was known as potted heid — and it could also be used as the basis for soups.

Sometimes, it is said, the purchasers would ask the butcher to leave the eyes in, so that 'it would see them through the week!'

  • Photo by Donald Fullarton