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At its peak, during the 1930s, the wider Gorbals district (which includes the directly adjoined localities of Laurieston and Hutchesontown) had swelled in population size to an estimated 90,000 residents.
Along with its relatively small size, this gave the area a very high population density of around 40,000/km².
The Gorbals is an area in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, on the south bank of the River Clyde.
By the late 19th century, it had become densely populated and adversely affected by local industrialisation.
Although the Irish-Catholic population has declined to an extent, many of this group have remained since the area's redevelopment.
Govan parish was one of the oldest possessions of the church in the region.
After the Protestant Reformation, in 1579 the church granted the land for ground rents (feued the land) to Sir George Elphinstone, a merchant who was Provost of Glasgow (1600–1606).
The barony and regality of the Gorbals was confirmed in 1606 by a charter of King James VI, which vested Elphinstone and his descendants.
Poor sanitation and poverty contributed to problems.It may be related to the Latin word garbale (sheaf), found in the Scots term garbal teind (tenth sheaf), a tithe of corn given to a parish rector.The taking of garbal teind was a right given to George Elphinstone in 1616 as part of his 19-year tack (lease). The name is similar to a Lowland Scots word gorbal/gorbel/garbal/garbel (unfledged bird), perhaps a reference to lepers who were allowed to beg for alms in public.Any Gaelic form of the name is conjectural, since none survives from medieval times.
Gort a' bhaile (garden of the town) conforms with certain suggestions made by A. Callant in 1888, but other interpretations are also popular.As industrial jobs declined during restructuring, this area became widely known as a dangerous slum associated with drunkenness and crime.