Megalith (1979)

Megalith0070B BBC and STC crews, Frank O'Neill

The decision to build a stone circle in Sighthill was taken by Duncan Lunan and a team of collaborators including John Braithwaite as part of the innovative ‘Astronomy in the Parks’ job creation scheme in 1978-1979. The mid-construction monument is shown here as BBC and STV film crews await the arrival of a helicopter delivering more stones on March 20th 1979 (of more, below). This was one of 18 sites in the city that had been proposed as a possible build location, but quickly became the favourite when the team visited. In his 2013 book The stones and the stars (Springer), Lunan tells the colourful and eccentric story of how an astronomically aligned stone circle came to be built in Sighthill. The idea came from a schools competition and Lunan was proposed as the man to take on the job which he did with vigour. This offered a chance of renewal for this area too, an attempt to catalyse this former industrial location into a green space for the many thousands of local residents. The monument was laid out using theodolites and astronomical observation, in its final incarnation consisting of 16 whinstone standing stones set in a circle almost 14m in diameter, with another stone set into the middle. Construction was a genuinely legendary Glasgow event, but things began to unravel quickly after the 1979 general election. Lunan told The Guardian, “Six days after the election, I remember our shop steward coming in and saying that he had just heard Thatcher on the radio: ‘we shall be restoring full employment by the end of 1980 and there will be no more nonsense like the Glasgow Parks astronomy project’’. So much for renewal. But this crazy project had brought with it renewal, of lives rebuilt, of a community inspired, and of this place that had been changed for the greener and better.