The Bird Man of Red Road

The Bird Man of Red Road 

Built in 1967, the Red Road flats in Glasgow were once home to over 4500 people. Now most of the blocks have been emptied and demolition has already begun. Jamal Hamad, a failed Iraqi Kurdish asylum seeker, has lived alone in one block for several months. The demolition company are keen to move on with the demolition preparation but Jamal is refusing to move. If he does move out, he fears eviction from the UK- and if he returns to his homeland, as instructed by the UK Border Agency, he believes he will be killed- just like his parents and brothers several years ago. Living in the block alone is dangerous; but Jamal sees no other choice.


Disappearing Glasgow

Glasgow-based filmmaker and photographer, Chris Leslie, documented the demolition of Glasgow’s high rises in many forms as part of the 8-year multimedia project, Disappearing Glasgow.

The project was prompted, in part, as a response to the Commonwealth games coming to Glasgow in 2014, and the proposed regeneration of the city. It ended up as a passionate, nuanced critique of the drivers of civic regeneration, an archiving of under-represented heritage, and a polyphonic portrait of people and communities dispersed in the wake of urban change.

Further resources:

  • Chris Leslie artist website
  • Disappearing Glasgow project website (photos, film and essays)
  • Illustrated talk by Chris, part of BRUT EUROPE – Exploring the lasting legacy of European Modernist architecture through talks, screenings and workshops.
  • British Council interview with Chris about Disappearing Glasgow
  • Guardian article, ‘Disappearing Glasgow: Documenting the demolition of a cities troubled past’
  • Book review of Disappearing Glasgow in Bella Caledonia


Director: Chris Leslie

Year: 2014

Country: Scotland