Mitchell Library, Glasgow/

8 /10 Murky History

The historical record of Glasgow Smile is murky at best, however. One theory indeed refers to the harsh street life of 20th-century cities of Scotland.

The Industrial Revolution drew many peasants to the cities seeking jobs at the dockyards and factories.

Although the urban life promised opportunities to make money, the life of the working class was far from glamorous; many struggled from malnutrition and poverty, leading to the increasing rate of gang-related crimes.

Some say Glasgow Smile originated when England invaded Scotland. The Celts used the torture method to scare the English away.

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7 /10 Sliver Of Glass

No matter the origin story, the brutal tradition gained its momentum during the early 1920s. Glasgow’s overcrowded suburbs made the perfect breeding ground for gangsters.

Criminal organizations known as the Glasgow Razor Gangs ruled the city’s streets by the end of World War I.

The gangs used the torture method mainly to maintain their power in competition over territories and money against rivals.

The barbaric practice was both practical and straightforward. Any gang member could inflict the injury using a razor, knife, or even makeshift object like a sliver of glass.


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