Monday, 29 November 2010

Glasgow, Scotland

Street Architecture  GJC_IMG_2-0510

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and made its name from the industries on the River Clyde from trans Atlantic trade to shipbuilding and associated engineering.

The two photos from the last post of Newcastle Central Station were taken while I was waiting for the train to Glasgow.  As with a lot of places in the UK, there is a historical rivalry between counties and cities which these days is usually evident between sporting teams such as Yorkshire / Lancashire, Manchester / Liverpool and Newcastle / Sunderland. In Scotland though, I feel that the stakes are a little higher as Edinburgh and Glasgow seem to want to fight for pre-eminence with each resident thinking that their city is best. Most tourists prefer Edinburgh but as my family originally came from Glasgow and my Mother worked here early in her life, I seem to have an affiliation with the place. I usually try to visit the city once during the winter time.

Today (6th November) I had a plan to cover a few sights in the east end but despite a glorious sunny ride up the east coast to Edinburgh, I had to change my plan as the skies grew dark with threatening rain clouds on the outskirts of Glasgow at Motherwell. The schedule for the day was mainly outdoors, so a hurried look through the leaflets I had provided me with some quick alternatives to stay dry.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in 1868 near Glasgow Cathedral and after a good education, rare to this city at the time, decided that he was going to become an architect. In 1890, his name became well known in these circles when he won an award for classical architecture. At the time Glasgow was a dismal place and he decided to create his own identity by giving back something to the city. He basically  designed a series of individual building projects all over the city in his unique style most of which are open to the public. He wanted to use classical designs that he had learned about but develop something Scottish and unique looking to the future. Not only did he oversee the building construction but he created the whole concept by designing the furniture as well. By doing this, he successfully created a Mackintosh brand. These days the floodgates have opened even further as his popularity is renowned outside Glasgow thanks to the jewellery range.

I left Glasgow Central station and made my way to the north west side of the city, taking photo 1 on the way, past the temporary exhibition space Maclellan Galleries with reference on the door to the nearest tourist site....

Walk this way  GJC_IMG_2-0467

.. and arrived at my first destination just around the corner with some unusual street architecture in place.

Lamp  GJC_IMG_2-0474

The Glasgow School of Art was Charles Rennie Macintosh's second last building and as he was running out of time, he was now wanting to leave legacies behind. Unfortunately he was only given a budget of £14,000 as the authorities wanted a simple building, so he could only complete a quarter of the building. Little did they know that he had greater plans for upstairs later.

Grand door  GJC_IMG_2-0498

My 1 hour tour started at 12 midday but unfortunately I was not allowed to take any interior photos due to it being a working Art school involving copyright rules and with this in mind, i'll give you as brief overview. Mackintosh plays architectural tricks on the mind by building a structure with an ancient English Arts and Craft roof with a mixture of Japanese influenced contemporary fittings, hanging ceilings, false supporting beams, adjacent dark and light spaces, inverting ideas such as reaching the top of the stairs, instead of being a place of brightness, it was almost dungeon like, then walking along a corridor, we entered a white Pavilion where the light brightened up the place.... Inspiration for the Art students of the day. One such idea on the staircase was Glasgow marble which was essentially polished concrete, an idea used 60 years later.  The library was his masterpiece... totally made of wood with numerous un supporting posts, it is thought to represent a forest with the central area being a clearing in the forest. The wood idea is thought to come from the process that books are made out of paper from trees from the forest. To give you an insight, heres a google images link to the library and other images plus exterior views.

Across the street, there was a different take on Art showing a Glasgow pastime and things important to them !!

Say something  GJC_IMG_2-0499

After a few exterior photographs... in the rain, it was time to go for lunch and seeing I was on a themed day, I would visit another of Mackintosh's buildings.........

Storm in a teacup  GJC_IMG_2-0521

The price of the Chilli beef swung it for me whereas I've only ever paid more for a cup of tea at Babbington tea rooms, Spanish steps in Rome !!  To be fair, the teapot came with extra water and tea strainer and despite thinking that there's only so much tea that you can drink.... the spicyness of the Chilli made sure I drank it all !!
On arrival, I expected the real posh Mackintosh chairs at the front of the shop upstairs from the Jewellers.

Mackintosh Cafe GJC_IMG_2-0530

.... but when I was asked if I had a reservation.... err no...  I had to sit with the majority of the diners in the more simple surroundings to the rear. See if you spot the rear of the tea rooms by the chair design. I wasn't going to miss an opportunity like this as I was a paying customer so I managed to find an excuse to go to the toilet upstairs and quickly photograph something of the front tea room without being caught by the waitress. It wasn't quite the picture I wanted as the tall seats were to the side of the room.

After lunch I walked to Cowcaddens underground station to take the train to the west end of the city...

Underground station GJC_IMG_2-0534

The system, known as the subway, was opened in 1896 and is the third oldest in the world. It is a simple circular line around the city with the two railway tracks for identification and directional purposes being known as the inner and outer circle. The trains have a round cross section and are quite are low in height making it impossible to stand anywhere else except the middle of the train. They are usually of a certain bright colour and with the circular shape of the the network, it is sometimes known as the "Clockwork Orange". However the one I got today advertised Scottish poet Robert Burns...

Burns Coach  GJC_IMG_2-0615_edited-1

My next destination was Kelvingrove Art gallery and Museum. It was a long time since I was last here as I didn't find the exhibits very interesting at the time.

Monochrome Museum  GJC_IMG_2-0597

The museum was opened in 1901 and it was decided by the council to close it for a few years for a re - fit and to make it more user friendly. It re-opened in 2006 after three years closure and a total spend of just under £28 million pounds. As the weather wasn't great today, this was an ideal opportunity to see an indoor building I saw once many years ago.

Ceiling GJC_IMG_2-0582 (1)

Lighting GJC_IMG_2-0586


Stairs  GJC_IMG_2-0581_edited-1

Even today, after all the re-fitting work I seemed more fascinated by the building than some of it's exhibits.....

GJC_IMG_2-0561 (1)
Keep of my bottle, or I'll give you a "Glasgow Kiss" !!!

two with a birds eye view
Eventually, I exhausted the building and myself with it's size and it was time to leave, so it was back over a bridge...

Lamp, Kelvin bridge  GJC_IMG_2-0602

..that had some lights on it, a quick look at the Autumn tinged Glasgow University building.....

University  GJC_IMG_2-0604

... and then to join fellow travellers on the subway back into to the city centre...

The Tube  GJC_IMG_2-0614

Glasgow is famous for having two shopping areas, Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street (where I was earlier in the day), linked together by a third street shown below. Most are standard UK stores but there are a few exceptions to the rule that make shopping interesting to those who like that sort of thing.

Floodlit GJC_IMG_2-0650_edited-1

Lastly, as the shops were now closing and my train was at 6pm (incidentally you may remember that I photographed my train also on the last post ), I used up some of my time in the tourist information centre looking for future ideas !!. As with most souvenir shops in Scotland, the merchandise on sale as you may have seen previously in my "Tyndrum and Loch Awe 1 - Power station" post is embarrassing.

The Loch Ness monster is a long way from home here so it is time to leave for the station and say goodbye to this distant colourful friend...

Colourful Character  GJC_IMG_2-0620
... playing you a farewell tune !


  1. Hi J
    As always another first class tour. Thanks for letting us 'tag' along. Really enjoyed this - I have always liked Glasgow.
    Have a good new week.

  2. Thanks a lot for the photo tour. Enlarging your photos made my visual trip more exciting. Again, thanks for the new learnings through your stories and this cultural adventure....and most especially...the experience.

  3. I like very much the framing of the first photo and the photo with the chandeliers in the dark. Nice presentation, J_on _tour, thank you!

  4. I've never been to Glasgow, and looks that it's a mistake! City looks really great in your photos! Couldn't choose favourite photo, all are terrific, but the nice bottle of Famous Grouse is inviting:)
    Have a nice week!

  5. I had the pleasure of visiting Glasgow and Edinburgh, Glasgow has the colors more vivid and Edinburgh is a little more gray, but both are very beautiful and have a very interesting architecture, a healthy competition produces excellent results for us tourists who enjoy the first one and then the other!
    Have a good week!

  6. Jay, you have cracked it with this post. It is superb. Informative, witty and.......well....just brilliant.
    Glasgow is my favourite city. So wealthy that they built two town halls. and moved a well to the top of a building. Dredged the Clyde all the way to Dunbarton.......Serious folk are the Wee Jimmies.

  7. Wow, Incredible this series with these beautiful photos !
    this changes of small villages, but the change, It is well to you ! :))
    Bravo, I enjoyed your good post !!


  8. Thanks for the tour of Glasgow! As always, your photos are beautiful and your narrative informative.

  9. Excellent photo tour. I really enjoy these.

  10. Amazing "trip", beautiful photos!!!

  11. Oh my goodness! I so enjoyed all the stunning photos. I didn't know I had so many reasons to visit Glasgow! Thank you also for including the Google images links, but your photos stand alone for sure. The subway, the series of arches, the ceiling, and the amazing entrance to the Glasgow School of Art were especially beautiful photos!

  12. Well, I like Glasgow...or is your story and photo?
    You and your special way of seeing things!
    Thank you!
    I wish you a great Wednesday!

  13. nice.i like the most, pictures with the castle in the autumn atmosphere.and i enjoy the story

  14. I hear that you're getting a taste of Wisconsin winter there today! Hope it doesn't derail your travel plans. :-)

  15. Thanks for the great tour! I lovve Mackintosh's work. You got some great photos!

  16. I've been to Edinburough (very impressive city) but never to Glasgow, and I think I should put it on my list of places to visit someday.
    Your awsome photos and descriptions have definitely triggered my curiosity.

  17. Trevor Woodford... Thanks, always a pleasure to have you on board. Nice to bring Glasgow to the attention of others.

    Rizalenio... Thanks, pleased you enjoyed it. I was thinking recently about enlarging photos... but can not decide.

    Travelling Hawk... Thanks, I always try to see if there is anything photographic I can mix with the tourist post.

    Joo... Thanks, I've got another set from Glasgow from earlier in the year, before I was on blogger, that I might put on sometime... more C R Mackintosh things.

    Sciarada... Thanks, An interesting and unexpected slant on your views about Glasgow and Edinburgh. I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

    Adrian... Thanks, It's difficult, but I try to keep everyone interested. I never realised it was so popular. I must look into why there are two shopping centres and two of everything.

    Mahon... Thanks, I visit a few big cities in the winter time for a change, it's good to have variety and search for photographic material in places that you least expect it.

    Sweet Virginia Breeze...
    ...... Thank you all for your comments, I'm pleased you all enjoyed the photographs, text and the journey.

    Cranberry Morning... Thanks, Maybe I made Glasgow to look better than it is !! :-) ... there is so much potential of things to see here if you are prepared to move out of the comfort Zone of the immediate city centre. I did have my plans derailed for one day in early December, I'll see if I can fit in the equivalent event in from last year.

    Wind... Thanks, I think I have become one with the place...or is that the blog post. Even now looking at the text and images, I still think I'm there.

    Pharaonx... Thanks, I did not get the opportunity to photograph many Autumn things as I was so far behind in my blog. Then again, my Autumn colours could not be compared to your beautiful pictures.

    Vicki Lane... Thanks, I've got more Mackintosh things up my sleeve for the new year.

    Kasthurirajam... Thanks for your visit and comment, good to see you.

    DUTA... Thanks, Edinburgh is on most peoples list. I have some material from here from March 2010 that I may show around that time as I have no lans to return there at the moment. Pleased you liked Glasgow though.

  18. Great photos of my favourite city... try New Lanark - I'm sure you'd enjoy!

  19. Love the Robert Burns subway! Classic :)


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