Like most river cities, life in Glasgow started with shipbuilding and the associated trans Atlantic shipping trade. These days preserved relics from the past stand alongside contemporary structures in the stretch of river that the tourist board want to promote most.
As an introduction to the way Glasgow has become popular with the tourist trade and the way it looks today particularly down by the riverside, the one event that breathed new life into the city was the 1988 Garden Festival with it's 4,300,000 visitors to a site adjacent to scenes portrayed here. As a result, there was a renewed awareness of Glasgow and a natural progression to becoming the European city of Culture in 1990.
( Following on from my last post, I decided to walk back to the city centre rather than take the underground subway in order to take in some of the sights in this post. )
The 1932 Finnieston Crane stands 50 metres tall and 77 metres wide as a symbol to the past glories of shipbuilding and engineering of the past. The capability it had for lifting up to 175 tons was used for lifting Glasgow built steam railway locomotives onto ships for export.
In 2008, the bridge was closed for two weeks while investigations were carried out into the failure of one of the supports and cracks in a second one. It was concluded that the bridge was safe and that single supports could be removed for maintenance. I was happy to cross it on foot .... keeping one eye up in the air !
|At home !|
During the 1960's, passenger numbers dropped gradually due to Glaswegians deciding to spend their holiday money elsewhere. Although Caledonian MacBrayne have kept the ferry business buoyant on The Firth of Clyde until the present day (although not without some current Gourock / Dunoon issues ! ), a decision had to be taken at the final company merger in 1973 to dispense with the great ship. Having become too expensive to run, the steamer could not be given away and was sold to The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society in 1974 for a legal nominal fee of £1 !! Despite contracts being drawn up that the ship would never act as competition for the newly merged ferry company,"Cally Mac"(or CalMac) and the PSPS both thought that the ship would probably end up being a museum piece. Numerous financial grants over decades and a large supporting membership of the PSPS are trying to ensure it's future, but it's typical tour later in the year for excursions in The Bristol Channel, South coast and Thames Estuary is once again in doubt as the company have only raised half of the money that they have identified for the immediate future.
|Money to burn !|
I had to wait until August 1988 when I was fortunate enough to afford a day rail / boat excursion from Newcastle from the not so delightful Troon docks to Brodick on The Isle of Arran ( I did say that they weren't allowed to compete with Ferry routes !!). It was a very memorable moment when a trainload of people stood behind the pier wall sheltering from the howling wind catching a glimpse of the boat in the distance coming across the almost ocean like entrance of The Firth of Clyde... with it's paddles lifting out of the water as it rocked from side to side !!
My second and most recent trip in late 2003 was an idea that my Bristol connection had of a more sedate sunday afternoon trip around the two bird sanctuary islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm in The Bristol Channel.
It was good to catch up with it here for my last sighting in April 2010 as it was preparing for the busy summer and autumn season.
There were several National Garden Festivals held around the UK during the 1980's and early 1990's in order to revitalise and promote development to the run down and problem areas of specifically chosen towns and cities by the Government of the day (Liverpool, Stoke, Glasgow, Gateshead and Ebbw Vale). Although the actual festival sites have usually in the short term been unsuccessful in their outcome, the promotion and success of some of these places has been an outstanding success. Having once lived in a modern house for six years adjacent to one of these sites, I was shocked to discover that after 22 years, large parts of this site in Glasgow remains largely overgrown and unsold.
The £10 million Tower with it's two lift elevators and emergency staircase has the ability to rotate with the wind and consequently is the tallest structure in the world to do so. Unfortunately due to the complex nature of the tower, it has been be-set with technical problems and closed to the public on 3 lengthy occasions for at least 5 years of it's life since construction in 2001. On one occasion during January 2005, it took five hours to rescue the occupants from one of the lift elevators.
Unfortunately with it's history, you wouldn't get me going up there !!
Standing next to the historic Finnieston Crane, The Clyde Auditorium on the North side of the river is a 3000 seat concert hall built in 1997 otherwise affectionately known as The Armadillo.
Concert goers reflect on their overnight accommodation at The Hilton
Lastly, I end up back in the city centre a famous shrine to some for shopping and another lesser known shrine to the hard hat workers of past and present that made the city what it is today !