Monday, 29 August 2011

Glasgow - House for Art Lovers

House  GJC_IMG_4621_edited-1
House for Art Lovers, Glasgow
For those who can remember my previous Glasgow post from November last year will know that there is a bit of rivalry between Glasgow and Edinburgh jostling for pre eminence !! I opted for this set here to re - dress the balance of the previous post with some more historical images taken three weeks after the Edinburgh set on 12th April 2010. In the next few posts I intend to show the much underrated qualities of Glasgow and that's not just because both of my parents and all their family originated from the western side of central Scotland ;-)

Walled Garden    GJC_IMG_4575 (1)
Gardens, House for Art Lovers, Glasgow
The House for Art Lovers is situated next to a Victorian walled garden in Bellahouston Park on the south west edge of the city. It was quite a walk from Ibrox tube station and needed a good street map.

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Rockery, House for Art Lovers, Glasgow
The origins of this house are most unusual in that it was originally designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1901 with building work commencing in 1989 !!

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Mackintosh's style, House for Art Lovers, Glasgow

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Window Profile,   House for Art Lovers, Glasgow
A German magazine at the turn of the 20th century held a competition to design a house possibly with a modern twist.
The entry submitted by Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a little late and consequently incomplete by the deadline date and therefore disqualified. However the plans received a special recognition award but unfortunately were never acted upon.

Patio     GJC_IMG_4604_edited-1
Patio,   House for Art Lovers, Glasgow
In 1987 a civil engineer (Graham Roxburgh) and an architect (Andrew Macmillan) finally realised the dream to plan the project by choosing the site in Bellahouston Park. The building of the house commenced in 1989 and finally opened 1996 after the traumas of a financial recession when work on the building was stopped for a period of time.

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"Pass the salt please" !!  House for Art Lovers, Glasgow
The plans of the house included the internal decor and furniture which his wife Margaret MacDonald assisted him with.

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Stained Glass,  House for Art Lovers, Glasgow
The Main Entrance Hall although a little dark plays tricks with the eyes as small stained glass windows entice the visitor into the next room (A trait that was used often to confuse and stimulate students in The Glasgow School of Art).

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Dining Room,  House for Art Lovers, Glasgow
On opening the music room doors, the Mackintosh style is to impress the visitor with the contrast of light from the large windows.

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Fireplace design, House for Art Lovers, Glasgow

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Fireplace design 2,   House for Art Lovers, Glasgow

Keyboard   GJC_IMG_4599
Unusual early 20th century keyboard ,  House for Art Lovers, Glasgow

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The Oval room which includes the shape of the window, cupboards and fireplace was designed for the After Dinner Ladies conversation.

Arch          GJC_IMG_4612 (1)_edited-1

Although mainly a visitor attraction, the building is also used for corporate events, piano concerts and weddings. The house is currently of a shortlist for the "Best Unusual Venue Award" in Scotland.

It was time for me to find my walking feet again and drag them back into the city centre ....

Foot   GJC_IMG_4614 (1)
Foot Sculpture,   House for Art Lovers, Glasgow

Monday, 22 August 2011

Edinburgh, Scotland


Even though Edinburgh is a little over two hours away by car and a bit less by train, it might come as a shock to readers to know that I don't often visit this place as I am always unfortunate enough to encounter rain. I will be coming up to a milestone in this blog shortly and I may risk becoming more biographical once again ... for a moment, so I thought I would take the opportunity of digging into my pre blog unseen images archive to show where I came from photographically. It has to be said at this point that I had to motivate myself to show you this set as many people will be expectant of many great tourist exhibits here. You never know, one day I may return and do these buildings some justice.

All rails lead to Waverley station
From experience, the only way to arrive in Edinburgh is by train and although for a long period of time the rail fares were expensive, I was inspired to look up internet fares by a female work colleague who was organising a girlie London weekend. For those that have followed my journey for a while, this was the first trip out in a difficult few months following the termination of my south western travels. Although you have never seen these images before and it is not quite the inspiration for starting my blog journey (that was another colleague), it was what was needed for me to re-commence my own journey ... albeit a trip around a few fringe second hand CD shops south of the city centre today !

No parking  ... or rather that's what people think of it !

The National Gallery of Scotland also seen in the title image was built in 1859 and is the official home of the Scottish Art collection. It overlooks Waverley railway station.

No light on Edinburgh Castle here !!
 It stands in the gap between the historic old town on the hill which includes Edinburgh Castle and the more modern shopping area which includes the famous Princes street as its ... promenade.


All tourists are drawn to the Old town for obvious reasons and whichever way that is chosen from the numerous options, the result of tiredness is always the outcome !!



Trendy Cockburn Street
 The fashionable Cockburn street is by far the gentler option both on the legs and the eyes.

Vantage point improving with height

Throwing light on unknown Edinburgh
After my exploration of the southern suburbs of Edinburgh with it's second hand music and book stores, it was time to return to something a bit more familiar ...

Greyfriars Bobby
Greyfriars Bobby was a terrier in the late 19th century who spent 14 years until his own death  in 1872 guarding his master's grave. In 2011 a senior lecturer from Cardiff University tried to disprove the story and inferred that it was a cheap tourist stunt.

 I wonder if he believes this 
Back on the Royal Mile (the road that descends from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace), the mix of entertainment and tourism are in full swing ...

"Yes, I really am Mel Gibson, I mean ... William Wallace"
Anyone seen this before ?? !!
...  There are certain souvenirs that the discerning tourist would prefer ...

Others ... maybe not !!
Unusually, there are hard earned opportunities for the photographer here


Following the crowds into the Castle


I didn't leave myself enough time for the Castle today and the ticket queue was too long at this time of day, so I just enjoyed the view down to Princes Street, the newer town, The River Forth and The Kingdom of Fife in the background.

It was time to head back out ...
... through the arch ...
... and back down those steps ... 
... to Scott's Monument
 After the death of the writer Sir Walter Scott, there was a decision taken to hold a competition to design a monument in his memory. An unknown and self taught architect, George Kemp, was successful in his bid to build the 200 feet (61metre) high structure. It was unfortunate that Kemp did not see the completion of the four year project in 1844 as he himself had a fatal accident on his way home from the building site.

The monument is virtually adjacent to the railway station so it was time for me to take off and disappear from Edinburgh once again ...


Monday, 15 August 2011

Liverpool, Merseyside.



Following on from the previous post, I travelled north up the Wirral Peninsula from Port Sunlight and under the River Mersey via the Birkenhead Tunnel to arrive in the City of Liverpool for the final chapter in this series.

(I was looking at going on an organised day tour of the city about six weeks after this set was taken but it wasn't working out at all. I found a cheap train fare but connection times in York were poor and hotel accommodation was expensive in the city centre.)

I had an idea while I was in Port Sunlight to join the motorway home via a small diversion to visit Liverpool, instead of retracing my journey back to Chester. The only problem was that I didn't have a street map and I was relying heavily on my memory from eight years before when a friend who lived in Warrington, at that time, showed me around.

(The weather turned nasty in this two hour visit and I had to run back to the car in a severe rainstorm.)

The road into Kings Dock (overlooked by the 20th century Cathedral) 
Thankfully, my sense of direction took me to the car park that we used on that day (Kings Dock) albeit upgraded from what seemed like a building site to something more suitable for the 800th anniversary of the City in 2007 and The European Capital of Culture in 2008.

"Duck-bus" ... on land ....
... and water ( "We all live in a yellow duck marine" )


At this point, I feel that readers of this blog would be expecting me to constantly repeat myself waxing lyrical about how a certain site ....  "had a roman fort that became a church and fought over in the middle ages and is now invaded by an army of tourists " !!!

The history of Liverpool is not like that at all, it is a little more dark and one that the locals would not be proud for be to repeat about the former European Capital of Culture. The area was established on the east side of the River Mersey in 1207 AD and remained quite small for about 500 years.

Harbour masters house.
The City began to grow and become a success as a result of the infamous slave trade which led to the shipping business developing into the movement of more conventional cargo by the 19th century.


History has a strange way of maybe not repeating itself here but ..."what goes around, comes around" as a result of an Irish famine in the mid 19th century and a housing act in 1919, Liverpool became overrun with immigrants.


St Georges Hall was built during the mid 19th century and the large neo classical building was ideal to host civic functions and receptions.


The adjacent square is the perfect location to celebrate the forgotten heroes of the past ...

.... and those that are remembered
Brothers together
The not so neo classical building that people would like to have seen toppled in the past !!

The 1969 Radio City Tower has had a chequered past of under utilisation and creativity.  It's original purpose was to be a ventilation shaft for a nearby market, but with a strange turn of events it became a revolving restaurant. After a few valiant business attempts, the structure lay empty for at least 15 years. A £5 million pound renovation took place in 1999 and has since been used as a Radio station and more recently as a location to view in the City of Culture development.

One of the most famous buildings is The Royal Liver building constructed at the beginning of the 20th century. Legend states that if one of the two Liver birds fly away, the city will cease to exist. Notice how the bird is well secured ....

"Hey, Where's my mate ?" !!

Liverpool is more famous now for the music events of the 1960's of what was called a development of The Merseybeat or Beat music. In it's own way, it changed the direction of music ...

... and I thought that beat was only about guitars and drums .... not a seat !!!
It cost me money to photograph this !!
John Lennon of The Beatles ... stands in Mathew street ...
... thinking about some of his songs he wrote with Paul
 Another group called Gerry and The Pacemakers gave the city another massive tourism boost by penning the song "Ferry across The Mersey" ...

"Passenger Terminals bigger than the boat ... do they know what's on the other side"!!
The ticket office and The "Mare - sey" (local accent !)
Hey,  I'm first in the queue for my ticket !!
Mixing culture with theme park !!
Mixing culture with business park !!

 "Now if I can just get these two buildings out of the way ... it'll be how I remember it !!! ....





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