Thursday, 24 September 2015

Glasgow Transport Museums (old and new)

Riverside Museum  GJC_016976 - Version 2_edited-1 (1)

The Riverside Museum is situated on the north bank of the River Clyde to the west of the city centre. The European Museum of the year 2013 stands in an area of regeneration across the river from what was the site of The 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival. Interestingly enough, this is probably where the regeneration of Glasgow began.
The £74 million pound museum was somewhere that I had on my list of things to do for some time but the experience didn't quite match my expectations. More of that it a moment.


( Personal note: It has been over three months since I last posted and even though it seemed that I had forsaken this blog, I hadn't abandoned it. The Spring and Summer have been a mixture of sad and happy times giving me some severe time problems of blogging availability. Thankfully the balance of life is now leaning towards the happy times. Additionally I didn't feel too inspired about this post in the series due to the repetitive nature of the indoor images and my search for the older material. I haven't got a set blogging night anymore so I'll have to see what I can do when time allows in each week.)

Transport Exhibits  GJC_IMG_4562

After a period of 23 years in an old tram shed on the outskirts of the city centre, The Glasgow Museum of Transport was relocated to a new site behind the Kelvin Hall in 1987. The exhibits grew from initially the disused and preserved trams from the depot into an eclectic collection of moving vehicles.

Classic Car  GJC_IMG_4553 (1)

The Kelvin Hall location closed on 18th April 2010 ironically just six days after my visit here so I was quite pleased to document some of these images. It was another year before the new building was completed and opened on 21st June 2011.

Arnold Clark Showroom  GJC_IMG_4561 (1)

In the old building, the Scottish based car dealer Arnold Clark sponsored a display of classic cars in the style of a sales showroom.

VW Beetle  GJC_IMG_4555 (1)

It was an unbelievable chance to get up close with some routine and classic cars of yesteryear.

Ford Anglia   GJC_IMG_4558 (1)

The Ford Anglia was the first car I had the chance to have a ride in as a young boy. The car belonged to my step brother in law who worked for Ford influencing my choice of car in later years. As a tribute following his passing away earlier this year, I would like to say that other than my parents holiday snaps, he was my first real photographic influence and an early motoring travel inspiration.

Ford Capri   GJC_IMG_4560 (1)

Don't ask me why, but when I was at school my dream car was a Ford Capri. In later years I once saw a Classic car Capri owner struggle to parallel park it due to the long body nose of the engine.

Mini Metro   GJC_IMG_4557 (1)

The Mini Metro made by Austin was a popular car in its day. Even though I wasn't a fan of it, it has some meaningful nostalgia to me as it was the car I learned to drive and pass my test in. In its favour the rear view was excellent for visibility and reversing manoeuvres.

Mini   GJC_IMG_4556

My Dad owned a Mini for 11 years and it was the only car he ever owned in my lifetime. The car was driven everywhere in the North of England, Scottish Borders, Firth of Clyde, Lancashire and Yorkshire Coastline, Somerset and London.
My Dad tried to do a lot of the repairs himself with partial assistance from my step Brother in law and with exception of the windows and the roof, most things were replaced two or three times. I remember the saturday mornings as a young teenager when we didn't go out for the day having to help with the maintenance by holding / passing tools and spare parts.
The experience wasn't a good one as the Mini engine was so compact and difficult to gain access. One day my Dad burst a new radiator trying to squeeze it into the correct space and it was just one of the things that put me off car maintenance for life  ... haha.

Kelvin Street   GJC_IMG_4564 (1)

One of the more unusual elements about the 1987 - 2010 Museum of Transport was the recreation of a 1930's Glasgow road called Kelvin Street.

Regal Cinema  GJC_IMG_4565

The Regal Cinema entrance seemed authentic enough and played Scottish transport related documentaries.

Fishmonger    GJC_IMG_4566

A few reconstructed shops gave the street display in the museum some realism and atmosphere.

Subway Station   GJC_IMG_4567 (1)

The Glasgow Subway system was built in 1896 and is the third oldest in the world. Following cracks in a roof at one of the stations and numerous other outdated equipment and practices, the system was closed down for major renovation and modernisation in the 1970's. A tube train and a replica of a pre 1977 Glasgow subway station was preserved and recreated respectively.


Updating and Modernisation comes to us all as we move on and into the 2011 built Riverside Museum.

Wall of cars   GJC_016983

Unfortunately the Arnold Clark Garage is converted from an accessible showroom to just a wall ...

Display model  Car  GJC_016984

... such a pity that you can't look inside these vehicles anymore.


Many years later after my dream, the Ford Capri is still out of my reach for another visual reason !


In one way I was pleased with some of the images I captured on my second visit but it seems to me that the love of transport has been compromised for the love of art in this building. Many new visitors may see the museum as a radical building, some as a piece of Scottish Heritage, another just as a rainy day activity. For me its all about the building now and less about specific machinery ... shame.


One of the scary and yet radical sights of the day was a historic railway engine poking its nose out from an upper floor alcove.


In a sense the museum stays close to the historic roots it once had with the original Glasgow Tram collection.


... as the visitor can still get up close and personal with these artefacts. 


The re-created street is a little different these days


... However the subway station is still here ...


as is the tube train on the platform ...

... and the ghosts from the past ....  !!

Ghost conductor  GJC_016991

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