The Glasgow Art Club
I had passed the building many times and this visit to the city, I saw the signage outside about their exhibition. I rang the door bell and was let in, then directed to the exhibition. It was enjoyable, a warm space full of history.
There was no one else visiting at the time I made my visit.Add to your Trip Planner
The City Chambers
For a good example of Glasgow’s Victorian civic wealth look no further than the City Chambers in George Square.
Built during the height of British imperialism and opened by Queen Victoria on 22nd August 1888, this grand flamboyant building, designed by Paisley born architect William Young, almost pays homage to Queen Victoria herself.
The interior is every bit as grand as the exterior, with marble staircases, mosaic floors and a Banqueting Hall fit for a palace.
If this sort of thing interests you then you’ll be pleased to learn that there are tours twice a day at 10.30 and 2.30. The tours are free and take 45 minutes to an hour.
As soon as you step over the threshold you’ll find yourself walking over a mosaic of the city’s Coat of Arms. There’s a poem that accompanies this Coat of Arms which reads:-
Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam
The city motto is “Let Glasgow Flourish” and you’ll find references to this and the Coat of Arms all over the city in different forms.
It’s not just the floors that are covered in mosaics but the ceilings too, and it’s believed that one and a half million tiles were laid by hand on the ceilings and domes alone.
For those who aren’t too dapper on their feet it’s worth knowing that there are three marble staircases to climb in all, but they are taken in stages. Unfortunately my visit coincided with some official business taking place in the Council Chamber and so I wasn’t able to see that part of the building, or indeed the Lord Provost’s Office.
There was still plenty else to see though including the remarkable Banqueting Hall and Upper Gallery.
I can highly recommend this tour and not just because it’s free. It gives an insight into how the city is run as well as being able to see the inside of this opulent building that the city fathers thought that it deserved!
Whether the inhabitants of The Gorbals and elsewhere thought it was money well spent is another matter.Related to:
A place of worship and then lots more
The building on the corner of Bentinck Street and Derby Street, or 49 Derby Street, was built in 1876 as Finnieston Free Church of Scotland. The original Finnieston Free Church building had a growing congregation and when it became too small for the congregation this building was built.
The first minister of the congregation was Rev Andrew Alexander Bonar, whose first charge was at Collace, from 1843 to 1846.
There are Hebrew words above the door and they mean - HE WHO SAVES SOULS IS WISE.
Andrew Bonar died on 30th Dec 1892, and his successor was Rev David Martin Macintyre, who in 1900 took the congregation into the United Free Church of Scotland. In 1929, the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church of Scotland entered into a union and the church passed back into the hands of the Church of Scotland.
It remained as Kirk until 1968, it was sold and became a recording studio. It is now being redeveloped and is intended to be made into apartments.Add to your Trip Planner
St Aloysius’ Church
I am reliably the informed that the church is their to support the needs of the Jesuit community in the West of Scotland. It is next door to the college of the same name.
We had a day of wandering and as we normally do, we drop in and out of churches, cathedrals and places of worship when we can. It was quite an impressive interior and it seemed to have just been holding a communion.
We did also have a conversation with a priest. They all seem friendly and welcoming.Add to your Trip Planner
Govan Old Church
We found the church by accident - sadly we only had a few minutes before it closed. We will need to visit it again the next time we are in Glasgow.
The Govan Stones are housed there, they date from the 9th and 10th century.Add to your Trip Planner
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
The day we ended up at Kelvingrove wasn't even a day we had planned to be in Glasgow. Our original plan had been to catch a train to Stirling, but my husband wasn't feeling well. So after sleeping in a little we ended up wandering around Glasgow on foot and arrived at Kelvingrove. We didn't spend too much time inside as there was was still plenty more we wanted to do that day (and we had a reservation for dinner that night), but after a quick wander around the main floor, it is clear that Kelvingrove is worth the visit - for both the architecture as well as the exhibits. (They were actually filming a TV show at one of the exhibits while we were there). If you are museum and/or art gallery person, Kelvingrove is a must while in Glasgow. It seemed like there were a number of lovely restaurants and cafes in the area as well, but we didn't really stop.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
The Mitchell Library
I had heard about the library - so finally made a visit. I spent some time looking through the old editions of "The Glasgow Herald" aka "The Herald" to track down anything on the Dali work, "Christ of St John of the Cross" bought in 1952.
The staff were friendly and helpful - as were the other readers in the archive rooms.Add to your Trip Planner
The Tall Ship Glenlee at Riverside Museum
The Tall Ship Glenlee is one of Glasgow’s newest attractions. During the July River Festival, my wife and I visited this captivating beautiful ship. She is one of only five Clydebuilt sailing ships now afloat in the world. A barque she has two masts rigged with the traditional square sails and the stern mast with a fore-and-aft rig to allow her to point closer to the wind. She now serves as a The Tall Ship museum at Riverside Museum, Glasgow.
The ship was constructed using Scottish coal and iron ore. Imagine the deafening noise as the Black Gang of the Port Glasgow Shipyard in 1896 hammered a thousand rivets and shaped the beams, plates and frames to fashion the ship’s hull. With a length 245 feet, beam of 37.5 feet and depth of 22.5 feet she is astonishingly large for a sailing vessel. Built for a solely functional purpose these ships are among the most beautiful of man’s creations. More than 200 of these vessels were built in the 1980s and 1990s, during which time Clydeside yards established an enviable reputation world wide for constructing them.
These sailing ships prospered as the bulk carriers of their day for coal, steel, lumber, hides and guano. A big increase in insurance rates for sailing ships in 1897 and the opening up of the Panama Canal in 1914, making the dominance of sailing ships in the trip around Cape Horn an irrelevance, hastened their end.
Today they have a fascination because of their beauty but also because they represent an age which is lost. These majestic vessels were outstanding pieces of engineering. Their immensely powerful hulls withstood all but the fiercest of elements. With her full sails harvesting the ocean breezes, she would have been majestic.
Just imagine the excitement and danger of rounding Cape Horn in the teeth of a merciless gale or running before gales of the Roaring Forties in the Great Southern Ocean or sleeping under canvas in the idyllic calm of horse latitudes of the tropics. The courage of the sailors working hundreds of feet above a foaming ocean or struggled waist-deep in the maelstrom of the main deck awash with angry ocean must have been immense.
I was surprised and my wife delighted that the first immense deck had been turned into a market with many stalls set out. Behind the stalls and many other places were posters outlining details about the ship and the time period into which she fitted. Being a bulk carrier she was devoid of portholes, so it must have been eerie working below decks. At some time a generator had been fitted to alleviate the problem.
Working down through the decks, we came finally to the bilges with stone ballast still stacked neatly. I found a marker indicating just how far we were beneath surface level – truly down the Clyde!Related to:
- Historical Travel
The Glasgow Tenement
The Glasgow Tenement is a time capsule of tenement life at the beginning of the 20th century. Tenements were Scotland’s mass building method of the industrial era. Continual buildings, subdivided into houses and flats, snaked along streets. They developed a language and a culture all their own. A sign of being a better class of person was to live in a "wally close"–a tiled corridor leading into the premise. The "hurley" was the bed on castors, which was kept below the box bed off the kitchen. Many Glasgwegians crammed into such tenements from the middle of 19th century. Many still live in them but with modern mod cons.
Shorthand typist Miss Agnes Toward moved to this Glasgow Tenement with her mother in 1911. She lived here until hospitalised in 1965. During those 54 years she never threw anything out so her furniture and personal possessions present a fascinating picture of domestic life in the tenements.
There is an exhibition on the ground floor documenting tenement life during Agnes’ time. It contains memorabilia from Miss Toward’s life. Her period here extended over two world wars and the break up of Empire so it was turbulent times. The collection includes World War II ration books, letters, bills, tickets stubs and photographs from steamer trips down the Clyde to its holiday Resorts.
Upstairs you have to ring the bell to enter as though you were visiting Agnes. The flat gives every impression of still being inhabited with a cluttered hearth and range, kitchen utensils, recess beds, framed religious tracks and sewing machine all original.
The flat built in 1892 is a typical late Victorian example. Its four rooms retain most of their original features such as the box bed in the kitchen, kitchen range, coalbunker, bathroom, and gas fire. During her period here electric lighting was the only major change to the home. After the house was sold to the National Trust for Scotland in 1982 they replaced the original gas lighting fittings and it is now a museum of home life in industrial Glasgow.
Listen to the hiss of the gaslights and the ticking of the grandfather clock and you’ll be transported back in time. The table is set for afternoon tea. There is also a rosewood piano, which is a sure sign of Victorian gentility.
The guides delight in telling all sorts of tidbits about tenement life in Victorian times–many have lived in tenements themselves, and some still do. This museum is a must-see if you're interested in the history of the city.
You will find the Tenement House at 145 Buccleuch St. in the Garnethill area of Glasgow. There is unfortunately no provision for car parking and the best advice is to park in a city centre car park and walk or get public transport to Buccleuch Street.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Glasgow City Chambers
To the East of George Square lies the 'powerhouse’ of Glasgow - the City Chambers, home to the City Council. This is one of the most impressive public buildings in the UK.
Buildings began to appear in George Square in 1781. Eventually it became the centre of a bustling city, which prospered in the industrial revolution by trading in fabrics, tobacco and shipbuilding. The Square is still the heart of the city, both geographically and spiritually.
Here the City Chambers decided to build their new civic building. In 1883, William Young from nearby Paisley won the design competition and, received £150,000, a large sum in those days, initially to build the new City Chambers. However the final bill came to nearer £600,000! Just five years later in 1888, Queen Victoria performed the opening ceremony in front of 600,000 people.
Although the frontage of the building looks impressive the interior is sheer opulence. To see it get on a guided tour. These free tours, take place at 1030 and 1430 through the week and last about 45 minutes. They receive little publicity but 25 people were in the group with me.
Architect Young had visited the historical arch of Constantine in Rome and the entrance reflects this. The reception area sets an atmosphere demanding hushed respect through the stunning use of mosaics and marbles. Marble appears not only in the City's Coat of Arms on the entrance floor but throughout the building, reminiscent of grand Venetian palaces. The pillars are, from the base, grey Aberdeen granite, hand polished red Scottish granite topped with dark-green marble in Ionic style.
The marble staircases lead on to beautiful rooms with ornate Wedgewood ceilings and hardwood panelling.
The dignified Council Chamber has panelled walls of Spanish hardwood. Each of 79 councillors has a reserved seat facing a platform where the Lord Provost, Depute Lord Provost and Chief Executive sit behind the mace. The Chamber has a quirky design. Small areas known as 'Bed Recesses' provide Council officials with sitting space though it suggests something else!
Next to the Council Chamber is the Satinwood Salon used as the ‘municipal drawing room’. Finished with Australian satinwood it boasts an alabaster fireplace. The paintings on the walls are from the city’s art collection. Adjoining this room is the Octagonal Room, decorated in amber wood it acts as an overflow room to the Satinwood and Mahogany salons. This latter room owes its dark colour to its Cuban mahogany and walnut panels.
The Upper Gallery on the third floor offers a close view of the beautiful dome visible from the other floors. Also on view here are the portraits of all the previous Lord Provosts of the City of Glasgow.
Without doubt however, the arched Banqueting Hall is the 'Jewel in the Crown', a magnificent cornucopia of colour and grandeur with acoustics that Opera singers would die for. Here Nelson Mandela to name but one, received the Freedom of the City. Much of the decorations on the walls are in the form of huge murals depicting some of the history of the city. The central window of leaded Venetian glass on the north side commemorates Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
Only a visit to the City Chambers can do justice to this building, as words cannot begin to explain the design and colour nuances and the sense of history that awaits the visitor at every turn.Related to:
- Historical Travel
I noticed a leaflet titled, "Glasgow`s Leading Attractions" that lists 22 things to do in Glasgow. You also get vouchers to save on entry for these attractions. There is a map that helps you plan your itinerary.
Included are, for example, all the museums, Hampden Park, the Tall Ship, the HO HO bus and the Tennant`s brewery.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
An out-of-town shopping centre with ice arena, to which they have added a centre (Xscape) with artificial rock wall, indoor ski slope (snow, not dry) shops & restaurants.
Ice arena is great facility. Snow slope looks good too. I had a double espresso and a big muffin, so i was happy...
Its on the River Clyde, and Britain's next generation of destroyers is being built for the Royal Navy just across the river. So, if you want to see the black hole that your tax millions are disappearing into, this is the place for you...
The ice arena now hosts a professional ice hockey team in the UK's top league - Braehead Clan. I'll do a sport tip when I get a minute.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Mountain Climbing
- Skiing and Boarding
Southern Necropolis - a hidden gem
The Southern Necropolis is located in the Gorbals area of Glasgow. It was officially opened in July 1840 with the first burial on 21st July 1840. The cemetery was a private concern until 1952 when GLasgow Corporation took over ownership.
The gatehouse was constructed in 1848 and designed by Charles Wilson (he also designed Glasgow Academy, Great Eastern Hotel and Rutherglen Town Hall amongst others). He is also buried in this cemetery.
Other famous inhabitants include Alexander "Greek" Thomson, Sir Thomas Lipton and Allen Glen.
There is a heritage trail available at http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/Residents/Parks_Outdoors/HeritageTrails/SouthernNecropolis/ which gives a history of the cemetery and a map of those interred.Add to your Trip Planner
Other end of the water supply
Loch Katrine was drilled to by two enormous tunnels to supply the city with fresh water, away from the river clyde in 1859.The steamship Sir Walter Scot cruises the loch twice a day and smaller vessels do two hourly cruises.
This is the heart of the lake district, Trossachs in Gaelic and whilst loch Katrine may not be as big as the one over the hills Loch Lomond it compares if not surpasses it in beauty. Sir Walter Scot the writer not the vessel named after him was inspired to write about the loch.
The Summer dawn's reflected hue
The purple changed Loch Katrine blue
Mildly and siftly the westren breeze
Just kiss'd the loch,just stirr'd the trees
from ''The lady of the lake''Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Celtic Connections - Celtic Music Festival
Each January Glasgow is host to an extensive and impressive festival of celtic music, from all over the world. If you visit the city in this month it's well worth getting a programme and going to see some of the acts. Even if celtic and folk music isn't really your think I think you'd find something there that you'd enjoy. On the Friday and Saturday evenings there is a ceilidh (traditional Scottish dance, and loads of fun) held in the Royal Concert Hall, so that's always worth going along to.Related to:
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