Saturday, June 24th 2017
Glasgow is one of our favourite cities and we like to return there from time to time. It is a beautiful city and its delights never pall. It sits on the River Clyde and was once perhaps the greatest builder of ships in the world. Ship-building declined in the second half of the 20th century but Glasgow has managed to reinvent itself as a vibrant and culture-oriented city. While it is very much a Scottish city, it has its own character – personality, rather – which makes it quite unique. Though Edinburgh attracts attention as the capital of Scotland, we prefer Glasgow by far.
If you wish to locate Glasgow on the map, this Google Map will get you started.
The train journey from London to Glasgow takes five-and-a-half hours and so we made an early start, catching the 7:43 train from Euston to Glasgow Central. Spending that many hours in the cramped conditions provided by Virgin Trains is not the pleasantest way to start a trip but we gritted our teeth and got on with it.
Usually, we stay in an hotel but on this trip Tigger has booked us an apartment, a whole flat to ourselves in quite a nice part of Glasgow. Unlike the hotel, where you simply go to the reception and check in, for the apartment we had to call the management and arrange for someone to meet us, show us the place and hand over the keys. There was some confusion over this and we first went to the wrong address but eventually sorted ourselves out and reached our temporary home which is in St Vincent Street.
The apartment has large rooms with relatively little furniture but it has all the essentials so it will suit us perfectly. There is a standard metal key for the door of the apartment but the street door is opened by means of a numeric keypad. If you forget the 4-digit code, you can’t get in! We both carefully noted it on our mobile phones
Having taken care of business, so to speak, we made tea and had a little rest. Then we went out again. Where were we going? Tigger had a glint in her eye but wouldn’t say until I guessed where we were heading. We took some photos along the way, of course. I haven’t captioned some of them because I haven’t researched them.
Glasgow has a lot of fine buildings in many different styles, Classical, Gothic Revival, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and so on. The first time I visited the city, I was overwhelmed and spun this way and that taking photos. We called this ‘the Glasgow Effect’, and still use that phrase to describe our feelings on encountering an environment with an unusually high concentration of beautiful buildings.
This building jumped out at us with its unique qualities and turns out to be famous.
Designed by James Salmon (1874-1924) and built 1899-1902, it is prized for its highly decorative Art Nouveau façade and glasswork. It goes by the intriguing name of the Hatrack Building though how it acquired this name I have yet to discover.
Glasgow Central Station is huge as befits the size of the city, Glasgow being Scotland’s largest, and the UK’s third largest, city. We see it today as it emerged from rebuilding in 1901-5.
Tigger now scouted out the bus stop for the next stage of our journey. At this point, I still did not know where we were going though I had perhaps just to beginnings of an inkling…
We had bought Plus Bus supplements to our rail tickets which should give us a day’s unrestricted travel on all Glasgow buses, irrespective of which company runs any particular bus. However, the first two bus drivers, through ignorance, refused to accept them. We returned to the station ticket office but they confirmed that the tickets were valid and should be accepted on all buses. We tried again and to our relief, the third bus driver accepted them. (Glasgow bus companies obviously need to give their drivers tutorials on ticket types.)
We left the bus near Kelvingrove Park which is crossed by a river called the Kelvin. The park also contains the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, a wonderful institution that we have visited more than once (see, for example, Glasgow 2012 – Day 3). The name of course honours William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (1824-1907), more often known simply as Lord Kelvin, the distinguished Scottish mathematician, engineer and physicist.
By now, my inkling had become a certainty and I knew where we were heading: to Tchai-Ovna, the famous tea house and vegetarian restaurant. Tigger knows how much I like the place with its amazing range of teas (its tea menu runs over several pages.)
Tchai-Ovna is situated in Otago Lane which runs off Otago Street. When you first turn off into the lane it seems an unlikely venue for a tea house and restaurant and when you reach the understated entrance this feels more like the door to a private house than to a public venue. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, more like a students’ common room than a cafe. Today it was quite crowded, mainly with young people (there is in fact a students’ accommodation block nearby), but we found seats at a table. You have to go to the kitchen door to place your order which is then brought to you where you are sitting.
When the time came to leave, we went to the bus stop wondering whether we would again have trouble with our Plus Bus tickets. Happily, they were accepted without demur on the first bus to arrive…
Back at the apartment we sat and watched TV, something we never do at home. (We dispensed with our last TV set years ago.) We watched Casino Royale. As there were no subtitles, I couldn’t follow the dialogue. Not that it mattered as I am not a fan of Bond films. Without dialogue they are even more like overblown Tom & Jerry cartons but more sadistic and less humorous. Wet dreams for immature males, I suppose.
In London we had temperatures in the high 20s and 30s C. Here, today’s maximum was about 16. A big difference. In bed, it was pleasant to curl up under the duvet instead of lying on top of it in the breeze from the electric fan.
The Tower of Kelvinground Art Gallery and Museum
As we went to the bus stop from Tchai-Ovna, we could see the tower of Kelvinground Art Gallery and Museum, picturesquely framed by the trees of Kelvingrove Park.
Copyright 2017 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.
Sunday, June 25th 2017
According to the forecasts, today promises to be cool with a maximum of 14/16°C. I had better take a pullover with me, just in case.
Entering the bathroom this morning, we found an ominous trail of water across the floor, apparently emanating from the back of the toilet. (Shades of Liverpool and the Nadler Hotel! See end of Liverpool 2017 – Day 2.)
Tigger took a photo of leak with her mobile and sent it with an explanatory text to the management. In reply, they promised to deal with it. The tone of their reply seemed to indicate that they already knew about it. In that case, why hasn’t it been seen to?
219 St Vincent Street
Our apartment is on the first floor
This is a view of the front of the building in which we are residing at present. Our apartment is on the first floor.
This Victorian Gothic monument will be familiar to many people and will indicate where we are going today. It is sited in Princes Street Gardens in the capital of Scotland, the city of Edinburgh. The monument, which celebrates the life and achievements of the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), was designed by George Meikle Kemp (1795-1844). A competition was held for designs for the monument and Kemp, who was not a professional architect, submitted his design under the name of the medieval architect of Melrose Abbey, John Morvo. Despite his non-professional status, Kemp’s design found favour with the judges and the monument was officially opened in 1844. Kemp himself was not at the ceremony, having shortly before fallen into the Union Canal and drowned.
Edinburgh is of course a historically interesting and aesthetically appealing city in its own right (though we prefer Glasgow!) but today’s plan was to visit the National Museum of Scotland. On the way there, we passed in front of another famous and respected museum.
Or rather, museums in the plural. This noble building, fronted by six Ionic columns, is Surgeon’s Hall. It is the headquarters of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and contains three museums. These are the Wohl Pathology Museum, the History or Surgery Museum and the Dental Collection. The present Surgeons’ Hall was designed by William Henry Playfair (179-1857), the eminent Scottish architect, and completed in 1832. It has been given a Category A listing by Historic Environment Scotland.
The National Museum of Scotland comprises two buildings, a modern one, built in the 1990s, and called the Museum of Scotland and the older Royal Museum, completed in 1888. It was in the latter that we spent our time. The above picture is a composite of several photos so there is some distortion. (Click to see larger version.)
The entrance area inside the museum is rather like a crypt and is somewhat dark, despite the electric lighting. It contains the museum shop, a cafe, toilets and stairs and lifts to other parts of the building.
There are already some exhibits here, such as this colourful Bodhisattva from Northern China, made in the 15th or 16th century (Ming Dynasty) or…
…this coffin lid from Ancient Egypt’s Early Ptolemaic period, about 221-189 BC.
As we usually do, we started by going to the top floor and working our way down. From the upper level we had a good view of the museum’s main hall with its cast-iron columns and glass roof.
A view of one of the side rooms
The museum is very large with many sections covering a broad range of topics. I can do no more that show a selection of exhibits without any hope of the giving an impression of the collection as a whole.
Many museums have examples of pterodactyls and other prehistoric flying animals, I had never before seen what appeared to be a flock of them in mid-air. They were suspended from the ceiling and though they were not moving, of course, still gave an impression of what it would have been like to see them in the air. The two species represented are Pterodactylus and Rhamphorynchus from about 220 to 65 million years ago.
This bronze statue come from Japan where is was made in the 18th or 19th century and represents Amida Buddha. His head is framed by a circular mandorla which performs roughly the same purpose as the halo shown around the heads of Christian saints. Buddhism started off simply enough but through the ages has become complicated and divided into sects, as happens with most religions. Amida or Amitabha is the central figure of the branch that is known as Pure Land Buddhism.
In contrasting style is this figure of Buddha from Gandhara (present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan), sculpted from schist in 200 or 300 AD. Though Buddhist meditators all adopt the lotus position, different sects have different rules about the position of the hands. Whereas the lower Buddha simply places the right hand upon the left, Amida Buddha holds his in a shape known as the ‘cosmic mudra’, symbolizing non-duality.
This gallery displays machines showing various stages in the history of manned flight.
This unusual pillar box with a vertical, rather than a horizontal slot, is called a Suttie box after its maker, blacksmith Thomas Suttie. It would have been in use around 1856 and reminds us that there were a number of different designs tried out before the tradition cylindrical box became standard.
Here I am looking down on fashion, something I always tend to do.
The Millennium Clock
Eduard Bersudsky, 1999
The Millennium Clock Tower was built by Eduard Bersudsky with the collaboration of Tim Stead, Annica Sandström and Jürgen Tübbecke. It ‘contains fragments of the story of the millennium, with its disasters, tragedies, but also its human, scientific and artistic achievements’, according to this commentary which provides further information on the structure. The clock chimes every hour.
During our explorations of this magnificent museum, we stopped twice for refreshments. Even so we were quite ‘museumed-out’ by the time we had finished, but it was worth the time and effort.
On the ground floor of the main hall were a number of exhibits including this pretty cast-iron drinking fountain from about 1880, made by Walter Macfarlane & Co of Glasgow. Above the bowl stands a heron. The item was originally made to be displayed at the International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry, held in Glasgow in 1888.
Everyone knows where Edinburgh is (or, if not, see this Google Map) but where we went next is lees well known, perhaps. To the north of Edinburgh, on the coast of the Firth of Forth, is Leith, a port and the current resting place of the retired Royal Yacht Britannia.
Moorings on the Water of Leith
We took a bus to Leith which has its own river called the Water of Leith. Its large port is situated where this runs into the Forth estuary. The main part of the town is gathered along the river which is deep enough for fairly large ships to navigate.
Beside the ship pictured above, we spotted a cormorant perched on some driftwood. This is testimony to the cleanliness and good health of the river as cormorants live on fish that they catch live by diving. I like cormorants and always look out for them. Unlike gulls, they have not succumbed to the temptation of living off human detritus but continue fishing in their traditional way.
General view of Leith and the river
Leith seems quite a pleasant and lively place and we had an early supper here before taking the bus back to Edinburgh. We returned by train to Queen Street Station, Glasgow, and walked from there to our apartment.
The toilet leak has still not been repaired but this is a small problem and will not detract from our good day out.
Copyright 2017 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.
Monday, June 26th 2017
Decorative façade figures, Glasgow
It’s a warm, sunny day today, at least to start with, and ideal for a trip out of town. We walked down to Queen Street Station, where our journey was to start, hoping to find breakfast there as well. In that we were disappointed but, happily, we found coffee and croissants in a nearby branch of Caffè Nero.
Fort William and Edinburgh on the map
(Click for Google Map)
We took the 8:21 Oban train. We were not going to Oban, however, but much further north to Fort William. The in-train indicator made no mention of Fort William but the ticket inspector reassured us: the train divides in two at Crianlarich and our part carries on to Fort William. The total journey time is just short of four hours but the consolation is that the train passes through a spectacular mountainous landscape. In fact, this West Highland Railway route is regarded by many as the most scenic in the world.
Fort William, as the name suggests, has a military origin. It started with a fort built by Cromwell as a base from which to pacify the local Scottish clansmen. Its name was changed to Fort William in honour of William of Orange on his acceding to the throne of England in the Glorious Revolution. The town’s Gaelic name is An Gearasdan, a word that is thought to derive from a borrowing of the English word ‘garrison’.
Fort William sits picturesquely on the bank of Loch Linnhe, a long loch that connects in the west with the ocean. The town lies within the Scottish Highlands and not far away is Glen Coe (Gleann Comhann, in Gaelic), the scene in 1692 of the dreadful and treacherous Massacre of Glencoe.
Fort William is the terminus of the 96-mile West Highland Way, a famous route for long-distance walkers. The town is therefore popular with walkers and campers but also attracts tourists with less physically demanding interests. During the day in fine weather, the town is crowded with visitors, many of whom patronize the several shops selling walking, climbing and camping gear or the usual tourist tat.
One of the nicest parts of the town is an open area called the Parade. In some ways, this park-like space feels like the heart of the town.
Duncansburgh MacIntosh Parish Church
(Church of Scotland)
Here, for example, stands the Duncansburgh MacIntosh Parish Church, dated 1881. In front of it (on the right) we can see a memorial to Donald Cameron of Lochiel (1700-48), hereditary leader of the Clan Cameron and a supporter of the Stuarts and the Jacobite cause. His descendants are still chiefs of the clan, the current holder of the title, the 27th, being Donald Angus Cameron of Lochiel.
Fort William War Memorial
Also known as The Roll of Honour
Also in front of the church (on the left in the previous picture) is the Fort William War Memorial, also called The Roll of Honour. It was originally created to commemorate the fallen in the First World War and was modified to serve also for the Second Would War, with an addition for the Gulf War. The sculpture shows a soldier with reversed weapon. I have been unable to discover the name of the sculptor.
This slightly curious structure is generally known as the Peace Monument. A board bearing a somewhat lengthy text is attached to one side and tells us, inter alia, that it was inaugurated in March 1985 in the presence of representatives of the local communities and of the Second Secretary of the Japanese Embassy, its purpose being to ‘celebrate the bond of friendship between Dudley, Hiroshima and Fort William and to commemorate the International Peace Cairn on the summit of Ben Nevis’. The incorporated bell tower was that of the old Maryburgh Church (later the Town Hall), destroyed by fire in 1975.
St Andrew’s Church
Episcopal Church of Scotland)
Small though it may be, Fort William is not short of churches. This one, which I show peeping between trees is St Andrew’s Church which belongs to the Episcopal Church of Scotland and was consecrated in 1880, replacing an older St Andrew’s that had fallen into serious disrepair and needed to be demolished.
The High Street is where you go to do most of your shopping and banking if you live in Fort William. If you are a tourist, you can buy your outdoor gear and your tourist souvenirs here. The street has been closed to vehicles (I approve greatly), allowing one to wander freely without danger of being knocked down.
Not the least among the attractions of the High Street is a pub called the Grog and Gruel. It is quite small and was somewhat full when we arrived but we managed to find seats at a table and order lunch.
After lunch, we resumed our explorations and encountered these two fellows, one of whom is made of bronze. (That’s the one who is not grinning at his mobile.) The bronze is entitled Sore Feet and was sculpted by David A. Annand. It was unveiled in September 2010 and commemorates Fort William’s situation as the terminus of the West Highland Way.
Here is today’s third church. I liked this building: small and simple but sturdy-looking. It seems not to have a name but is the local branch of the Free Church of Scotland. It was originally built in 1864 but we see it now as it was rebuilt in 2012.
These three do not exhaust the churches of Fort William, of course. There are at least six altogether, showing that the people of the town evince a range of tastes in religion.
Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court
As well as religion, the law is also represented in Fort William, in this case by this late 19th century courthouse, refurbished in the 1990s. It is shared by the Fort William Sheriff Court and the Justice of the Peace Court.
We progressed down to the loch. The above picture is looking north-eastish to where the loch makes a dog leg to the left and becomes Lock Eil. You can perhaps make out the corner of the land where the water turns left – I’ll mention this again below.
This is the view of the loch seen by looking in the opposite direction, south-westish. I don’t know how deep the water is but there are plenty of small boats to be seen moored or at anchor.
Fort William boasts its own ferry, called the Bhoy Taylor. The crossing takes 10 minutes and costs £1.50 for adults. But where does it go? It goes around the ‘corner’ that I mentioned above and docks at a place called Camusnagaul, which, I think, is mainly a bus stop beside the road to Mallaig.
We had arrived in Fort William at 12:20 and our return tickets were for the train at 17:37, meaning that we had a little over 5 hours to spend in Fort William. While not wishing to be rude about this town, 5 hours is more than enough to spend here and it wasn’t long before we found ourselves wondering how we were going to fill in the time. Lunch helped, of course; then we visited the shops, merrily jostling our way through the bands of tourists. (Curious fact: nearly one in every two visitors was oriental.)
Having exhausted the retail domain, we were happy to discover a branch of Costa Coffee. We spent the remainder of our time chilled out in Costa armchairs, watching the world go by.
Even thought the town is small, we allowed ourselves plenty of time to reach the station before our train was due. There we sat and waited and at last our train was announced.
Reaching Glasgow, we stopped at an Italian restaurant and had supper, then walked to our apartment. Yay! The toilet leak had been repaired!
Was it worth visiting Fort William? Yes, certainly. Would I want to go there again? Probably not. I am glad to have seen it but once is enough, I think.
Copyright 2017 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.
Tuesday, June 27th 2017
When we awoke this morning it was to find the city covered by leaden skies and washed by insistent rain. I have two weather apps on my iPhone and both promised that we would have rain all day. This was unfortunate as we had planned an out-of-town trip. That, though, is the luck of the draw: you can plan your outings as carefully as you like but the weather can always throw a spanner in the works.
Stranraer on the map
(Click for Google Map)
Our destination is shown on the above map by the marker at bottom centre, relative to Glasgow at top right. Stranraer (pronounced ‘stranRAR’) is in Dumfries and Galloway in the south-west of Scotland.
The original Gaelic name of the town is An t-Sròn Reamhar, which is thought to mean something like ‘The Fat Nose’, an appellation that presumably refers to the headland or promontory on which the town stands. Stranraer is sited at the end of a sea inlet called Loch Ryan, meaning that is it well placed to be a harbour and sea port. In the past its fame rested largely on its ferry services to destinations in Scotland and to Northern Ireland. Ferry passengers would have arrived by train and been deposited right at the port. However, in 2011, ferry services were moved along the loch to Cairnryan. Though today’s ferry passengers still arrive at the railway station of Stranraer, they must then take a bus to Cairnryan.
We too travelled to Stranraer by train, arriving at about 1 pm. The station is a terminus and has a single platform. It has a rather desolate air and seems to be staffed only when there is a train due. The rest of the time, the offices and the waiting room are locked up.
The railway reached Stranraer in 1862 and, according to a blue plaque celebrating its 150th birthday, ownership has changed 8 times between then and now when the line falls under the aegis of First Scotrail.
The station is on a pier or promontory (whether natural or built, I don’t know) and is some distance from the town. We vaguely hoped there might be a bus to take us into the centre but there was none that we could see. A taxi arrived, and the driver invited us to board but we declined the offer. He handed me his card in case we decided to call him later.
It was raining and the conditions were far from pleasant but we set out to walk to town, passing the police station on the way. A 15-minute walk brought us to the centre.
Our scheduled train back to Glasgow was at 16:59. This didn’t leave us much time in Stranraer but it turned out to be more than sufficient.
We looked around for lunch and found the Star Cafe. I am tempted to say that this was the highlight of the trip. The town is quiet but the cafe was quite busy. Perhaps that’s because there is not much else to do in Stranraer on a cold and rainy Tuesday. If the weather had been better, we might have explored the town more extensively and gained a better appreciation of it.
Stranraer has been an important town in its time, being a market town, and has a number of buildings of interest a few of which we discovered. We also spent some time ‘doing the shops’ to alleviate boredom and to get out of the rain.
This house caught my eye, partly because of its neat but elegant proportions and partly because of the plaque with a Latin motto. The building is generally known buy the poetic name of ‘32 Charlotte Street’ and seems to be occupied currently by offices. The plaque, however, indicates a date of 1841, while the coat of arms and the motto Reviresco (‘I shall flourish again’) are those of the Maxwell Clan. Perhaps the house was built for or by the Maxwells. The house is designated Category C by Historic Environment Scotland HES).
Somewhat younger than the above but attractive in its own way, is this corner building, currently housing a small and a larger restaurant, though the latter is seemingly abandoned. The HES Category C listing praises its ‘prominent and artful corner setting’ and its French pavilion roof’.
The town’s most ancient historical building is its castle, known as the Castle of St John. Built as a fortified dwelling, it is now a museum and can be visited. It was built near the beginning of the 16th century by the Adairs of Kilhilt but has changed ownership many times and has served as a house, court, prison and military garrison. A more detailed account of its sometimes bloody history will be found here.
When it was built, there was little here, except perhaps for farms. The presence of the castle caused a settlement to spring up around it and the settlement eventually developed into a market town and port. One might therefore regard it as the seed from which Stranraer was to grow.
We discussed whether it would be worth paying a visit to Port Logan (see this map for its location) but decided that it was a chancey as we might miss our train out, something we did not want to risk! So we continued exploring Stranraer.
Near the castle we found a rather nice cast-iron drinking fountain installed in honour of Queen Victoria. Made by Walter Macfarlane & Co it bears a slightly unusual dedication which reads: ‘Erected by the town council in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s record reign 1897′. The fountain bears a title, THE PAVEMENT, and the words KEEP DRY, whose meaning escapes me. Nor do I know the reason for the bouquets left with it. It has a HES C category.
This building caught my eye, partly because of it size and obvious age and partly because of its somewhat poor condition. It was run as a hotel until fairly recently but seems to have been abandoned, whether temporarily or permanently, and suffers from water penetration. The HES Statement of Special Interest reads as follows: ‘Building is dated 1876, but incorporates a late Georgian building. It was said in The Visitor’s Guide to Wigtownshire by W McIlwraith (1875) that the hotel had ‘capital accommodation for both man and beast.’ It reflects an important aspect of late 18th century Stranraer life, as a staging post for the short crossing from Stranraer to Ireland.’ It has been given a B category. I assume that the apparent discrepancy in dates seen in the quotation comes about because W. McIlwraith was writing about the hotel in its Georgian incarnation before it was rebuilt in 1876. The George is obviously an important part of Stranraer’s history and I hope it can be rescued from its current neglect.
This small but handsome building with its elegant clock tower was built in 1777 (though the clock tower was added only in 1936) and served as the Town Hall and, after extensions added in the 1850s, the courthouse and corn exchange. Its use as such was discontinued in 1873 when a new Town Hall was built. Its subsequent history is outlined in its Category A listing by HES:
For a short period the building became a drill hall and armoury, then the Stranraer Athenaeum, and from 1879, with the founding of a Fire Brigade, it housed Stranraer?s earliest, manually operated fire-fighting machines. Plaque surmounting balustrade reads ‘This clock was presented to the burgh by the late William Black Esq town clerk. Erected 1936.’ Inscription beneath ship reads ‘Tutissima Statio’.
This Latin phrase is the motto of Stranraer (see here for details of the town crest) and means ‘The Safest Station’, referring to the town as a safe harbour for shipping. Today the building houses the Stranraer Museum.
The last item ‘collected’ on this trip is this pub called the Golden Cross. Above the door is a sundial (unfortunately obscured by paint) which bears the inscription ‘STRANRAER 1732’ and we might be tempted to think that that is the date when the pub was built but this seems unlikely as other evidence suggests the year 1780. Maybe 1732 refers to a previous incarnation of the pub. Its importance historically is that, like the George, the Golden Cross would have provided lodgings for people arriving on the ferry from Ireland or preparing to spend the night before crossing the water. It has been awarded a Category C by HES.
By this point, we were feeling that we had seen everything worth seeing and so decided to make our way to the railway station even though we would be early for our train. We found the station buildings all locked up, as explained earlier, and sat as patiently as we could on a bench on the platform. A little while before the train was due, a member of the station staff turned up and unlocked the waiting room.
The journey back to Glasgow was uneventful. For supper, we took a bus and crossed to the south side of the Clyde and found our way to an Italian restaurant called La Fiorentina which we had discovered on a previous trip. We had met an interesting waiter there and hoped to see him again but he was no longer there and none of the staff even knew of him.
We then went back to our commodious apartment in St Vincent Street for our last night in Glasgow this time around. Tomorrow we return to London.
Copyright 2017 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.
Wednesday, June 28th 2017
This is the end of our stay in Glasgow and we are returning to London. Our train is not until midday so there is no hurry. We finish packing and tidy the apartment. We pick up our bags and leave our temporary home, locking the door and pushing the keys through the letterbox as we were instructed to do. Then we walk down St Vincent Street for the last time, at least on this trip. As it is a weekday, the street is busy with people going to work.
We call in at Costa, hoping for breakfast, but they have no croissants left and so we continue on to Glasgow Central Station. The branch of Costa there has just four croissants left and we take them all!
We leave our bags at the left luggage office and go for a ramble around the town, our farewell kiss to Glasgow, as it were. The following are 13 pictures of Glasgow taken at random during our walk.
This glass-fronted bridge is part of Glasgow Central Station and it covers a large section of Argyle Street. It is known as the Hielanman’s Umbrella for the following reason. In the 19th century there was a large influx of people from the Scottish Highlands into Glasgow coming in search of work. Scattered all over the city and in many cases speaking little or no English, only Scottish Gaelic, they must have felt lonely and isolated. The railway bridge became a meeting place for Highlanders seeking the company of their fellows as it offered shelter in inclement weather. Gradually, the Highlanders and their descendants became integrated into Glaswegian society and the meetings under the ‘Umbrella’ faded away.
Entrance to St Enoch Subway Station
We did not travel on the Glasgow Subway on this visit. I would have liked to revisit it but there wasn’t time. We used it during our 2012 trip and found it similar to the London Underground, though smaller (see Glasgow 2012 – Day 10). This subway entrance with its glass roof leads St Enoch Subway Station, which serves the centre of the city.
This striking little building, all the more noticeable because it stands on its own in St Enoch Square, was built in 1896 as the entrance to St Enoch Subway Station. The entrance and ticket office were on the ground floor while the offices of the Glasgow District Subway Railway Company occupied the upper floors. The building has attracted an HES Category A. The old station building was retired in the 1980s and is now home to a Branch of Caffè Nero. The new station entrance is shown in the previous picture.
We walked through the Argyle Arcade, built in 1827, Scotland’s first covered shopping centre.
A couple of the arcade’s top-hatted commissionaires graciously consented to pose for photographs.
Prince’s Square and Art Nouveau Peacock
The arcade is L-shaped and leads into Buchanan Street where the 1840 façade of Prince’s Square impresses with its huge Art Nouveau sculpture of a peacock.
A winged inhabitant of Glasgow
Heron gulls started colonizing towns and cities long ago and are familiar inhabitants. Lesser black-backed gulls are less frequent in the urban setting but their numbers are increasing, especially in towns sited beside the sea or, like Glasgow, on a major river.
We briefly visited GoMA – The Gallery of Modern Art – where I photographed the roof dome.
The Duke of Wellingtson
Carlo Marochetti, 1844
In front of GoMA is Carlo Marchetti’s equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington, erected in 1844. This statue usually wears a traffic cone on its head and has become the unofficial symbol of the city, appearing on leaflets, tee-shits, and all the usual tourist tat. The city council has tried to dissuade people from placing a cone on the Duke’s head but doing so has become an established tradition, now probably impossible to eradicate.
This single-storey stone building topped with a perky copper dome is now occupied by a retail outlet but was built in the 1890s as the banking hall of the Glasgow Savings Bank. The main building behind it had been put up earlier and designed by John Burnet. It was his son, J.J. Burnet who received the commission to add the hall.
In George Square stands the Cenotaph, Glasgow’s monument to those of Glasgow who gave their lives in the First World War. Sadly, it had to be modified to also record the fallen of the Second World War.
It was designed by J.J. Burnet with sculptures by Ernest Gillick and was unveiled in 1924. It is a Category B building.
Also in George Square stands a tall column topped by a sculpted human figure. It is a memorial to one of Scotland’s most prized writers, Sir Walter Scott. Historic Environment Scotland has given it a Category A listing and its description (in part) reads as follows:
Column and base by David Rhind, 1837. Statue designed by John Greenshields, executed by A Handyside Ritchie. Sited importantly at the centre of George Square, tall Doric column on Grecian podium supports over lifesize stone statue to Walter Scott wearing a plaid.
For us, though, it was now time to turn back towards the station and there collect our bags before joining the train to London. We had pleasant memories of Glasgow and returning to it again had not been a disappointment. This great city has much to offer and we shall no doubt visit it again in the future.
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