Gallus Glasgow K: The Kelvin

Kelvin Bridge
Kelvin Bridge

Glasgow’s most famous river is the Clyde, but its second most important is the Kelvin which flows through the north-west of the city to its confluence with the Clyde at Yorkhill. Many areas of the city are called after it – Kelvinbridge, Kelvindale, Kelvingrove, Kelvinhall and Kelvinside, so you see the name all over.

The scientific unit of temperature, the Kelvin scale, takes its name from physicist William Thomson (1824–1907) who was named Lord Kelvin after the river which flowed past his university. His statue sits in Kelvingrove park at the foot of Glasgow University.

There’s a joke about the Kelvinside accent – that a crèche is a collision between two automobiles and sex is what the coal comes in. Want to hear an example? Head back to the 1980s with thespians Victor and Barry, the Kelvinside Men. And yes, that is a young Alan Cumming hamming it up. Pure gallus, wasn’t he?

Tomorrow, in L, I’ll tell you about Glasgow’s motto.


  1. Haha, I liked the jokes on the accent. I really struggle with the Glaswegian accent, maybe it’s because I’m french, but even after spending quite a bit of time with a friend who’s from Glasgow, I often have to ask him to repeat himself several times. If he’s just come back from a trip home, forget about it. I can’t carry on a conversation with him unless he purposefully softens his accent. I do love listening to the various Scottish accents though, I think they sounds great!


  2. I love, love, love old bridges like that. They were really popular in the Meiji Period in Japan, so a lot of them still exist near palaces and castles around the country. And that statue of Lord Kelvin makes him look like a samurai to boot!


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