Glasgow Gallivanting: February 2023

The Clyde at dusk, 1st February 2023

Well, here I am – very late with my round-up for February! The image above was taken on the first day of the month from the pontoon of the newly refurbished West Boathouse, visited as part of a Glasgow Women’s Library tour. (The Boathouse and the Library are near neighbours).

February has been another busy month – one in which we’ve spanned the age range from two new babies in the wider family, through a friend’s 60th party, to a celebration for a 104th birthday. What else has happened?

We had a day out to Edinburgh, the first in a while – and also the easiest ever. We came out of Waverley Station, crossed the road to the City Art Centre, where we then spent several hours before crossing the road again to get the train back to Glasgow. I specifically wanted to see Glean (early 20th century women filmmakers and photographers in Scotland – on till 12th March) but every floor was packed with other interesting exhibitions. The gallery below is just a small example from Glean – a selection of photographs by Christina Broom of a women’s pageant and exhibition in London in April / May 1909: right up my street in terms of Suffragette history.

Elsewhere in the Art Centre I liked this acrylic (c1996) from Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s Firth of Forth series (untitled, but clearly showing the rail bridge) and Lizzie Farey’s willow sculpture, Aerie (2011). My eye was also caught by the thistle outside the nearby Thistle Hotel.

We had another day out in Renfrew, a town just across the Clyde from Glasgow which I have driven through but never explored. There was more of interest than I thought! The reason for the visit was the mini-bios I have been writing for a cycle tour company which has named its bikes after historic women – four down, six to go. If interested, you can read about Mary Barbour, Isabella Elder, Marion Gilchrist and Muriel Robertson on Gallus Pedals’ Trailblazers page, where new bios will eventually be added.

Number 5 is going to be Winnie Drinkwater who learned to fly at Renfrew Aerodrome and made aviation history in 1930 by becoming the youngest aircraft pilot in the world at just 17. The town’s Clyde View Park has a row of bronze  sculptures (2005), all with links to the history of the area, by Kenny Munro – a bust of Winnie is one of them.

Elsewhere in the park are two more sculptures, The Pyramid Stone, also by Kenny Munro, and The Writers by David Annand. The former is adorned with badges on the theme of birds, planes, boats and fish – natural and man-made voyagers of river, sea and sky – designed by children from Renfrew’s five primary schools. The latter has an inscription by Collette Bryce reading The future is waiting to be written, all weathers we lean to the task, the sky balanced on our shoulders like the past.

As expected from Clyde View Park, there were some Clyde views! There is still a small passenger ferry crosses the river here.

From the river, we moved into the town centre in search of sustenance (highly recommending Coffee Jam) before visiting the beautiful Renfrew Town Hall and Museum. Originally built in 1872, the Town Hall was refurbished about 10 years ago and an extension for the small, but perfectly formed, museum added. Winnie Drinkwater gets a mention here too.

Finally on Renfrew, some other interesting buildings. Bistro Luna Rossa, with relief ornamentation between its upper windows, is a listed building, but the date-stone “1666” is a relic from an earlier structure. The Brown Institute, which formerly housed the museum, looks in dire straits and I hope something can be done to rescue it. The sheep above the wool shop I just liked for their quirkiness.

Excitingly, Strathbungo’s Window Wanderland took place for the first time since 2020. We came home from this event with photographs of over 80 windows so this is less than a quarter. And yes, the Bungo Jukebox (second image) had a band at the top windows!

I’ve mentioned the Women’s Library already – it’s always good value. This month I have hoardings from the nearby Bridgeton Umbrella, which has been dismantled for restoration; a travelling gallery parked outside the library with an exhibition on community-led struggles for safe housing in Scotland; some beautiful work inside by Glendale Women’s Café; and a new sign at the entrance by Rabiya Choudhry. This shows the traditional torch symbol for a library with a quote from Ella Baker: Give light and people will find the way.

And a final gallery, very street-art heavy, to give a flavour of the rest of the month.

So that’s it for February. Reasons to be cheerful in March: it’s Women’s History Month (so an even more busy one for me) and, for us in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring is surely on its way. I might see you back here before the next Gallivanting post, but if not – have a lovely month.


  1. I’m my gosh, what a collection! You’ve found so many delights for one month. What to comment on? Well, the windows are just fabulous! I wish I could see them all in person. The one with all the dangling cats was so cute.


  2. Glad you enjoyed Renfrew which I used to mainly visit on cycle trips. Used to be a little family dairy there in a shop/ house, one of the last I’d observed as a one guy operation type of thing. Renfrew also built a giant airship due to the rubber factory being close. Hard to imagine now that airships were regarded as the future of worldwide travel instead of risky airplanes right up until the 1930s.
    That period is hardly mentioned at all today though they might well make a comeback with modern materials and non flammable gas as you don’t need airfields and they can hover over districts to drop heavy cargo into inaccessible areas without using much fuel given the prices recently. Been ages since I’ve been to Edinburgh.


  3. You have been on the go! I enjoyed looking at the photos and love the recognition of women who changed history. I wish it was taught in schools.. love the window art. The kids dancing, the mushrooms and the astronaut looking at us…pretty cool. You took some really nice that Thistle sculpture


  4. An interesting month, as usual – I always like to read about the different exhibitions you’ve been to, comparing them with our London ones. But the highlight here for me is the Window Wanderland – what a great idea! A friend of mine shares photos every December of her street’s similar efforts to mark Advent, which I love, but that is only 24 windows. To see 80 must be amazing!


  5. A colourful and interesting month. I’ve been having a little wobble about my own 17-year-old twins as they are taking the steps towards driving, can’t imagine flying at that age!


    • I think it started about 10 years ago in Bristol and has spread. There have been Window Wanderlands in different parts of Glasgow, but this one is the best – it’s a compact area and loads of people take part, just about every house in some streets. In other places, the windows are so spread out you get fed up looking for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So many inspiring women. Especially Christina Broom, who I’m about to Google and find out more. I would’ve loved your February, Anabel. Arty, inspirational, and historical Edinburgh a city we enjoyed exploring.


I'd love to hear what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.