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 am slowly catching-up after being away for 3 months in the Southern Hemisphere. We have started posting on our blog from that extended trip.
    You are indeed always keeping very busy and there is so much to do and see in your area. Here we still have snow on the ground and it is very much a black & white world. Already missing the colours of the Southern summer. (Suzanne)


  2. Apologies for the late comment Anabel, I’ve been tangled up with street art and an old police station 🙂 You certainly had a busy and interesting month, I love those windows and the street art of course, especially the cat and the girl reading a book.


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