A Glasgow perspective: bridge over troubled water

Hump-Back Bridge, River Kelvin

There are many bridges over the Kelvin in Glasgow, but this one is my favourite. We have crossed it many times on our lockdown walks, and before. Built in 1908 by Messrs Orr, Watt and Co. Ltd of Motherwell, it links the Botanic Gardens and the Kelvin Walkway. It used to be black, and for many years it was blocked off awaiting restoration, until suddenly it burst back into life with its new blue and cream paintwork. Here are a few more perspectives on the bridge.

And here is a perspective from the bridge, looking up to the road bridge on Queen Margaret Drive from which the opening image was taken. As a bonus, here is the same view with John during our first year in Glasgow, 1986.

My second favourite bridge over the River Kelvin is this one at Garscube Estate, and by coincidence John also stood there in 1986. It seems our walking routes haven’t changed much in 30+ years!

The water doesn’t look very troubled in any of my photographs (though you should have seen it in February after two months of rain).  However, I’m not going to let that affect my choice of music. Bridge Over Troubled Water came out in 1970 and, although it certainly wasn’t my first record, it was the first LP I remember choosing and buying myself. I still love Simon and Garfunkel and regret never having seen them live as a duo, although I’ve seen them individually twice each. In both cases, the first time was great – and the second time? I should have held on to my memories.

Linked to Becky’s SquarePerspectives challenge.

Glasgow Gallivanting: June 2020

Martyrs’ School

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve lived in Glasgow for 35 years and there is one Charles Rennie Mackintosh building that I have never seen before, so one sunny Sunday in June we made the Martyrs’ Public School, in Parson Street in Townhead, the goal of our daily walk. It’s one of the earlier buildings Mackintosh worked on, and hasn’t been a school for many years, though unlike others it hasn’t been coverted to housing but is part of the city’s social work department.

Commissioned by the School Board of Glasgow and built between 1895 and 1898, the architects were Honeyman and Keppie, the practice in which Mackintosh was a senior assistant: his strong influence can be seen clearly in the building’s style. At the time it was set in the middle of a densely populated area of tenement buildings which have long since vanished to be replaced by more modern homes (as seen in the first picture below) and a busy dual carriageway. Mackintosh himself was born at 70 Parson Street and a plaque next to the school commemorates this. The black sculpture has an inscription by Mackintosh: Without you, everything has a flatness. I feel as if I’m waiting for something all the time. I guess, but don’t know, that this was addressed to his wife, Margaret Macdonald.

Across the road two other buildings complete this island of tradition amongst modernity. St Mungo’s Church, designed by George Goldie in an Italian Gothic style, was built in 1841, with later work in 1877. Next to the church, to the east, is St Mungo’s Retreat.

On the way to Townhead, we stopped to look at the Orient Buildings in Cowcaddens. Originally a boarding house, then a warehouse, this iron-framed construction was designed by William James Anderson in an Italianate style and completed in 1895. We couldn’t help but notice that we were being spied upon from one of the windows …

Another place we have long known about, but never visited, is the memorial garden on the site of the Stockline Plastics Factory explosion in 2004 in which nine people died. One of our walks took us past it by chance and we spent a few minutes paying our respects. It’s beautifully maintained. The red building in the background of the first shot is the current Stockline Factory.

This next section is not something that happened this month: I’m including it specially for Geoff LePard who has, amongst many other things, been writing about his undergraduate adventures as a law student in Bristol. In one post he included a passage about his grapplings with the law of tort and the case of the snail in the ginger beer. I knew all about this – and I probably first heard about it around the same time as Geoff, because we both went to university in 1975 and my boyfriend in my undergraduate years was a law student. Anyway, enough said about him, he’s history, which coincidentally is what I was studying. Back to the snail …

The case in question originated in Paisley, the town my mum lives in, where a sculpture of May Donoghue, who drank the contaminated ginger beer in 1928, was erected in 2018. The plaque below explains it better than I ever could – and not till I was preparing this post did I notice that the artist is Mandy McIntosh, whom I have met a few times through a project she led at the women’s library.

Across the road is even more information, at the site of the Wellmeadow Café where Mrs Donoghue’s friend bought the ginger beer. Possibly only Geoff will want to read it, but I include it for him to peruse if he wishes!

I know I said I’d give up photographing the rainbows and teddies which decorated Glasgow during lockdown, but I haven’t – although I have cut down. This month, the Black Lives Matter message has been included in, or replaced, many of them.

And finally, last month I wrote about the virtual Twitter walk that I’d done for the Women’s Library. One of the other guides has done a short video trailer for the same walk, embedded below. Can you guess which voice is mine in the audio description? I’ll leave you with that puzzle – happy July!

West End Women’s Heritage Walk Trailer from Glasgow Women’s Library on Vimeo.

April Squares: Blackhill

I like this shot of John, on top of the world at Blackhill Viewpoint in Lanarkshire, because it almost looks as though he is levitating. He has, of course, no such talent (but has many others, I hasten to add).

Blackhill features as a tiny afterthought in my post on Craignethan Castle. I wouldn’t have noticed had I not reread that but, on the horizon to the right of the trig point where several hedges converge, a fuzzy rainbow is just starting to form. It was that sort of day!

Linked to Becky’s #SquareTops challenge. We’re into the last week already!