Glasgow Gallivanting: June 2018

Miners’ Cottages, Wanlockhead

Wanlockhead is the highest village in Scotland. We took a detour to visit its Lead Mining Museum on our way back from our Lake District holiday at the beginning of June. It’s a lovely place! We started in the cafĂ© (of course), then toured the mine and the row of cottages above. Each one was furnished in a different period – 1750, 1850 and 1910 (shown below).

Best of all – it has a library! Wanlockhead Miners’ Library was established in 1756 and is the second-oldest subscription library in Europe. And where is the oldest? Leadhills Miners’ Library, just a few miles up the road, which dates from 1741. We had hoped to visit it too, but spent so long at Wanlockhead that we didn’t have time.

Joining the Library was a privilege, and potential new members were subjected to a rigorous interrogation by the Librarian before being admitted – you can see this happening in one of the pictures above. Unusually for the time, women were allowed to subscribe: in 1784 it is recorded that there were 32 male members and 1 female, Isabella Rutherford. However, according to our guide, only one membership per household was allowed so Isabella lost hers when her nephew came of age. Boo!

The other model represents the book checker (there might have been a more technical term, I can’t remember). Each returned book was checked page by page for damage – and the checker also had the power to visit a member’s home to search for missing books. Hmm – I could have done with that power in my working days 😉

Jessie Stephen

If you’ve been following for a while, you might remember that I’m part of a group promoting a Scottish Suffragette, Jessie Stephen, in this centenary year for women’s suffrage. June was a good month – three events!

On Sunday 10th of June, thousands of women in the four capitals of the UK (Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London) took part in Processions 2018. Although we walked about two miles, this was not a march or demonstration – it was an artwork. Women were issued with scarves in one of the suffragette colours (green for hope, white for purity and purple for loyalty and dignity) so from above we looked like one long suffragette ribbon. In theory, anyway! We took our Jessie Stephen banner, made by her great-niece Sheana (in the large black hat), who was interviewed live by the BBC.  Ours was the only double-sided banner I saw: it said Votes for Women on the back. Sheana is a stickler for detail!

I thought I had broken my jinx on walks – last year, I seemed to get soaked every time I acted as a tour guide. This year, I’ve done two walks for the Women’s Library, both in bright sunshine, and Processions was also a lovely day. My luck ran out the following weekend when my Maryhill Women’s History walk attracted the rain back. Despite that, all 15 participants turned up and stayed to the end. Jessie features in it too – here, I’m passing her picture around. (Though since I drafted this, I’ve done another Women’s Library Walk – yesterday, 1st July, which was scorching.)

The final event was part of another strand in the suffrage celebrations, EqualiTeas. A tea party was held in the Bowling Club near Sheana’s home and, once again, Jessie was celebrated – this time, with suitably decorated cake. Yum!

Museum of the Moon and other gallivants

It’s been a sad month for Charles Rennie Mackintosh fans, so here’s some more cheerful stuff. During the recent West End Festival, the Mackintosh Church at Queen’s Cross (the only one he designed which was actually built, and now home of the CRM Society) hosted an installation called Museum of the Moon. Created by artist Luke Jerram, this 1:500,000 scale model features detailed NASA imagery of the moon’s surface. You could walk under it through the body of the church, and view it from different angles from two balconies. It was also a good chance to get close to some of the Mackintosh details in the church and see an exhibition of his chairs.

As I walked into town afterwards, I noted that the local housing reflected the Mackintosh Style with its squares and angles.

And this was my next destination, the new Mackintosh mural on a gable end above the Clutha Bar. Created by street artist Rogue One, it was given to the city by a local Radisson Hotel to mark CRM’s 150th birthday – and unveiled hours before the fire at his masterpiece, Glasgow School of Art.

Reluctant to end my gallivanting just yet, I hopped on the Subway to Govan because I still hadn’t viewed the Mary Barbour statue without the hundreds of people surrounding it at its opening (as described in March’s Gallivanting post). On my way to the cafĂ© across the road, I stopped to admire the cast iron Aitken Memorial Fountain and spotted a sign for the Govan Ferry so, on the spur of the moment, I crossed the river and had my coffee in the Riverside Museum instead.

After that, I caught the Subway from Partick Station, home of the GI Bride. Not very bonny, is she?

And because the information board mentions Lobey Dosser, and my dedication to your education about Glasgow knows no bounds, a few days later I trekked down to Woodlands to capture him for you. He is even less bonny. Spot the inadvertent selfie in the plaque here!

The last bit

Just because it made me smile!

My Scottish word of the month is not one I have ever used, but it illustrates a strange coincidence. My mum asked me one day if I knew the word skail. I didn’t, but the very next day it turned up on Anu Garg’s Word A Day site! It means to scatter or disperse, is of Scottish or Scandinavian origin, and dates from 1300. So that’s a new one for me to learn too.

Finally, I’m still working my way through Kim’s questions for the Sunshine Blogger Award. The next two are “What’s your favorite book?” and “What skill have you always wanted to master, but haven’t yet started on?”

Favourite book? Oh dear, where to start? I suppose the books I have read and reread more than any others are those by Jane Austen. I love her feisty heroines and acerbic style. Forced to choose just one, I would go for Emma with Pride and Prejudice a close second. Emma is just so spectacularly wrong about everything, and Mr Knightly waits so patiently for her to come to her senses. To me, he seems far better husband material than P&P’s Mr Darcy who, despite being softened by Lizzie, will, I suspect, always be rather haughty. I also suspect there is more than a hint of truth in Lizzie’s joke that she fell in love with him when she saw his large estate at Pemberley! Despite all that, I have never been swept away by any of the men playing Mr Knightly, but I certainly succumbed, with half the women in the country, to Darcymania during the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of P&P. The words “Colin Firth” and “wet shirt” can still induce a swoon.

As for skills, well the only way I can see myself mastering any new ones now is by the magic wand method – and that won’t happen any time soon!

Happy July everyone.

Mourning the Mack – again

Mackintosh Building 22nd May 2014

This year is the 150th Birthday of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Glasgow should be celebrating – we were celebrating. There is a wonderful exhibition at Kelvingrove which I’ve seen and enjoyed (and intend to go back to) and just yesterday a new mural was unveiled which I’m hoping to see in person soon. But today I woke up to the news that Mackintosh’s iconic Glasgow School of Art has been hit by fire for the second time in four years. It’s devastating – restoration was going well and the building was due to reopen next year. There are no reports of casualties – thank goodness – but Glasgow mourns all the same.

The picture at the top of the post was taken the day before the first fire – I was one of the last people to visit the Mackintosh Library. I wrote about that experience at the time and was proud to be contacted by the restoration architects because “You have posted a beautiful photograph of the Library Windsor Chair that is really useful as it’s showing the reinforcements done to the original design.” My picture was to be part of their documentation!

The account of my Mackintosh visit is on my long defunct blog Adventures of a Retired Librarian where there are more pictures of what was lost. Last time, a restoration fund was quickly opened up. Today is too early for that, but I’ll keep you posted.

Art Nouveau at the Lighthouse

Glasgow’s Lighthouse is a Charles Rennie Mackintosh building that used to be part of the Glasgow Herald‘s printing offices until they moved out in the mid-80s. The Lighthouse re-opened in 1999 as Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design and the City. We visited recently for an excellent exhibition on Art Nouveau (phone photos). If you’re in the area and fancy it, it’s only on till tomorrow, so be quick!

We also climbed the distinctive tower, which originally contained an 8000-gallon water tank, for great views over the city’s roofscape (John’s photos).

Finally, some more shots of the interior.

A lovely escape from a wet afternoon!

 

Geilston Garden and Tom na h’Airidh

View from Tom na h'Airidh
View from Tom na h’Airidh
Tom na h’Airidh is a small (354m) hill behind Helensburgh on the Firth of Clyde. (The name is Gaelic for “Knoll of the Shieling”, a shieling being a summer residence for cattle and goats.) We recently climbed to the top following the route on the excellent walkhighlands site – but we’d already made a couple of stops before we got started.

Geilston Garden is a National Trust for Scotland property at Cardross, just outside Helensburgh, and we spent the morning strolling round there. It surrounds Geilston House (which is not open to the public) with informal sections resplendent at the time with rhododendrons and azaleas……

….and behind the house, a beautiful Walled Garden dominated by a 100-ft Wellingtonia tree (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the centre of the lawn (and plenty of benches to admire it from).

Well, if you’ve read any of my other walks you will know the importance of lunch so after the exertions (?) of our morning stroll we headed down into Helensburgh to sample the tapas at La Barca (not bad at all). I like to think our climb burned the calories off, but I fear not.

The first part of the walk up Tom na h’Airidh is through oak woodland and forestry plantation – not particularly photogenic and extremely wet underfoot, so there was a fair amount of cursing going on. Once out of the trees, the open moorland was a bit drier (but not entirely so). My two objections to Scottish hillwalking are bogs and tussocks and this walk had both in abundance.

Here we are at the top, with the cairn to prove it – I look very pleased with myself!

Time to enjoy more views as we retraced our steps back to the car….

….which was parked outside Hill House, masterpiece of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The house (also NTS) was closed by then – I’ve been inside many times but never blogged about it. Another time!

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walks – visit her site for more cyber-walking.

Gallus Glasgow Q: Queen’s Cross

Queen's Cross Church

Queen’s Cross Church is the only one ever completed to a design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (he entered the competition for Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral but his design was not selected). Queen’s Cross was commissioned by the Free Church in 1896 and served as a place of worship from 1899 to the 1970s. After decommissioning it did not, like many other churches, become a pub or a private home. It now belongs to the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society and can be visited for a small sum.

I’m not too keen on the rather stumpy external appearance of the church – there are far more beautiful Mackintosh buildings in Glasgow – but I love the internal details which are much more delicate. There’s a lightness created by the white walls and the sparing use of stained glass.

By dave souza (Own work) GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0), via Wikimedia Commons
By dave souza (Own work) GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0), via Wikimedia Commons

Mind you, I haven’t visited for a while (as you might guess from the use of Wikimedia images) so perhaps it’s time to go back for a re-appraisal!

Tomorrow, in R, we’ll visit a museum as an introduction to the type of buildings associated with it.

Postscript: a gallus Glasgow weekend

To show that the Gallus Glasgow A to Z is not just something I plucked out of the air, but truly reflects Glaswegian life, see how many I managed to check off this weekend!

  • On Friday, I was at O for Oran Mor for a Play, a Pie and a Pint – one of the best I’ve been to, a modern update of the Whisky Galore story. In Gaelic!
  • On Saturday evening, I had a C for curry before going to B for Barrowland to see Seasick Steve. He was wonderful and, unlike many bands who act as if they are doing the audience a favour, made a point of thanking us, the citizens of the UK for giving him his job. He credits his explosion in popularity to his appearance on Jools Holland’s Hootenanny in 2006 – I remember that well: he certainly made an impression.
  • During the day on Saturday and Sunday I have been at the M for Mitchell Library volunteering at Aye, Write!, Glasgow’s Book Festival. (“Aye, write” is a pun on “aye, right!”, a Glaswegian example of a double positive giving a negative. If you say, for example, “David Cameron is the best Prime Minister the UK has ever had” and I say “Aye, right!” I am definitely not agreeing with you.)
  • While in the Main Hall at the Mitchell, my eyes wandered upward to another example of the Glasgow coat of arms as discussed in L for Let Glasgow Flourish. Apologies for the blurry phone photo taken from the back of the hall.

I make that 5 in one weekend – not bad!

Sculpture Court

Hunterian Art Gallery Sculpture Court, University of Glasgow:

Left: Lantern and finial from Pettigrew and Stephen’s Glasgow Warehouse c. 1896. Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1868-1928. University Library tower in the background.

Top right: Tools for the Shaman, 1996. Made by Jake Harvey, b. 1948.

Bottom right: Rio, 1964-5. Made by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, 1924-2005.

Glasgow School of Art – mourning the Mack

I’m reblogging this from my library blog because Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s School of Art is one of Glasgow’s most iconic buildings. I visited it just before the recent fire and these are my memories.

Adventures of a Retired Librarian

Mackintosh Building 22nd May 2014 Mackintosh Building 22nd May 2014

This is not quite the post I meant to write, and for a few days I wasn’t going to write it all. Last Thursday, I visited the iconic Mackintosh Library at Glasgow School of Art – the day before the library was destroyed in a fire which ripped through the west wing (closest to camera above) of the Mackintosh Building. I thought it might be tasteless to write about it, but I’ve now decided that I should, both to record that I was part of the last group to be shown round the library and to draw attention, for anyone who is interested, to the Building Fire Fund which has been set up – you can find full details on the GSA website. So here’s the story of my visit.

I’m one of the guides on Glasgow Women’s Library’s Heritage Walks. We want to update our Garnethill script


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To the Lighthouse

Nothing to do with Virginia Woolf or the sea – Glasgow’s Lighthouse is a Charles Rennie Mackintosh building that used to be part of the Glasgow Herald‘s printing offices until they moved out in the mid-80s. The Lighthouse re-opened in 1999 as Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design and the City. I popped in this morning after a meeting in town to see an exhibition on Derelict Glasgow, but ended up visiting the Mackintosh Centre, and all the other exhibitions, as well as having lunch in the cafĂ© (hummus wrap and salad, very tasty). I also climbed the distinctive tower, which originally contained an 8000-gallon water tank, for great views over the city’s roofscape. Because I wasn’t expecting to do all this I didn’t have my camera, so the iPad photos are not wonderful. But they’ll do!

Bellahouston Park and House for an Art Lover

We had a lovely lunch in House for an Art Lover (designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh but built long after his death) on Sunday, then spent an hour or two wandering round Bellahouston Park using Glasgow City Council’s Heritage Trail. There’s also a good exhibition in the Stable Block about the history of the area and the use of the park in 1938 for the Empire Exhibition, including a virtual tour through a 3D digital image of the exhibition site – the only building that still remains to be viewed physically is the Palace of Arts. It must have been amazing to visit such a concentration of white modernism if you were used to the heavy sandstone of Victorian and Edwardian Glasgow.

All the information you need is in the links, so I’m just going to add a few photos.

The ones that nearly got away….

So it’s Hogmanay, I’m clearing out from my iPad all the photos I’ve used, or rejected, for blogging in 2012 and I’ve found a couple of posts that I meant to write but somehow never got around to. Who wants unfinished business at the end of the year? Here’s what I nearly missed out.

House for an Art Lover

We went to a wedding this summer for the first time in ages. The venue was brilliant – House for an Art Lover in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park, which was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1901 but not built for over 90 years. Now it can be visited as a museum, as a restaurant or hired, as here, for events. I meant to take more photos of the park and do a full post but these will have to do – the exterior and some wedding details.

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Linlithgow

A few weekends ago, in that very cold snap, we set off for Linlithgow Palace, which we’d not visited in a long time. Idiotically, we forgot to check the Historic Scotland website and it was closed in preparation for the big Chanel event a few days later. Not being fashionistas, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, this had totally passed us by. However, we were still able to walk round the Loch and enjoy a good pub lunch in The Four Marys, a historic pub named after the Ladies-in-Waiting of Mary Queen of Scots, who was born in the palace. In the second picture below, you can see the temporary pavilion being built for Chanel. I bet the models and guests were all absolutely freezing!

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So that’s the end of travelling for 2012. I hope everyone has a great New Year, and see you in 2013.