January Light: cupolas

The cupola above adorns Holmwood House in Glasgow’s South Side. Now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, Holmwood is a unique villa designed by Glasgow’s second most famous architect, Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, and built in 1857-8 for James Couper, a local businessman. Its skylight is perfect for Becky’s January Squares Challenge – words ending in light.

I originally intended to use the cupola from Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art, this part of which was built in 1778 as the townhouse of William Cunninghame, a wealthy Glasgow Tobacco Lord who made his fortune through the triangular slave trade. However, I showed it to Becky on her recent visit and she got in first by including it in the challenge herself! But what the heck – here it is as a bonus skylight.

January Light: Kelvin bridges

Today’s theme is lamplight, specifically on bridges over Glasgow’s River Kelvin. Above is one of the lamps from Kirklee Bridge. Below are two views of Kelvinbridge, in daylight and at twilight.

Finally, the most ornate bridge is probably the one on the Kelvin Way near Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. Some additional streetlight on show here too.

Linked to Becky’s January Squares challenge – words ending in light.

PS Apologies to anyone disappointed because they thought my title was Kevin Bridges 😉.

January Light: City Halls

In Glasgow, the City Halls contain a number of concert venues rather than the seat of municipal government – that’s the City Chambers. The grand hall, above, opened in 1841 and was extensively renovated about 15 years ago. The beautiful chandeliers supply roof-light, there’s some spotlight, and also a bit of projected-light on the back wall showing the orchestra’s name. On this occasion, we were awaiting the delight of a performance of Mozart’s Requiem. Linked to Becky’s January Squares challenge – words ending in light.

January Light: Nick Cave

Spotlight on Nick Cave – I have lost count of the number of his concerts I have attended, this being the last one, at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro in September 2017. It’s not great quality, taken on a phone in the dark, but I love it. It’s the best photo either of us has ever managed at a gig (so it’s probably John’s) and it really captures the moment. We both got to touch him as he crowd-surfed that evening, and I was almost trampled underfoot at the end when a few fans were allowed onto the stage. Happy days! He’s coming to Glasgow again in May, and guess who has tickets?

Linked to Becky’s January Squares challenge – words ending in light.

Glasgow Gallivanting: December 2019

Watt Institution

The Watt Institution in James Watt’s hometown of Greenock houses the McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Watt Library and Watt Hall. Recently closed for several years, it re-opened in November after a £2.1 million refurbishment programme funded by Inverclyde Council and Historic Environment Scotland. Watt (1736-1819) being an engineering hero of John’s, we went along to have a look in early December. It was a very miserable day outside, as you can tell from the photo above, but plenty to do inside.

The museum is called after its founder, James McLean, and first opened in 1876. I don’t know what it was like pre-refurbishment, but now it is light and airy (above) with various local history displays. I found the quilt embroidered with the names of the children of Greenock, Gourock and Port Glasgow who died in the Blitz of 6/7 May 1941 particularly poignant – especially when I found four members of the same family.

The Watt Lecture Hall opened at the same time as the museum. Today it holds a new exhibition celebrating Watt’s life and works.

Upstairs is the Art Gallery with its small, but interesting, collection of local views as well as more famous works by the likes of the Scottish Colourists, Boudin, Courbet, and Corot. Again, my eye was drawn to a poignant memorial, this time at the bottom of the gallery stairs. Too many names (Pat Leiper, 2014) lists the 1500 local men who died in the Great War.

Of course, I have left the best (from my point of view) till last. The Watt Library houses local history reference books and archives, and is dominated by a large sculpture of James Watt himself.

I just loved looking at all the old books, many of which were on open shelves. Greenock Infirmary’s Fever Journal from the 1860s must be unique, so it was a surprise to be able to pick it up and handle it.

I took many more photos of old labels which would only be of interest to library geeks, so I have spared you most of those!

Feminism and the servant problem: book launch

From one of John’s heroes, to one of mine. “My” suffragette, Jessie Stephen, was a woman of many talents. By the time she was twenty, in addition to her suffrage activities, she had been the Vice-Chair of her local Independent Labour Party (at 16, the youngest you could be a full member) and organised her fellow domestic servants into the Scottish Federation of Domestic Workers. When writing the first version of my talk on Jessie last year, I read a couple of articles by Dr Laura Schwartz of Warwick University, so I was delighted when she got in touch to tell me that she had written a book in which Jessie had a large role. Even better, I was asked to give a shorter version of my talk at an event in the Mitchell Library to launch the book in Scotland. Below, you can see Laura and me with the third speaker, Paula Larkin (in grey) and a member of library staff.

The publisher very kindly donated a copy of the book to Glasgow Women’s Library, which I’ve read and will be reviewing for their website. And if you’re having an allergic reaction to the Mitchell’s carpet, see my story from an A to Z Challenge a few years ago:

Gallus Glasgow M: The Mitchell

Glasgow Coat of Arms

In that same A to Z Challenge, I also wrote about Glasgow’s motto and Coat of Arms:

Gallus Glasgow L: Let Glasgow Flourish

More recently, my friend Becky wrote about them after I gave her a whistle stop tour of Glasgow:

Let Glasgow Flourish

I’ve recently been following a Twitter account, @GlasgowCoA, run by Caroline Scott who aims to collect as many examples of the Coat of Arms as possible. Glasgow City Heritage Trust (the organisation which put on the Ghost Signs talk we went to in November) was running an exhibition of some of the photographs she has amassed and we went along to the opening.

If you are wandering round Glasgow, be sure to tweet @GlasgowCoA any examples you find. It doesn’t matter if they’re already on the map – as Caroline points out, everyone’s take is different. These doorplates from the Mitchell featured twice, for example, and I was tickled to notice my friend Lynn was one of the contributors.

Books are your ticket to the whole world

Just in case you thought there weren’t enough libraries in this post, here’s another one which has just reopened after refurbishment. Partick is not my local library, but it’s not far away. I love that they have decorated the walls with quotations from local hero, comedian Billy Connolly. Books are your ticket to the whole world is possibly too small to read in the picture below. Another wall has: There’s no right way to read. You are not studying for an exam. The important thing is that books do you good. They improve your life, and the lives of the people around you. They improve you. Wise man!

Out and about

So far, all the activities I have mentioned have been indoor – par for the course in December. However, we did get out for a few walks. We did the Drumchapel Way, which might sound a bit odd to those who know Glasgow, Drumchapel being a housing estate in the north-west of the city. However, it’s possible to walk a 4.5 mile circuit around it almost entirely in parks and woodland. We found pigeons, a deer (a bit blurry, but it ran past very quickly), a very kitsch memorial garden and, yes, another library. This one looks as though it needs refurbishment.

Another wintry walk was in Palacerigg Country Park – some nice reflections.

Between Christmas and New Year we had a few days in Galloway – there will be posts about that later. In the meantime, here are some shots of Arran taken from Girvan on our journey home. It looked so stunning, we just had to stop.

The last bit

A few odds and ends to finish with. We found a new ghost sign on Whittinghame Drive! Thanks to Jayne for the tip.

The hothouses at the Botanic Gardens are always good for a stroll when it’s cold outside. Shades of pinks and red cheer me up.

And finally, with the holiday season well and truly over, we are back tae auld claes and parritch (old clothes and porridge, i.e. back to normal). But of course, some of us have Becky’s #JanuaryLight Square Challenge to distract us (click on the logo for info if you don’t know about it). I’ve taken today off to Gallivant but will be back to the Squares tomorrow.

 

January Light: pastels

This terrace on Great Western Road, Glasgow, is part of the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel. In recent months, the hotel has chosen to floodlight it in pretty pastel colours. Perfect for Day 4 of Becky’s January Squares Challenge: words ending in light. Follow the link to find out more!

January Light: vintage

The Cup and Saucer Vintage Tearoom in De Courcy’s Arcade is one of my favourite cafés in Glasgow’s West End. It’s like walking into your Granny’s living room (well, it is if you’re my age). On this occasion, a foul, wet day last November, I was first in when it opened and grabbed this snap while it was empty. I’ve managed to capture both lamplight and firelight – perfect for Becky’s January Squares Challenge: words ending in light.

When the tearoom remained empty after a few minutes I was puzzled. My friend Esther is never late. Then I checked my diary. I was three hours early …

January Light: advent

On Christmas Eve we took a stroll to the nearby area of Scotstoun and its “Living Advent Calendar”. Each evening, one more window appeared thanks to backlight – the ingenuity and variety was amazing! Here’s window number 2 for day 2 of Becky’s January Squares Challenge: words ending in light. Follow the link to find out more!

January Light: Happy New Year!

The University of Glasgow’s Undercroft (aka The Cloisters) is lit up with strings of fairy-lights every winter. It makes the perfect setting both for my New Year wishes to you all, and for Becky’s January Squares Challenge on the theme of words ending in light. In this case, I have cheated slightly by adding a hyphen to make one word out of two, but Becky is very forgiving. As long as your image is square, she’ll be happy. Follow the link to find out more!