Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Must see list for Glasgow
Once the rough and tumble brother to the couth elder sister Edinburgh, Glasgow is on the up and up and. From a grim, industrial and rugged city in urban chaos, it has emerged a scrubbed and buffed city with golden sandstone buildings, coming out from under to show what the enduring and spectacular architecture has to offer.
Try some of the following sites on for size.
1. Glasgow Cathedral
Majestic and an exemplar of Gothic architecture, this beauty is the only cathedral in mainland Scotland to survive the reformation. Built in 1136, the present structure dates from the 15th century when the city’s trade guilds fought to save the structure.
2. George Square
A grand open space featuring statues of famous Glaswegians and other folk from the lowlands. Spot Robert Burns, James Watt, Sir John Moore and perched on top of a column is Sir Walter Scott. An oversight obviously, but Billy Connelly isn’t there.
3. Police boxes
If you are a fan of Dr Who you’ll notice a proliferation of dark blue 1950s ‘Police’ boxes that look suspiciously like the Tardis. I suspect there’s more to them than sitting in squares and on corners looking benign. Anyone spied a Dalek?
4. Merchant City
The Merchant City precinct is a planned 18th century civic expansion that showcases Glasgow’s boom years. The noble private and civic buildings have been reborn as apartments and stylish bars and restaurants. The outlandish exterior of a 1775 former mansion is now the Gallery of Modern Art. Flowery on the outside and housing sleek, clean modern lines of today’s art.
5. Glasgow Central Station
The station is a shining example of vast Victorian industrial architecture. It’s the busiest railway station in the UK outside of London; light and airy with cafes and shops hugging the wide concourse. The Heilanman’s Umbrella is a famous landmark, it’s the glass walled railway bridge which carries the platforms of Glasgow Central Station across Argyle Street. (Heilanman’s name derived from the Highlanders that met to keep in touch under the bridge when they came to Glasgow to find work after being displaced during the Highland clearances in the 19th century.)
7. Provand’s Lordship
A rare example of 15th century domestic Scottish architecture in the city is opposite the St Mungo Museum of religious Life & Art. Provand’s Lordship is the name of the stone manse, built for the chaplain of St Nicholas Hospital. Three storeys of history and charm, the ceilings and doorways are low and the rooms are furnished with sound oak furniture and period artefacts. There’s an authentic feel to this hoos!
8. Willow Tea Rooms
All over Glasgow you’ll see the geometric designs of one of Scotland’s famous sons, architect and designer Rennie Mackintosh. His best-known building is the Glasgow School of Art and on a more intimate scale, Mackintosh House. The Willow Tea rooms were designed in 1903 for local tea lady, Kate Cranston. For the price of a cup of tea you can enjoy his beautiful work, the silver chairs and mirrored friezes.