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Old October 28th, 2016, 11:43 PM   #1
El_Greco
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Glasgow - The Raintown

There is a lightness of touch about the town, without heavy industry. It's as if they discovered how to work sunroof or something.

Billy Connolly


Glasgow Sounds

To state the obvious - Glasgow is certainly no Edinburgh. Despite grand architecture, the history of culture and years of investment in arts, the city is still a rough, post-industrial place. The most un-British city of all the British cities too. Criss-crossed by arrow straight streets and filled with tallest Victoriania in the UK, it looks very America-like. For a time the second city of the Empire which sent its sons and goods across the world to build up the British Empire. The party was inevitably followed by a bust as the heavy industry shut down and Glasgow entered a period of prolonged decline. The city is reviving now and becoming "cool" again with new generation of Glaswegians putting their city on the world map once more. But instead of generals, warlords, trains and ships it is the artists that it is exporting now. Let's hit the streets!

1. George Square and City Chambers. The square was laid out in 1781 and the City Chambers built in 1888. Victorian civic pride at its best. Today we'd build a box.



2. The weather was properly Baltic at times. Here's Glasgow Cathedral or High Kirk of Glasgow. A looming, grey northern Gothic masterpiece. It is quite an appropriate building for the city.



3. Cathedral from the Glasgow Necropolis.



4. The famous view of the Cathedral and Glasgow Infirmary.



5. Inside.



6. Door detail.



7. Glasgow Necropolis is a massive site occupying a high hill in the east of the city. It was modelled on Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris and opened in 1832. As Billy Connolly said - "Glasgow's a bit like Nashville, Tennessee: it doesn't care much for the living, but it really looks after the dead". The views from up there are amazing. City of the dead looking over city of the living.



8. Provand's Lordship - the oldest house in Glasgow. Built in 1471. Through its long history it has been everything - from private mansion to a slumlike tenement. Today it is a museum.



9. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. An urban legends hold that the building was accidentally built back-to-front, and the architect jumped from one of the towers in despair, when he realised his mistake. It has some interesting exhibitions inside. While I'm not into visiting museums on my travels because of time-constraints (I'd rather walk the city), we saw Art-Nouveau and Mucha exhibition advertised so we went in. Only later we found out that we were a month too early. No Mucha or Art-Nouveau then.



10. Glasgow University.



11. Glasgow University from Kelvingrove Park.



12. Darwin and his buddy.



13. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Glasgow university.



14. Kelvingrove Art Gallery.



15. And a bit of context.



16. Unlike other British cities. Glasgow has a great deal of tenements. I love those. And they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes!



17.



18. Tron Theatre, formerly Tron Kirk designed by James Adams in 1795. This is the heart of the Merchant City - the oldest part of Glasgow.



19. I like the spire too!



20. Trongate skyline.



21. A bit wider view.



22. Tolbooth Steeple. Built in 1626 it sits at once was the very centre of Glasgow. This is where the city council used to meet and hangings took place. Today the area feels rather peripheral.



23. I believe this one is derelict. I guess at least they made something positive out of it. Still an ugly-arse building that.



24. Hands off the Duke of Wellington's cone! Statue of Wellington infront of Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art. The guy is wearing a traffic cone. Which is an example of Glasgow humour. For years authorities removed it only for it to reappear again. Eventually they gave up and today has become something of a city icon. Around the time of the Independence Referendum, a saltire was attached to the cone and it was painted gold during London 2012 Olympic games to celebrate record haul of gold medals won by Team GB.



25. A simple building on Sauchiehall Street with an amazing ironwork attached in the shape of a peacock.



to be continued.

Last edited by El_Greco; October 29th, 2016 at 12:29 AM.
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Old October 29th, 2016, 12:07 AM   #2
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Beautiful, El Greco - enjoyed your impressions very much!
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Old October 29th, 2016, 12:29 AM   #3
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Wow! Thanks for the pictures and information, El Greco.
We've only passed there on our way to the Highlands and I was wondering how the city center looks like, as Glasgow seldom appears in the media or this forum. Now we know it doesn't look bad at all.
Any pictures from the typical Subway Line?
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Old October 29th, 2016, 12:48 AM   #4
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Great stuff El Greco. Been some time since I last saw Glasgow.
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Old October 29th, 2016, 01:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benonie View Post
Wow! Thanks for the pictures and information, El Greco.
We've only passed there on our way to the Highlands and I was wondering how the city center looks like, as Glasgow seldom appears in the media or this forum. Now we know it doesn't look bad at all.
Any pictures from the typical Subway Line?
No, Glasgow is not bad at all, just damn far. We took a sleeper bus (with beds!) and the way back took us 8 hours!

I'm afraid no shots of Subway, we didn't take it.

Thanks!
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Old October 29th, 2016, 02:39 AM   #6
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Impressive city, I liked your presentation, thanks!
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Old October 29th, 2016, 11:59 AM   #7
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Great, very nice photos from Glasgow!
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Old October 30th, 2016, 12:21 PM   #8
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Thanks!
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Old October 30th, 2016, 12:35 PM   #9
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Pics nos. 16 and 17 look somewhat like Edinburgh's New Town streetscape. Do you know if they were built in the same spirit of Edinburgh's Scottish Enlightenment, harking back to classicism in order, grid plan, architecture etc?

I've been to both Scottish cities and more and like them very much. The Art Gallery and University sit majestically in the townscape. The school of art in Glasgow was prolific, world class and famous in the art nouveau era. Great pics, looking forward to more.
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Old October 30th, 2016, 01:03 PM   #10
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Nice pictures.

Most Scottish cities have tenement buildings like the ones you depicted. Aberdeen certainly does - although built out of the characteristic local granite rather than the Glaswegian sand stone.
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Old October 30th, 2016, 02:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skymantle View Post
Pics nos. 16 and 17 look somewhat like Edinburgh's New Town streetscape. Do you know if they were built in the same spirit of Edinburgh's Scottish Enlightenment, harking back to classicism in order, grid plan, architecture etc?

I've been to both Scottish cities and more and like them very much. The Art Gallery and University sit majestically in the townscape. The school of art in Glasgow was prolific, world class and famous in the art nouveau era. Great pics, looking forward to more.
16, 17 were built in the Victorian era, about mid-end of the 19th century, but I'm not quite sure what the motivations behind the grid plan were. Don't know much about Glasgow's urban history to be honest. Hopefully a Glaswegian can explain. If he/she can be arsed.
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Old October 30th, 2016, 02:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Greco View Post
16, 17 were built in the Victorian era, about mid-end of the 19th century, but I'm not quite sure what the motivations behind the grid plan were. Don't know much about Glasgow's urban history to be honest. Hopefully a Glaswegian can explain. If he/she can be arsed.
The Industrial revolution(manufacturing,shipbuilding) in the 19th century caused a massive increase in population,hence construction of "tenements"!

Building upwards and reasonably close to the city centre!

Up till the end of the 2nd World war,Glasgow had the second biggest population in the UK,behind London!
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Old October 30th, 2016, 02:35 PM   #13
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But why in Glasgow they decided to build upwards?
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Old October 30th, 2016, 02:46 PM   #14
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But why in Glasgow they decided to build upwards?
I guess its because it meant you can get more people living close to the city centre!

The height (usually max of 3 levels) was restricted by the width of the road!
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Old October 30th, 2016, 02:54 PM   #15
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Strange that this didn't occur to the planners in other cities!
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Old October 30th, 2016, 02:55 PM   #16
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26. Buchanan Street - Glasgow's premier shopping street with many luxury brands having their stores here.



27. In the other direction.



28. Argyll Chambers a grandiose Victorian building which has a luxury shopping passage similar to ones in London's Piccadilly.



29. A detail on one of the buildings on Buchanan Street.



30. Lovely ironwork!



31. Glasgow Cross - there's a disused subway station just below the street.



32. Nearby street.



33. Local pub.



34. Half derelict buildings...Fantastic architecture here.



35. Buildings like these can only be found in Scotland. Buildings like this in red stone can only be found in Glasgow. They all copy the Scottish tower house. A kind of fortified private residence found throughout the Scottish borders and Highlands.

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Old October 30th, 2016, 03:00 PM   #17
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Quote:
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But why in Glasgow they decided to build upwards?
I wrote a fairly lengthy post about it... the short answer is pre-modern land ownership laws in Scotland.

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In case anyone's interested, I've done a bit of research into the reasons behind Scotland's development of tenements, as opposed to England's terraced houses.

A few people have wondered why Scotland is the only nation to embrace this form of flat building in Britain and have suggested continental influences or tradition of defensive concerns. I've known it was mainly a product of economic forces but the exact process was a bit of a mystery to me. Luckily a substantial chapter in this book from this book, 'Edinburgh - A Tenement City?' by Peter Robinson, covers the process in detail.

Scots property law was based on feudal principals, with a 'superior' holding the land, and a 'vassal' able to buy the titles to the land in exchange for a annual charge or 'fue duty' to be paid as long as the land was held by the vassal.

At this time, land holdings were seen as a very safe investment and opportunities to purchase were rare due to a reluctance to let go of these holdings, giving them a high value.

The vassals would typically be builders/developers who then allowed landlords to invest in flats in return for a charge to the builders. This chain of payments from tenant-landlord-vassal-superior gave many interests a source of income, but left the final say in land use and building form to the superior.

Therefore, fue duties were generally calculated based on the highest number of people that could be housed on a plot of land, pushing up density where the demand allowed it and resulting in the early 'high-rises' of Edinburgh's Old Town, but also smaller versions in other towns and cities in the pre-industrial era.

In the industrial area, huge growth in towns and cities resulted in property and development investment becoming common amongst 'small savers'; typically tradesmen who put money into the development of new tenement districts as a safe investment with a steady income. As security of investment became a priority, developers looked to reduce risk, and the Victorian tenement became a somewhat regimented, modular, building form that could be rolled out nearly anywhere, resulting in the common landscape of repetitive tenement streets.

This continued up until the early 20th century and the collapse/reform of the private rental housing market.

What the book didn't talk about was how this differed from the rest of the UK, but based on the economic arguments behind tenement construction, it could be assumed that lower costs of landholdings meant that it wasn't as necessary to develop land to that density.
The reason that the Victorian tenements were max 4 storeys (occasionally 5) was a fear of building too tall in case of fire at the time. I think the actual regulations stated that a tenement should be no higher than the width of the street, though a few slightly taller ones slipped through.

As far as I know, all Scottish cities and larger towns followed this process.
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Old October 30th, 2016, 03:07 PM   #18
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That makes sense I suppose. But then again if continental influence wasn't the reason for tenements, why Europe built them? Funny land-ownership laws too? I find the subject fascinating, because tenement seems so common on the continent and yet there are these curious exceptions like French Flanders, Netherlands, Belgium and England.
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Old October 30th, 2016, 03:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Pics nos. 16 and 17 look somewhat like Edinburgh's New Town streetscape. Do you know if they were built in the same spirit of Edinburgh's Scottish Enlightenment, harking back to classicism in order, grid plan, architecture etc?
Yes, most of Glasgow's city centre started off as a Georgian New Town, hence the grid planning.

A lot of it was later replaced with Victoriana, but the Blythswood area of town still has a lot of old georgian townhouses like Edinburgh.
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Old October 30th, 2016, 05:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Greco View Post
That makes sense I suppose. But then again if continental influence wasn't the reason for tenements, why Europe built them? Funny land-ownership laws too? I find the subject fascinating, because tenement seems so common on the continent and yet there are these curious exceptions like French Flanders, Netherlands, Belgium and England.
I agree it's a very interesting subject but I haven't read enough into urbanism of other countries to give an answer! I suspect the answer sits somewhere between cultural tradition and economic practicality.

Oh and thanks for the pics, great thread!
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