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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today, I ventured into Glasgow's West End, principally to locate some more examples of Alexander 'Greek' Thomson's work.

Here is a pic of the National Piping Centre, McPahter St. It was formerly a Free Church building designed by Doublas and Sellars in 1872. It seems to have a neo-classical Greek Thomson feel about it.
The Sixty Steps-1872.Kelvinside Terrace West, 8 Queen Margaret's Place

Greek Thomson designed this monumental flight of steps which connected with a now-demolished bridge across the River Kelvin.

View of the River Kelvin in the fall. This river is a northern tributary of the River Clyde.
Here are some images of Northpark Terrace-1863-65, 35-51 Hamilton Drive.

One of Thomson's austere designs: a long infill terrace of retained and repetitive rectilinear elegance.

Eton Terrace-1862-64 41-52 Oakfield Avenue/Great George Street.

This is a Thomson designed terrace of houses with the ends made prominent with pedimented temple-fronts and with much use of Thomson's favourite square columns. Rhythms are set up by the games played with wall planes and window surrounds while each pair of porches is treated as a miniature temple.

Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. This was designed by John W Simpson and E J Milner Allen, joint architects, of London, in 1892. The building was completed in 1901.
The brief for the competition required:
  • a central or music hall giving easy access to all parts of the building
  • a suite of top-lit art galleries
  • museum halls, some roof-lighted, some side-lighted saloons
  • and a school of art with separate entrance (this was later dropped from the scheme).

Views of Glasgow University.This was designed by George Gilbert Scott (1866 ) - built on Gilmorehill and entered from University Avenue It was intensely disliked by Alexander 'Greek' Thompson.

Why not avail of a Glasgow Architecture Tour with Catswhiskerstours?


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Glasgow Centre Photography Tour

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Today, I am still one day out of kilter. These are images taken yesterday of my visit to Glasgow City Centre. My aim was to photograph all the statues in George Square, a task which was stymied by a tacky fairground set up in the square. Here are the images which I did obtain.

St. George's Church, Tron viewed from George Street. This church was completed in 1809 to the designs of William Stark. The tower shows Baroque influences at the upper tiers, without resorting too much to the elaborate decoration which usually exemplifies that style.

View from Glasgow Bridge looking east looking towards Victoria Bridge and Albert Bridge.

Alleyway near Central Station. Seems to be straight out of a Dickens novel!
Views of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Lighthouse. The former Glasgow Herald Building is now home to Scotland's award winning Centre for Architecture, Design and the City.

View of City and St Georges Church, Tron from West George Street

Statue in George Square to James Watt

View of City Chambers in George Square through fairground.

Statue of Robert Burns with that of Sir Walter Scott (very tall plinth) in the background.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Today I am catching up on yesterday's images. Have now mastered the art of downloading from mobile.

The images are of a local farmers' market. Good range of food etc., cheeses, all sorts of burgers, meat, fruit drinks, fruit & veg. Bought some honey and special pork and apple burgers.

Weather overcast with showers. Good shopping experience interacting with the local producers who actually make the products.


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Today, I went to a local farmers market and took some pics. However, had to use my mobile phone for the images and at time of writing cannot upload them to my Blog. In meantime thought I would visit some images I took earlier this of sites in Glasgow. Here is the Armadillo, a conference centre located on the banks of the Clyde.

Here is the steamship Waverley, last of its type. Worth a trip if you have the time.

Here is Central Station, a fascinating piece of architecture. The station was opened in 1879 and was extended further between 1901-1906. The entrance features ornate ironwork. Seven pillars support the glazed porte-cochere arcade with the travel centre behind and the stone edifice of the Central Hotel rising above.

Here is view of the old docks looking north west towards Ben Lomond. Pic taken from Science Centre Tower.

Here the Major Archibald Douglas Monteath Mausoleum (1842) located at the Glasgow Necropolis, last resting place of Glasgow's Great and Good.

View of the SECC on the Clyde
Science Centre Tower. This is open to the public and provides a great panorama from the top.

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See Glasgow Tour

Friday, November 23, 2007

Today, Is cold but bright sunshine. Had to do some shopping so took in Queen's Park and environs the results of which are below.

This is the former Langside Hill Church 1895-6 and is Category 'B' listed. The building was designed by Alexander Skirving for the Free Church but now a bar and restaurant.Skirving was Greek Thomson's principal assistant. The design for the church was in the classical tradition with the building placed on a large plinth and fronted by a pedimented portico supported by giant Ionic columns. A very imposing and impressive building.

Views of Glasgow from Queen's Park looking N.W. through N.E. starting with Kilsyth Hills and Ben Lomond. Stunning views and a good day!

Here is a classical mansion house in the style of David Hamilton built in the early 1800's.This is Camphill House. It was converted into a museum by Glasgow Corporation, the custodians of the park, in 1896.In late 1995, work was completed to convert the building into flats.

View of walks in Queen's Park. Burnt out car looks like a work of art, but this is Glasgow!!


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Thursday, November 22, 2007

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Today, I went to photograph the conservation village of Eaglesham, south of Glasgow. This is a 'planned village' with some fascinating architecture. The place name appears to have nothing to do with eagles; its a corruption of the Low Latin word for church ecclesia with an unusual English -ham ending. Here is a selection of images taken late November.

This is the Eglinton Arms hotel in the centre of Eaglesham

On the way home stopped at the aptly named Waterfoot and took some pics of the weir and river.


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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Today, it is raining heavily and overcast, this is locally known as 'driecht' It's a driecht day, meaning overcast or wet and rainy.So, I thought I would take the opportunity to air a theory in regard to rock carvings.

Many of the rock carvings, e.g.Kilmartin and Arran comprise rings of concentric circles with what appears to be a channel through the rings at the six o'clock position. In reading a publication on the archaeology of Orkney I noticed an uncanny similarity between the rock carvings and plans of prehistoric tombs dating from around the same period. Is the purpose of these rock carvings to 'connect' in some way with the tombs?


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Kiltmaker Scotland

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Today, I went on a short walk to make contact with a local Kiltmaker. On return went past Eastwood House, Rouken Glen of which two pics are provided below.

The lands of Rouken Glen Park originally belonged to the Scottish Crown and then to the Earls of Eglinton. It takes its name from the old Rock End Meal Mill in the glen.

Amongst its owners were the Smith family of Glasgow, the Crum family of Thornliebank and Archibald Cameron Corbett, M.P. for Tradeston, Glasgow (later Lord Rowallan) who gifted the estate, mansion house etc. to the citizens of Glasgow.

Autumn view

Here is the Kiltmaker. This traditional business does not have a website. This is a Highland Outfitters and will make kilts and other Highland wear to order.


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Ewington Hotel, Glasgow

Monday, November 19, 2007

Today, I had a meeting with a representative of McKever Hotels, at the Ewington, Glasgow. McKever own 11 hotels in Scotland, including the Ewington in which I place clients from to time. The Ewington has excellent self-catering apartments across the road. The Ewington is in need of a refurb with 3 rooms already done. I took the opportunity to take some pics of a room which has already been refurbished-see following 2 pics. The Ewington enjoys a good location, being on a relatively quiet street and close to Queen's Park.

Views of the front of the Ewington Hotel

Here are some swans and ducks on the pond in Queen's Park. All swans in the British Isles (except Orkney) belong to the Queen and thus enjoy protected status.


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More Greek Thomson Tour Glasgow

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Today, I decided to hunt down another 'Greek' Thomson design, this time the McIntyre Monument located in Cathcart Old Churchyard, Glasgow. This is a somewhat incredible and eerie place comprising a derelict church surrounded by some fascinating graves and memorials which are redolent of the Glasgow Necropolis. Depending the light, this a great place for photography.

For more information on Greek Thomson please visit the History page of my main website:

Here is a view of the church spire behind a chapel type memorial. I could not find an inscription on the latter.

Here are three images of Thomson's McIntyre Monument. This was commissioned by Thomson's friend, the builder John McIntyre, for his son's grave, and a powerful composition with a sarcophagus on the base of cyclopaean masonry. Condition is "OK" with evidence of graffiti.

Here is another view of the circular, chapel type memorial.It reminds me of the Douglas Monteith Mausoleum in the Necropolis which was based on the Knights Templar Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.

This a memorial to certain Covenanters who died for their beliefs. Within a week or so I hope to have a briefing note on the Covenanters on the History page of my main website.

Another mausoleum now partly covered in graffiti.

View of church remains.
Another view of the mausoleum mentioned above.

Another church view.


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Saturday Morning Cycle Ride

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Today, is the day of the big Scotland v Italy football match (soccer). You can see this pub/bar is decked out in a suitable patriotic display.
Here is some unusual cress like vegetation growing at the river bank (below).

This is a river valley at Spiersbridge. The pillar is obviously the support for a former bridge.

Here is a weir near to the above bridge support. I believe there may have been industrial activity here in the 18th or 19th centuries, possibly connected with textile dying. There appears to be enough water to drive a mini-hydro scheme!

Another aspect of the stone pillar

Scotland and golf go together. Here are some images of golf in process at Deaconsbank Golf Course


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Pollock House Tour, Glasgow

Friday, November 16, 2007

Today, I went off to investigate nearby Pollock House, a heritage property owned by The National Trust for Scotland. The house dates from 1747 and was built by the Maxwell family. Photographs are not permitted of the interior but there is much art and antiques to admire.There is also an award winning restaurant where I sampled tea and a scone-very well done!

Here is an image taken in the grounds which I call 'autumn reflections';

Here is an image of the front of the house which faces the river.

Side view with stunning garden

Main entrance

In the nearby park is a herd of Highland Cattle. Here is one gentleman not to be tangled with!


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Scottish Country Dancing

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Scottish Country Dancing is a form of social dancing and not to be confused with Scottish Highland Dancing. Here are some images of Country Dancing in progress.


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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Today, I visited Ayr. Prime reason to meet a contact with a view to promoting golfing tours. Weather was OK so I took the opportunity to take some pics. Ayr is quite interesting and very photogenic.

Here are some beach scenes; first one is looking NW towards Arran.

The Pavilion began life as an entertainments hall and is now a somewhat tacky entertainment centre called Pirate Pete's. Interesting architecture. Better suited to Blackpool.

War memorial with County Buildings in the Background. Latter are interesting architecturally and date from 1931.

View up the Ayr river. I like the symmetry of this pic.

These are pics of the Andrew Carnegie library, one of many in Scotland. New World money to stimulate Old World intellects!!

More views of Ayr from the river.

View of town hall on Sandgate Street.
Tam O'Shanter pub. Note thatched roof. Rabbie Burns was born nearby.

View of town centre

A very patriotic pub. No doubt totally unconnected with the upcoming Scotland:Italy football (soccer) match!

Railway station.


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Battlefield Tour Glasgow

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Today, I took myself off to nearby Battlefield to learn more about that area.

Battlefield is a district of Glasgow It is situated south of the River Clyde. The area takes its name from the Battle of Langside of 1568. A monument now stands adjacent to Queen's Park commemorating this event. The Battle of Langside was between forces of Mary Queen of Scots and that of the Regent, Moray. The forces of the latter prevailed.

Here is a view taken from a vantage point near Camphill. The scene is the City Of Glasgow looking north towards the Campsie Fells

This is a circle of large stones at the highest point of the park and which is believed to be the remnants of a encampment which formed an important military position in connection with the Battle of Langside, 1568.

This magnificent building seems to have been a church-now in process of conversion to a restaurant type facility.

Here is the monument to the Battle of Langside, 1568

Location: Battle Place, Langside, Glasgow
Date executed: 1887-8


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Rouken Glen

Monday, November 12, 2007

Today, I was running a little behind schedule so took myself off to nearby Rouken Glen (public park) to obtain some more autumn images. Light was fading but, nevertheless, pics not too bad!

Kids at skateboard park

View of path with water fall. My bike is propped against the fence.

Falls at Rouken Glen
River scene


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Greenbank Garden Tour, Glasgow

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Today is Remembrance Sunday. Weather mild ish for time of year but, crucially, sunny with blue skies. Went on my bike to explore nearby Greenbank Garden.

Here is a pic of a kilt maker's shop/workshop at Eastwood Toll.

Autumnal tree.
Contrasts at Greenbank Garden
Within the Walled Garden at Greenbank

Another autumnal view with contrasts at Greenbank

Greenbank House-open April to Oct.
Trees at Greenbank

A small herd of Highland Cattle at Greenbank-very inquisitive and photogenic


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Alexander 'Greek' Thomson Architecture Tour

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Today, I undertook more exploration of Glasgow's architectural heritage, with focus on Thomson. His buildings are real gems and form "hidden assets" tucked away in the streets of Glasgow. Images are provided below.

2-38 Milbrae Crescent, Langside. 1876-77
Completed after Thomson's death by his partner, Robert Turnbull. Flair and elegance combine the style of rustic villas with the sublime urbanity of the terrace suggest that it was designed by Thomson.

Double Villa, 25 Mansionhouse Road, Langside. 1856-57.
Two semi-detached houses. Instead of the usual butterfly symmetry Thomson took one house plan and rotated it through 180 degrees so that the resulting building has two identical, asymetrical elevations, each both back and front, with one facing east and the other west. Note also that the windows are made entirely separate form the columns in the projecting bays.

Autumn view of Queen's Park

Moray Place, Strathbungo.
A terrace of 10 small houses. All the ground floor windows and doors are evenly spaced and exactly the same size while an unbroken run of 52 square columns on the first floor links the two projecting houses. Thomson lived and died in No 1 Moray Place.

Above information sourced from a booklet 'Glasgow Architectural Guide 1 c 1999.


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'Greek' Thomson Tour Glasgow

Friday, November 09, 2007

Today, I continued with my visits to Greek Thomson designed buildings but before addressing the latest visit it is worthy of mention that Glasgow has just won the 2014 Commonwealth Games bid-which is excellent news for the City.

Holmwood House building. (1857-58) is currently closed for the winter but a visit to the site and grounds is still possible.This elaborate villa is arguably Thomson's finest and most important residentialHolmwood House was built for beside the River Cart for the owner of a local paper mill.Thomson appears to have been the first modern architect to design houses in the Greek style asymmetrically according to Picturesque principles. Thomson designed everything in this house, including the rich polychromatic wall decoration which is now being uncovered and restored.

Here are a few images:

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Glasgow Thomson Architecture Tour

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Today, I decided to explore some of Glasgow's famous buildings with a 'Greek' Thomson theme.

Alexander Thomson was, arguably, the greatest architect of Victorian Glasgow. He obtained the sobriquet 'Greek' because he believed that the architecture of ancient Greece could be the basis of modern architecture. Notwithstanding Thomson's fascination for Greece, he never actually visited the country. He was born in Balfron in 1817 and died in 1875 at his home in Moray Place, the terrace he had designed.

Here are some images of the Caledonia Road Church 1856-57. This was Thomson's first church but now a vandalised ruin on the edge of the Gorbals. However, the remains have a certain dignity and distinction with an elevated portico and a most unusual tower, probably inspired by modern German architecture.

Bucks Head Building-1863. This is located at 59-61 Argyle Street & Dunlop Street. A commercial building in which the iron construction is expressed externally.

The Gordon Street, Warehouse, opposite Central Station.

There is an Edwardian era superstructure placed on top. However, the Thomson facade is very visible; it is full of subtleties and distinctive ornament.

Egyptian Halls, Union Street. 1870-72.

Exterior looks sad/tired. This building was built as a bazaar or shopping centre and named after the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, London. Interior constructed of iron; exterior of stone and was designed in a series of rich horizontal layers building up to a colonnade.

Grecian Buildings
, 336-356 Sauchiehall Street. 1867-68
Originally a commercial warehouse but now the Centre for Contemporary Arts.

This is the famous Willow Tea Rooms, Sauchiehall Street. Nothing to do with Thomson but took the pic as I was passing.

St. Vincent Street Church 1857-59 (Cnr. of Pitt St.)

The only surviving intact Thomson church. It is raised up on its own man-made Acropolis on the steeply sloping site. The ionic porticoes raised up are purely symbolic while the tall steeple is believed to be Indian inspired.Cast iron columns with extraordinary capitals are found inside.
This building still appears to be in use a living Church ( Free Presbyterian). The exterior would benefit from a good clean!!

Acknowledgement: For this tour and information I am indebted to a brochure: 'Glasgow Architectural Guide 1'.


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