Glasgow Architecture

Photographing Glasgow one of Britain’s most intriguing citys

Arriving in Glasgow on a crisp morning in late November the sky was blue and the river Clyde was so still it perfectly mirrored the surrounding Glasgow architecture.

I’d travelled to Glasgow to photograph an event at the City Chambers and was staying just out of the city centre at Springfield Quay. I’d manged to get a couple nights in a budget ibis for £59 which suited me fine. Whenever I travel to a new city I always try to plan extra time to go explore and photograph Glasgow architecture. The city was not disappointing, full of wonderful historic buildings with creative sculptures. Which I really enjoy looking at and photographing.

Making my way towards the city centre the first building I came across was the former Co-operative Wholesale Society headquarters on Morrison Street. This stunning 123-year-old building has a the statue of a woman called ‘Light and Light’ gilded in 23 carat gold leaf (pictured top right). This was sculpted by the artist Kenny McKay in 2016 to replace the original. I’ve read the original statue was concrete and had to be re-moved due to environmental damage making it unsafe. Could you imagine the destruction that would be caused if it had come tumbling down?

Glasgow architecture

Moving on I crossed over the Clyde via the relatively new Tradeston Bridge passing by all the Riverside redevelopment work. I don’t do too much research before visiting a new city as I enjoy the element of surprise when viewing a building for the first time. So, discovering the Peel Ports building on Robertson Street was indeed a surprise. This beaux art renaissance building built 1883 (added to in 1905) features fine sculpture by Albert Hodge (pictured above). Compared to the first building I photographed the ccondition of this one didn’t look great. The building was also overshadowed by many modern buildings which didn’t help. It also made it very awkward to photograph the impressive architectural sculptures which is a shame though not uncommon.

Walking through the city centre heading towards the City Chambers there’s lots of new developments going on. Historic buildings are everywhere you look, too many too many to mention. Arriving at George square (which was originally laid out in 1781 but not built for another 20 years) home to the Cenotaph and statues of famous Scots. The centre statue on a column is that of Sir Walter Scott the Scottish novelist, poet, playwright and historian. Facing on to the square is my destination, the City Chambers. Photographing the façade is tricky as there is a lot going on in front of it. Particularly the stunning granite cenotaph with its art deco lions. With this in mind I decided to use a long lens and shoot some close ups of the sculptural architecture (pictured above). As I was working inside the building I was able to get some photographs of the interior which is magnificent. The highlight is the Carrera marble staircase (pictured left) it’s breath-taking. It’s said there is more marble used here than in the Vatican in Rome.

Kelvingrove art gallery

To finish the day off I went to visit the Kelvingrove art gallery and museum which is pretty much a 2-mile straight road from George’s square. I’m always happy to walk these distances as along the way is the chance to discover more interesting buildings and again I wasn’t disappointed. There are some lovely buildings along this route. One that really stood out for me was 200 St Vincent Street, ‘the North British & Mercantile Building’ (now SVS Conference and events) built between 1926 and 1929 this modern classical building shows a trio of beautiful sculptures by Archibald Dawson. I was particularly struck by the sculpture of St Andrew. (pictured top right)

Arriving at the Kelvingrove gallery in glorious sunshine I was met with another grand building (pictured middle right). Opened in 1901 this Spanish Baroque red sandstone building has some interesting sculptural architecture. There are two entrances to the Kelvingrove the smaller entrance to the rear of the building has an impressive bronze of St Mungo (pictured right) which could be easily missed if on foot using the main grand entrance.

As a side note inside the gallery is one of my favourite painting Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí. Although this article is not about the artworks in the gallery it is worth looking up the horrific story of how the painting was vandalised and restored.www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/history/story-vandals-kelvingrove-dali-15294542

I enjoyed visiting Glasgow, it has a really good feel to it. People were friendly. I never felt threatened walking around the city taking photographs with expensive photography equipment, unlike other major city’s I’ve visited such as Hull.