Scottie's Photo Diary

- Glasgow Christmas 2016

I never go anywhere in Scotland without my camera and I take photographs wherever I go. Sometimes I go somewhere specifically to take photographs with a view to adding another page to the Rampant Scotland site. On other occasions I just see something that makes an attractive picture or else it's another graphic to add to the library to perhaps use on a future project. It thus forms a pictorial diary of my travels which can be shared by everyone!

This is a selection of photographs I took in Glasgow of the Christmas decorations in December 2016

Christmas Cheer

This was a poster encouraging people to visit the Glasgow Loves Christmas Web site which provides a guide to "What's On", Shopping and visiting Glasgow. Their graphic illustrates in a compact form many of the sights in central Glasgow. There are pages giving more detail of the "Glasgow Santa Dash" race, the Glasgow Christmas Markets and Shopping - claiming that the City "has the best shopping in the whole of the UK outside of London".

Santa's snow bubble gives young kids the "experience of snow" and enjoying themselves while their antics are automatically recorded on video by the operator. The children who were in the bubble when I arrived were throwing the "snow" around with gusto and became covered in it from head to toe. But before leaving a hair dryer was used to blow it all off - otherwise the snow would have soon disappeared down the street!

This was a display in a sports shop - I thought "Glasgow, Undisputed Christmas" was a good marketing slogan.

George Square

Glasgow City Council's display in the main square had been getting well past its "sell by" date as it was largely unchanged for many years. But the old neon lights have been replaced by impressively large neon Christmas Trees marching along two sides of the square.

The Christmas offering in George Square has been considerably changed with the removal of the ice rink and the addition of "Christmas Market" stalls which used to be confined to the smaller St Enoch Square. But thankfully the large (60ft) decorated Christmas Tree has been retained and so has the "Helter-Skelter" slide. The lights on the column supporting the statue of Sir Walter Scott has flashing bulbs.

Another view of the general layout of George Square and its lights.

Santa's sledge and reindeer created from lights beside the Christmas tree is always popular with parents taking pictures of their wide-eyed children beside the display.

Glasgow City Chambers has nothing on display that is special for the Festive Season - it is always lit up like this at night in the dark winter months.

The displays relating to the Nativity have been updated too. and have become a tall column showing traditional Christmas scenes.

The Merry-go-round is always popular - I just took this picture at the end of one ride and before the children and parents had got on for the next one! The music from the machine fills the air in the square and adds to the overall atmosphere.

Gallery of Modern Art and Ceiling of Light

The "Ceiling of Light" in Royal Exchange Square is as impressive as ever and has even been slightly extended to a short length of nearby Gordon Street.

Believe it or not, there are open air cafes on Royal Exchange Square. Despite freezing temperatures they are well used even at this time of year. Of course many of the customers there are smokers who are not allowed to smoke inside!

This is the front view of the Gallery of Modern Art - the building started life in 1778 as the townhouse of William Cunninghame of Lainshaw, a wealthy Glasgow Tobacco Lord. The Royal Bank of Scotland bought it in 1817 but it later became the Royal Exchange. In 1954 it became "Stirling's Library" but the Gallery of Modern Art took over most of the building in 1996.

The equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington is frequently adorned by a traffic cone to the extent that visitors are said to be disappointed if it's not there!

Buchanan Street

Buchanan Street is one of the main shopping areas of Glasgow and one of the largest stores is "Frasers". It was established in Glasgow in 1849 as Arthur and Fraser. By 1891, it was known as Fraser & Sons. The company grew steadily during the early 20th century and grew to be a major UK-wide retail chain. In 2014, it was reported that House of Fraser would be sold to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower, who would obtain 89% share in the company which would value the business at about £450 million.

The flagship store in Buchanan Street has really pushed the boat out with their Christmas lights which, as you can see, looks like a solid wall of bulbs along its entire frontage.

This is the main entrance to the Buchanan Street store.

The Princes Square development is on the other side of the street from Frasers. It may not look like a "square" but the cobbled square of original 1840's building was covered over with a glass ceiling and redeveloped in 1986 into a 112,000 square feet up-market retail space. The original sandstone facades have been preserved around the modern interior, adorned with decorative glass, tiling, lighting, timber and metalwork and a glass sided lift. The writer Bill Bryson referred to Princes Square as "one of the most intelligent pieces of urban renewal." Their Christmas lights are great too!

Market Stalls

In recent years there have been market stall set up in St Enoch Square just off Argyll Street, providing fast food and Christmas gifts. These were not a patch on the extensive Christmas market stalls in Princes Street in Edinburgh but they have now been considerably expanded not only in St Enoch Square but in George Square as well (where there is no longer an ice rink at Christmas). Many of the stall owners come over from Europe (I wonder if they will still be able to get visas once the UK has left the European Union?). I was amused that these Christmas figures had been set up beside a wish for a Happy Christmas from the "Greek Grill" selling hot Greek food!

I'm not sure if there is a great untapped demand for models of Bavarian style houses in Scotland but they do seem to turn up regularly in these stalls.

The cold spell of weather at the start of December would certainly help the sales of warm woolly hats. Oddly, temperatures rose as December progressed - in one 24 hour spell they rose from a night-time level of well below freezing to over 50F during the following day as warm winds from the south-west began blowing into the UK. Forecasts of a white Christmas are looking somewhat premature!

The thought "coals to Newcastle" passed through my mind when I saw these tartan scarves and dresses. Note that the Glasgow T-shirt has an illustration of that Duke of Wellington with a traffic cone on his head. I admit I nearly bought one!

Clyde Bridges

Although in winter a number of the bridges across the river Clyde are normally lit up they do add to the festive atmosphere in December. This is the pedestrian bridge between Clyde Street goes over to Carlton Place on the south bank of the river. It was built between 1851 and 1853.

The "Squinty Bridge" at Finnieston is more properly called the "Clyde Arc". It connects Finnieston, near the Clyde Auditorium and SECC (Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre) with Pacific Quay and Glasgow Science Centre in Govan on the south bank. Its innovative curved design and the way that it crosses the river at an angle led to its "Squinty Bridge" nickname. The Arc is the first city centre traffic crossing over the river built since the Kingston Bridge was opened to traffic in 1969.

The Tradeston Bridge (known locally as the "Squiggly Bridge" due to its horizontally curved design in an S shape with outward canting on both curves). It is used by pedestrians and cyclists with no motorised traffic being allowed on it.

If you want to read the other Diary entries going back to 2009, there is an Index page.

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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