Scottie's Monthly Photo Diary

- Glasgow Christmas Lights 2014

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 occasion. It thus forms a pictorial diary of my travels during the month which can be shared by everyone!

This is a selection of photographs I took in central Glasgow of the Christmas decorations and buildings lit up at night. There is a commentary on each one.

There is a similar collection of Christmas themed graphics taken in Edinburgh.

The Ferris Wheel in Glasgow's George square is not as large as the one being used in Edinburgh and instead of being enclosed, the Glasgow wheel is open to the elements. On the other had that means that those taking pictures from within the cabs in Glasgow do not have to contend with reflections from glass/Perspex.

This overview of the Christmas lights in George Square includes the merry-go-round on the left, the Ferris Wheel, the column supporting the statue of Sir Walter Scott, the large Christmas Tree, the lights representing Santa's reindeer and some of the lights which were strung from the lamp-posts. The ice rink is just visible below the Ferris Wheel.

Although it is bright and colourful, Santa's sledge and reindeers have been on display for many years now and maybe need to be replaced by something new. Or is that just "Bah! Humbug?

Glasgow City Chambers(roughly equivalent to the "Town Hall" is usually lit up during the winter months, not just at Christmas. It was opened by Queen Victoria in 1888 on her second visit to the city. When she had visited 39 years earlier, she disliked the city so much she said that she would prefer not to return!

The facade is covered in sculptural groups and the main pediment commemorates the Jubilee Year of Queen Victoria, who sits on her throne with representatives from her Kingdom supporting her.

The inside of the City Chambers is even more impressive and opulent with marble staircases and mosaic ceilings. There are tours of the building each week-day morning and afternoon. See Places to Visit - Glasgow City Chambers.

The traditional carousel provides entertainment for young and old alike - and the music blasted out adds to the atmosphere,

Strung around the square from lamp standards are a variety of lighting effects. Some, such as the bells and the Jack-in-the-box have multiple lights that give the impression of movement when they operate in sequence.

This unusual view of the statue of Queen Victoria lit up by the Christmas lights brought to mind the phrase "we are not amused" which is attributed to the British Empress. There is no direct evidence that she ever said it, and she denied doing so. Her staff and family recorded that Victoria "was immensely amused and roared with laughter" on many occasions.

The angle used to take this photograph meant that the two giants of Scottish literature were in the same picture - poet Robert Burns and novelist Sir Walter Scott on top of the tall column in the centre of George Square. The statue to Sir Walter was erected in 1837, within three years of his death, and was the first public monument to the author anywhere in the world - 10 years ahead of the completion of Edinburgh's more grandiose Scott Monument on Princes Street.

The "Ceiling of Light" which fills in the pedestrian precinct surrounding the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) will remain to brighten the spirits in the hours of darkness until March. In these days when we are all being encouraged to go "green", the thousands of lights have been replaced with more energy-efficient LED bulbs.

The Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow is one of the most visited contemporary art galleries outside of London. Some cynics believe its popularity is because the local Glaswegians go to the free gallery to get out of the rain. But although the exhibits may appeal more to those who have some knowledge of the local references, in my view it is a great place to visit and I am a frequent visitor whether it's raining or not!

Of course some visitors who go to GoMA don't go inside but instead stop outside to take a picture of the statue of the Duke of Wellington who is usually sporting a traffic cone on his head. And, if you are lucky, there may be a traffic cone on the head of his horse as well!

Buchanan Street is one off the top shopping areas in Glasgow - and it also connects the Buchanan Galleries and St Enoch Centre, the two major retail centres in the city. This picture was taken at the junction with St Vincent Place.

Further down Buchanan Street, the building lit up with red lights is the House of Fraser department store. I recall that when still at school I got a summer holiday job in the Gents department of House of Fraser. While there, I was sent with a parcel of meat from a local butcher to the home of Sir Hugh Fraser in the west end of Glasgow. Which made a nice change rom selling suits!

This is the frontage of Princes Square shopping centre on Buchanan Street. It was developed in 1986. The new five-storey, 112,500 sq ft retail centre occupies a pre-existing cobbled square dating from 1841, which was reconfigured by enclosing the entire space below a new clear glass domed and vaulted roof. While the original sandstone facades were preserved around the modern interior, the up-market centre is adorned with decorative glass, tiling, and a glass-sided lift. There is an inside view o the building at Glasgow Photo Library American author Bill Bryson referred to Princes Square as "one of the most intelligent pieces of urban renewal".

Another old building that has been given a new lease of life is the original "Fruit Market" in the Merchant City area. It was left empty when the fruit market traders moved to a custom-made building away from the city centre. For a while it remained empty - I recall parking my Ford "Anglia" in a car park within the building when I worked on the city centre, many, many years ago. But now it has had a major refurbishment and proudly carries carved stones proclaiming that is on "Merchant Square" and on the top another carving states that it was rebuilt in 1886!

The former "Lanarkshire House" was built in 1876-9 for the Union Bank of Scotland but it later became law courts. It is described in a book on Glasgow architecture as "lavishly Italianate: boldly corniced and pedimented entrance into rusticated plinth." It is now a palatial "Corinthian Club" with fine dining, bars and brasserie, meeting and event rooms.

The Old Sheriff Court building in Brunswick Street is largely occupied by the Scottish Youth Theatre with five individual versatile rehearsal spaces, dance studio and studio theatre which can also be utilised as meeting rooms or breakout/workshop areas. And, as can be seen in this graphic - a bar has taken some space at street level.

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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