Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Art Deco needs help in Glasgow (and Scotland)

I haven’t spent much time in Paisley, but even when I was there decades ago I realised there was a difference in the architecture of the town compared to Glasgow.

I didn’t have the knowledge to comprehend that difference, but I was there for the first time (yes, in decades) recently, and while experts and more learned students than me may say I’m wrong, I saw the difference almost immediately, and recognised what that difference was.

I stand to be corrected (and this is hardly a thesis), but after walking around much of the town centre, and looking for date stones on its buildings, it seems clear that much of the architecture dates from (approximately) the 1930s.

Play the same game in Glasgow, and you’ll find that most of the date stones were place (approximately) 30 years earlier, and cluster around 1900.

That difference means Glasgow was styled by architects who lived through the Art Nouveaux period, while those who build Paisley were influenced by the days of Art Deco.

I’m sure someone with letters after their name will say I’m a moron or cretin, and wrong, but I’m only describing what I see.

There are some obvious ‘big ticket’ items such as The Beresford Hotel and the Luma Lamp Factory, a stretch out as far as the India of Inchinnan tyre factory, and even the recently saved Vinicombe Street Garage.

But I’d suggest you’ll need to be alert to spot much more. A book about such things in Glasgow would probably not be very thick (unless it also included ‘lost’ items, such as the Tait Tower and the Empire Exhibition of 1938), and take a LOT of research.

Why did I start waffling about this?

At the moment, I travel along St Vincent Street on a near daily basis, and wrongly thought of the item below as being ‘new’ or ‘recent’, such is its quality and freshness.

In fact, it dates from 1931/2, when the office block at 145 was built, and a pair of griffins was carved into the plinths on either side of the entrance, to guard the entrance to the building.

St Vincent Street Griffin

St Vincent Street Griffin

While I continue to wander around the city, looking up (and down!), and discovering gems that are seldom, if ever, seen or mentioned, most of the items are clearly Victorian, or based in that era, and I wonder how much ‘alternative’ work I’m missing.

I’ve found there’s a HUGE collection of work carved or added into the detail of some buildings. While quite a lot of the more distinct items can be found described in documentation and records, some (such as the griffin) get barely a mention, and are passed over as merely a reference to ‘decorative carving’, even if they contain significant details.

You have to get a close view to see the detail, AND you have to be aware of the historic significance of items they may be carrying or holding, or have carved next to them, otherwise their meaning can be lost.

You have to be careful too, context matters.

I recently spotted one carrying a staff with serpents twisted around it, usually a medical reference, but when I did find something, the record stated it signified commerce. So. I learned something.

08/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Super heroes spotted in Glasgow

Forget Batman…

Glasgow has Catman and Robin (yours for £55).

Catman and Robin

Catman and Robin

Apologies for the irritating reflections in the window – they just couldn’t be avoided.

There are some interesting points about the Batmobile.

Best is that its features are just as good for Catman, as the Catmobile, as they were for its former driver.

And, fans of the TV series will know that a number of the original cars made for the series still survive (and occasionally change hands for millions these days).

My memory’s not good enough to recall the exact details (I think three originals were made for filming, based on the Lincoln Futura concept car, but there was at least one more made by creator, customiser George Barris, and I’m not counting post series replicas), but they are all slightly different, with different details, such as this piece of art betrays, with those two circular red lights included in the grille. You won’t see those if you’re looking at a rerun of the original 1960s series.

08/09/2019 Posted by | photography | | Leave a comment


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