2 March 2008 (posted 8 April 2008)
A sleeper train for those long trips? Bang on! You board the train, sleep in a comfortable bed and wake up at your destination. No check-in or security queues, no dramas. Except, it seems, when we take it. When we take it, a goods train derails ahead of us; Instead of waking, Glasgow at our feet, to a steward bearing breakfast, we pass our Saturday on a bus and then recovering from the ordeal.
Glasgow, formerly a major centre of manufacturing with a large base of factory workers, was hit hard by the changing economy. Even now, the standard of living is low when measured against Britain generally.*
Architecturally, the legacy of manufacturing is evident. In particular, the work of local boy Charles Rennie Mackintosh is trumpeted loudly, but it wasn't always so. Though recognised in Europe during his lifetime, only in recent years has Glasgow owned his legacy.* With our excursion limited to Sunday, we traced the Mackintosh map around the city centre, investigating his work. I was entranced by the beautiful detailing, some of which you'll see here.
Esteemed Glaswegian Sir William Burrell's life's work, an amazing collection of over eight thousand artefacts, was bequeathed in its entirety to the city of upon his death in the nineteen-thirties. Concerned that pollution would destroy his treasures, his bequest was conditional upon their being housed outside the city. As a result, Sir William's treasures were held in storage for half a century after being dumped in the too hard basket by the city's fathers.
Though procrastination is rarely a good thing, the bonus for the Burrell Collection is an amazing building, betraying no sign of the architect's ego, in the idyllic setting of the Pollock Country Park. A blank canvas of a building which admirably puts the focus where it should be, on the works. The most noticeable building elements are the portals, part of the collection not just displayed, but incorporated into the building fabric, welcoming you into and ushering you through the spaces.
After a very big day and completely exhausted, we splashed out on a £55 taxi-ride to the airport, direct from Burrell, at the end of another jam packed weekend.
*Source: Lonely Planet