Doors Open Day: 15 September 2012

Every year in Scotland buildings open their doors to the public, conduct tours and remind us of how wonderful our built landscape is. Some buildings are people’s homes, others public buildings we don’t normally get to see behind the scenes of.  This year I thought you might like to see the places I visited as part of Doors Open Day.

My first stop wasn’t strictly part of DOD rather a private event by Scottish Ballet for social media geeks like me allowing us to see a rehearsal of 5 Tangos which is part of their autumn season. Now I will be dedicating a whole blog post to this event but I thought you’d like some sneaky pictures to get you in the mood. I also met up with the About a City gals who will be blogging their own take on the event too.

ballet shoes

I spy a dancer!

2nd tango

After that I nipped next door to St Ninian’s Church which was built between 1872-7 to a design by David Thomson. Gothic on the outside (up to the gargoyles) and deceptively tall inside it is another hidden gem we travel past every day. I particularly loved the murals by William Hole, eagle lectern and of course the stained glass windows. Most of the windows were created by Meikle & Sons and donated/dedicated to local people. In its heyday 600+ people would come to worship, as a sign of the times they are struggling to afford new lighting around the altar which would bring out the amazing architectural detail.

Mural round the chancel by William Hole

Eagle Lectern circa 1895

stained glass window circa 1890

I then hopped on a bus over the River Clyde and walked a short distance to Clydeport. this building on Robertson Street is amazing and a testament to how much money there was in Glasgow due to ship building and sea trade. The Clydeport Building, headquarters of what was originally the Clyde Navigation Trust and then the Clyde Port Authority, was designed by J J Burnet and built using Giffnock stone by Morrison & Mason, 1883-1886. Sadly I couldn’t get the lighting right on my camera so the pictures do not do it justice.

Viking boats protrude from the external walls

hidden in the wooden beams (running top to bottom of this picture) are leather maps

now this is a fireplace

After all that opulence I went for a walk along the Clyde and quickly popped in to the gardens of St Andrews Cathedral. I really love the reflective sculpture in the centre which have quotes on it. If you need a quiet space I can recommend here.

the garden

The building is beautiful too

I was also keen to see how the street art was coming along further down the road. I was surprised to see the artist still working away although he has extended the piece. It is commissioned by Style Mile and much better than seeing brown chipboard hoarding.

Caution! Artist at work!

A dalek under the River Clyde

Back on the bus I headed to Govanhill to see an old haunt of mine I’ve not be to in years…Govanhill Baths! This is where I learned to swim, went to swimming club and as an adult went to the women only evening for a swim, sauna and then to the pub (oops!).

original wall tiles circa 1917

changing cubicle

It opened in 1917 for the local population who did not have inside toilets let alone baths. Every week women would go to the steamie to wash clothes, bedding and catch up on the gossip. The working class population came to bathe weekly, enjoy the turkish baths and some, like me, even swam there.

I learned to swim in this pool

The old baths

The building is listed but sadly closed on 2001. Since then a Community Trust has been created and they have a 3 phase redevelopment plan including reopening the 3 pools, creating an arts/cinema space, transforming the steamie into a large community/events area with workshops. The National Theatre of Scotland will also be perfoming IN the pool throughout October. I’ll be booking for that!

Save our Pool

The main pool

Well I was tired after all that but went home with very happy memories and a wad of photos. If you want to see all the pictures I took that day then please pop over to my Flickr site.

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