Sunday, 30 May 2010

Kelvingrove Park

Kelvingrove Park, flanked by Woodlands, Park, and the river Kelvin, is in Glasgow's West End (see Hillhead and West End). There is an excellent local community group, the Friends of Kelvingrove Park, and the Wiki article is very good. See

See also Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and Mela
The Stewart Memorial Fountain, erected in 1872 to commemorate Lord Provost Robert Stewart of Murdostoun (1811-66), one of the prime movers behind the supply of Loch Katrine water to Glasgow - one of Scotland's forgotten heroes.

The Kelvingrove Bandstand, shamefully neglected and left to fall into disrepair by successive Glasgow councils. At one point there was a council scheme to sell this off to be developed as yet another outlet for alcohol -just the thing Glasgow needs - but the Friends (see above) successfully fought them off. There is a Facebook campaign to develop the space, the Amphitheatre Restoration Committee. See

Moorhen and chick by the pond

Feeding blue tit

Feeding squirrel

Lord Kelvin with a so-witty cone on his head (compare the Donald Dewar statue at Buchanan St)

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum opened in 1901 and is one of Europe's great museums. See

Evening view from Kelvingrove Park

The museum closed 2003-06 for refurbishment. This is the Lady Provost of the day giving a speech  at the public opening. A smiling suit  from the National Lottery - which gave a large amount of money for the restoration - also gave a speech, in which he told the people waiting to get in  that they should buy lots more lottery tickets so that projects such as this refurbishment could  continue.

I wondered  what the founders and builders of the museum - the Victorian civic leaders and industrialists -  would have made of this. It is surely improbable that they could have imagined that  100 years after their great establishment, Kelvingrove museum would be funded by profits derived from gambling.

If this blog has a theme among its rambles, it is that Glasgow has been badly let down by its modern civic leaders: dim (and often something worse than dim) men and women of no vision and meagre competence, content to putter and potter along on the assets  bequeathed to the city by bigger and better people - and in many cases they have not even preserved the assets, but have let them be destroyed  - see Alexander 'Greek' Thomson.

The elephant here is Sir Roger, an  Indian elephant. He was brought to Glasgow in 1900 to be the main attraction in a menagerie,  and  was shot by an army firing squad after going mad in 1909. His tusks had previously been removed (which may explain his anger issues) and the taxidermists gave him wooden ones. The Spitfire behind is from the City of Glasgow Spitfire squadron (one member of the squadron was the second pilot to shoot down a Nazi plane in WWII).  Some dour people complained that the Spitfire was not quite right for the museum but  I  disagree - it is one of the most beautiful things designed by a human. And what's not to like about a  display of an elephant with a Spitfire aimed at its arse.

Not sure about some of the temporary exhibitions though. One of the most successful post-refurbishment pay-to-view exhibitions was a display of Kylie Minogue's frocks which raised a few eyebrows as well as hems. This Dr Who exhibition was popular and arguably more credible