Even though I only spent two days in Glasgow, I fell in love with this city.
Its architecture, its friendly people, its history.
The trip to Scotland with my aunt and mother was to trace some of our ancestral history. To be able to walk along some of the streets where our families feet may have trod. My maternal grandfather was a first generation American. He was born in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada. His father was born in Scotland (various records say Bothwell, Holytown, and Plains) to parents that we knew had been married in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. I wrote about the day we spent in Airdrie in this post.
Our time in Glasgow.
A little background on our trip to Glasgow, in case you are new to the blog. We flew into Edinburgh, spent a few days there and took the train over to Glasgow on a Friday. Our plan was to drop off our luggage and immediately catch the train to Airdrie because their Discovery Room was only open Tuesday through Friday. We had purchased train tickets to get there while in Edinburgh. After a fiasco, in which we finally learned there was trouble on that line, we had to get our tickets refunded and plan Airdrie for another day. That meant more time to spend in Glasgow.
While we were standing in line for the refund, the gentleman behind us told us that we’d find the people of Glasgow to be very friendly. And, as he put it: “Sometimes we’re hard to understand. That’s because we talk fast since it rains so much and we don’t want to drown.” I knew then that we were in for a treat in this city.
That evening we asked at the hotel, the best place to have a drink. The recommendation for a fun, lively place was a pub called Camperdown Place, which I’m sad to say closed a few months after our visit. It was located on Queen Street and when we arrived, we decided to stroll around George Square.
George Square is the civic square in Glasgow. It is named after King James III and was laid out in 1781.
Around the square are a collection of statues and monuments as well as historically important buildings.
Sir Walter Scott Monument.
While the Scott Monument in Edinburgh is quite famous and the largest monument to a writer in the world, the monument located in George Square was the first public monument built to honor Sir Walter Scott.
We visited the city of Glasgow at the beginning of June, less than two weeks after the attack in Manchester.
Hundreds had gathered in George Square to hold a vigil for those affected by the terror attack.
The remnants of their coming together in a moment of silence remained around the Sir Walter Scott Monument.
As I walked along the square, I came to the City Chambers.
The City Chambers.
Rising up over George Square are the City Chambers. The foundation stone for this building was laid in 1883.
The building was a designed by the Scottish architect, William Young and was completed in 1888.
Entrance to the City Chambers.
With an entrance this grand, I knew that I had to capture some photos for all the door lovers out there. If you are one of those door lovers, be sure to check out Norm’s blog where he hosts Thursday Doors.
Inaugurated in August 1888 by Queen Victoria, the first council meeting was held within the chambers in October of 1889.
Since 1996, it has functioned as the headquarters for the Glasgow City council.
The building is open Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 5 pm.
While timing did not permit it for me, there are tours available of the Glasgow City Chambers. They are offered twice daily at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm. Tickets are on a first come first served basis and can be picked up at the City Chambers reception desk 30 minutes prior to each tour.
Sunset at George Square.
I was lucky enough to be in George Square as the sun began to set. It highlighted the stone architecture rising into the sky.
You can notice the flag waving slightly in the breeze.
The next day would come the attack on London Bridge, after which the flags that I photographed would be at half-mast.
The Glasgow Cenotaph.
But on this day, I would stand and admire the beauty of the sunset in a city well over 3,000 miles from where I live.
I would look upon the cross gleaming on the Glasgow Cenotaph. Unveiled in 1924, it pays tribute to the fallen of the First World War.
According to the city council website, when the armistice was announced on November 11, 1918 “it was the greatest day of rejoicing Glasgow has ever known.” One-fifth of Glasgow’s population (over 200,000 men) were mobilized and 18,000 of those lost their lives. Another 34,500 were injured.
My great-grandfather, the one who was born in Scotland, would fight in that war. He would fight as a member of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and in 1916 was admitted to the No. 3 Canadian General Hospital (McGill) in Boulogne, France with a gunshot wound to his left thigh. After the war, he would return to Sydney Mines. Then, in 1923, sponsored by his brother who was already living in the United States, he would move to Whittier, California with his wife and children.
Sometimes I ponder if hatred will ever end.
Especially during this time of year when we think about our families and friends. This season when we take moments to deliberately slow down the pace of life and spend time with those we love. During this moving toward the end of the year. This time for new beginnings and leaving the old, unwanted parts behind.
I hope that as you move forward in your days, you seek to spread kindness in a hurting world. I hope that your light shines so brightly it makes the darkness fade.
Let your light shine!
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