Glasgow West End: Jim's West End Photo Diary January 2000

My picture gallery contains; photographs of the West End of Glasgow, photographs of Glasgow, and photographs of Scotland.

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Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd

I got a new camera on Thursday and I have been pretty excited about it since - I've never had an SLR camera before. However my thinking was (i.e. my excuse) that if I am putting loads of photographs on this Web site I need a decent camera - and I need to learn a bit about photography.

Buying a camera has been a story in itself - everybody I asked gave me different advice. I had decided that I would buy second hand because that was what the books I had been reading recommended. Once I had visited a few camera shops I was being told by the well informed salesmen that what I needed was a new 'entry level' SLR - which would be far superior to anything I could pick up second hand for the same price. Hmm, perhaps your right, I thought as I scratched my chin and kept my hand firmly in my pockets.

After a few visits to camera shops, a quick look at some photography magazines, and a lot of discussions with my friend David Donald, I took my last and final bit of advice from Eileen McKusker who is a professional photographer. She told me to buy second hand - so that's what I did; a fourteen year old Canon T90 from Quigs in the Trongate (also recommended by Eileen.)

Hell of a complicated stuff this 'real' photography! I had no idea there where so many things to worry about. I'm working my way through a couple of Introductory photography books that Pat bought me for my birthday last week.

Below you can see my first efforts. One thing I notice just comparing these with my previous efforts is that the colours are a lot better - or maybe that's just my imagination.

This weekend was the first time I have had a chance to use the camera in daylight so I went a bit crazy photographing everything in sight.

Glasgow University Tower

Hillhead Church

Bengal Tigress in Kelvingrove Park

Gt Western Road at Kelvin Bridge

In the photographs above you can see Glasgow University's Flemish style cooling tower, Kelvinside and Hillhead Parish Church, the Bengal Tigress statue in Kelvingrove Park and finally a view of Great Western Road looking West from Kelvinbride.

Sunday 16th

We ( i.e me and Pat) have made a resolution that we will go out for breakfast each Sunday morning - so this morning we went down to Back Alley in Ruthven Lane just off Byres Road. It was quiet in there - too quiet - but the food was ok and we had a wee read at the Sunday papers. Anyway once we'd finished making our plans to get rich it was back out to the fresh morning air and a walk up Byres Road.

Tinderbox Expresso Imporium

I took this picture of the Scooter in the window of Tinderbox - Expresso Imporium on Byres road - hey, I couldn't walk past it with my camera and not take a picture of a Scooter in the window of a coffee shop.

Friday the 7th

The Kibble Palace at night

I was not terribly happy with the pictures I took of the Stewart Memorial Fountain yesterday so I thought I would take a quick walk round to the park and see if I could get a better photograph. As it turned out I still couldn't take a photograph that really did the fountain justice - it wasn't a very bright day - and they all looked a bit dull. But not to worry it was a nice walk.

After visiting the park I walked along the Kelvin, down by Kelvinside Road and then on to the Kirklee Bridge. As I walked across Queen Margaret Drive it was starting to get dark and I took this photograph of the Kibble Palace all lit up and looking strange and beautiful. The Kibble Palace at night truly is a striking sight - it always make me think of some large alien space ship all powered up and about to take off into the heavens.

Thursday the 6th.

Happy New Year!

The idea was to go out and take a picture of the Stewart Memorial fountain in Kelvingrove Park in response to a request from Mary (who did not provide her surname ) - a visitor to the site. Hey I'm still on holiday, got to make the most of it and it's a good idea to get out for some air.

It was a nice morning so I decided to take a good long walk; through the Botanic Gardens then down by the Kelvin, backtrack down Byres road, up University Avenue and through the grounds of the University. I then carried on into Kelvingrove Park, crossing Kelvin Way, and walked through the park to the fountain. A cold but bright, dry Winters day - perfect for a long walk in my new boots that I got in the January sales!

View from Glasgow University

Here's the view from outside the Glasgow University building looking out over the west end of the city - stunning on a day like this. I had a wee seat and just took in the view.

Glasgow University in Winter

Now I have walked down from my vantage point which was directly in front of the ventilation tower - I quite like this view. Here's a good mid-winter picture looking back up the hill. I particularly like the bare scrawny branches of these young trees.

Lord Kelvin Statue

Down at the bottom of the hill I took a picture of this statue of Lord Kelvin (by A M Shannan 1913) with the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the background. The University building is up the hill to the right.

For 53 years William Thompson (Lord Kelvin) was Professor of Natural Philisophy at Glasgow University where he did research into marine instrumentation and thermo_electricity. (Just as an aside Pat's mum used to work as a cleaner in Nat.Phil.) The Kelvin temperature scale,which identifies -273 C as Absolute Zero, is named after him. I have been told by my friend David Donald - don't know if it's true or not - that the first refrigerators were called Kelvinators - again named in reference to Lord Kelvin. I would be interested to hear from anyone who knows more about this story, or indeed about Lord Kelvin and this statue.

Stewart Memorial Fountain

This is the Stewart Memorial Fountain in Kelvingrove Park which was built in 1872 to commemorate the public service of Robert Stewart who was the Lord Provost of Glasgow between 1851 and 1854. Along with the Council of 1854 he is credited with taking a significant role in modernising Glasgow's water supply through a scheme to supply the city's water from Loch Katrine. Engineers led by John Bateman built the Loch Katrine water system. The fountain is by James Sellars and the sculptures on the fountain are by John Mossman. These are said to be inspired by Sir Walter Scott's Lady of the Lake.

Although the fountain is recently restored it has been even more recently vandalised and sadly the water supply seems to have been cut off. Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to what the future plans are for the fountain.

In a comment to the Buildings and Architecture page 'Wee Mary' has provided some further interesting information about the fountain. Thanks for the information your comments are appreciated.

I started off with 36 pictures on the spool, by the time I got to the fountain I only had 6 left - and this is the best of the bunch. In terms of colour It's not exactly what I saw through the lens - I don't know why the foreground and the sky are so dark.

I have a selection of my photographs for sale in the Gallery Shop.


Thanks for the information Sandra. It amazes me that each time I have mentioned to someone that I took a photograph of the Lord Kelvin Statue they tell me a story about him. From David Donald I got the information that William Thomsons's work partner at Glasgow University ( whose name I can't remember) was nicknamed 'Dafty' at school. He also told me story of how to demonstrate some principle in one of his classes Thomson used to fire a bullet from a gun into a block of wood which he had mounted on one of the walls of the classroom. This went on for years untill the folk at the University realised what he was doing - and of course banned him from further dangerous 'demonstrations'.

I have also been told that in both France and America there are still fridges being sold under the brand name The Kelvinator.

--Jim Byrne ( j dot byrne at dial dot pipex dot com ) from Scotland on 2.2.2000; 0:00:00 Uhr

About "Kelvinator": in France it was a refrigerator brand name, may still be, for all I know.

My Dad knew an old man (he lived in Highburgh Rd) who had been Lord Kelvin's lab assistant.
--Sandra Speirs ( castelli at intercity dot it ) from Italy on 30.1.2000; 0:00:00 Uhr