Posted by: christinelaennec | June 5, 2011

A sunny day in Glasgow

On Friday, I went to Glasgow to give a presentation with my work colleague.  We met up with other people in Scotland who do our job, and had a good meeting.  (The presentation went well and we even got some laughs!)  We found ourselves with about half an hour before we needed to be at the train station, on a beautiful warm, sunny day.  Here are a few things that we saw.  Firstly, one of the tea rooms designed by Glasgow’s Charles Rennie Mackintosh:

The Willow Tea Rooms, Buchanan Street, Glasgow. June 3rd 2011.

Regular readers may recall that last September our family went to see the Hill House in Helensburgh, designed by Mackintosh and his wife Frances MacDonald.  I am always struck by how very modern their designs still seem, over a hundred years later.  Here’s a peek into the tea rooms (and gift shop):

Inside the Willow Tea Rooms, Buchanan Street, Glasgow. June 3rd 2011.

We enjoyed walking down the pedestrianised Buchanan Street, mostly looking up at the architecture looming over us in the sun:

Buchanan Street, Glasgow, June 3rd 2011.

We liked this Art Nouveau-inspired peacock over one of the buildings.  The photo doesn’t show it, but each of the tips of the feather had concentric circles of colour, as on a peacock feather:

A peacock on Buchanan Street, Glasgow. June 3rd 2011.

And this building made us think of Dutch gables.  I particularly like the white painted wood of the curving windows:

Building on Buchanan Street, Glasgow. June 3rd 2011.

My enjoyment of the Victorian wealth of British cities is always somewhat spoiled by knowing that so much of the prosperity of the time was founded on slavery and the suffering of others.   I suppose my uneasiness comes from the fact that many of the things I enjoy in my own life – relatively inexpensive clothes, food, and manufactured goods – come at a price to other people working in other countries.  I send them my thanks and my blessings and I do pray for economic justice in the world!

Back to more frivolous things, I thought you might like to see a photograph of an old police box, like the kind that Dr. Who travels in:

An old police box, preserved for posterity. Buchanan Street, Glasgow, June 3rd 2011.

We had a very pleasant journey home, with many wild lupins besides the tracks.  Near Montrose there was a whole field of them in an array of colours, but I didn’t manage to get a photograph.  Here’s a little patch, near Perth I think.  I wonder if a Scottish Miss Rumphius sowed them?

Wild lupins by the train tracks, somewhere near Perth I think. June 3rd 2011.

It’s always nice to glimpse the lighthouse as you round the corner, coming into Aberdeen:

Coming into Aberdeen: Girdleness Lighthouse. June 3rd 2011.

A friend who lives near Glasgow e-mailed me that Friday, the day of my visit, was the first sunny day they’d had in weeks and weeks.  So we were lucky with the weather.  I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend!




  1. Gorgeous photos Christine! I love Macintosh & also went on a pilgrimage when I had an hour to spare in Glasgow, but I think we missed the tearooms – couldn’t find them! That peacock is fabulous

    • Thanks, Scruffybadger! There are in fact a couple of Mackintosh tea rooms. These on Buchanan Street are relatively small; the tea rooms on Sauchiehall Street are even more amazing. One could spend several days on a Mackintosh pilgrimage in Glasgow.

  2. Oh Christine, thanks for sharing your day and your pictures.They made me feel a little home-sick….Love them
    Erna x

    • Sorry to make you home-sick, Erna, but glad you liked them!

  3. Having a great weekend, thanks, Christine. I haven’t been to Glasgow since 1971. It’s been nice to share your time there. Love the tea rooms.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Martin. Maybe it’s time for another visit to Glasgow, in person?!

  4. Christine, as you know we’ve not had any sunshine here, either. Very unusual. The tea room was lovely and the sunny pictures brought some light to my heart!

    Yesterday we had our first day of (barely) 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) and got out for a bit of a bike ride. Today it’s overcast again and a yuckily humid (very unusual for us) 80 degrees. We’re all inside with every blind shut and fan on (A/C if you have it) because now it’s sweltering!! Aren’t we funny?

    Thanks for sharing, as always.

    • Glad you liked it, sis. Next time you come to Scotland we should go to the tea rooms if we can. I’m glad the photos brought some light to your heart. xox

  5. What a lovely way for me to start my Monday, that was a great little tour through Glasgow, Architecture is one of my most favourite things, the building behind the ‘Tardis’ looks interesting too. You have such a sensitivity of people, past and present, the world is not equal but if we start by awareness maybe one day it could be. The tea-room chairs are so interesting! Need to go there!
    Have a lovely day,

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the wee tour. I read your autumnal post and could feel the need for a cardigan – in a good way! Yes, the Mackintosh chairs are very interesting. I don’t know how comfortable they are to sit in, though – must go back and give it a try. I agree that we need to keep our eyes focused on the possibility of a healed world.

  6. Lovely to see Buchanan Street in the sun. i remember my sister and I always said There is the Tardis! when we sent shopping in Glasgow with my mother. That was when the original Dr Who was on – 1960s!!

    • Ah so it’s not just me, then! I wasn’t in Britain for the original series(es), and I don’t always partake in the current one, but living with two Doctor Who fans I have an affection for it now.

  7. Glasgow! The home of my grandmother (to whom I owe my middle name: Steuart) – but I have never been there . Thanks for the glimpses. I always thought it was a grim industrial wasteland, but your evidence proves the contrary.

    I love those high-backed chairs in the Willow Tea Rooms.

    • Hello oldblack! I’m glad you enjoyed the Glasgow glimpses. I think a big turning point for Glasgow was when it became the European City of Culture in the 1990s, and they began to value and restore so much of the various layers of the city. It still has industrial areas, and very run-down areas, like any major city. But there’s plenty to enjoy as well.

      Yes, the chairs – they remind me a bit of Shaker chairs but I doubt there was any connection, design-wise.

  8. ah, you say so casually … “we went to Glasgow for the day for work” … how utterly amazing. i wish they would send me to Glasgow for my work, lol. 🙂 i think Mackintosh is very talented and i enjoy his designs. i will put the tea room on my list of places to visit. i also appreciate your heart for those less fortunate and agree that it is good to be thankful for what we have. really wonderful pictures … makes me want to be there. you have such a rich cultural heritage in Scotland.

    • ajb, you’re right to remind me how lucky I am to be able to go to Glasgow for the day! I have to say that I loved the train journey there and back, over 5 hours of travelling, as much as the time we spent there. (Partly this is because I was able to knit almost non-stop, and partly because the Scottish countryside in June is breathtaking.)

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