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Where is The Love, Glasgow? 2011/07/03

Posted by Daddy Dave in Days Out, Family, fun, Musings, Reviews.
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[Picture of Oli and DP in the piazza inside the Burrell]My favourite museum is falling apart, yet there seems to be plenty of money floating about Glasgow these days. I just don’t get it. I really don’t understand.

There’s the new super hospital, we’ve just build two major ACAD units (Victoria and Stobhill), the super campus, the Commonwealth games village, the Velodrome, the Scottish Hydro Arena, the floating village, the1 billion for the new Venice at the canals of Port Dundas, the Riversdie Museum, the new Glasgow School of Art, various major hotels, the aqua centre at Tollcross, the M74 extension, and loads more.  Glasgow is changing, massively and quickly.

But what’s happening to the Kelvin Hall?  What’s happening to the Burrell?

We went to Pollok Country Park today. They have a great play area for children, and Oli loves the zip slide.  DP actually managed to get it going for him too. We relaxed in the blazing sunshine and mid twenties temperatures. We had a little picnic, read some novels and larked about.

This is a great park, there are no fairground attractions to drain away funds, and that’s getting pretty unusual these days. We decided to cool off in the Burrell — what a magnificent building!

[Picture of Burrell Collection Green Egyptian area]It really is superb and quite unique.  Old windows and doors built into a new building, the quality of light is amazing.  The acoustics are happy too.  It is just superb spaces to enjoys, one after the other. The warm pink hues of the sandstone lined piazza leads to the cool green of the Egyptian room.  The sunny corridors, the dark rooms, a glory of contrasts, of moods – a real architectural symphony.

This wonderful building is planted within the park, it is intrinsic to the park, it belongs in this place.  The orientation is perfect, the style bang on.  It is just perfect — and it always has been.  It houses treasures, and it sets them, but never upstages them.  It is modern without being intrusively so. without competing with the works.  Everyone ought to visit this place in the blaze of summer, the bleak dreich of the autumn, and the snow white of the winter, just to know it as I do, like an old and very dear friend.  I always think when I am there that I ought to go more often.  It is within walking distance of my home, and yet I overlook it until summer when the children can play in the park nearby.

This time I was shocked though.

Buckets everywhere. Tapestries missing. Notices about leaking flat roofs.

One notice said they have just enough money to fund a limited repair, but that they have no plans to fix the greater problem.

Now, I know that 30 years ago, flat roofs had inherent defects, but that no longer holds true today: this could be fixed, easily and permanently. Not patched, but fixed.  But it won’t be. I am sad to the point of angry about that.  Where is the love?  You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.

I am going to write a letter to the papers about this.  The Burrell was a wonder when it was built, it wouldn’t take much TLC to bring it right back — a green carpet on the stair to the picture gallery (to the wonderful Degas’s Ballerinas), the few bits of flat roof, one window pane.

A stitch in time anyone?

We have that sort of thing with our pretend-west-end neighbours — they get quotes for painting a gate that measures 1 metre square, when there’s a leaky soil waste pipe that needs fixing. Priorities are everything, and putting off things simply costs more money along the line.

We are being swamped by pop culture, touristy, chavvy, vulgar, trash, new, improved, branded, labelled nonsense. The truth is the Kelvin Hall, the truth is the Burrell, the truth is the old Art School.  The rest is a dishonest, fake Glasgow, an eclectic, heartless cluster of weird-looking buildings.

I am not Prince Charles and anti modern architecture, I adore good architecture, and consider the Scottish Hyrdo Arena, to be functional and appropriate — as is the velodrome and aqua centre, the rest (including the Riverside and the Scottish Parliament) is unnecessary, outlandish, shallow and ultimately ugly and embarrassing.


1. Kerriy Ann - 2011/07/07

Go for it!! Make a noise!

2. Daddy Dave - 2011/07/09

I will, especially as I just found out (!) that it is the 150th birthday of Burrell!

3. Paul Curry - 2011/07/11

You have got a good point. There is never enough for maintenance, and the Burrell IS a special case at that.

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